Release Your Essence, Boost Your Performance

mudderOn October 8, 2016, I ran my first Tough Mudder with my friend Cynthia ( a Legionnaire 3X Tough Mudder participant). Due to my fitness level, I hadn’t seriously exercised since I had my third child. I knew that there were going to be a lot of obstacles, especially the ones that require upper body strength, and that I would have to skip those. The distance also worried me. Ten miles is a half marathon and I am not trained for it. I went back to running two to four miles per week in the past few months but not regularly to the point that I can pretend to be trained.

So I’ve been there for the past two months –because it was getting close–thinking, anticipating about where I can fit my training into my busy schedule. The day of the race arrived and I hadn’t done much, probably because I know the most powerful way to get through this. It is what I teach and practice most daily: mindfulness, connecting with the space within yourself where your energy consciousness lies, your essence, and anchoring yourself in the present moment. Plus my unwavering faith that I would do fine.

When you are in that state, you just go with the flow and that is the key to highest performance. Your body has already learned the movement with training.  The brain delivers the messages to your muscles, the mechanics behind the motion and the feeling of gravity to apply the right amount of strength. I also knew that the body follows the mind. Just an example: when I set a goal of running six times around the track, I notice my body gets tired around four to five rounds because I am close to the end and I am starting to battle internally, talking myself into pushing and going a little bit longer. The same happens when I set a goal of running ten rounds.  Around eight times I get the same self talk.

For the Tough Mudder, I decided not to look how long the distance was–it varies from ten to twelve miles–and did not look at the obstacles. So when we registered and they handed us a map, I shoved it into my sport bag. I was not interested in knowing. I will be in the moment and go with the flow of what was coming. The race started and that is exactly what I did. Even in front of the obstacles, I did not think twice about how I was going to get over it. I just went, and grabbed the first hand coming my way, the first shoulder. I was getting this done!

To my amazement, I stayed in that state of mind for the duration of the event. What seemed like a two and a half  hour race was actually four hours. In that state of mind, time took on another meaning. I ran about seven out of ten miles and did twelve out of twenty obstacles, which exceeded by far my own expectations due to my level of fitness. At no point did I feel exhaustion or that I had to stop. I had my mind set on pulling through, one moment at a time.

It’s when I finally passed the finish line, that my body felt heavy again, tired and cold . That cold rinse off outside didn’t help much. The next shower was the best shower I ever had and the two slices of pizza afterward: heavenly. Mindfulness is the secret to high performance and exceeding expectations.

Maintaining an Active Lifestyle

We just gave you a slew of information about how you can lose the baby weight. While this may appear to be something you do for you, you don’t have to go it alone nor could you. With a baby around, you are never alone anyway.

But don’t forget, the baby will soon be a toddler and then a pre-schooler. We suggest becoming an active family, something that not only helps you stay slim, but also sets a good example for your children.

We suggest:

  • Do the food shopping and cooking with other members of the family.
  • Plan family activities around exercise or events that require movement.
  • Choose one physical activity each weekend and take turns with other family members when making the choice.

By taking turns and engaging in the activities together, not only is everyone happier, variety is added to the routine. Above all, you are not only exercising happily, you are creating family memories.

Here is a list of ten FUN things you can do with your family:

  • Spend the day at a water park.
  • Take a walk on the boardwalk or just through the neighborhood.
  • Play paint ball.
  • Go sailing, kayaking or rowing.
  • Go to an indoor rock climbing center.
  • Go roller skating at a rink or just outdoors.
  • Spend time at a local playground and pack a healthy picnic lunch.
  • Go bicycle riding.
  • Participate in one of many public park activities.
  • Put on some music and dance.

What do you like to do?  Share your ideas with us! We’d love to hear them!

Losing the Baby Weight : How to do it (Part 3 of 4)

Gaining weight from pregnancy is perfectly normal.  When you are pregnant, you need the extra weight to nourish and physically carry a growing baby.

The amount of weight you gained during those nine months will dictate how much weight you will probably want to lose. Or if you were overweight to begin with, this is a great time to set new goals.

How to Eat

If you are nursing, know that nursing burns extra calories so even if you feel like you are not doing very much, your body is working extra hard. This does not mean you should overeat. On the contrary, use this time to burn those calories so you shrink down to your normal self naturally.

Start by eating as healthfully as possible. In order to lose weight, you will also need to cut your calorie consumption, unless you are breastfeeding.   If you are thinking you can’t do this because you don’t want to give up your favorite foods, it is not a problem. You won’t have to. Just eat smaller portions of everything you normally consume. But if you want to make a more significant nutritional change, our book Change Your Mind: Lose Weight can coach you through the transition.

 How to Exercise

Your body has changed and it is your core that has mostly been affected. You want that flat stomach back, but targeting only one body part never works.  We touched on this in a previous post titled “Attaining the “Perfect” Body is All About Changing Your Mind.” Basically, you need a holistic approach in order to get to your new healthy normal, and getting your pre-pregnancy shape back will require more than a walk in the park.

So you will need to do an all around good workout that includes stretching, aerobics and strength training.

There is No Hurry

If you just had your baby a few days ago, you are not ready to implement anything. Relax. Read Part 1 of this series where we talk about the necessity to nurture the self.

When will you be ready to get back to it? There is no magic formula.  Listen to your body, and follow your health care provider’s recommendations. You will soon be at a place where you can start to get your body back.

5 Tips for Returning to the Gym

So you haven’t been to the gym for awhile, right? We definitely say go for it, but before you do, keep these things in mind.

Start Back to the Gym After Some Exercise. If you have let your gym membership go for a long time, you might want to work up to rejoining. Begin exercising again by walking outside  for the amount of time you might spend at the gym. This way, when you return, it will not be a shock to your system.

Choose Activities with Caution. If you dive in head first, you will surely either hurt yourself, or will be very sore. This might even work against you because you will avoid the gym as a result. Start with easier exercises. A personal trainer can help you select the best routines for your level of fitness.

Gradually Increase Frequency. Recognize that you need time to get back in shape. You cannot do this overnight so take your time. If you were working out six days a week in the past, and want to get back to it, start with three days a week and work up to it.

Stretch. We can’t emphasize this enough! Stretch before your workout and after your workout. This will help prevent injuries and is particularly important when you are just starting out.

Reward yourself. This might be something along the lines of buying a new iTunes song to run with, or it might be a pair of running shoes after you hit a certain goal. Small rewards help keep you motivated.

What We Think About Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has a special place in our hearts. Sandrine’s mother joined Weight Watchers several times and Rhonda’s grandmother was most proud of her WW pin denoting her 25 pound weight loss.

Our book Change Your Mind: Lose Weight takes a different approach from Weight Watchers, but what we have in common with the program is attention to weight loss and healthy living. The bottom line is that our program differs largely on one thing, which is that we want you to pay attention to your inner journey, as opposed to deriving motivation from anything outside of yourself.

The points system developed by Weight Watchers has received much acclaim, and many people who follow the system lose weight. Yet, just like any diet you try, you will only be as successful as your inner motivation allows. In other words, Weight Watchers or any other program will “work” because you are working the program. It is you who are doing it. You are losing the weight! You will be successful if you have done the inner work, which is what we help you do in our book.

Bottom line is that losing weight is a calories in/calories out equation. No matter how you lose weight—by counting calories, by counting points, or by not counting at all—you will only maintain that weight loss if you do the inner work. How do you know if you have done that work? You will make food choices most of the time that are based on sound nutrition. You stop thinking points and calories and begin to think about how to nourish your body.

Another sign that you are there is that you are not obsessed with food. You live your life and then your stomach grumbles and you realize you are hungry. You are likely not planning your lunch while you are eating breakfast. You are just enjoying your breakfast. The idea of overeating makes you sick. Once you are almost full, you feel good, and you do not want to take another bite. It is this kind of success that we see as life-changing. There is no longer a fear of gaining weight because overeating does not appeal to you. You go to a party and taste this or that. You never binge. Why would you? Eating too much is uncomfortable and you know this at your core so overeating is just something you would never want to do. And you exercise because you want to, and not only to avoid gaining weight.

Getting to that place requires doing more than counting calories or points, or using behavioral methods of compliance. You can lose weight by following WW guidelines, but maintaining a weight loss requires more than just following the rules and it requires more than learning about nutrition.

Getting there means you must take that inner journey. You have to know yourself and love yourself. When you are at that point, you will make generally healthy choices and that is what we see as success. Success is not how many pounds you lose. Success is how you live.