How’s it going this Monday morning?  I heard some of the eastern coast of America got hit pretty badly with snow this past weekend!  I have to say, as much as I dislike the weather here in Scotland, I am pleased not to be surrounded by freezing temperatures and snow.   I grew up in northern New Hampshire, and lived most of my life in New England and New York, so, I know how frustrating (and also how fun?) snow storms can be!

The other day I was re-watching, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and I came across an episode when Titus used the word, snowbesity to describe a person who you can’t tell if they are fat or not because they are wearing a winter jacket.

 

 

While my first thought was, “that is a funny word”, my second thought was, “who cares if somebody is overweight or not?”  And my third thought was about how there never seems to be a time that isn’t the “right” time to start convincing people that they need to change their bodies.  In the winter, it’s all about getting ready for spring break.  In the spring, it’s all about maintaining the now ultra-offensive term, “bikini body” for the summer.  In the autumn, it’s all about getting into that “little black dress” for the holidays.  Over the holidays, it’s all about changing for the new year and starting a clean slate — this is the year you’ll get your body back!

“Skinny bitch.” “Fat bitch.”  “You’re unhealthy.”  “You shouldn’t wear that.” “Dad bod.”

It seems like society is more judgmental than ever.  It’s on both sides of the coin and it’s got to stop.

We never get a break from feeling like we’ve got to change.  That we’ve got to look better.  The cycle seems like it will never end either.  However, changes are taking place and while the shift is still evolving and it’s momentum is growing, the body positivity movement is a real thing, and you can be a champion for its cause too.

I struggle with loving my body.  I struggle with keeping my weight off.  I struggle with taking compliments.  I also have made the, “when I’m thinner, I will _” statements.  I do all of this, and I am a personal trainer and nutritional therapist.  Nobody is immune when it comes to feeling insecure or uncomfortable in their body.

I, for one, am so tired of all the body shaming and all the superficial bullshit.  I think most of us are.  So, this week I want to share a  TED Talk from an influential person working to bring greater understanding of what makes us feel uncomfortable in our skin and how we can all be more patient and loving to ourselves and our bodies regardless of size.

The TED Talk I chose for today is from fashion model; Ashley Graham called, “Plus-size? More Like My Size.”   In this talk, she discusses why she believes there is more than one body type and that we all possess a wonderfully unique and diverse physique that shouldn’t be defined by anybody but ourselves.

Preach, girl.  Preach.  Enjoy, you guys!

[Tweet “Body Confidence Talks #SelfLove #BodyPositivity @AshleyGraham via @BeetsPerMinute”]

Do you believe the size current is shifting?  Isn’t Ashley amazing?

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Why I Couldn’t Accept Compliments

Happy Thursday, everybody. Wow, it’s January 21st already, and we’re three weeks into 2016. Crazy! How are you doing with any resolutions or changes you are looking to make for yourself this year?

One of the changes I want to make this year is to stop suffering from the “compliment complex.” I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud today to talk about something I think most of us are suffering from (especially women) — how to start accepting compliments.

 

I cringe whenever I even think about how difficult it is for most of us to accept praise. We say things like, “oh this old thing” or “shut up, I haven’t lost weight” or “you’re crazy, I’m not amazing” to the slightest amount of praise. There are only two words we ever really need to say when somebody gives us a compliment, and yet, we rarely ever say them: Thank you.

I am still in shock whenever someone says something like that they love my hair, or they think I have lovely cheekbones. I am always looking to see if the person saying it to me is talking to me or someone standing behind me. Once I (hopefully) discern that they are in fact addressing me, my first reaction is to say, “my hair is terrible, it’s thin, and a disaster” or “my face is broad.” Instead of just accepting that person’s praise I not only refute it but argue that they are ‘seeing things’ that aren’t so. Or, I take it as far as putting something else on myself down so that I can justify accepting praise.

“Just take the compliment” — is what my inner voice wants to hear when I bounce praise off myself, but even still, I can’t seem just to shut up and) take the compliment.

Why is it so difficult to accept complimentary statements others make about us? Why does it make us feel so uncomfortable?

Years ago, while I was living in New York, I used to have this one particular friend. She was well-educated, attractive, and friendly. In fact, we ultimately became friends because she once complimented my shoes at a bar. This friend was so different from most of the women I had been surrounded by in my twenties. For starters because of how accomplished she was, but mostly because she would always say, “thank you” when complimented. I remember thinking to myself, “this might be the first friend I’ve ever had who wouldn’t sandwich compliments with self-deprecation rebuttals. ”

I have to admit — despite the fact I liked her, I had a hard time understanding how easy it was for her to accept such praise without tearing something else about herself down.

Photo credit: Buzzfeed

I know that sounds ridiculous, but I mean, I had gotten used to hearing everyone else doing everything they could to talk other people out of any positive decisions they made about them, and this girl was just like, “I know.”

How dare she just accept it when somebody tells her she’s beautiful or smart?

But what made me the most uncomfortable about her was how she used to compliment others (including yours truly). For a while, I had convinced myself that she was only doing it so I would give her compliments back. Instead of finding my friend confident and kind, I was suspicious of her motives and decided she was arrogant.

Why I Couldn’t Accept Compliments

Looking back now, I can honestly say that the reason my friend’s confidence made me feel uncomfortable was that I was envious of her.

What took me years to understand was that I wasn’t envious of her in the sense that I wish I looked like her or had her job or anything like that. I was envious of her because she could find a place inside of herself that said, “I’m going to be gracious and accept kind words about myself from others.” Let’s face it; we are living in a society where many people tear one another down as a means to feel better about themselves. How dare any of us believe in ourselves or say kind things about others.  The truth was, I spent most of my life tearing myself down because I didn’t feel like there was anything praise-worthy about me.

All my life, I’ve heard the phrase, “self-praise is no praise.” But if you ask me now, self-praise is the only way we can accept any praise at all. It’s not arrogant to think highly of yourself or your capabilities; it seems quite foolish not to. Speaking from my experience, I know I have struggled with accepting compliments due to my low self-esteem. However, for others, it has less to do with their self-esteem and more to do with them having been conditioned to be humble when it comes to accepting praise. After all, confident people can be labeled as arrogant, and that is too bad in many cases.

The reality is this: When we receive complimentary statements, it is because someone is trying to connect or identify with us. When somebody we know or even a complete stranger says something kind about us whether it’s our nail polish color or an idea we’ve had, we have a responsibility to ourselves and greater humanity to take a moment to allow our inner voices to change the conversation between our ears. I believe, if more of us can step up and own the praise we receive, the more of us there will be to give it genuinely in exchange. Confidence should not be considered a stigma.

[Tweet “Confidence should not be considered a stigma. Why I Couldn’t Accept Compliments #SelfEsteem #SelfHelp via @BeetsPerMinute”]

 

So, the next time you receive a compliment just smile and say “thank you” and pay it forward.

Do you have trouble accepting compliments?

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How a Popular Weight Loss Program Relapsed My Eating Disorder

Hey, guys!  In the spirit of the new year, I have been bombarded with diet and meal plan emails.  It can be overwhelming and how can you ever be sure which program might work best for you?  Today, I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud to talk about my personal experience with how a popular weight loss program relapsed my eating disorder. 

How a Popular Weight Loss Program Relapsed My Eating Disorder

“Lose 10 pounds or your money back.”

“Fit into your little black dress without giving up cake.”

“Lose 10 pounds, and we’ll give you money back.”

I want to say right now, that this post is not bashing meal plans or weight loss franchises.  I have advised people on fitness nutrition, and I always encourage people to do what works for them.  

But are some of these meal plans just too generalized in nature?  Or worse, are some of them causing people to develop issues with food?

As I’ve written before, I struggled with bulimia nervosa and emotional eating, for over a decade.  When I was 19, I became obsessed with only eating specific foods and running twice a day.  I didn’t know what I was doing.  I just knew that I had to be thin, and I didn’t like having to make myself ‘physically ill’ all the time.

On a typical day, I would eat half of a dry, plain bagel and a black coffee for breakfast.  The other half of the bagel and a diet coke for lunch (followed by several diet cokes throughout the day), and then I would maybe pick at my dinner or eat my absolute favorite thing ever, a Subway whole wheat sub with just mustard and pickles.   If I were feeling adventurous, I would have some diet jello or sugar-free pudding.

Paired with running twice a day naturally led to a large weight loss.  I was extremely restrictive, and it was paying off.

Then, I met the boyfriend I would have all through college, and I got “comfortable.”  He loved to go out to eat and take me to do different activities that usually started, involved or ended with us eating some delicious (but not so good for us) type of foods.  As you can probably imagine, I put on all the weight I had lost plus about 15 pounds.  I knew I had gotten heavier, but was feeling happy, so I didn’t fixate on it so much.

Then, about a year after we started dating, I transferred to a college back in New Hampshire, and that’s when reality hit me.  I was suddenly surrounded by beautiful, thin girls in all of my classes and I felt totally disgusting in my skin.  I sat and compared how much weight I had to lose to look like one of them.

Good ‘ol comparison, right; the thievery of our joy.

My college roommate had been interested in losing weight, and my mother had discovered that our health insurance covered weight loss program costs.

I was excited because I assumed that signing up for a popular program meant that it would help me learn how to eat a regular, balanced diet.

And for a person without previous issues like mine that was probably an accurate assumption to make.  Before I knew it, it triggered me into a fully blown relapse of my bulimia with a big side of emotional eating.

Trigger #1:  You can only have this many ____ a day.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we all need to know there’s a stopping point.  However, for an individual with restrictive eating, bulimia nervosa, and emotional eating issues, telling me I can only have this many of anything automatically made me slip back into “control” mode.  Again, I’m not suggesting that people not be told, “you must stay within a calorie/macros/whatever” range if they are looking to lose weight.  It’s that I had just gone from one extreme to another and now I was given the green light to start on my way to being told: “you can only have.”  These are four words that have not and probably won’t ever work for me on my journey.

I was desperate, though, I wanted to lose the weight, and knew how it made me feel to starve myself or binge and purge, and that wasn’t a place I wanted to head back.

Trigger #2:  You can have this much more if you exercise.

Okay, so, truth be told I was doing rather well the first month of the program.  I lost 8 pounds and had started eating as normally as a college kid could.  I made sure to eat balanced meals with carbs, proteins, and fats.  However, I was a college kid.  People were going out drinking on the weekends and being honest, eating a self-serve frozen yogurt bar for lunch every day appealed to me.  I started to feel the burn of the restriction, and it was taking its toll.

To my delight, at the next weigh-in I had, the attendant gave me a hand out all about how I could “earn” more food per day if I upped my activity level.

Yippee, I was going to hit the gym between my morning classes and then make it rain at the frozen yogurt bar on campus during lunch.

 

And that’s what I did. In fact, I didn’t limit it to the frozen yogurt bar.  I would workout for 4 hours on a Saturday so that I could drink cosmopolitans and eat chili cheese fries.  I would figure out how many calories, sugar, and fats were in everything I wanted to eat and then I would know how many hours I had to workout to eat those foods and still lose weight.

All the while, I didn’t understand that my obsession with working out was a form of bulima nervosa also called “exercise bulimia” and it is just as dangerous, maybe more so than the average “I’m just going to use the bathroom” variety is.

The bad habits were already back in town, and they were about to get squatter’s rights pretty quickly.

Trigger #3:  You can eat whatever you want as long as you stay within the ______ range.

College is a stressful time for everyone, but it is especially stressful for me because I had never really been that dedicated to being a good student.  However, I knew my parents were breaking themselves to pay for me to get a good education, so I would study and pull all-nighters to make sure that my grades would make them proud.  I was working part-time at a call center to earn money for my daily needs.   I also had a long-distance relationship that was difficult.

I think it was this stage in my life when I started to develop my emotional eating issues.  If I wasn’t feeling stressed, I was feeling directionless.  If I wasn’t feeling directionless, I was feeling lonely.  If I wasn’t worried about something, I was focusing on how empty I felt inside.

What better to fill a void than a pint (or two) of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?  I mean, technically on my plan, I could eat whatever, “as long as I stayed within my ____range.”

I could eat a pint of ice cream or a double cheeseburger from Wendy’s if I wanted to.  All I had to do was rework the rest of my food for the day to allow for the ice cream, burgers, and late night taco bell I was eating.

So, I would eat frozen broccoli for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so that I could eat my crap foods and still get away with losing weight.

Living like this felt balanced because before it just felt like I couldn’t eat those things and also lose weight.  But with the “get out jail free” vibe of this program, I could not only do hours of cardio to avoid weight gain, but I could also eat frozen vegetables to allow for my weekend bar visits and new junk food obsession.

Until one week when I went to weigh-in, and I discovered that I had gained two pounds.

[Tweet “How a Popular Weight Loss Program Relapsed My Eating Disorder #EatingDisorders #SelfImprovement #Wellness via @BeetsPerMinute”]

All hell broke loose, let me tell you.

I asked the girl weighing me in, “how is this possible, I’ve covered myself so that this wouldn’t happen?”  She said, “these things happen all of the time; it could be water weight, your menstrual cycle, stress — you’ve had a steady weight loss so I wouldn’t get too hung up on it if you’re following the ‘rules.'”  She then offered to look at one of my food logs to see if I was doing something incorrectly.  I said, “oh I don’t need a food log, it’s all in my head.”  She said, “Oh dear, you really should write it all out so that you can get a better understanding of your way of eating.”

And that’s when it became apparent to me; I was obsessing all day, every day about what I had eaten, how much, what to eat next, and how much exercise I had to do to be able to have a beer on Friday night.  Still, I was determined not to have the scale go up at a weigh-in ever again.  If that meant I had to up my game, so be it.

I was careful that week following the “gaining episode,” and when I went to the weigh-in, I discovered that not only had I lost the two pounds gained, but three more pounds on top of it.

The weigh-in clerk said, “see, I told you that it was just a one-off kind of thing and are you writing everything down like I suggested last time?”  I lied and told her yes.

I was so pleased with myself.  I had total control again.

Until I didn’t.

An eating disorder is a slippery slope, and I was about to be going headfirst down a mudslide.  It wasn’t long after that weigh-in that the final weeks of the spring semester began.  I was completely stressed out with papers and exams to prepare for along with the weight of working at a job where people were rude to me on the phone every day. One of my high school friends had suddenly died in a car accident.  I was having issues with my reproductive system. My relationship wasn’t going great.

So, naturally, the one thing I still had control over was my weight and winning at the weigh-in scale each week.  I wasn’t giving that up.  When I would buy a party sized bag of Doritos during an all-night paper writing session, and I didn’t have enough energy to go to the gym the next morning, it called for desperate measures.

I received shiny ribbons for all my weight loss achievements.  I stuck on them on the refrigerator door to serve as a reminder not of what I had achieved but of how much control I believed I had over my life.

That’s when I started to binge and purge again.  I had completely reverted to a version of myself that I thought I had left behind me.  Eventually, I reached my goal weight and was encouraged to start a “maintenance” program to keep my weight off.

I received shiny ribbons for all my weight loss achievements.  I stuck them on the refrigerator door to serve as a reminder —  not of what I had achieved — but of how much control I (believed) to have over my life.

I also continued to lose weight, so I could no longer go to weigh-ins anymore for fear that I would be called out for going “too far.”  Let’s be honest; I had abandoned that program before I even actually started it.

They designed this program for someone who was ready to handle all aspects of their issues with their body, weight, and self.

That sure as hell wasn’t me.  In fact, it wasn’t until I started seeing a psychologist for my anxiety and insomnia that she pointed out to me how much this weight loss program had triggered me back into a destructive pattern of control and disorder.

I knew how many program units were in everything I was eating and drinking.  I knew how many miles I had to run to earn back an Oreo McFlurry, but if you asked me about something happening in the world around me, I wouldn’t have had a clue.

Including knowing anything about myself.

At the suggestion of my therapist, I started seeing a nutritionist and taking anxiety medication to try and get myself back from this relapse.

I wish I could say it was the last relapse before my choice to fully recover (well, as best we can fully recover) but it wouldn’t be.

Sometimes I think that if I hadn’t joined that program, I might have figured out a better way that didn’t send me quite so over the edge, but everything happens for a reason.

As they say, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  This program has worked for many people, and I’m by no means saying it doesn’t promote a healthy approach to eating and fitness, but whether it was bad timing or not it was not a good program for me.

Recovery isn’t one size fits all and what matters most is that we eventually find a way to make peace within ourselves and our need to control everything outside of ourselves.

I am thankful that I was able to do this and so much more.

Have you ever had a similar experience with a weight loss program? Do you find weight loss programs to be helpful?

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Two Quick Workouts (You Can Do Anywhere)

Happy humpday!  I never get tired of saying that and I totally should.  It gets me loads of eye rolls.  Too bad, right?

Since this week is about stopping negative behaviors and starting healthy actions, I thought it would be fitting to give you two challenging and effective quick workouts that you can do anywhere.

Back when I worked in an office, I was always so busy and felt like the only stretching or exercising I could fit in was walking back and forth to the shared printer!  It’s critical (and research shows) for people who have ‘desk jobs’ to take breaks from sitting and take in some much-needed movement.  I should have taken breaks to fit in mini workouts to keep my energy levels up and improve my focus and mood.

These two workouts could easily be done on a break (if you’ve got the space)!

Even if you’re short on time and motivation, you can manage one or two quick workouts, right?  That’s like one-third of an episode of your favorite show (or maybe less).

I am going to share with you, two quick workouts that require no equipment other than your body to do!

(Even though I am a certified personal trainer, please check with a physician before participating in this or any exercise program. )

 

Workout 1:  10 Minute Total Body Workout

10-minute-total-body-workout-2-quick-workouts-HIIT

 

Workout 2:  10 Minute Cardio Workout

10-Minute-Cardio-Workout-HIIT

Too often people get caught up in thinking that if they don’t put in at least 25-45 minutes that they are not getting an effective workout.  I say the most ineffective workout is the one that doesn’t get done.  Fitness, as we all know, is the result of all of your efforts and defined as, “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.”  If you’re pressed for time, getting in one of these ten-minute workouts will get your heart rate up, boost your metabolism, and help you develop lean muscle mass.

Whether you’re at a level of putting in 5 or 90 minutes right now is irrelevant, it’s getting your body moving and working up to a level (and habit) where it becomes a priority and a regular part of your day.

Here are examples of some of the exercises listed in this post.

[Tweet “Pressed for time or looking to ease into a fitness habit? Two Quick Workouts (That You Can Do Anywhere) #FitFam #SweatPink #FitFluential via @BeetsPerMinute”]

What’s your favorite quick workout?  Would ten minutes a day be something can commit to starting your fitness journey right now?

 If you’re interested in online training with me, please contact me at ecampbellcpt@gmail.com or visit here.

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Life In Grayscale

Happy Tuesday, to you!  I always feel like once Monday is out of the way, I’m good.  Monday can be my best friend or my worst enemy.

Especially back in the day when I used to spend the entire weekend going out, drinking far too much, eating fried food at 3 am (most likely off a truck), and being physically reckless.  Monday was not a good day for me, pretty much every single week.

Honestly, some days I say, “Oh well, I was in my 20’s, ” but honestly, I should have been wrapping that ridiculous carrying on up long before I did.

Still, out of all of my bad habits, there was one habit I had for most of my life that dictated all the rest.  It’s a habit I think many people have and it’s a worthwhile one to kick.

The “all or nothing” mentality.

I couldn’t just drink one glass of wine.  Once it was corked, so was I.

I couldn’t leave any french fries on my plate.  I’d make those my “last” french fries for the month/year

If I joined the gym, I was going seven days a week.  If I missed Monday’s workout, I’d wait until the next Monday — the week was wasted already.

I couldn’t just eat one Oreo.  I had to eat the entire sleeve of Oreos, or maybe even the whole pack.  After all, it was going to be my last Oreos for the month/year.

The very act of typing out those statements just reiterates to me how much I was destined for failure without actually trying.

2007 2015

2007                                                                                                    2015

When I finally decided to take control of my health, I vowed not to use any scales or measurements to track my progress.  I decided to allow my body to show me the progress in ways that would help me train myself to stop thinking in such black and white terms.

As an individual recovering from years of bulimia and emotional eating, my black and white thinking was just about the only way I knew how to approach anything.

You can probably imagine — or maybe you know firsthand — this way of thinking is extremely limiting regarding perceived success and fairly extensive regarding failure.

Life In Grayscale

You find out when your printer is running low on colored ink, and it asks you if you would prefer to print in grayscale to preserve your supply?  I try to live by this approach when it comes to my lifestyle.  I guess you could say it’s on par with “everything in moderation” but for a black and white thinker, I think it has to be much more of a visual reconditioning.

I never used to understand moderation, and since it’s such a subjective term, my version of moderation was different than the term used by most people.  I grew up with a grandmother who made a stack of 12 pancakes per grandchild!  I come from a long line of indulging in too much of a good thing.

So, for me, thinking of my lifestyle as the “grayscale” worked best.  It’s not entirely white though there are varying shades of lightness.  And yet, it is not entirely black, though it can be on the darker side at times.

Grayscale is a place where I don’t have to feel a constant state of guilt about not giving 150% or only giving 15%.  It is a place where I can focus less on the restrictions of having to choose one side or the other.  Good or bad.  Right or wrong.

It’s all okay and living here has brought me more joy and accomplishment than I ever thought possible.

Won’t you join me?

[Tweet “Stop living life in black and white. Try the grayscale! #SelfImprovement #MentalHealth #EatingDisorder via @BeetsPerMinute”]

Are you someone who thinks in “black and white” terms?  Do you often find “moderation” to be a subjective term for you?

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