Change Vs. Progress

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“Only two things in life are certain – death and taxes.” Heard this before? Definitely rings true during tax season! But I’d like to propose that something else is certain as well: Change.

While it often seems that we’re stuck in a rut, we know that change will come. Why? Because it has every time before! We used to be little, then we grew. We used to have flip phones, now we have iPhones.  We used to have no clue about our health, now we’re educated on how to be healthy.

We know change is coming; yet we still talk about making changes as if it’s some elusive challenge. Change is certain. Progress is not.

So what’s progress? Progress in your fitness? Nutrition? Overall health? If change is anything different from the status quo, then progress is a change that is more specific, goal-oriented, and measurable. 

Progress is a measure of relativity. You’re moving towards change in a specific direction. Movement on that trajectory is identified as progress. If you altered your habits to lose weight, but it resulted in weight gain, this is change but not progress. If you started a healthy diet to lose weight, and we’re gradually losing the weight, this is progress.

You need a goal in order to measure progress from change. PS- “I want to be healthy” is not a goal, it’s a statement. Make sure your goal has specifics, a timeline, and is measurable.

Specifics: Try “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables daily” versus “I will eat healthy”. By articulating the specific thing you will do, you will be more likely to actually do it!

Timeline: Create timeframes, start dates, and deadlines for yourself. Otherwise, your “Someday” will likely never come. Here’s a sample of a timeline - “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables daily for 6 consecutive weeks, beginning March 9th.”

Measurement: How do you know you’re not at your goal already? How do you know if you’re making progress towards your goal? Most importantly, how will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Measurement. This is key to the whole process of making progress and achieving your best self.

Ask yourself these questions to assess your goal for measurability:

-       Can you count it?

-       Can you create a percentage from your results to determine your progress? (i.e. I ate 3 servings of veggies 3 out of 5 days thus far= 60% progress towards goal).

-       Can you make adjustments to your goal based on your findings from your percentage and experience? (i.e. maybe only 2 servings of veggies daily is more reasonable for you. Maybe 5 days weekly versus 7 is better for you).

*This is not to say that you should lower your standards, but continuing to progress on an adjusted goal is more beneficial than failing miserably on a strict, unattainable goal.

Ok, Let’s go over what we know:

-       We know that change will come. The question is how, when, and in which direction?

-       We know that progress is necessary for improvement, not just change.

-       We need a goal in order to distinguish progress from change.

-       Our goal needs to be specific, have a timeline, and be measurable in order to evaluate progress.

If you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail. So make a plan, make progress and achieve your goals. This success will build your momentum for future goals and future successes. Progress, not change, is necessary to become your best self.

Happiness is a State of Mind

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I don't get outside often enough in the winter. But when I do, I'm very grateful for the experience. During winter, I hear people complaining all the time about the weather, the snow, how terrible it is to live in a cold climate, etc. Yes, I'm guilty of some of these statements too. But you know what? They are just excuses! Excuses not to be happy. Excuses not to enjoy our day. Excuses not to appreciate the beauty of winter and snow. Excuses not to take responsibility for the choice we made to live where we do.

No, I don't expect you to wake up everyday feeling full of gratitude for every single thing in your life. But this is what I expect of you:

Take responsibility for your own happiness.

Choose to appreciate versus disregard the beauty in your life.

Recognize your life's abundance.

Here's how I met my own expectations today! How did you meet yours? Leave a comment below!

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be your best self,

Brittany

CrossFit Workshop

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I had an amazing time working with the female athletes of CrossFit Providence over the weekend! I never tire of meeting new members and seeing the tenacity and strength in each one! You ladies never fail to amaze me with your accomplishments inside and outside of the gym. So in honor of the awesomeness of the ladies at the Women's Workshop on Saturday Jan 25th, I will let all of you in on a little secret I shared with them:

You can have the life you really want!

I know, right?! Amazing stuff! It's all yours, just waiting for you to believe in yourself, your strength, and your truth enough to go get it! So this is where I come in...

Do you have a dream life? I do - it's me on a beach, with a good book, great food, and working 4 hours a day. What's yours? Want your dream life to live forever in dreamland or reality? That's your choice!

Want to choose to make your dream life your reality? Not everyone does. Some are too afraid to share their dreams with others because then they'll have to answer for their lack of progress towards their dream. So they never achieve their dream out of FEAR. Remember what I said about fear...

What's that you say? So you're not going to let fear run your life and steer you away from your dreams? GREAT!

Now what? Strategize for success! You're not going to get there overnight, but if you want to make sure you achieve your dream life at some point, you need a plan!

Below is my Life Aim worksheet  with steps to:

- visualize your dream life,

- break it down,

- determine needed resources,

- prioritize,

- and goal set!

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What's your Life Aim? Share yours below and you may inspire others :) Want help developing a Life Aim? Work with me!

Be Your Best Self!

Brittany

Serious About Change: Dr. McKaila Allcorn

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Meet Dr. McKaila Allcorn. She is just like the rest of us in that she’s a daughter, wife, and has a demanding job. But she’s different from us in a few ways too. McKaila had the discipline and commitment to significantly change her body, and as a result, improve her life!

So, what was the last straw McKaila?

“I had trained for 3 months to run a half marathon with some friends. I had been running several times per week and pushed myself during the race, only to find that I had lost 1 pound throughout the whole process! I know there had to be a better way to lose weight and get healthy.”

Like many of us, McKaila wanted better for herself and needed to change her ways. She had been busy in medical school and her residency at Kent Hospital, and let her health become less of a priority. But continuing on this path was a not an option for her if she was going to live the life she wanted and help care for others who are sick as an ER doctor.

So what did you do?

“I am from Oklahoma and had a friend back home that had talked with me about this product called Juice Plus+. So I did my research and found that I was going to have to significantly change my diet if I was going get healthy and lose weight.” Juice Plus+ provides whole food nutrition in a capsule so you can get the fruits and vegetables your body needs to run most effectively. It’s then next best thing to actual fruits and vegetables for a busy lifestyle.

McKaila says she loves this product because they provide nutrition plans and education. This knowledge can empower sustainable change for people’s diets. Additionally, the nutrition plan encourages you to try several different diets, such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, etc. That way, you can see what your body responds to, and cater your meal planning from there.  All diets aren’t right for everyone, so find the plan that works for you and get after it!

But it wasn’t just supplements that changed McKaila’s body. Not even close! Real foods and preparation are requirements! McKaila said she would cook several meals on Sundays and package them up so she’d be ready for work, snacks, and any other time that would tempt her away from her goals.

McKaila said she notice a big energy boost after making these changes – along with better skin, and friends who had reported getting off medications because of the positive effect real foods had on them.

So as long as I eat right I’ll have these results?

Wrong again! McKaila said she was also in search for something that would nourish her physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yoga. Several times a week, no excuses. Rain or shine. “If you’re going to make a real lifestyle change, you have to be consistent. It can’t just be when you feel like it.” McKaila is currently training to become a yoga teacher and share with others the positive experience she’s had with yoga and it’s supportive community at Laughing Elephant yoga in East Greenwich.

Any tips for the rest of us?

“Find your motivation. Mine was my long-term health. I used positive self-talk to get through those tough days.” Time management is very important too. Make sure to make a date with healthy cooking and the gym that you won’t flake out on!

Doctor McKaila mentions that obesity is a risk factor for so many diseases and conditions that are life threatening. So don’t be a victim - get healthy, get active and regain control of your life!

What are your health and fitness goals for 2014? Will YOU be the next person we feature for Serious About Change?

Make Change Stick!

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Happy Monday! I know a lot of people who look at Mondays as an opportunity for a fresh start and chance to make a change. What's something you want to change? So what do people do to make this change stick? Yes, I can eat a very healthy meal and I can exercise for 3 days in a row. But what makes for lasting change? What determines the success of those are able to make stick it out?

Here are 5 ways people have made lasting lifestyle changes in their lives:

- Hit rock bottom to face change: Being forced to lose weight or exercise due to severe health consequences (i.e. diabetes).

- Take baby steps: Set a realistic change goal for your diet by eliminating one food item at a time.

- It takes a village: Get a support team in place that you can call in a time of need. Kind of like a change sponsor!

- What's in your environment: Are you trying to drink less but work at a bar? Hmmm.... Consider working somewhere different to increase the likelihood of your success. Can't change your job? Look at smaller changes that will influence your behavior.

- Take Einstein's advice: The definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." So if you've tried to make a change and it's not working, Albert says to try something else!

Let's hear it! What are doing to make a change in your life? I want to hear what's working and what hasn't for you! Comment below now!

10 tips for a healthy life from the World's oldest person

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Ever have a tough time getting up on a cold fall morning because you feel achy? Or feel really old because you can't keep up with teenage trends? Think again! Mr. Kimura of Japan recently passed at the ripe age of 116. And according to the article at the link below, he seemed very quick witted until the end.

Mr. Kimura lists 10 ways you can try to surpass his accomplishment of living to 116. These are some of my favorites:

- Exercise daily - Let your struggles make you stronger - Be one with Mother Earth - Practice gratitude

http://bit.ly/19dOi8C

What do you do to live 100+ years? Share your secret!

Excuse me, Discipline, Where are you?!

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If it were easy, we'd all do it. If it's worth having, it's worth working for.

We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment. 

Have you ever experienced the joy and elation that comes from real accomplishment? No, no I'm talking REAL, BIG accomplishment. Like that kind that you had to work your booty off for months for! That kind of achievement that could only come from sacrifice and consistency? If you have, you know what I'm talking about !

There's no better feeling than what you get from putting your mind and body to the test and reaching the finish line. But the other side of that? Yeah, that side that results from avoiding our goals, making excuses for not working towards our goals, and totally sabotaging ourselves. Regret. Hate it! But for some reason, I can disappoint myself time and time again. What is this nasty thing that keeps us from achieving what we set out to do? I definitely have good intentions when I set my goals. So what happens?!

So many people have written on self-discipline and what contributes to people's success and failure. Although each person's goals and methods may be unique, there are some common behaviors that can contribute to your success or failure. Here's a few I have found to be most important:

- Pencil in your dreams! If you don't make an appointment with yourself to work toward your goals, you will never find the time to do so!

- Your goals are important too! Treat your appointment with yourself as you would any appointment with a client. Would you cancel on a customer last minute? No. So don't do it to yourself!

Strategize for success. "if you don't have a plan, you plan to fail." Steve Jobs didn't just say he was going to become rich and successful. He had a strategic, structured, and efficient plan to get there! What is your strategy? How detailed is it? Can it guide your day-to-day activity?

- Make SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-oriented. If you can use this acronym to describe each one of your goals, you are well on your way my friend!

Prioritize and Sacrifice as needed! This is the least glamorous of the strategies - yet equally important! If you're trying to make room for something new in your life, then something that's not serving you needs to go! If watching the most recent episodes of Dexter, Homeland, and Breaking Bad aren't bringing your closer to living your dreams, then somethings needs to change! What most importantly needs to get done today? Do that first!

- Stop hoping. "Hope" is the ultimate killer of your dreams. "If I just want this badly enough, it will come to me and I will be successful." Yeah right. Stop hoping and start doing. That is discipline.

What motivates you to act on your dreams and work toward your goals? Have a success story? Comment on it below!

RI Fit Magazine

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RI Fit Magazine I couldn't be more proud of Lil Rhody! A fitness, health, and wellness magazine aimed at improving our communities and ourselves! Check out their website and FaceBook page for local events and health tips! Look for their print magazines beginning 2014! Here's to your health! - Brittany

The Psychology of Overtraining

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The Psychology of Overtraining Brittany Drozd, MSW, LCSW

As summer comes to an end, we will inevitably return to our routines, be it an increased focus on exercise, school, or your career. Whether you spent the summer with umbrella drinks by the pool or training for obstacle races, it is important to consider overtraining as you return to focus on your fitness.

What is overtraining?

Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual's exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. The athlete may cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness (Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 2009).

Overtraining is the result of training loads that are too demanding of the athlete's ability to adapt. It occurs when the body's adaptive mechanisms repetitively fail to cope with chronic training stress (Silva 1990). This often results in performance deterioration instead of performance improvement.

Are you overtraining?

Overtraining can look different for everyone. However, it is often characterized by the following negative affective states:

Anxiety                                   depression                                         fatigue

Anger                                      lack of self-confidence                      decreased vigor

Beyond apparent moods, overtraining also presents as:

Physiological and psychomotor retardation                                  chronic fatigue

Depressed appetite              weight loss                                         insomnia

Decreased libido                   muscle soreness                                depression/tension

In more severe cases, other metabolic, hormonal, muscular, hypothalamic, and cardiovascular changes often manifest in the over trained athlete.

The multi-stressor model incorporates non-physical factors including psychological, emotional and social aspects to best explain how other seemingly mundane stressors in our lives can negatively impact our training, and result in overtraining. These stressors will impact an athlete varyingly based on the athlete’s personality- do you acknowledge and monitor these stressors in your life?

So how is your job, your kids/family, your other obligations, and limited sleep negatively impacting your training? And which of these factors do you tend to ignore because of your personality?

WHY are you overtraining?  [be honest with yourself here]

 

There are always motives behind everything that we do. We wouldn’t got to work if we didn’t get paid, or go to the gym if we didn’t see results. So what are your motives for doing CrossFit? More specifically, what are the outcomes you’re looking for from doing CrossFit?

It’s so important that you answer this question honestly for yourself: When you first started CrossFit, what were your goals? To look better naked? To run a 5k? To get harder, better, faster, stronger? How have you lost sight of those goals?

Reinforcement: So why are you overtraining at CrossFit? Positive reinforcements!! You know you look better, and other people are telling you how good you look! You feel better when you work out. All of your friends are at CrossFit. But these are not good reasons to over train.

Ego: Now that you’ve seen how much you can improve, how have your goals changed? CrossFitters are often victims of competitive egos. You reached your initial goals, so now you want to compete in the CrossFit Games?! It’s great to dream big, but is this a realistic goal for you? What are your life stressors that will make this goal more difficult for you than others- a fulltime job, being a parent, household responsibilities, and other hobbies? How should you’re training be modified to accommodate your lifestyle? Don’t let your ego lead you to overtraining.

Fear of Fat: If you take a rest day, or even 2 rest days in a row….You will not get fat! You will not undo all the work you have done for months in the gym! This is a common motivation for not taking the rest days you need. Instead, evaluate your nutrition choices to support your work in the gym. Give your body the rest it needs.

Negative Reinforcements- Why are you so disappointed about not getting a lift PR/time/Rx? What does it mean for you? How does it impact your desired outcomes to look better naked or improve your health? It doesn’t. Don’t let “missed” benchmarks lead you to overtraining. Maybe you need a rest week to hit that PR.

Addictions- Like drugs, physical exercise may be chemically addictive. This addiction is due to natural endorphins and dopamine generated and regulated by the exercise. Some people can be said to become addicted to or fixated on the psychological and physical effects of physical exercise and fitness. This may lead to over exercise, resulting in the "overtraining" syndrome. What other ways can you trigger a natural dopamine or serotonin release?

Competitiveness: The innate competitiveness of CrossFit makes us think we should always be at the gym getting better, because you know you’re competition is. But unless you’re a serious Games competitor, who is your competition really? Most of us should be competing against ourselves; setting goals based on your past PRs and times. If you find yourself competing against others, ask yourself “why?” Why is it important for me to beat them? What am I gaining? Why do I feel the need to lift beyond the recommended weight and go 5 days in a row to beat my “competition”? Who is really “winning” if I’m not training smartly?

Rx: When has one “prescription” ever been appropriate for everyone? The Rx description of the WODs should be used as a guideline. Always ask your coach what weight you should be using based on your 1 rep maxes. Don’t assume you have to do Rx and then get hurt.

Costs of overtraining:

Common results outcomes of overtraining include:

Sustained injuries                 extended recovery time                   physical therapy

Protein deficiency                 Rhapdomyolysis                                Increased cortisol

Emotional distress                decreased performance in other areas- work, family life

Recommendations:

-       Identify your motivations for training. Know your fitness goals.

-       If you find you’re overtraining: taper down your training load, increase recovery/rest time between workouts.

-       Know your body! Listen to signals (aches, pains) that tell you “something’s not right here.” Stop immediately.

-       Modifications to the athlete's workout should be made to help prevent future reoccurrences of overtraining.

-       Cross train- switch it up!

-       Sometimes, it's the pressure of performance that has created some of the symptoms. Are there ways of doing the activity for the sheer enjoyment of it, coming back to the reason that you got involved in the first place?

-       Write in your journal about what gives you pleasure, how you want to live your life, how to pace yourself, and what you’ve learned from overtraining. Always ask yourself, is my training activity aligned with my life goals?

-       Get educated! Read a book about exercise training and programming to understand the reasoning.

-       Ask your coach whenever you’re unsure about weight and movements.