I am glad I waited a week to write this blog. Last week it may not have been pretty. But as I have had time to reflect, what has struck me is the empathy and connection I feel toward other Americans. Not what I expected in such a division election. Yet there it is.
As a woman, I was greatly offended by what I saw as a glimpse into the character of our now president-elect, toward women. Character defined as "what you do when (you think) no one is watching. Though I know vulgar comments happen every minute of every day, they do not happen toward me, and they do not happen in such a professional, public and what felt like condoned, way. And what it made me think in hindsight is, "Wow, is that how that feels?" When it comes to all the "minority groups" that were so generously and inclusively offended during this presidential election I only fit into one - women. And as far as the equality of women goes in this country, there is clearly room to improve, but it has come a long way thanks to past generations. So it was a bit of an eye-opening experience for someone who is of this generation, surrounded in life by respectful men who went to an all-women's college. What it brought forward for me in a more permanent way, was not anger so much as empathy. How must it feel to be of another, or more than one, "minority group" in this country (I use parentheses around minority group only because I'm not sure if that is the exact correct term) that hasn't made as much progress - or is in the earlier stages of that progress?
Above all else in life, I am an avid believer in equality. Across the board equality. From the janitor is just as important as the CEO, to we all deserve to choose who we marry. I am also an avid believer in the right to your own opinion - or way of doing things. That there isn't always a right and wrong, but different. You see the conflict here?
At first it felt like "hate" won. Now it feels more like "we-are-tired-of-politics-and-politicians-and-feel-this-is-the-better-plan-for-economic-growth" won. Though I believe there are people who voted for the offensive rhetoric, I believe the overwhelming majority voted against or in spite of it.
One thing I know for sure - is that In business and life in general, you cannot succeed beyond yourself. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you do tomorrow what you did today, you will get tomorrow what you got today." To inspire and realize true change, you must think different and do different. Be willing to become more intentional and self aware.
And so as I move forward - in a more empathetic, we are more alike than we are different way - what I feel
I can do to make a difference, as a citizen who values this country - is to drop the anger, it only fuels hate. And instead look at myself. To closely listen to where I pass judgement, toward myself and others. To when
I teach my children to judge. To when I quietly sit by when I hear an offensive remark rather than stand up for what I believe.
I want to be better. To grow myself in the direction I want the country to grow. Because that is how we win. That is how we make progress as a country that values diversity. That was founded on diversity. To become intentionally, very aware of our own thoughts and words - and try to put ourselves in someone else's shoes.
To be DONE playing small. And so I invite you to do the same. To look in, rather than lash out. To make a commitment to improve yourself toward others - both in how you think and what you do - to make our really great country stronger and more united.
Last week, I talked about how life-long-term health is about your life. Not just your diet. This week is the sequel. The diet part. Because it takes both. Diet alone does not solve why the refrigerator is open when you are not hungry, so to speak. But on the flip side, to focus on life balance alone in hopes to cure stress, boredom or loneliness eating, underestimates the power of food.
This is such a big topic. I'm trying to figure out how to narrow it down. Ok - here is how I want to approach this... Why I believe so strongly in meal replacements as a transitional tool.
When you focus so much on the diet, all you learn to do is diet. No seriously. You learn to shop, chop, pack and track - and deprive. To diet. So once you reach a healthy weight (which rarely happened where I was concerned), in order to maintain, you have to continue to diet at a maintenance calorie level because that is all you know.
Here is the beauty of a partial meal replacement, partial whole foods program - as part of a comprehensive program - where you also have learning tools, community and coaching support. Not just a bunch of shakes and a "good luck with that" send off. With nutritionally-sound meal replacements eaten throughout the day and a simple well-rounded meal you make for yourself:
1) Your body gets the message "I'm getting what I need now you can let go of the reserves!" And, your blood sugar gets managed - which means your cravings go away. My whole life I thought I had a willpower issue, when what I had was a blood sugar issue.
2) Instead of your time and energy being spent on the shop, chop, pack and track activities - you have a tool that is very simple, very convenient and that frees you up to focus on the real stuff... why you eat. So that once you do reach a healthy weight, you are able to stay there.
3) You build habits in layers. While you use meal replacements as a tool, and while you lose weight and enjoy more energy - you create a few critical, foundational habits. You learn eating rhythm - the habit of eating every few hours (this is how often babies eat, how we were intended to eat, we just screw it up.) You learn planning ahead - about groceries, dinner, social outings, etc. And you learn how to make one (or two) healthy meal(s) a day without being overwhelmed all day long. These three habits, realistically, are usually enough to focus on the few two months. Then once these habits become "habit" we peel the next layer. Then, once you are at a healthy weight and have a few layers of habits under your belt, you transition back to whole foods throughout the day. I find this brilliant, because once you know how great healthy feels there is a whole lot more motivation to stay there, versus trying to get it right all day long from the get-go while you feel like crap and lack hope.
Make sense? So, if you are trying to go it alone - the old fashioned way - just stop. Give yourself a break. You are not a failure. You are just trying to create a masterpiece without any tools.
Of course, you can imagine, I have an opinion on which "fuelings" or meal replacements - along with a comprehensive program - are better than the rest!! If you want to know more. Just ask. :)
"What will you say no to if you’re truly saying yes to this?" This was a question posed last week in a leadership blog I follow. And I liked it. Simple. Straight forward. Honest.
We want it all. To have the cake and eat it too. Yes, I want to be healthy. Yes, I want to wear a smaller size. Yes, I want to have more energy, be more flexible, feel awesomely confident. Amen. Bring it on, sister (or brother.) But wait, what? I will have to do things different? Hmmm.... Well.... Let me think about that.
Seriously?!?! Do you know how many times I've had that conversation? Yet I get it. I would like a fit body without having to work out. And I would really like a clean house without having to clean. And as long as I'm making a list here, what I really, really would like is a to have totally smart finances without having to pay attention to finances. If you see any of those magic wands waving over my head, please, let me know.
So, you're willing to go on a "diet" for a short period of time, maybe - but to have to make changes long term? And to actually have to look at other areas of life? Not so much. If I lose someone, that is where it happens. Which brings me to what's on my mind here today. I use a Well-Being Evaluation that invites you to rate your life in 18 areas, in three categories - your body, mind and finances. What does this have to do with weight loss? Let me tell you. Weight is a symptom - of your eating, exercise, sleep and relaxation habits. (That's the "body" part.) And these habits are largely a symptom of the other two areas. Think about it. But what causes you to eat unhealthy food? What keeps you from enjoying regular exercise, sleep and relaxation?
If you are trying, but it isn't working - yes, the food plan is critical. And I'm going to get into that next week. But the food plan alone is just a diet. And diets don't work. We have 1/2 billion attempted diets each year in our country and an obesity epidemic. The reason I hear most people struggle is not due to : pizza, chips and candy. It is due to boredom, stress, lack of time and lack of support. And so to have long-term success; to enjoy long-term health - they have to get addressed. "What will you say no to if you're TRULY saying yes to this?" That is the question.
In the first scenario - there is money stress, maybe relationship stress, lack of time and resources for self care and an overall just trying to keep up effort. Food becomes a filler for boredom, stress, fatigue, comfort, etc. In the second scenario - there is a big job that pays the bills which involves a lot of stress and long hours. In some cases work and relationships are fulfilling, in others they are not - but overall little time is left over for self care. In other words, Peter (Body/Mind) gets robbed to pay Paul (Finances.)
Do you see what I'm getting at here? To improve your body, you must look at your life. And you must move them forward together. It simply isn't possible to make progress toward a healthy body if you are stressed, unfulfilled or equally depleted in another area. I promise. Because those are the reasons why you eat. And because if another area takes more than 33%, what gives?
The question works both ways. If you are saying yes to everything else, you are saying no to your health. Have you been there... too exhausted to care what you eat for dinner, much less to follow through on your well-intended plans to get off the couch? Too stressed to want to make healthy choices? Too busy to take the time to get to the store to have healthy food in the house?
If you do that math, even giving just 10% more to the Mind/Finances areas of your life leaves only 14% for your body. Which is arbitrary math - but do you see the bigger point? We let daily life rob us from our ability to make progress toward a healthy body. And then we continue to bang our head against the wall counting calories or trying to exercise harder - totally frustrated. When in reality, while we are fixated on the scale, we fail to look at our life. It's like we take the little square picture, when what we need is the panoramic view.
So, if you want to be DONE playing small. DONE with that hamster wheel. Please let me know. Shoot me an email... connect on facebook... Decide how you are going to say yes to your health - and make it actually happen, versus something you hope to get to maybe, someday. It is one of my favorite conversations.