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5 Tips to Help You Overcome Emotional Eating

Imagine this: you have a long, hard day at work. You had planned on cooking something healthy, but you decide to order pizza or Chinese takeaway instead. While this kind of behavior is okay once in a blue moon, emotional overeating can be a huge hindrance to your weight loss goals. How do you stop?

Here are five tips to help you control emotional eating:

  • Identify your triggers
  • Try to replace the bad habit
  • Practice mindful eating
  • Balance your meals
  • Seek support

Whether you’ve noticed a connection between stress and overeating or you have another trigger, the five tips in this article can help you learn where your emotional eating habits come from so you can begin to overcome them. You’ll be a healthier, happier you!

1. Identify Your Triggers

You can’t change a habit that you don’t acknowledge or understand, so my first tip for overcoming emotional overeating is deducing what your triggers are.

In other words, what is it about life that makes you want to overeat? Or, to frame it slightly differently, what stresses do you have in your life that make you care less about the dietary decisions you make?

For many people, work can be a trigger.

Perhaps you have long hours and you’re so numb by the end of the day that you don’t care what you eat as long as it’s edible. Maybe you have a boss who’s hard on you and leaves you stressed Monday through Friday.

Speaking of stress, that’s another huge emotional eating trigger for a lot of people.

Stress can be so many things, from the aforementioned work stress to financial stress to life stress.

Maybe you’re a new parent and you feel constantly frazzled. Perhaps you made a major lifestyle shift and you’re having a hard time adjusting.

Relationships can be a trigger for overeating as well. It might be a strained parent or family relationship, an in-law, a neighbor, or a frenemy whose presence leaves you wanting to eat anything and everything in sight.

No matter what your trigger is, it’s valid, so don’t feel bad!

You very well may have more than one trigger, which is fine.

After all, sometimes it can truly feel like the whole world is pushing down on you in every way. The last thing you want to do is pay attention to the food you’re consuming.

To deduce what your triggers are, keep a journal for a week where you map out your daily routine.

At the points where you feel the urge to overeat, note it in the journal.

After the week concludes, look back over your week in writing and see all the instances where emotional eating tempted you the most.

That will help you figure out your triggers fast.

2. Try to Replace the Bad Habit

I’m not telling you to quit emotional eating by simply just stopping. If it was that easy, then anyone would be able to do it.

It’s not anywhere near that easy, though.

Instead, what I’m telling you to do is find an alternative when you feel the urge to let your emotions guide your food choices.

For example, maybe you walk away from the fridge, step outside, and deeply breathe for a minute. You’ll feel centered and focused and can then think more clearly about what you want to eat.

Maybe you decide to go for a walk. That too will help you reprioritize and think logically about what your body is craving, not necessarily what stress is pushing you to consume.

Okay, but what about those days when you’re so exhausted that you can barely stand let alone think? You don’t have the energy or time for a walk, so what do you do?

If you’re at the point where you feel like emotional eating is best for you after a long day, then what you need is self-care.

You may think that overeating is self-care, but it’s the opposite. It feels good to nosh on a whole pizza or three slices of chocolate cake in the moment, but then you can go on a self-loathing spiral.

What would really make you feel better? Perhaps all you need to do is change into a fuzzy robe, put on your favorite pair of slippers, kick up on the couch with a glass of wine or a snack, and watch some Netflix.

When you step away from the urge to overeat, one of two things will happen.

Either you’ll feel more thoughtful and ready to eat something that’s not pure carbs and sugar, or you’ll decide to overeat anyway.

If it’s the latter, please don’t beat yourself up.

Like any habit, quitting emotional eating isn’t an overnight process. It’s going to take time, and you’ll make great strides at some point and backslide at other points.

3. Practice Mindful Eating

Here’s something that you might be surprised to hear me say, but I’m holding to it.

I don’t want you to make food off-limits. I’ll talk more about this in the next section, but sometimes you have to eat what nourishes your soul even if it doesn’t always nourish your body.

If you are going to eat unhealthy foods, focus on mindful eating rather than inhaling the food like Kirby.

Are you not sure what mindful eating is? Allow me to explain!

A 2017 publication of Diabetes Spectrum from the American Diabetes Association defines mindful eating as “paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment.”

How often do you sit down to eat and the TV is on, or you’re scrolling through social media on your phone, or you’re working?

Those things are the opposite of mindful eating, yet they’ve become so ingrained in us that it’s hard to stop those behaviors.

Here’s how I want you to incorporate mindful eating into your daily routine. Start with one meal a day or even a snack.

Choose a time when you know you can get away for a couple of minutes and prepare your meal or snack.

Take a bite and close your eyes just so you can focus more on other sensations like taste and smell.

How does the food feel entering your mouth? What flavor notes hit your taste buds first?

Even if you eat something mindfully that you normally eat every single day, you’ll find that consuming the food is a completely different experience. You had never realized how nuanced the eating experience can be.

Rushing to eat your food may suit our go-go-go lifestyle, but it’s not doing you any favors.

A 2015 report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science notes that enjoying food is both a combination of smell and taste.

You see, scents can travel from the back of your mouth into your nasal cavity when you eat, which allows you to get the full depth of a food’s aroma and decipher between types of food.

The researchers involved in the study note that when you chew, air can enter through the nasal cavity and reach the lungs. What results is an air curtain that allows food volatiles to travel to the intended destination.

However, breathing too fast can impede the process, such as what you might do when gnawing through a meal fast to get back to work on time. This prevents you from experiencing the full flavor and aroma of your meals, which is a real shame!

Another risk in eating and multitasking is that you’re barely paying attention to the food you consume. When you rush, you could easily eat more than intended without meaning to.

4. Balance Your Meals

I said in the section prior that you shouldn’t make food off-limits, and I want to explain the rationale behind that a little bit more.

It’s a well-documented psychological phenomenon that when someone tells you that you can’t have something, that makes you want it more.

When you’re tired or stressed or feeling battered down, it’s harder to have the willpower to overcome your desires.

Thus, you should eat what you’re craving or what would nourish your soul because you’ll have less of that internal push-pull battle.

Plus, now that you know the value of mindful eating, you’ll appreciate what you’re eating even more.

That said, please don’t jump off the deep end.

Up to 80 percent of your diet should be comprised of balanced, nourishing, healthful foods that contain protein and carbohydrates.

The other 20 percent can be those not-so-good-for-you foods.

That seems like a fair compromise, I would say.

Now, I’ve had some clients who take a very all-or-nothing approach to unhealthy foods. They feel like if they have a box of cupcakes in the pantry or a bag of chips that they’ll down the whole thing in one sitting.

If you’re prone to emotional eating, then yes, that very well could happen.

What I recommend is purchasing these foods in smaller quantities.

For instance, you can buy many snack cookies in mini packs, and chips are available in small bags as well.

Don’t feel guilty for falling into bad habits, as it will probably happen. As I said before, overcoming emotional eating is quitting a bad habit, and that is not a linear process.

You will have good days and you will have bad days. The bad days teach you healthier habits, and that’s how you eventually make lasting change.

In the meantime, be patient with yourself!

5. When All Else Fails, Seek Support

Boiling down how to overcome emotional eating is, in a way, oversimplifying what is an extremely complex topic.

Overeating, especially compulsive overeating, is classed as a type of disordered eating, aka an eating disorder.

Some people might be able to overcome eating disorders on their own, but many more require the help of trained professionals such as doctors, nutritionists, and therapists.

You might find that some of the tips in this guide help you curb your overeating but don’t altogether stop it.

You might also discover that for as much as you want to stop emotional eating, you find yourself unable to. You just keep falling back into the same bad habits over and over again.

If so, then I wouldn’t recommend you keep trying the same thing. Rather, I would seek help.

I don’t mean your friends or family, either. As well-meaning as they are, they probably don’t understand emotional overeating to its fullest extent. You could get conflicting messages that make recovery seem impossible.

I’m referring to professional help.

There is no shame in admitting you need help, especially when it comes to an eating disorder like compulsive overeating.

Whether you see someone for weekly sessions (or more frequent than that) or you enter a program, you will be equipped with the tools and professional support you need to reduce your instances of overeating.


Emotional eating is something we all do from time to time. The real trouble comes when you use your emotions to guide your diet more often than your hunger or nutritional needs.

Eating when you’re not hungry and choosing nutritionally poor foods can eradicate your weight loss goals and put you further than ever from the finish line.

Although not always easy, overcoming emotional eating is possible. Whether the tips in this article help you, you seek professional support, or it’s even a combination of both, you can control your eating and begin really enjoying the foods you consume!

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Why You Should Never Underestimate the Power of Fitness and Putting Yourself First

Today’s post is inspired by a discussion I had with Helen Tynan, the Director of People Operations for Google in Ireland, on our podcast. Helen manages the company, raises four kids, and still finds time for fitness. I feel like too many people seem to think that like they can’t put themselves first, even though they should! Why is that?

Learning to put yourself first, especially by prioritising fitness, ensures that you’re healthy and fulfilled. This in turn makes it easier for you to care for other people in your life like a spouse or partner, children, parents, or friends. 

I know it’s not easy to put yourself first, especially when you have an ultra-demanding life that leaves you spent and short on time. If the amazing Helen Tynan could do it, then you can too. This blog will tell you how!

Here’s Why You Have to Put Yourself First

Putting ourselves first just doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us. We’re wives, mothers, corporate employees, business owners, caretakers, and any other job title first.

We have so many responsibilities, so many people we’re beholden to that the only time that’s left over for ourselves are those couple of minutes at the end of the day (when you’re already exhausted anyway) or a few quiet minutes first thing in the morning.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you have to learn to put yourself first. Yes, just as you learn to ride a bike or tie your shoes, this is another learned skill.

And let me tell you, learning to put yourself first will feel strange and selfish and even wrong, but that’s okay. Here’s why you need to do it.

You Can Give More Energy

Think of energy as an ice cream cone (maybe a bad analogy for a fitness blog, but bear with me). You only have so long before the ice cream cone melts, right?

When you push yourself and do too much, which so many of us are guilty of in our day-to-day lives, that ice cream cone melts. By the time you pass it on to someone else, it’s a sticky puddle and a cone.

That’s how your energy is too. If you grind yourself down to nothing and you’re running on fumes, how good of a spouse do you think you can be?

How good of a parent? How good of a friend? A son or daughter? A brother or sister? A caretaker? A community member? An employee.

It’s about so much more than burning the chicken for dinner and disappointing your family in that way. It’s all about the little things that add up.

You’re reading your child a bedtime story, and instead of them being the one to fall asleep, you pass out instead.

You promised your wife or husband a date night, but you’re on your phone too much wrapping up a work situation.

You see what I mean? You’re not giving them as much as you wish you could because you simply don’t have it to give.

When you learn to put yourself first, you’re recharging your own battery. It’s like putting the ice cream cone in the freezer before you pass it on to someone else.

You have more to give, a whole lot more than you did.

This will also benefit you at work. After all, if you barely have enough stamina for your personal life, then the same is likely true of your professional life.

You don’t want your work performance to slip. You could get passed over for the next promotion or even fired, which would just cause the mounting stresses in your life to become even more complex.

You’ll Feel Present in Your Life

It’s not only that you don’t have time for others when you fail to put yourself first, but you’re also just sort of sleepwalking through life.

You’re trying to get through on what little energy you have, and then you give what you can to those in your life until there’s nothing left.

If this goes on for long enough, then you could end up with burnout.

You might take the weekends to rest a little (if you have the time, that is), but even still, by the time the week begins, you feel like a zombie dragging yourself through.

That’s no way to live!

When you’re absent in your own life because you’re burnt out and exhausted, you’re like the passenger rather than the driver in your life.

You miss out on all the little things that make life amazing, like the sight of flowers blooming for the first time all year, the sound of laughter filling your house from your family, or the taste of your favorite homecooked meal.

You’re there for all those things physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? You aren’t. You’re still missing out. Life just sort of blurs together.

The People in Your Life Want What’s Best for You

Many of us feel like selfish monsters at the thought of taking a little bit of time for ourselves.

You worry about what those most important people in your life would think of you, right? But here’s what I want you to remember.

Learning to put yourself first is the only way you can give to others in your life in the way that you want to.

Plus, it’s not like anyone in your life who truly matters is going to begrudge you for it. These people love you, and they want what’s best for you. If that means some time away, then so be it!

Why Fitness Is the Perfect Way to Begin Putting Yourself First

When learning to put yourself first, you have to figure out what your outlet will be.

For me, Helen Tynan, and many, many other clients I’ve worked with and continue to work with, that outlet is fitness.

Perhaps fitness will be your outlet too, or maybe you’re still weighing your options.

Here are a few reasons why I think that fitness is such an optimal way to put yourself first.

You Get More Than Five Minutes Away

So many people who begin putting themselves first are afraid to really jump into the effort headfirst, so they steal away five minutes here or there.

I have to ask, who is that benefitting? Five minutes is barely enough time to help you get over anything, let alone weeks if not months of built-up burnout.

What you need is significant time and getting into fitness will give you that time. Maybe you only start by exercising for 20 or 30 minutes, but I promise that’s going to feel a lot more fulfilling than five minutes.

Once you get to the point where your fitness sessions are an hour or even two hours long, you’ll look forward to every minute of time.

You can listen to the playlist you want, focus less on your looks (since you’ll be getting all sweaty, anyway), and do the exercises you want to do.

People Will Automatically Be More Supportive

If your idea of “me” time is sitting on the couch watching Netflix with a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn (which it is for a lot of people), it’s a little hard to garner much in the way of support for that.

On the other hand, if you tell those in your life that you need a few hours away several times per week to prioritize your fitness routine, that’s going to get you so much support.

You’ll have friends and family members telling you that they’re rooting for you, that they wish they too could become more fit.  

The support is their way of telling you that yes, it’s okay to step away from some of your responsibilities for a little while and focus on fitness, even if those responsibilities bear such heavy titles as parent, spouse, adult caretaker, or business owner.

You’re Building a Healthier You!

Remember my energy analogy from earlier in this article? Well, it was more like an ice cream analogy, but I digress.

Fitness is like freezing your ice cream so you have more to give. It’s a way to restore your energy and increase your energy.

Imagine waking up in the morning already feeling energetic before you even have your morning cup of coffee. Picture having more pep in your step throughout the day.

I’m not saying that exercise is the cure for burnout. If your life is otherwise strenuous or busy, then yes, you will burn out and no fitness routine can prevent that.

Having more of that natural energy in your life will reduce the feelings of burnout though and help you keep going just a little bit longer.

Tips for Making More “You” Time

Now that you understand the value of learning to put yourself first, especially through fitness, I want to wrap up with some tips that will help you do just that!

Learn to Say No

If you’re the people-pleasing type–which I suspect you are if you’re reading this article–then of course, your first instinct is to always say yes.

Your boss asks you to do an extra project? You got it. Your friends ask you to help them move? What time do you need to be there by?

Your spouse or partner asks you to watch the kids because they have to work late? No problem, honey.

Each time you say yes to optional obligations, you’re chipping away at yourself more and more.

What you should do is look for opportunities where you can say no and then do it.

You won’t really have many of those opportunities at work, granted, so that means focusing on your personal life.

Maybe recommend your friend hire a mover and even offer them a few names, but decline to help them move.

If you have to watch the kids late tonight, then your spouse or partner should do so the next two nights to make up for it.

Saying no will be weird at first. You’ll feel like you’re disappointing people or that they’ll get angry at you.

Then you’ll realize that they’ll accept your answer, and the world will keep right on turning.

Once you discover that, saying no becomes a lot easier!

Ask for Help

So many of us feel like we need to be completely self-sufficient.

Maybe it’s because the Internet has put every answer at our fingertips, from how to change a tire to how to bake a complicated recipe or directions to your destination.

But it’s okay to ask for help. It’s admirable, even.

The Internet, as handy as it is, can’t help in the areas where it really matters, like childcare or job responsibilities.

If you need help with a big work project because the deadline is approaching and you’re overwhelmed, ask for help if that’s allowed.

Let your spouse or partner do more of the childcare at home if they’ve offered.

It can be scary to let someone else take the reins, but you can use that time to put yourself first for a little while, so it’s ultimately a win-win.

Take It Slow

Remember that rushing through life and stacking too many tasks on top of one another is a terrible way to live.

You need to take the time to slow down and smell the roses, whether that be literally or figuratively.

Sometimes, hitting the pause button on life–or at least the slow-down button–can ease a lot of your stress, as you don’t feel like life is moving towards you like a freight train!


Putting yourself first, although it can be daunting, is powerful too. It’s not easy in the beginning, but once you get that ball rolling, the forward momentum will continue to drive you.

I hope this post inspires you to pursue fitness or another means of putting yourself first! Let me know what it does for your life.

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How Self-Awareness Can Facilitate Personal Growth

Self-awareness isn’t one of those things that you’re ever taught about in school, nor in college. You don’t hear about it much in your adult life either. That means that far too many of us are going through life lacking self-awareness. How can better self-awareness act as the springboard for personal growth?

When you’re more self-aware, you can set aside those limiting self-beliefs and stop playing the comparison game. You understand yourself better so you can identify how you might hold yourself back (or allow others to do it) and break boundaries!

This personal growth can occur on a personal level, such as reaching fitness milestones, or on a professional level, whether you own a business or you’re hired by one. Keep reading to learn all about self-awareness and what it can do for you!

What Is Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is about so much more than simply being aware of yourself in your current state of your existence. That’s why I thought I’d start with a definition.

A type of philosophy, self-awareness is a full understanding of yourself down to the deepest and most profound levels. 

In other words, you’re fully aware of your desires, motives, feelings, and character.

You can get to know how you’ll react in any hypothetical situation because you understand yourself so wholly.

Fostering self-awareness is not always easy, nor is it pretty. After all, we’re all complex, flawed human beings, and that means we have our good sides just as we do our bad sides.

Being self-aware does not mean you sweep the bad stuff under the rug or pretend it doesn’t exist. Rather, it means you understand and even own that part of yourself.

Sometimes, self-awareness can even set the stage for you to change some of your bad behaviors.

For example, if you know that you’re rather hotheaded, and you always get angriest when stuck in a big crowd, then you might work to reduce the triggers that make you angry. 

Maybe you go to smaller events and do shopping (including grocery shopping) online to avoid the lines.

The Types of Self-Awareness

Not all self-awareness is necessarily the same. There are two types, public and private. Let’s talk more about both types of self-awareness now.

Private Self-Awareness

First is private self-awareness, a lot of which encompasses what I talked about in the last section.

Private self-awareness is all about how you’re thinking and what you’re experiencing internally. If someone looked at you, they wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell what’s going on in your head.

Let’s say you’re visiting a doctor’s office and you know you’re receiving a needle. You’re scared of needles, so you’re incredibly nervous.

Well, unless you’re fidgeting or sweating, the person sitting beside you in the waiting room can’t tell how you’re feeling. To them, you seem fine, so they would never guess you’re anxious.

Deep inside though, you’re aware of your phobias and how you’re feeling nervous.

Public Self-Awareness

The other type of self-awareness is known as public self-awareness.

Public self-awareness is an understanding and awareness that how you present yourself does have an impact, positive or negative.

For roughly the first five years of your life, you’ll lack public self-awareness because you’re a child. 

Then, suddenly, you realize that others in the world can see you, and that’s something that never goes away.

Public self-awareness is why we hate being spotted by our neighbor when on a late-night grocery run in our pajamas. It’s why you don’t want to run into your ex unless you look stunning.

We know that other people are going to make judgments on us based on how we present ourselves, and so we want to put our best foot forward at all times.

Are You Lacking Self-Awareness? Here’s How to Tell

All of us like to believe that we’re relatively self-aware. After all, our bodies and minds are the only ones we have, so we like to believe we know them infinitely well, right?

As I said before though, becoming self-aware is not an easy journey, so some people actively avoid it. If that’s you, then you’ll recognize yourself in the following signs.

Your Life Is Full of Short-Term Happiness But Not Long-Term Happiness

I could name a dozen things that make me happy right this second, from binge-watching my favorite Netflix show to a really good gym session or a nice coffee with extra foam.

The thing about those sources of happiness though is that they don’t last. The show ends, the endorphins wear off, and the coffee gets consumed.

Then you’re left to pursue the next source of short-term happiness.

People who follow this path of short-term happiness often do it because they don’t know what would fulfill them more in the long-term.

Once you build self-awareness, you’ll still pursue short-term pleasures, but now long-term happiness as well.

You’re Overly Negative

Whether you’re very gossipy or even arrogant, these traits all tie back to perpetual negativity.

Part of it is that you don’t recognize your own faults, as you haven’t gone through enough introspection to do so.

Some people naturally are more pessimistic than they are positive, and that’s not necessarily the worst thing. If you’re aware of it, that means you can identify it as it’s happening and then rein it in before you bomb another conversation with a friend or colleague.

Those who lack self-awareness just keep digging the hole deeper and rarely even recognize it until after the conversation ends.

You Talk a Lot

Look, it’s one thing if you’re naturally chatty because that’s your personality and it’s another thing entirely when you talk just to say words.

If everything you say lacks any sense of profundity or if you talk to seem smart or important, then it’s coming from a place absent of self-awareness.

Some people are too afraid to stop talking because it will mean they have to listen to their internal dialogue, and that can be painful and difficult.

All things that are worth doing often have moments that are painful and difficult, and self-growth is no different!

How Self-Awareness Helps in Achieving Personal Development

Growing as a person is something we should always strive to do no matter how old we are or where in our lives we are. Yet without self-awareness, achieving this critical growth is so much easier said than done.

Here is how self-awareness can facilitate that personal growth we all desire.

You’ll Make Fewer Comparisons

The everyday comparison game is all but inevitable in today’s age of social media when everyone’s curated lives appear on our feeds all the time.

You find that the comparisons don’t stop there, though. You compare yourself to your friends, your siblings, your former classmates, maybe even your colleagues at work.

You figure that if everyone in those respective groups had the same start and the same advantages, then why does it feel like you’re so far behind compared to everybody else?

Part of it absolutely comes down to a lack of self-awareness. When you don’t understand who you are deep down inside, you compare yourself to everyone and everything.

Once you take that time to carve out the path of self-awareness, you’ll have a better understanding of your personality and character.

You won’t feel like comparing yourself to every stranger you see on social media nor the people you know, as you’ll feel like it’s comparing apples to oranges anyway.

You Can Nip Self-Limiting Beliefs in the Bud

When you don’t know who you are or what you want out of this life, it’s hard to approach anything with conviction. 

You just kind of go through life, accepting what’s granted to you because hey, it’s an opportunity.

If you ever see something bigger or better, you can easily talk yourself out of it because you just don’t think you’ll be good enough.

Self-limiting beliefs are hard to shake when they come from yourself, especially if you’ve been perpetuating the cycle of thinking that you can only go so far.

By working on your self-awareness, you’ll get to know the kinds of opportunities that would appeal to you. Although you’ll have doubts at times, you won’t be holding yourself back in quite the same way.

You Can Choose What Makes You Truly Happy

This goes back to my point from before about chasing short-term happiness only. It feels good in the moment, and maybe if you have a nice coffee in front of the couch, you get double the happiness, but it always fades.

Building a fulfilling life is about doing what truly makes you happy. Maybe that’s not always feasible as a career choice but can be a hobby or a part-time job.

Tips for Increasing Your Self-Awareness

Are you ready to embark on the oft-difficult journey that is building your self-awareness? Your life will be so much better off for it, that’s for sure!

Here’s how it’s done.

Ask for Others’ Opinions

Talk to a few people you know separately and ask them a question that they might find difficult to answer. Ask them how they truly see you.

Tell them that it’s in your best interest that they don’t sugarcoat anything. Even if the answer is a hard one to hear, you want to hear it nevertheless, as it will help you become self-aware.

As you gather answers, look for common threads. Do people think you’re too negative? That you lack self-esteem? That you come across as too arrogant?

Then take some time and ponder whether those things are true about yourself. Are you perhaps posturing in front of certain people to try and be perceived in a specific way? Or are you really a touch arrogant?

Acknowledging negative things about ourselves is never fun but is the first step to bettering our personal growth through self-awareness.

Spend More Time with People and Note How You Feel and Behave

It’s time to put the smartphone down and get out there and be with people, be those your friends, family members, or colleagues.

As you have regular hangout time, try to be more self-aware. Don’t change how you’re behaving, but just assess it more.

Consider not only your behaviors but your feelings as well.

This will feel awkward to do at first, and you might even get a little too into your own head at first. The more you do it, though, the more natural it will feel.

With time, you’ll notice that even before you see your friends and family that you’ll have a good gauge on what you’re thinking and feeling.

Start a Journal

If the idea of being self-aware in the moment strikes you as a little too daunting, then you can always journal.

In the journal, you’d document what you did that day, how you felt, how you were perceived, and how you behaved. You might also wish to note how you wished you felt and behaved.

Over time, you’ll have a log of your various feelings and triggers. You can use this information to better understand yourself.

For example, perhaps you feel stressed when you know you’re having a meeting at work where you have to speak. Your stress levels are higher before the meeting and immediately after.

You can’t help that you have to speak at work, but you can take a public speaking class to help you get over your anxieties.

What to Do When You Hear That You’ve Changed – How to Own Personal Growth

Naturally, upon becoming more self-aware, you’re going to have friends, family members, and/or colleagues accuse you of changing.

But you haven’t changed, not really. You’ve just better learned yourself, and that’s helped you reprioritize how you treat others and how you present yourself to the world. You’re still the same you but better.

If you remember my post about being accused of “changing” when you begin prioritizing a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise, then you’ll recall how I talked about that the people who accuse you the loudest are often the unhappiest with themselves.

It’s the same situation with your newfound self-awareness. These people who are saying you changed liked you better when you were less self-aware, probably because you were bitter, negative, and angry like them.

You can always invite others to join you on the journey of self-awareness, but don’t be surprised if some people turn you down. Some like being blissfully unaware, even if they are limiting their own self-growth.

All you can do in a situation like that is focus on your own growth moving forward!


Self-awareness is admittedly difficult to cultivate, but what’s far worse is going through this life without any sense of self-awareness at all.

I hope this article motivated you to look introspectively and try to better understand yourself. It will be worth it!

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We Did a Photoshoot in the Streets of Dubai!

About two months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting one of our Elevate coaches, Lynn for a trip to Dubai. Maybe it was being in a totally different place, but she and I decided to do a photoshoot on the Dubai streets. The shoot meant leaving my comfort zone, but I loved it. How can you foster that kind of confidence as well?

Here are my top body confidence tips:

  • Leave your comfort zone sometimes
  • Love yourself as you are right now
  • Think of your body as your best friend
  • Embrace positive influences in your life
  • Repeat positive affirmations
  • Take a social media break
  • Use body neutrality

I hope this post will be an eye-opening and soul-opening experience for you, so definitely keep reading!

My Photoshoot in the Streets of Dubai

I’ve been into health and fitness for a long time now, and I will admit that I do have confidence in my body. I’m also no stranger to photoshoots, although those are usually in a place where I feel most comfortable, the gym.

Those kinds of shoots are easy for me. You’re trying to showcase your physique, usually certain areas, so you know to bend or flex or pose a certain way to make muscles pop.

The shoot that Lynn and I did in Dubai was not a fitness photoshoot. It was a lifestyle shoot. It wasn’t in a gym either. It was in the streets of Dubai.

Shooting in a gym is a relatively private affair. It’s an enclosed building and only certain people are there. I’d usually close off the gym while shooting photos to keep the background uncluttered.

The Dubai photoshoot was different. We were outside in the middle of the street. We couldn’t tell people, “no, don’t walk the way we’re going,” and we couldn’t help the cars that were passing by either.

Dubai is the most iconic country in the world with close to 20 million visitors a year. Another 2.9 million people live there, says World Population Review.

To say it was crowded when we did this photoshoot would have been the understatement of the century. People were looking at us, because of course, they were. You would look too if someone was taking photos in the middle of a crowded street.

Lynn and I were getting a lot of stares.

It was all at once an electrifying and exhilarating feeling, getting all that attention, and terrifying as well.

In the end, I’m so, so glad that I decided at that moment that leaving my comfort zone was a great idea, because it was!

After wrapping up that shoot, I felt so much more confident in myself than I would during a standard gym shoot because I went out on a limb.

Plus, I’ll always have the photos to look back on. They’re there to remind me of when I was my most confident (at least as of right now) and to help act as a pick-me-up when my self-esteem inevitably wavers.

7 Tips to Foster Confidence in Your Body

I’m sure you read through the last section and thought, “I would never do something like that.” Here’s the thing. I never thought that I could do a photoshoot in the streets of Dubai until I was doing it.

I know that a lot of my readers are just starting their health and fitness journeys or are feeling fatigued and frustrated from lack of results. How in the world do you find confidence in yourself, especially during those moments?

Here’s what I recommend.

Leave Your Comfort Zone Sometimes

Your self-confidence doesn’t solely have to be based on the way you look or the pounds you’ve dropped or anything like that. Rather, you can feel good about what you’re capable of doing or achieving.

I usher you to leave your comfort zone just as I did!

Now, don’t worry. You don’t have to book an immediate flight to Dubai and find the busiest streetcorner for photos.

You don’t even have to do something half as daring.

That said, I want you to do something that you normally wouldn’t.

Is that going to feel uncomfortable? Oh yes. That’s why it’s called leaving your comfort zone. You’re stretching yourself in new and innovative ways, and that’s not easy.

Once you do it though, you’ll feel so much better about yourself. I promise!

Love Yourself as You Are Right Now

In my line of work, I see it all the time.

Women (and men too, of course) resist loving themselves as they are because they’re reserving that self-love for when they lose five pounds or go down two dress sizes.

Here’s the thing, though. When you enter that kind of mindset, enough is never enough. You can lose the five pounds or two dress sizes and you’ll want to go down two more dress sizes and take off 15 pounds.

In the meantime, life is passing you by.

Have you ever seen an old photo of yourself at a time when you didn’t feel particularly confident in yourself? You might gawk at yourself and be like, “wow, I was so pretty,” or “wow, I was so skinny.”

And then you inevitably ask yourself, “Why didn’t I appreciate how good I looked?”

The reason is that you didn’t see it, just like you don’t see it now.

Don’t let another three or five years go by where you look at pictures of yourself from right now and feel just as wistful.

Work on fostering self-love for the way you look right now. I know, you want to lose weight, or you want to change this or that. Just try it.

This way, when you look at yourself five years from now, you’ll marvel over how beautiful you are, and you’ll remember being aware of it and appreciating it.

Think of Your Body as Your Best Friend

The way we talk to ourselves about our bodies can be truly heinous. The thoughts that pass through our heads are something we’d never say to anyone except for our bitterest of enemies.

Imagine if your best friend came to you having a bad body image period.

You wouldn’t agree with her when she said she felt fat, right? Never in a million years! This is your friend, and you love her.

Ask yourself why it’s okay for you to talk to yourself that same way. Just because you’re not saying the words out loud doesn’t mean they don’t have a negative effect.

My next body confidence tip I this. Treat your body like your best friend.

The next time you find yourself having a mean thought about your body, stop yourself. When you look at yourself in the mirror and you want to gripe, don’t. I’ll tell you what you can say instead a little bit later.

Embrace Positive Influences in Your Life

One of my favorite parts about going to Dubai was getting to hang out with Lynn and record a podcast with her right in the same room. That’s something we’ve never gotten to do before and, now that we’re back in our respective homes, probably won’t for the next little while.

Seeing her and being around her made me realize how much I appreciate Lynn as such a positive female role model.

I’m sure you have such role models too, male or female. They don’t have to be in the health and fitness community.

Rather, you’re looking for people who bolster your self-esteem and remind you that you’re amazing. These people can be friends, coworkers, a spouse or partner, a neighbour, or a family member.

Whoever it is, their influence always makes you feel better about yourself. Remember to exchange the favor when you can and lift up others in your life!

Repeat Positive Affirmations

I love starting my day with a good positive affirmation. It’s an excellent way to ensure things get off to the right foot, sometimes even before you get out of bed.

Well, positive affirmations don’t solely have to be about your life, your job, your finances, or your relationships. They can revolve around your body as well!

Start with a simple one. “My body deserves love” or “My body is a gift.”

Your body is a gift, even if you’re not happy with how it looks right this moment. Your body is an incredible thing that allows you to get up, walk around, hold things, see, taste, smell, and hear. You’re blessed to be in your body!

Once you believe those things about yourself, you can move on to more advanced body positive affirmations such as, “Being skinny or fat is not my identity. I am identified by who I am on the inside, a loving, wonderful person.”

Now, does saying an affirmation each day mean you believe it? Not at first, no. The more you do it, though, the more you will start to believe what you’re telling yourself!

Take a Social Media Break

Billions of people around the world use social media. How many of us actually use it because we enjoy it versus because we’re addicted to it or feel like we have to be on there to keep up appearances?

Social media has been tied to feelings of depression and reduced self-esteem. If you’re not comparing your life to your high school classmates’ lives on Facebook, then you’re on Instagram comparing your body to the perfect Instagram model’s.

Here’s the thing about a lot of those social media images: they’re not real. People use apps and filters to edit themselves to perfection. The people in the photos don’t even look like that.

Even still, that doesn’t mean these photos don’t have an effect.

A 2021 report from Illinois State University reports that “Studies have found a correlation between the time spent on social media and a negative body image. The correlation is especially true when participants were scrolling through appearance-related content like accounts of a fitness instructor or model on Instagram.”

Fortunately, the Illinois State University study and other data show that social media can have a positive effect if users see more body positive content.

Even still, sometimes all you need is some time to unplug and detox from social media. Do it as often as you require until you feel better.

After all, I promise you, your Facebook or Instagram feed will still be the same when you get back.

Use Body Neutrality

What if you’re struggling with all this positive self-talk about your body or picking out things about yourself that you like?

At the very least, if you can’t be positive, you can be neutral.

Body neutrality is taking a non-emotional approach to how you perceive your body. You make your body image less significant one way or another so it doesn’t dominate so many facets of your everyday life.

You can repeat body-neutral mantras if the body-positive ones feel too overwhelming to you. For example, maybe you say something like, “My appearance is going to change a lot over the years. Sometimes I’ll find myself more attractive and sometimes less so. And that’s okay.”

Even looking in the mirror and saying “this is my body” is considered body neutral. You’re not saying your body is good or bad, just that it’s there.

Some days, especially when you’re having a bad body image day but you don’t really want to dedicate too much space or time to it, body neutrality can be a saving grace.

Even on those good body image days, you’re preventing yourself from giving your body too much attention, which is healthy.


For me personally, stepping outside of my comfort zone was one of the times I’ve felt the most confident in a long while. There are many ways to gain confidence though, and I highly encourage you to explore the tips and methods I presented to you today to find yours!

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Dealing with Negativity: Unsupportive Peers and Unproductive Environments

You decided to start a fitness journey this year, and you never for a second expected that you would catch any flak from it. Yet that’s exactly what has happened. Some of your peers don’t support you, or perhaps it’s friends or even family. How do you handle this kind of strife?

In some cases, making major changes like becoming more health-focused can lead to outgrowing friends and family. Consider reducing your time with these people or cutting them out entirely, especially if their influence on you is particularly negative and causing you to second-guess yourself.

I’m excited to delve into today’s topic because it’s so incredibly important. I have clients all the time who deal with unsupportive friends or family after prioritizing their fitness, and it can be very hurtful.

This guide will tell you what to do and when to say enough is enough!

Why Am I Getting So Much Negativity for Starting My Fitness Journey?

You had hemmed and hawed for years, telling yourself that next week you would start the diet or next week you would join the gym.

Maybe it took reading this blog or finding my podcast, or perhaps it was a totally different set of circumstances, but you decided to finally prioritize your health and wellness.

This time, for real, you started your fitness journey, and you couldn’t be prouder of yourself just for getting started. Yet to your astonishment, your friends, family, and peers gave you pushback. Why?

Here are some reasons.

You’re Forcing Them to Change

It’s no secret that the average person doesn’t like change.

Change is uncomfortable. It forces us out of our everyday routines and shakes up all the things we know and love, rearranging them randomly. It doesn’t feel good, and it can often take some introspection and growth to get through it.

Some experts even believe that we humans are hard-wired to avoid change. We hate it that much. 

So what do you think is going to happen when you tell your girlfriends that you can’t go out to eat with them every Friday night unless they want to start going to healthier places? 

Or how do you think your friends will react when you skip a few bar nights with them to hit the gym?

The answer? Not well.

It’s one thing if you make the choice to change yourself, such as you did by deciding that you were going to start exercising and eating better.

It’s another thing entirely when change is foisted upon you by someone else.

That’s how the people in your life will feel. Their lives were going along swimmingly, and then you decided to step in and change the dynamic. Now girls’ night won’t be the same or your family get-togethers won’t be as gluttonous.

Part of the reason that change is hard is that you’re letting go of a former way of doing things and forging a new path.

Those days of you seeing your friends and family in quite so carefree a fashion might not come back, and they may not be okay with that.

You might not be either, but at least you’re becoming healthier for it. Your friends and family aren’t benefitting though. 

Highlights How They’re Unhappy with Themselves

Misery loves company, isn’t that how the old saying goes?

When you and your friends or family get together and make bad decisions regarding your diets, it’s a lot easier to justify those decisions because of the group environment.

Internally, you can say, “well, she’s having a double cheeseburger with extra cheese and large fries and a drink, so I can too.”

Now try justifying that same choice when it’s just you at the drive-thru line. It’s a lot harder to do, right?

So I’ve established that you can experience negativity in fitness from those you love because you’re making them change, but you’re also doing something else.

You’re shining a big ole spotlight on how unhappy they are with themselves.

Maybe your friend tried and failed five fad diets or your colleague at work has joined three gyms over two years but hasn’t found one he’ll go to often enough. 

These people wish they could change themselves, but it hasn’t worked out.

It’s not something they like to think about. Now you’re making them do just that by deciding to prioritize your health. No wonder some of the people in your life have begun to be resentful. 

Am I in an Unproductive Environment? How to Recognize the Signs

Whether it’s your friends, your family, your colleagues, or even your significant other, if these people feel bitter toward your fitness journey, you’ll soon find yourself slipping into an unproductive environment.

Here are some ways you can be sure you’ve reached that point.

No One Takes Your Fitness Journey Seriously

You’ve become very passionate about following a regimented diet and exercising, but whenever you talk to the people in your life about your fitness journey, they don’t react the same.

They might act incredulous and ask you when you’re going to give it up and come back to pub night or girls’ night. They could treat you snidely and tell you that you’ll get tired of the diets and exercise and that in a few months, it will be right back to the same old, same old.

Unfortunately, they could be right. A lack of support can make it that much more tantalizing to give up when the going gets hard. You need a cheerleader who’s rooting for you, and you don’t have that right now.

They Don’t Want to Hear About Your Successes

Woohoo! You checked the scale this morning and you’re already down seven pounds.

Of course, your first inclination is going to be to call or text your loved ones or maybe make a semi-bragging post on social media. You have good news to share, after all, and you want everyone to hear it.

The people in your life should be proud and congratulatory. If they don’t even want to discuss your weight loss (or muscle gains, or whatever your health and fitness goals are) or they actively dismiss you, that can leave you crestfallen.

You want the approval of your favorite people, and you’re just not getting it.

They Actively Try to Derail You

The real problem arises when the people in your life go beyond words and try actions to stop you from living your best and fittest life.

Maybe they order a juicy cheeseburger and eat it in front of you or they show up at your house one night insisting that you and the rest of the group all go out together.

You’re being derailed here, and it can cause a lot of confusion and upset feelings.

What to Do When Your New Lifestyle Change Brings About Negativity

You’re feeling deeply hurt lately and unsupported by the people who matter most to you. These kinds of difficult situations can cause decreased motivation and even depression. You might lose interest in all your hobbies, not just working out and eating right.

Although none of the suggestions in this section are going to be easy, they’re what you have to do. You can’t continue pretending like the mean comments and disregard for your health are okay.

Try this instead.

Make Your Feelings Known

Get in touch with your friend or family member and ask to sit down and talk at a time that’s mutually agreeable for both of you.

When you meet up, calmly explain that for the past several weeks or months, you’ve stood by as this person has made rude comments about your health and fitness journey.

Tell them that you tried to brush off what they said, but that they keep saying it and that it’s very hurtful for you.

Explain exactly how their words have made you feel, whether that’s confused, angry, sad, or even a combination of feelings. 

Try to Work It Out

Once you’re done speaking your piece, wait and let the other person talk.

It could be that they had no idea their words or actions were hurting you so deeply. They may regret what they said. It could be that they realize that having you in a lesser capacity is better than not having you at all.

Hopefully, your friend or family member tells you that they won’t make those kinds of comments about your fitness journey going forward.

However, they may ask you to compromise as well. Perhaps if they’re struggling with their own health and wellness, they may ask that you don’t talk about that part of your life with them as much.

If you can agree to those terms, then fine. You two have worked things out, and hopefully, you’ll have a better relationship moving forward. 

Know When to Walk Away

Although ideally, the scenario above would transpire, we all know that we don’t always live in a perfect world.

Your family member or friend might have said they’d be nicer, but it didn’t stick. Or perhaps they never agreed to be more supportive, and so the relationship has continued to degenerate.

Here’s the thing that I think a lot of us don’t like thinking or talking about, especially as we get older.

We go on different paths in life, and the people who were once our friends aren’t always. We can outgrow them.

Whether it’s the first guy to get married out of a group of single bachelor friends or the first lady to have a baby among her girlfriends, major life milestones can cause us sometimes to leave friends behind.

You shouldn’t feel bad about that. Your new life in fitness presents many opportunities to make new friends, friends who will truly have your back and support you as you grow and thrive. They won’t hold you back or resent you for changing.

Now, it’s not easy to walk away from friends, but it’s even harder to walk away from family.

Unless you’re living under the same roof as them though, you don’t have to accept your family’s poor treatment of you. Whether it’s your immediate family or a relative, you can sever ties.

If that’s just temporarily or permanently is your choice. You have to take care of yourself, so make the best decision. 

Can You Forgive Old Friends or Family Who Held You Back?

Perhaps some time passes and the friend or family member who you decided to cut ties with comes back to you feeling apologetic. They realize that fighting over your health goals was silly and that they miss having you around.

Since you’ve removed them from your life, you’ve found more supportive influences who believe in you and encourage you to do your best. You don’t want to backslide, but you missed this friend or family member too.

Should you take them back, so to speak?

You could conditionally work on a relationship but be wary. The first time they make a comment that you deem out of line, don’t stand for it.

Remember, outgrowing friends and family happens. It’s not always comfortable, but sometimes it’s what’s best! 


While eating healthy and exercising is altogether a very great thing, you can sometimes get negative reactions from jealous friends or family who are unhappy with their own bodies and struggle to lose weight.

For your own mental and physical wellbeing, you can’t allow negative influences in. If that means taking a break or ending a relationship with a friend because you two are on different paths, then so be it.

This is a very tricky situation to navigate, and I hope this post gives you some pointers on how to handle it!

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Why Habit Stacking Will Transform Your Life!

What does your everyday daily routine look like? Do you find yourself trying to better some of your habits but struggling to make them stick? I completely understand where you’re coming from. I recently decided to reevaluate my habits and begin implementing habit stacking, and it made a huge difference for me. What is habit stacking and how can it benefit you?

Habit stacking is when you link a bunch of activities together–usually small ones–until you create a routine. The routine becomes a habit enough that you do it without thinking about it. With habit stacking, you can increase your productivity and incorporate healthier habits into your life.

I didn’t know a lot about habit stacking until recently, and now that I do and I’ve seen how it’s worked for me, I want to share the wealth with others. Whether you have a busy mom morning routine or you’re always struggling to make spare time, this is one article you won’t want to miss!

What is Habit stacking?

Think about your early morning daily routine. You wake up, maybe hit the snooze alarm (although hopefully only once if you do it at all), then you get out of bed. You go straight to the bathroom and begin brushing your teeth.

Have you ever thought about why you brush your teeth? It’s because it’s kind of hard-wired into your brain, right? If you by chance went about your morning without brushing your teeth, something would click in your head and remind you to go do it.

That’s the crux of habit stacking.

Known also as habit chaining, habit stacking came about in a 2014 book by S.J. Scott called Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less. If you haven’t read this book, I quite recommend it!

According to Scott himself, habit stacking “builds routines around habits that don’t require effort” due to how “small wins build momentum because they’re easy to remember and complete.”

In other words, you select some small activities you want to incorporate into your life. Then, you add those activities to a preexisting habit until you create a routine.

By repeating that routine, it becomes second nature, so you do it without thinking, just like brushing your teeth in the morning.

Habit stacking can be the panacea for synapse pruning, or at least help you use it efficiently.  

What is synapse pruning, I’m sure you’re asking? It’s a brain function that happens more often as we age.

This NBC News article cites 2007 research from Oxford University that found that, compared to newborns, adults have more than 40 percent fewer neurons.

That’s due to synapse pruning.

A synapse links the brain and the neurons. When you prune your synapses, your brain does away with the synapses it’s not using while doubling down on the ones you do use.

This is why you may struggle to successfully incorporate a new habit in your life, even if it’s a good habit that you really want to do. Your brain isn’t dedicating as many synapses towards it.

You can take advantage of the way your brain’s synapses work through habit stacking.

For instance, let’s say that every night, you wash your face, brush your teeth, and get in bed. That’s pretty standard stuff, right?

Well, if you wanted to start reading, you’d stack that habit after the getting in bed habit.

You can even remember to start flossing more often by stacking it after brushing your teeth.

The best thing I can liken habit stacking to is sending a Slinky down the stairs. You start with a trigger that activates a series of events down the line.

How Can You Begin Habit Stacking?

I’m sure there’s at least one habit you want to have more of in your life, right? Habit stacking could be the answer, but how do you even get started?

I’m glad you asked! Here are the steps you can take today to make habit stacking work for you.

Take Five Minutes Per Day for Your Habit

If you want to start meditating for 20 minutes a day but you currently don’t meditate at all, the goal isn’t to squeeze in those extra 20 minutes somewhere.

Remember, habit stacking is all about small activities. Thus, you should start with five minutes of meditation or even a minute or two.

After those couple of minutes have passed, you’d consider yourself done meditating for the day. If you get to meditate for longer than a few minutes, then great! Your goal is only two to five minutes though.

Then, as meditating becomes a regular part of your routine, you’ll find that you set more time aside for it that will be closer to the original timeframe you wanted.

Make Your Habits Location-Based or Time-Based

When habit stacking, it helps if your new habits are tied to a place or a time; even both are fine!

For example, I was having a hard time deciding when to pick out my clothes for the next day. Since it wasn’t a set habit, there were definitely days when I didn’t do it at all. Then I’d wake up the next morning feeling very stressed.

I’m sure this is something that’s familiar to you.

I eventually found a time to pick out my clothes for the next day. Every night, at about 8 p.m., I’m enjoying some wind-down time, usually with a Netflix show.

About midway through the show, when I’d normally take a bathroom or snack break, I decided to start picking out my clothes for the next day.

So now I associate two things with that habit: the time, which is 8 o’ clock, and the place, which is my living room.

Keep It Easy

I don’t know about you, but nothing turns me off from doing something new more than if I’m immediately bad at it.

You want to feel like you can succeed at habit chaining. Don’t stack the deck against you by starting with a hard habit to incorporate.

Let your first habit stack be as easy as possible. You’ll feel like you can successfully change your life with habit stacking, which will make you want to work your way up to the bigger, more challenging habits.

Keep It Going

The habit stack examples I’ve touched on so far have been daily habits, but your habits don’t always have to be that frequent. You could have weekly or even monthly habit stacks depending on what the habit is.

No matter how frequently you’re committing to building a habit stack, the key is to stick with it. The repetition builds consistency, and the consistency is what you need to really ingrain that habit into your daily life.

Think of each day as adding another link to your chain. You don’t want to break the chain, but rather, keep adding more and more links.

But Don’t Expect to Be Perfect

Listen, even if you have the world’s best intentions, life has a way of coming in and screwing things up at times.

For instance, you’re reworking your morning routine when your in-laws show up unexpectedly for the weekend. Well, now what?

You have to expect that, as much as you want to stack your habits for a long time to come, you will be disrupted at times.

Having a setback like this is disappointing, but don’t lose heart. If you’ve truly built your habits through this time, then hopping right back on the horse, so to speak, won’t be too challenging when the time comes.

Habit Stacking Examples to Emulate Today

Woohoo! You’ve got your habit stacking plan, and you couldn’t be more excited to begin. To wrap up, I want to share some great habit stacking examples.

These examples might not all be applicable to you, but that’s okay. At the very least, they can inspire you to incorporate habit stacking in a way that suits your own schedule and lifestyle.

Coffee to Meditation

Once you hit the brew button on your trusty and true coffeemaker, you usually have a minute or two to spare. As soon as you hear the beep that your coffee is brewing, take that time to meditate.

Then, when your coffee is done brewing and the machine beeps at you again, that would signal the end of your meditation for the day.

Shower Setup to Pushups

If you want to start exercising more, start small and easy.

You can do 10 pushups before your morning shower through habit stacking. When you grab your towel to shower, you’d drop and do the pushups.

Then you can pop into the shower and get your day underway!

Work Clothes to Exercise Clothes

I’ve discussed this on the blog before, but sometimes the hardest part of exercising is getting your butt out of bed or putting on gym clothes and leaving the house.

By making it a habit to change into your gym clothes, you’ll be a lot less likely to miss a workout.

As soon as you get home and get changed out of your work clothes, put on exercise clothes instead.

Brushing to Flossing

Here’s a really easy one, but it comes in so much handy if you’re struggling to floss your teeth consistently.

You brush your teeth every single day twice a day. After you finish that at night, immediately follow it up with flossing. You won’t forget to floss now!

Lunch to Business Emails

You can apply habit stacking professionally as well. For example, at work, you take a lunch break every day, right?

As your lunch break wraps up, take the time to send one email. Maybe it’s to a potential client or an existing client but send just that email.

That’s five emails a week and 20 emails a month. It adds up!  


Habit stacking involves taking your everyday ingrained habits and adding to them. Since the adult brain dedicates more synapses to those ingrained activities, that usually makes building new habits harder. Not anymore!

The key to habit stacking is to start small and easy. Doing a habit for a few minutes at a time once per day is a great way to build that habit into your life more consistently.

I hope that habit stacking improves your quality of life as it has mine!

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Finding Your “Why” and Being Your Own Kick Up the Butt

When you wake up before the sun to get a workout in or push yourself to exercise even after a long day at work, it’s motivation that drives you. Motivation can be like a flame that flickers in and out of existence. What do you do when the motivation to work out and lose weight is in short supply?

Here’s how you can find your “why” and kick yourself in the butt:

  • Set goals
  • Make fitness a routine
  • Understand the effect weather has on motivation and push through
  • Don’t let one skipped session derail you
  • Listen to music
  • Track your progress

Listen, we’re all human, and sometimes finding the motivation to work out seems next to impossible. With the tips and steps in this guide, you’ll be readier to achieve more of your fitness and health goals!

6 Ways to Get Yourself Up and at ‘Em Even When You Don’t Want To

I always have a lot of clients ask me how to stay motivated, especially over the long term. As I alluded to in the intro, motivation is finite. It burns out.

Whether you have no gym motivation or no motivation to diet, the key is to stop thinking about motivation and focus more on this instead.

Set Goals

If you’re trying to lose 20 pounds in eight weeks, then it’s easy to think of physical health and fitness as something you can do and be finished with. You don’t have to worry about long-term motivation.

For those who want to get healthy and stay healthy (which I recommend much more than a short-term diet), then there’s no end in sight, right? You’re going to continue a diet and fitness routine for the foreseeable future.

You’ll have all the vigor you need for a few weeks, but what about a few months into your new lifestyle? Or a year or two in?

That’s why setting goals is so important.

I recommend both short-term and long-term goals. For example, your long-term goal might be general health and wellness while a short-term goal is to bench 200 pounds.

You will eventually bench those 200 pounds, and then it’s time to move on to another short-term goal, and then another one.

You might also have specific long-term goals, like wanting to lose 30 pounds in five months. You’d break that goal down into shorter-term goals until you lose the weight.

When you’re always working towards something, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. That makes it easier to keep pushing.

If you’re 25 pounds into your 30-pound weight loss but you’re feeling particularly uninspired, all you have to do is remember that you have five pounds to go.

Before you know it, you’ve found your “why.” You’re out of bed, at the gym, and doing your thing.

Make Fitness a Routine

Every night before you go to bed, you probably floss your teeth, right? (Or you should!)

You don’t want to floss your teeth, per se, but it’s become so ingrained in your routine that you do it out of a sense of habit. You don’t think about whether you want to do it. You just do it.

When you make exercise your routine, then you similarly don’t have to think about it.

You’ll wake up in the morning and get your gym clothes and shoes ready because that’s just what you do.

If you were to skip a workout, your whole day would feel thrown out of whack because you’re missing out on a critical part of your routine.

I wish you could make fitness a part of your schedule overnight, but it’s not that easy. It’s going to take several weeks, even several months for exercise to become such an integral part of your life that you feel its absence when you don’t do it.

Fortunately, for those first few weeks (or months) of your new diet and exercise routine, that’s typically when you have the most motivation, so the timeline works out.

By the time you begin to feel that motivation waning, you can rely on how exercise feels like a natural part of your schedule.

Now, I do want to say this. Just because exercise has become integrated into your routine does not mean you can’t ever take a day off. I’ll talk about this more a little later, so make sure you check that out.

Understand the Effect Weather Has on Motivation and Push Through

I don’t know about you, but I live for the spring and summer. It’s not only the warmer temperatures that are nice but the longer days and the increase in daylight.

I know that when I wake up, I won’t be driving to the gym in the dark. If I don’t have time for a gym session until later in the evening, I’ll also have daylight on my side.

A 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine proves how important daylight is to our moods.

The study involved more than 40 people who worked in an office. 

One group of 22 people was in an office environment with plenty of daylight while another 27 people worked with no windows.

What did the study find? “Compared to the group without windows, workers with windows at the workplace had more light exposure during the workweek, a trend toward more physical activity, and longer sleep duration as measured by actigraphy.”

That’s great, but it’s not like you can make daylight appear where there’s none to be found such as in the autumn and especially the winter.

You can’t exactly pack up and move to a sunnier, warmer locale either, as convenient as that would be.

None of us can control the weather. I know that if I could, it would be sunny and warm all throughout the year.

Acknowledge that the darker days are going to be extra taxing on your motivation. You’ll want to stay in bed and hit the snooze button an extra time or three rather than go to the gym.

Having a routine that includes fitness will really come in handy here. Even though it’s pitch black when you’re awakening, you’re going to go to the gym because that’s a habit now.

If you’re still struggling because those dark days have gotten you down, then here’s what I want you to do.

Take things one step at a time.

Rather than focusing on the gym, just put your attention on getting out of bed. Once you do that, get dressed.

If you leave the house and go to the gym, then you’ve already done the hard part. What are you going to do, turn around and go home now? That would be a waste of time and gas.

You’ll go in and exercise, and you’ll feel better for it!

And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m a fitness expert. Research does prove that those suffering from anxiety and depression–whether it’s related to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or it happens regardless of the season–can benefit from exercise.

Their symptom severity may lessen.

Don’t Let One Skipped Session Derail You

I have so many of my clients come to me and lament that they missed one gym session this week and so the rest of the week is ruined.

That’s silly!

Your decisions for today do not have to carry over to tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, and it can be whatever you want it to be.

If that’s a repeat of yesterday, where you don’t go to the gym two days in a row, then so be it. However, deciding to skip several workouts because you missed one is a great way to unlearn the routine that is going to the gym.

Listen, even I don’t always feel like going to the gym. And there are some days when I get out of bed, dress for exercise, drive to the gym, and decide that it’s just not going to happen. Maybe I have a headache, or my muscles are sore, but I decide not to go to the gym.

Those days are very few and far between, admittedly, but they do happen.

Just because I don’t go to the gym doesn’t mean I don’t move my body at all that day. Maybe I’ll do a cardio session instead. I’m still exercising, but I’m not doing more than I feel like I can handle.

When you have a day where you feel like you can’t go to the gym, ask yourself if there’s some other way you can move your body instead. 

The fun thing about exercise is that it encompasses so many activities. It doesn’t always mean sweating it out at the gym and lifting massive weights. A light yoga session still counts as exercise. Heck, even taking a walk is exercise.

Of course, if you’re looking to lose weight, then you will burn more calories lifting weights than you will walking and probably doing yoga too (it depends on what type of yoga and how long).

Still, you burn more calories going on a walk than you do sitting on the couch.

There will be some days when you can’t exercise at all. Maybe you’re feeling sick or exhausted.

It’s okay to give yourself a break! Just don’t think that means that you can’t exercise for the rest of the week because you skipped one day.

Listen to Music

Here’s a simple tactic if you’re struggling to find your motivation: listen to music!

Putting on a playlist of your favorite pump-up songs (or listening to a great podcast such as ours) can inspire you to get out of bed and hit the gym.

If you thought you’d drag through your workout, the right songs can inspire you. You may not even focus so much on the exercise because you’ll be too busy enjoying those epic beats. 

Before you know it, your workout is over, and you can go home.

The effect of music on mood is well-documented. I’ll cite a 2015 study from the World Journal of Psychiatry that reviewed other publications on the topic.

The journal reported that “we found that almost all studies supported the effectiveness of musical interventions in improving mood, depression, quality of life, functional recovery, and neuromotor performances.”  

Track Your Progress

Not to toot my own horn here, but when I go to the gym and I smash even my own performance goals, I feel incredible about it for days. Being reminded of the amazing things my body can accomplish pushes me to want to do better in the future.

I’ll hurriedly and excitedly come up with new goals to see how far I can take my performance in certain areas.

Of course, without documentation of having made that accomplishment in the first place, eventually, the euphoria related to your accomplishment fades.

That’s only natural, which is why you should really track your progress as you start your health and fitness journey.

Use an app, write in a paper journal; do whatever you wish. Just document your progress.

Don’t only concern yourself with how many pounds you’ve lost. Weight loss can be up and down for some people. As I talked about in another post on the blog, it should not be the only metric you’re using.

Measure yourself before you start your new routine. Then measure yourself a few months later. 

Your body fat will decrease and some of your clothes will fit loosely. You’ll gradually be able to run on the treadmill longer and lift heavier weights.

There’s a saying that the journey is more important than the destination. In fitness, that’s true too. All these milestones you accomplish on the way are just as impactful if not more so than the final outcome of your efforts.


Motivation is finite, which means your motivation to work out and lose weight can be as well.

The tips I shared with you today are designed to get you out of bed even on those darkest, dreariest days. Finding the motivation to work out may sometimes mean kicking your own butt, but it’s always worth it!


The Reason You’re Not Losing Weight

Exercising but not losing weight can be incredibly frustrating. Maybe your struggle is eating less but not losing weight. You’re about at the end of your rope with your lack of progress. Why is it that even though you’re seemingly doing everything right, the pounds just aren’t coming off?

You might not be losing weight despite diet and exercise for all sorts of reasons, such as creating an unsustainable calorie deficit. The weight comes off but then goes right back on. Other causes like hitting a plateau, high stress, and lack of sleep could also hinder your weight loss goals.

Without getting to the bottom of why your weight loss has stalled, it’s impossible to remedy the issue. I’ll guide you through the above reasons and more so you can finally begin seeing the results you want!

These Are the Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

You’ve Created an Unsustainable Calorie Deficit

What’s faster – scheduling an appointment with a nutritionist or downloading a free diet app and trying your hand? It’s the diet app, of course.

The problem with many diet apps is that they’re a one-size-fits-all solution. The app will recommend you eat no more than 1,200 calories per day no matter who you are, so that’s what you do.

Then you find after a few weeks that you’re eating 1,200 calories but not losing weight. This seems insane to you. How can you eat so marginally and still not have the pounds melt off?

I see a lot of women who have a calorie deficit but are not losing weight, and it’s the calorie deficit itself that’s doing it.

Don’t get me wrong; you need to create some calorie deficit to shed pounds. However, 1,200 calories don’t work for every woman.

That’s the problem with these free weight loss apps. They don’t account for how tall you are, how much you weigh, and how active you are. 

An athlete who’s only eating 1,200 calories but spending hours on the field or in the gym cannot sustain that diet. It’s dangerous. 

Even the average woman who works an office job and still trains after work will find that eating 1,200 calories is really, really difficult.

The diet isn’t sustainable in the long term, You’re being overly restrictive in the short, and so what happens? Like all unsustainable diets, you will fail. You’ll gain back all the weight you lost, and you could gain back even more weight too.

Why is that?

Your body doesn’t understand what you’re doing when you only consume 1,200 calories a day. You know that you’re trying to lose weight, but to your body, it’s practically the end-times.  

Once you begin eating normally again, your body will slow your metabolism so that if you start depriving it again, the effects won’t be as detrimental. After a sustained period of eating at a calorie deficit, your body will adapt. 

It’s smart, after all! 

The next time you want to lose the re-gained pounds, you’ll find yourself fighting an uphill battle. A slower metabolism makes it even harder to lose weight.

As a caveat, I chose 1,200 calories as an example only. Not all 1,200-calorie diets will fail, especially if your doctor or nutritionist puts you on one. Please follow that diet!

You’re Only Focusing on One Metric, the Scale

For many dieters, the scale is the be-all, end-all.   

If the scale shows them a lower number than what they thought, then they’re happy. If the number is higher, then it must mean the weight loss regimen isn’t working, right?

Not at all! In some situations, you might find yourself not losing weight but losing inches. If you only focus on the number on the scale though, you might not even notice.

You need to expand your definition of what successful weight loss looks like.

For instance, have you reduced body fat? 

When you set out to lose weight, your goal should be fat loss primarily. Excess body fat puts you at a higher risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. 

If you start there, you are losing weight, as reducing fat is its own form of weight loss.

Before you start your weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take down your measurements. Over time, measure yourself again. 

Is your waist smaller? Your hips? Do you now fit into a pair of jeans that were too tight a few months ago?

These are all signs of success. Maybe the number on the scale isn’t moving all that much, but clearly, what you’re doing is working.

Some dieters will get frustrated at the lack of weight loss as dictated by the scale and then hop on a fad diet. 

If they had just stuck with it, they could have achieved the results they wanted. Yo-yo dieting can cause a fluctuating metabolism like I mentioned before and thus isn’t recommended. 

You’re Stressed

Are you stressed? 

This almost seems like a rhetorical question, because of course, almost everybody would answer yes. Life is so nonstop and fast-paced these days that it’s a miracle not to feel this way.

Stress isn’t good for your health, which I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. 

When you’re feeling stressed, be it from work, school, or life in general, you’re likelier to have digestive issues, muscle tension, high blood pressure, headaches, body pain, and exhaustion.

Worse yet, the weight loss you’ve been expecting since you began your exercise and diet regimen doesn’t come. 

When you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, your body produces more cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that your body uses in a variety of ways. 

For instance, cortisol can increase your energy (temporarily), affect your sleep/wake cycle, raise your blood sugar, manage your blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and alter how your body processes proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Cortisol can also cause your body to hold onto more fat, especially abdominal fat. 

Your fat metabolism also slows to a crawl, which will impede your weight loss efforts even if you’re doing everything else right.

Your body will stop producing excess cortisol when you learn stress management techniques. 

I love some meditation and deep breathing, but you can do whatever works for you. Write in a journal, take a walk outside, connect with friends and family, or spend some me-time on a hobby or interest.  

Controlling stress will allow you to reap the full benefits of your diet and exercise routine. 

You’re Not Sleeping

Cortisol isn’t the only hormone that impacts weight loss success. There are also leptin and ghrelin. 

Leptin comes from your body’s fat cells. Its sole responsibility is to control your body weight. 

Ghrelin is produced in the gut and can trigger a growth hormone secretagogue receptor or GHS-R. 

To keep it simple, ghrelin is called the hunger hormone because too much of it can make you hungrier. 

So what does this have to do with sleep, you ask? 

According to a 2004 study in PLoS Medicine, which is one study of many on the topic, when 1,024 people underwent a sleep study and had their hormones tested, a higher BMI was attributed to less sleep.

The participants who didn’t get eight hours of shuteye per night had a drop in leptin by 15.5 percent and an increase in ghrelin by 14.9 percent. 

That’s the main connection between sleep and weight, but it’s not the only one. When you don’t sleep regularly, you’re awake longer. Your eating window is larger as a result. 

Further, being exhausted can cause you to throw your healthy eating decisions by the wayside and eat comfort food, fast food, and whatever else sounds quick and convenient. 

You’ve Hit a Plateau

If you’re eating less but not losing weight and combining that with exercise, then you can feel like you’ve hit a wall. And indeed, maybe you have.

Weight loss plateaus are all too common among dieters. 

For a while, your nutrition and exercise plan is going swimmingly. The number on the scale is getting lower, you look trimmer, and you couldn’t be happier. What you’re doing is working!

So you keep it up, and your weight loss plan keeps working. Then it doesn’t. 

Why does this happen? 

A weight-loss plateau is attributed to several causes. For one, when you exercise the same muscles in the same way all the time, your body gets used to it. 

You don’t have to work as hard anymore to do the same thing because you could probably do it in your sleep by now.

If you like the exercises you do, you don’t necessarily have to stop doing them. 

Even changing up the order and doing your weight training session before cardio will mean you have more energy to lift and challenge your strength. 

I’d recommend implementing something called progressive overload. In a nutshell, this means you should aim to lift slightly more weight, or do a couple more reps each time.

That said, don’t be afraid to throw in new exercises too! This will keep you on your toes and make your workouts more engaging and less robotic.

Another reason that a plateau occurs is due to the nature of weight loss. 

Making a huge dietary (and exercise) change almost always works at first. As you move into a calorie deficit, your body will take a stored sugar known as glycogen from the liver and use that as your energy source. 

Glycogen is comprised of water, so a lot of the initial weight loss you see is  water weight. 


The next time you find yourself frustrated with your weight loss progress (or lack thereof), stop and assess your exercise, diet, and lifestyle choices. 

Are you on an unsustainable diet track? Could you be getting more sleep per night? Maybe you need to manage your stress?

Don’t forget too that not losing weight but losing inches doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. If anything, it’s a sign that you’re burning fat, which will eventually lead to weight loss!