We realize that here at Smart Fit Chicks, we’re often talking about WOMEN’S health issues… But we also want to recognize that you MEN have unique health challenges as well. In fact, you guys have an entire month devoted to raising awareness about Men’s Health, and it just so happens to be THIS month, known by many as “Movember”. You’ve probably seen guys sporting all sorts of mustaches… from the bushy, overgrown, full-on-beard to the creepy, you-have-no-business-trying-to-grow-a-mustache type. Men from all over the world grow out their mustaches to raise awareness for Men’s health issues during this month.
Hello SFC followers,
Chrissy here! I realize I have not posted in awhile, so I want to give you an update on what I’ve been up to, as well as some thoughts on some research I’ve been reading.
First, what I’ve been up to… I’ve just finished taking my qualitative exams (“comps”) for my PhD. What does that mean? Well, one of the stepping stones (I’d argue the biggest one) in a PhD program is passing the qualitative/comprehensive exams. While every program is different, in our department this involves sixteen hours of written responses to questions from committee members (two 8-hour days…whew!), followed by a four hour verbal Q&A session with the committee. Now that I have passed those the remainder of the year will be spent finishing up my research and writing manuscripts. My goal is to graduate in the spring, so we’ll see.
Some of you may be thinking, “Why is Kellie writing a blog post about smoking cigarettes? Isn’t that old news?”.
Yeah. You’re right. It is old news…which is exactly why it baffles me to see young college students smoking like chimneys! As part of my schooling, I recently took a trip to Disney World (hard life, I know) with ~ 130 undergraduate students. Of those 130 students, about 15 of them were smokers, and every time we stopped on our drive to and from Disney World, all of them would run off the bus to squeeze in a quick smoking session. So the purpose of this blog post is to remind people why smoking tobacco is so terrible and what you can do to help someone quit.
To weigh, or not to weigh, that is the question. Dorky introduction, but really…that’s what this article is all about. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me “how frequently should I weigh myself?”. I’ve always given the textbook answer of “find what works for you” or “everybody is different, so it depends”. Frustrating to hear, I’m sure. BUT…after reading some really interesting research articles, it seems my semi-vague answer is actually right (whoo hoo!). Based on the most recent literature, it appears that the effects (physical and psychological) of weighing oneself frequently is dependent on multiple factors.
Hello SFC Followers,
I am working on the follow-up to the metabolic damage article from a few weeks ago, but in the meantime I have come across a couple articles that I hope you’ll take the time to read. (By the way, TONS of you contacted us with stories on struggling with metabolic damage, so thank you for sharing.)
Most of you know that Chrissy and I are creating a program called SmartFitGirls , an after school program aimed at improving self-esteem and body image in adolescent girls. If you are interested in supporting our cause, please spread the word and/or donate today! As timing would have it, Girls Gone Strong (GGS) member Molly Galbraith recently wrote an amazing article about her struggles with body satisfaction, even as a “fit” women. Trust us-it’s a great read!!!
One of the things I’ve been very interested in lately is something that many people have termed metabolic damage. Basically, this is the idea that by eating VERY low calorie diets (VLCD), a person can end up DESTROYING his/her metabolism. This has become of interest to me particularly after competing in my figure show back in August. After the competition (during which time I was on a relatively VLCD), I gained A LOT of weight back, VERY rapidly. Not only this, but once I started to try and diet again, it seemed that NO MATTER WHAT I tried, nothing was working. So, like any good Smart Fit Chick would do, I dug into the research to try and investigate whether this whole idea of “metabolic damage” was a real concept, or something I was using as an excuse for my weight gain.
Think back to your high school years. Think beyond the awful music, the reckless behaviors, and the young love. Specifically, think about how you perceived yourself at that time. Were you confident? Happy? Were you comfortable with who you were?
Last week, I shared my deepest, darkest secret with you all. I told you about ED, the terrible voice in my head that controls my eating and self-image… sometimes so much so, that I wonder how I’ve been this productive in my life.
As part of that post, I promised I’d continue to blog about him, about all that I’ve learned, how I view him, and what has helped me deal with him.
Deep breath… here we go. Okay, I have something to share with you all. This is something I’ve thought A LOT about, for months really… whether or not to disclose this information about myself to our readers. For YEARS it’s been something I’ve hidden from most people, including most of my family and many of my closest friends. See, for a perfectionist who tries desperately to impress every individual with whom she comes into contact, full disclosure can be REALLY scary. Admit that I struggle? What? NO WAY. What would people think?? They might start to realize that I’m not perfect, or even worse, they might think that I’m WEAK… This could destroy my facade that everything in my life is put together just perfectly. Well, the reality is far from that. And while I’ve done a pretty impressive job of keeping this to myself, I’m no longer interested in doing so. For one, it’s exhausting- trying to act like nothing is wrong while fighting a Battle Royale inside myself! Second, I’ve realized lately that my struggles are much more common than I ever thought, and that by sharing them, people may actually be able to relate to me better than before. Most importantly, I’ve realized that by sharing this with people, those with similar challenges may actually benefit from knowing that they are not alone, and that it can get better. In fact, having shared this now with a few people, I’ve already come to realize this fact.
Hello SFC followers-
Today I’d like to give you a little update. For those of you who don’t know, I (Chrissy speaking) am competing in my first raw powerlifting meet in two weeks. What does this involve, you ask? Well, it involves doing a maximal lift on squat, bench press and deadlift. I’ve been training for this officially for about 6 weeks. I’ve been amazed to see the strength gains in this short time, thanks to programming by my good friend, Brian.
How many of you have found yourself spending countless repetitions on the ab/adductor machines (aka inner and outer thigh machines) in hopes of losing fat around your hips and upper thighs? Or maybe this sounds familiar: you want to get rid of your “jiggly back arm fat” (this has literally been said to me) so you do tons and tons of triceps work? This form of “training” is known as “spot reduction” training, and unfortunately, it doesn’t work.
Yesterday, Chrissy and I had our first Venture Accelerator meeting, during which, we discussed each of our top 5 accomplishments. Completing this simple exercise allowed us to 1) realize just how successful we have been so far (seriously Chrissy Schaefer, what haven’t you done?) and 2) reflect on how we came about achieving these successes.
We quickly realized that our successes were a direct result of the care and support of loved ones around us.
One person, in particular, sticks out in our heads: Chrissy’s cousin Tanya. As many of you know, Chrissy and I competed in our first figure/bikini competition last fall. Tanya flew in from Arizona just to help “coach” us. She carried chapstick, helped us “pump up” before the show, fed us rice cakes, and at one point, even helped re-adjust our suit bottoms, where they had gotten unglued. I’m sure this was quite comical to see. The point is, we owe Tanya a HUGE thank you! Without her, we probably would have been one of those obnoxious girls, crying over her missing rice cake.
So, I am usually very big on New Year’s Resolutions. I love taking the time to envision what I want to accomplish in the year to come. What I have come to realize, though, is that every year my resolutions revolve around the same things- stick with a budget, spend more time with family, get in shape, eat better, and the list goes on. What this made me realize is that perhaps I need to have a more concrete idea of who I am, what I stand for, and where I am going in life. Then I saw an awesome personal manifesto, and decided I ought to do the same thing. So what exactly is a manifesto, and what is the purpose of writing one? According to Merriam-Webster, a manifesto is
1. I take personal responsibility for my mood, actions and reactions.
2. I do not rely on anyone or anything, outside of myself, for happiness.
3. I believe in God, and I “Just Have Faith” everyday, during good times and bad.
4. I see failures and mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth.
5. I respect my body by fueling it with balanced, moderate nutrition.
6. I treat every person with whom I come into contact, with love and respect.
7. I allow myself to fall in love with, and be passionate about, as many things as I have the opportunity to.
8. I spend my time and money mindfully, in ways that are productive and good for my body, mind or spirit.
9. I always make important decisions from my WiseMind.
10. I rely on my DBT skills when anxiety and negative emotions arise.
11. I love and respect myself; and my thoughts, words and actions reflect that stance.
12. I take time everyday to disconnect from the digital world.
13. I start each new day as an opportunity for greatness.
14. I live authentically, and give myself permission to be me in all situations.
15. I act in a way that demonstrates the gratitude I feel for this life, and the people in it.
16. I am not a victim.
17. I cherish my close relationships with family and friends, and I do things daily to foster these relationships.
18. In the pursuit of my dreams and goals, I always act with courage.
Happy Friday everyone! I’m sure you all have fun, exciting plans for the weekend (go Broncos!), but,we want to remind you to Be the Best Version of You! There’s no doubt that you’ll be tempted to overeat or under exercise this weekend. How can you combat those urges? Pull up an old photo of yourself; one where you are healthy and happy. Post it where you’ll see it often, and use it as motivation and inspiration.
As an example, we’ve posted two photos of us during our competition. To answer your questions: no, we don’t look like this right now. Would it be nice to walk around this lean and tan all the time? Yes. BUT….I’m pretty sure our lower carb diet and sticky tans would ostracize us from all of our loved ones. Although we are currently living active and healthy lives, it’s nice to look back at photos when we were in our “prime”…just to give us an extra bit of motivation.
Are you motivated?
It’s a week from NewYear’s Day. Have you upheld your resolution?
Despite the 40-50% of the American Adults who participate in this annual tradition, it is estimated that less than 20% of them successfully adopt the behavior for good. The good news: we’ve got some tips to help you reach and maintain your resolution.
1. Be SMART about your resolution. By doing so, you can increase your success rate by ~10%!
2. Confront your barriers head on. By anticipating possible barriers, you will be able to proactively brainstorm strategies to overcome them (not to mention decrease the associated anxiety and stress)! For example, if time is a barrier that stops you from exercising, take 5 minutes to brainstorm some ways to add physical activity into your day-to-day routine. You’ve probably heard the common “park further away from the store” or “take the stairs, not the elevator”, but are there any other ways to increase activity levels? Start by critically analyzing your behavior. Is there a way to sit less and stand or move more? Stay tuned…we will be writing an entire article about this soon. In the meantime, if you have any unique ideas that work for you, send them our way; we’d love to hear from you!
3. Think outside the box. Many New Year’s Resolutions revolve around a number (ex: I want to lose 5 pounds by March, make X amount of money, read 2 more books a year, etc). Sometimes we focus so much on numbers that we forget about our feelings. If your original resolution was made to make you feel healthier, happier, stronger, etc., then focus your resolution on those feelings rather than an arbitrary number (which may make you feel worse in the end).
4. Involve those you love. By discussing your resolution with a friend, spouse, and/or your entire social network (blogging, Facebook, twitter, etc.), you become accountable for your actions. Even the strongest willed people benefit from a little accountability once in a while.
5. Believe in yourself. Remember, you make your destiny. If you are truly ready, and genuinely want to achieve your New Year’s Resolution, you will. Try writing down a few positive affirmations….you might just be surprised by how motivating they are!
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Hello all you SFC Followers!
Smart Fit Chicks would like to take this opportunity to say Merry Christmas to all of you. We hope you are surrounding yourselves with family and friends and enjoying the company of those around you. We would also like to thank all of you who have supported us during the past six months. We are so grateful for all the love and support we have received.
We know the holidays can be a challenging time to maintain the healthy habits you’ve created. Rather than giving you a list of ten tips to get through the holidays, we’d like to focus on one really important one. This tip can help you maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit throughout the holidays. What we’re talking about is MINDFULNESS.
Being mindful means really being present in the moment, whatever that moment may be. It means experiencing the moment with all your senses- what do you hear, smell, feel, see, and taste?
Unwrapping gifts? Pay attention to the colors of the wrapping paper and how it feels on your fingers, and pay attention the people around you who wait in anticipation. Watching others unwrap gifts? Really be present in that moment- watch the expressions on the faces of people opening gifts as well as those watching. Eating Christmas dinner? Pay close attention to the smell and taste of the food. Try chewing each bite 25 times before swallowing. How does the taste change as you continue to chew? How does the food smell? Think about the preparation that went into making the food.
What other ideas do you have for being mindful this holiday season??? Let us know what you think!
Happy Holidays, and we look forward to starting the New Year with you all!
1. We are proud to say that Smart Fit Chicks was accepted into the Venture Accelerator Program at Colorado State University, which means you can expect a lot of great things from us soon. 🙂
2. Stay tuned! Later this week we’ll be posting a blog about green coffee bean extract (the good, the bad, and the ugly).
3. Tis the season….to miss workouts and eat unhealthy food. As tempting as it is to skip your workout or have another cookie at your office holiday party, remember one thing: your behaviors determine your happiness. What makes you more happy: eating poorly and not exercising or choosing the healthy option and being physically active? I’m assuming (and hoping) that most of you would choose the latter.
As my silicon bracelet on my wrist says “Nothing great is given. Earn it”. Now get out there and Earn It!
Recently in one of my classes, we’ve been discussing the factors that affect our food choices. Research shows that the primary determinants of food choice for most people are taste, convenience and cost. Makes sense to me. We choose certain foods because they taste good, they’re convenient, and they’re affordable.
Some of us, though, would argue that isn’t the case. Some of us at least try to choose foods because we know they’re good for us (I don’t actually like raw broccoli all that much), or because we know that processed/packaged foods are filled with preservatives and fillers, oftentimes not even resembling real food by the time it’s on the shelf. I remember reading a book by Michael Pollin,In Defense of Food, where he provided some basic food rules. One of them that I’ve never forgotten was, “If your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, you probably shouldn’t eat it.”
According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average grocery store contains over 38,000 items. So, it’s no wonder we as consumers are confused about what is really “good for us.” What does “good for us” even really mean? Low calorie? Low fat? Low carb? High fiber? Low sodium? High protein? Natural? Organic? How do we even begin to sort through this?
Some would say that the food label/ingredients list is the place to go to find out what to buy. But how many of us meticulously examine every label on every product we buy?How many of us even know what we’re looking for when we read the label?
So, I recently came across a short article in the New York Times about a new type of food label. I’d encourage you to check out this idea, and more importantly, I’d encourage you to let us know what components of this proposed label you’d most like to see (or not see).
Later this week we’ll post a poll on our Facebook page about the new label, so check out the article and let us know what you think!
t’s Thanksgiving. One of the most celebrated holidays in American culture, and, for good reason. Most of us are off work, spending time with family and friends, and overindulging. Typically, this overindulgence is associated with the over consumption of foods, but if you think about it, most individuals “overindulge” in sedentary behavior too-particularly on Thanksgiving. These behaviors remind me of my favorite quote:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him…we need not wait to see what others do.”
Many times in life, we allow our environment to change our behavior. Today, we challenge you to behave in a way that changes your environment. Be the person amongst your family and friends who initiates activity and healthy behaviors. Below are some fun ways to spend quality time with your loved ones while being active:
- Play a game. If you are lucky enough to live in warm weather (shout out to CA), bring the family outside for a game of touch football, 3 flies up, or to shoot some hoops. If you happen to be freezing, and therefore staying indoors, plug in the Wii or put on some great tunes and start your own dance party (you know you want to).
- Go for a walk or run. One of my favorite family traditions is getting up early Thanksgiving morning and participating in the Sacramento Run to Feed the Hungry race. Some of us run it, some of us walk it. Not interested in doing an organized race? That’s ok- just head outside before or after dinner and take a stroll with family or friends. Either way, it’s a wonderful way to bring everyone together.
- Clean the kitchen! You’d be amazed how many calories you can burn by staying in the kitchen after everyone eats and cleaning up (A 150 lb person burns over 150 calories per hour while washing dishes). Again-make this a family affair. Having the family help clean not only keeps them active (away from the couch) but it also allows for more time to socialize with one another.
- Play with your dog. If you have a dog, you know what it’s like to have them look up at you with those sad eyes, wishing you would play with them. So, rather than feeling bad and giving them a treat when they look at you like that (yes, we’ve all done that before), take them outside and throw the ball, go for walk, or simply stay inside and use their favorite toys to get everyone active.
Lastly, we’d just like to add how thankful we are to have such wonderful people around us. To our family, friends, and wonderful people who follow our blog, have a fantastic Thanksgiving. Remember, be the change you wish to see in this world!
We hear about it all the time, being overweight/obese puts you at risk for multiple chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (to name a few).
But, for some of us, these risks are not an immediate enough of a concern to really do something about it. We may think we’re immune to these problems, or that we have plenty of time to make changes. But the truth is, the damage we do to our bodies now by carrying around excess body weight can be permanent. And sometimes, once these processes have started in your body, there’s no turning back, and the damage continues to worsen. So, today I’d like to describe for you some of the things that are going on, both inside and out, when we carry around excess body fat.
To start, here is the (shortened) laundry list of things that are associated with excess body fat:
Heart attacks, cancer (specifically breast, lung, prostate, colon, ovarian, liver, pancreatic, kidney, stomach and others), asthma, sleep apnea, reproduction (specifically infertility- any of you ladies trying to become pregnant?), menstrual disorders, complications during pregnancy, birth defects, stretch marks (no one wants to deal with these!), hirsutism (if you don’t know what that one is, I’d look it up!), acid reflux, stroke, migraine (my primary deterrent), carpal tunnel disease, dementia, MS, erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, buried penis (I realize many of you are female, but I’d check that one out anyway!), depression (specifically in women), low self-esteem, social stigma, arthritis (once this process starts, there’s not much going back), low back pain, and insulin resistance (this is bad for SO many reasons…in fact we’ll make a separate post dedicated solely to diabetes).
Whew…and that was the shortened list! When I look at that, I see more than a few things that resonate with me. Then when I add in a family history of multiple types of cancer and diabetes (putting me at an increased risk!) well that’s enough motivation for me to try REALLY hard to keep excess body fat off my frame.
Do you find yourself reading that list thinking “I definitely DON’T want to get __________”? Well, then my suggestion to you is to do what you can to either lose excess body fat, or simply prevent any unhealthy weight gain.
Need suggestions as to how to do that? That’s why we’re here. As always, feel free to email us at email@example.com with your questions/suggestions/ideas! We love to hear from you!
I’d like to start this out by having you all read an interesting article that came across my email. As many of you know, the population with whom I primarily work is children. More specifically, I measure their physical activity levels, and the lab where I work is trying to come up with novel ways to encourage more activity.
So go ahead and read this article…
Ok, now I want to know your thoughts.
This is a short (cursing removed) version of how my thought process went-
When are we going to start WAKING up and doing something about this?! It’s so unfair that children so young are already being setup for lifelong health and self-esteem issues at such a young age. The worst part is that most of the time, it’s through no fault of their own! Their WHOLE LIVES are going to be affected by something they had NO CONTROL OVER in the first place!!!
Ok, enough venting. Now here’s the difficult part. First of all, I wonder- Who is responsible? Is it parents? Fast food restaurants? Schools? Teachers, friends, family, society?
More, importantly, whose responsibility is it to change things? Yours? Mine? Parents? Teachers? Society? Do we all have a role to play in getting things to change? And HOW do we get things to change? Write letters to local school boards? Put a tax on junk food? Practice what we preach?
I am taking a fascinating class right now on diet and physical activity in a social ecological model. The take home message thus far- our behaviors are influenced not only on an individual level, but are also influenced by social, environmental and policy factors as well.
So, to get change to happen, ALL levels MUST get involved and be structured in a way that is conducive to making healthy behaviors last. If we’re talking about food in schools, for example, it would look something like this:
First, there is a policy in place that requires school lunch to include fresh fruit and a veggie everyday. Then, kids vote on which fruits and veggies to offer so they have a say in the decision. Kids are taught about the importance of healthy eating to fuel their bodies so they can play harder and longer. Then, teachers reinforce these behaviors through modeling. Teachers eat healthy foods for snack and lunch. They are active with the kids during recess, and encourage all kids to get moving. The school store starts selling healthy options as well. There is a no soda/energy drink/sweetened beverage policy, allowing only water and milk to be consumed during the school day. Class parties shift from cupcakes to make your own fruit and yogurt parfait, or away from food completely. Kids get to have a finger-paint party…or an extra recess. Again, the shift has to take place on the individual, social, environmental and policy level.
So, now I am curious…What do you think??? How do we go about changing other environments? How about your workplace? Your school? Your home?
Let us know your thoughts via facebook or leave a comment here:) You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chrissy- A (VERY FIRED UP) Smart Fit Chick
As I sit down to write this blog post, there are SO many thoughts going through my head. As you know, Kellie and I competed in our very first Bikini/Figure Competition last weekend- The Warrior Classic. The experience was quite possibly one of the most exciting I’ve ever been a part of. There’s so much to say about it all, but I want to focus this post on the three most important things I learned throughout the process of training for this.
While I certainly gained a tremendous understanding about the human body, nutrition, and the mechanics of lifting, what I learned extends FAR beyond how to properly deadlift (although that’s important too:).
The first and most important lesson I learned was to rely on other people for support. Those of you who know me, know that for me to ask for help is like trying to get me to eat a steak…nearly IMPOSSIBLE. I tend to believe that I can do it all on my own, wanting to portray this idea of perfection to everyone I know. That’s a tough façade to constantly uphold. What I quickly learned through this journey was that it’s MUCH easier, and less scary, if you open up to people. Talking to people about my struggles was tremendously helpful. I realized that the things I struggled with were quite common. The challenges I faced IMMEDIATELY seemed surmountable when I told someone about them. An incredibly heavy weight (not just literally) was lifted.
The second most important thing I learned about was my relationship with food. When you have to be so disciplined with your diet, you quickly start to uncover things that you were able to hide from before. You’re forced to confront those bad habits we all have with regard to food. I realized that I eat when I’m overwhelmed, lonely, or procrastinating. If I have so much to do that I don’t know where to start, I procrastinate by eating (how backwards is that?!). I also eat to fill the void of loneliness. And the journey to competition can feel incredibly lonely at times (hence where relying on others for support comes into play:). I was forced to confront this emotional eating, and to try and find ways to deal with it. It’s a work in progress, but my relationship with food is SO MUCH healthier than it ever was before.
Finally, I learned, as silly as it sounds, that I am not perfect. There. I said it. And even better, I don’t have to be. Rather than constantly fighting to hide my imperfections from both myself and others, I’m learning to accept these things. It’s what makes me human. It’s interesting to me, too, that as soon as I accepted these imperfections, everything got better. I was in a better mood. I was able to make SO much progress with my physique. My body image improved. I was happier, and able to get MUCH closer to my friends and loved ones (you know who you are:). It was scary at first, to admit this, and it still is at times. But each time I share it, I feel better and better.
So why do I share this with you (aside from to make myself feel better:)? First, because I want you to know that everyone has their struggles and imperfections. (Even those of us who fight to keep them hidden). Second, because I believe that by accepting these imperfections, rather than sweeping them under the rug in shame, we are able to work on improving ourselves. And isn’t that what life is all about?
Who would have thought that standing on stage and flexing in a tiny green bikini with 5 coats of spray tan and heels would have taught me all this?
I can distinctly remember sitting in my 7th grade science class rewriting one sentence over and over again: when I grow up I will be an actress (yes, these were the days when I aspired to be Katie Holmes…thankfully I dodged that bullet). The point of this assignment was to instill in us that if you tell yourself you can accomplish something, you’ll do it. The trick, however, is frequency and positivity.
Positive affirmations are just another way of describing positive self-talk. Often, these serve as daily reminders for why we do what we do. Thus, it is no wonder so many people use these positive affirmations to motivate and inspire them to achieve their goals-whatever they may be. Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite positive affirmations. Maybe it’s the field I’m in, the fact that I’m surrounded by older adults on a daily bases, or the simple humor that makes this my favorite positive affirmation. Either way, I found one that works for me. So, here’s my question for you: what’s your favorite positive affirmation? Leave a comment and let me know!
Hey SFC followers,
This week, Kellie and I have decided we’d like to let you into our personal lives a little bit more than we have up to this point. We have been hesitant, not knowing whether you really want to hear about our personal lives or not. But we want you to know that we’re real people, with real goals, struggles and successes.
So, here goes. In four weeks, Kellie and I will be competing in our first figure/bikini competition. About a year ago, we had dinner together at Whole Foods and revealed our secret desire to do a competition. From that point on, we started training together regularly, and learning about all the things that go into this type of competition. About 3 months ago, we decided to take the plunge. We looked into the local competition calendar, and set our sights on the Warrior-Classic. Since then, we’ve been hard at work, preparing our bodies and minds for what it would take to compete. An important part of this for us has been to train naturally. For us, this means without using any illegal substances (which is unfortunately much more common than we realized).
So, in addition to our weekly posts on health and fitness topics, we’ll also be blogging our journey toward competition day (Saturday, August 18th). We’re looking forward to sharing these experiences with you.
Hey SFC followers!
So, hopefully by now you’ve been able to take some time and think about your best self vision. What was that like to really visualize yourself at your best? Were there things in there that you hadn’t really thought of? Maybe not… Was this the first time you’d actually written your vision down? If you have not done so yet, I’d encourage you to read our last post on creating your vision, and spend some time writing it down.
So why is it so important to come up with the vision before setting goals? Well, there’s that saying, that it’s about the journey, not the destination. And I agree… however, without any idea of where the ultimate destination is, your journey may end up taking you a whole lot longer than you anticipated. How will you set small goals if you don’t know what you’re working toward? That vision is what gives direction to your goals. Make sense?
Ok, so we’ve got our visions. That’s all good and well, but now we’ve got to figure out how to turn those visions into actionable steps. So, we need to set some goals. Here’s one important distinction I want to make as you’re thinking about goals. There are two types of goals: outcome goals and behavioral goals. Let’s say in your vision you have listed that you’re 15 pounds lighter. Ok, so an outcome goal is a 15 pound weight loss. But what are the behaviors that you’re going to participate in to get there? Are you going to watch your portion sizes? Keep a food diary? Start exercising 3x per week? Weight loss itself is not a behavior, see what I mean? So, while outcome goals are fine to set, we want to focus on the behavioral goals that are going to get us there.
Ok, so now we’ve got our visions, and we understand that we have to set some behavioral goals to start moving toward the vision. Now what? The reality is, we tend to know a whole lot more about what we want than how we’ll get there. So, let’s take a look at our visions, and decide what the first step is in getting there.
I’ll give an example from my own vision. If you’ll recall, in my vision I have listed “I have a healthy, balanced relationship with food.” Is this an outcome or a behavioral goal? If you said outcome, you’re right! So, now I need to set some behavioral goals to get there. Ok, let’s see… I know I struggle in the evenings with unnecessary snacking. So, maybe I work on that time. I should probably replace that snacking with something else. And I have been wanting to start a little bit of relaxation/meditation. So, maybe this is where I start. I’ll substitute relaxation activities for my nighttime snacking.
Ok, so take a few minutes and think about where you’d like to start in your own vision. Take one of your outcome goals and assign a small behavioral step to it. Is weight loss an outcome? Being more active in general? Where will you start?
Ok, great. So, what’s next? Now, before we take off on the path to achieving this goal, we’ve got to make our goals SMART. If you’ve never heard that before, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Similar to our vision, the more detail we can give to our goals, the more likely we are to be successful. Again, I’ll use my own goal as the example.
So in general, I know I want to replace evening snacking with relaxation. Now let’s paint the picture…
Specific– What EXACTLY will you be doing?
I will go to the area of my room where I’ve setup my “mindfulness corner” and journal about the best part of my day.
Measurable-Put some time constraints on your goal. What days? For how long each time? What time of day will you do it?
I will journal for 5 minutes a day, every weekday this week before I go to bed.
Attainable-This step is important…on a scale of 0-10 in terms of how confident you feel that you’ll be able to achieve this goal, you want to be between about a 7-9. That way, you’re challenged, but not so much so that you’re setting yourself up for failure.
So, I know myself, and while 5 minutes may seem too easy for some, for me, that’s hard. Five straight minutes of sitting still and journaling will be nothing short of a HUGE challenge. In fact, on a scale of 1-10, I’d say I’m lucky if I’m a 7. (The only reason I’m putting it that high is because I’ve now told all of you about it so I have some accountability…more on that below:).
Relevant– How does this help me work toward my vision? Sometimes it’s not a direct path, but more of a first step.
Well, by practicing some relaxation, I won’t feel so anxious, which is oftentimes the cause of my nighttime snacking. Ultimately if I can reduce some of this anxiety, and therefore reduce some of the unnecessary nighttime snacking, I will start to have a healthier relationship with food. Is this a direct link? No. But is it a good first step to get me there? I certainly think so (and keep in mind that what YOU think is really all that matters).
Timely-Setup some time constraints. By when will you have achieved this? I would recommend weekly goals. That way, it gives us enough time to give something a try, but it’s not so far away that we forget about our goals completely.
So for me, it’s this week. I will do this journaling every weekday this week…Starting today through next Wednesday.
Following so far? Ok, so before I send you on your way to start setting up some SMART goals for the week, there are three final suggestions I have.
1. Make your goals positive. Try and reframe the goals so they’re in a positive light. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. This goes for your vision as well.
2. Monitoring- have a way to keep track of your goals. Again, write them down, keep an electronic document, sign up for an online diary. Whatever works best for you.
3. Accountability- I’d highly recommend telling someone what your goal is. This can be uncomfortable to tell people your flaws at first (believe me, it’s not exactly easy for me to tell you that I have trouble with nighttime snacking:). However, research shows that having someone you’re accountable to is hugely predictive of success in achieving your goals. So, whether that’s your best friend, your significant other, your mom, or emailing us at email@example.com, tell someone:)
Ok, off you go! Review your vision, set a goal, make it SMART and tell someone about it!
Good luck this week, and keep us posted on your progress.
Remember, we’re here for you, and we’re always listening:)
Chrissy and Kellie
Hello everyone and thanks for visiting our blog! We have officially launched our website, so check it out at www.smartfitchicks.com. We are so excited to start interacting with you, because ultimately you drive our content! At any point, if you have ideas, suggestions, questions, comments, or just want to chat, we encourage you to get in touch with us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/smartfitchicks.
So to start, we thought it would be fun to do a little goal setting exercise. Since it is the goal of Smart Fit Chicks to empower our users to “be the best version of you”, we’d like you to start thinking about a health related goal to set for yourself. We’re going to start with some visualization.
When you think about your “best version of you”, what do you see? Take some time here to think about these questions. How do you feel? How do you look? What kinds of things are you doing regularly? Who is in your best self vision? What kinds of things or people are you surrounding yourself with?
We’re going to call this your “Best Self Vision” and we’ll be coming back to this frequently. So, we’d encourage you to write it down. We’d also recommend writing it in the present tense. Research shows that with positive affirmations, writing them in the present tense is much more effective than the future tense. So, instead of “I will be fit” you’ll write, “I am fit.” Here are a couple suggestions for journaling. Penzu has a free diary option. Facebook also has a “Notes” app where you can journal and either leave it private, or publicize it so your friends can see (in the search bar, type notes and it’s the first thing to show up). Finally, you can always go old school and keep a paper and pen journal. That’s up to you, but either way, write it down!
So, over the next couple days, we want you to spend some time thinking about your “Best Self Vision.” Answer those questions we listed above. The more individualized you can make your vision, the better. Then later this week, we’ll be posting about how to set SMART goals.
Need some ideas? Below are examples of our “Best Self Visions.”
“I am happy, healthy and fit. I have a healthy, balanced relationship with food, where I use it to fuel my body. I look fit and lean, like the girls on the cover of Oxygen magazine. I feel strong when I lift weights and when I am pushing myself during cardio. I workout 5-6 days a week, and also enjoy the days when I give my body a rest. I bike most places instead of drive. I surround myself with friends who value healthy living as well. I keep my kitchen stocked with healthy foods. I enjoy helping others to adopt healthy lifestyles as well.”
“The best version of me is happy and healthy. The best version of me is confident with every part of my body, soul, and mind. I feel empowered and full of life. I look strong. I look beautiful. I’m eating clean while allowing my self life’s simple pleasures (e.g.. Chocolate), without feeling any guilt. I’m surrounded by friends and loved ones who support me as I support them. I am happy.”