I've got one more step for you when trying to make a change or introduce a new habit.
Step #3: Share your pain or discomfort
Talking to people about your pain can:
Start with the people you love.
While there are no guarantees, most of the time, if you allow yourself to be vulnerable with the people you’re close to, they’ll rally to support you.
And that can make all the difference in continuing to make progress.
Give yourself permission to take it slow.
If it feels a little uncomfortable, you’re on the right track.
Remember, we call it difficult-difficult for a reason.
But if you’re willing to dig deep, find your why, and uncover the root of your pain, you may discover the purpose and passion you’ve been missing.
So move past thinking you “just want to get fit” or “can’t lose weight.” And open yourself to the possibility there’s more to the story.
That’s where you’ll find the motivation you really need… for the results you really want.
Hope this helps!
Nourish your purpose now,
Step #2: Turn your pain into action.
Do the hard thing.
Once you’ve defined your pain, you have a framework to experiment with an exercise Precision Nutrition calls “difficult-easy” and “difficult-difficult.”
Difficult-easy describes things you do that are hard, but still within your comfort zone: going to work every day even though you hate your job, for example. Or giving up carbs again even though you love pasta and cookies.
Difficult-difficult, however, is the stuff that’s truly challenging—the actions you shy away from because they seem overwhelming or even impossible. This is the place where you grow.
Here are some examples:
What are you afraid of? Difficult-easy tasks tend to annoy us. Like when you say “yes” even though you don’t actually have any room on your plate for another task. Because saying “no” is too scary. The things that scare us are usually the difficult-difficult ones.
Difficult-easy stuff grinds you down, but you keep doing it anyway. Take a moment to consider: How’s that working for you? What could you do that’s new, that would force you to grow and put you on a new path? That’s your difficult-difficult.
Make one change at a time.
Once you’ve identified your difficult-difficult, chip away at it one small piece at a time. It might sound weird, but focusing on less can help you achieve more.
Pick one small, new habit.
Select one habit that supports progress toward the body and health you want. Make it something simple and reasonable, that you think you can practice every day.
Let’s say you want to get fitter, but you’re terrified of the gym because you feel like an outsider. Your difficult-difficult is hitting the gym on a regular basis.
Consider starting with a habit that gets you closer to that goal, but doesn’t go all the way.
For your first habit, you might choose one of these options:
Practice your habit.
Do your new habit every day for at least two weeks. Some days, it’ll feel like a grueling climb up Everest. Other days it may feel like you’re flying. Eventually, there will be more flying days than Everest ones. That’s how you know you’re ready for the next step.
Build on your habit.
Now maybe you’re ready for four home workouts per week, or two exercises when you go to the gym. Practice this new habit for another two weeks. Keep repeating this cycle.
With this practice, your difficult-difficult will become easier. As a result, you’ll get better at facing your pain and fears… and better at changing.
Hope this helps! Stay tuned for part three tomorrow!
Nourish your purpose now,
Last week I shared using emotional discomfort for change.
As an example, before Joey and I met, I was in an unhappy relationship. After behaviors of control, possessiveness, made to feel less than and not being good enough, I was full of hurt and anger.
I channeled all of that into my workouts. My health and wellness. Mentally and physically. And I ended up being in the best shape of my life.
But it was more than navigating that control and possessiveness.
My body was compared to a friend of ours. She had a 6 pack and I didn’t. That was the first time ever in my life that body image became an issue for me.
I became self-conscious of my appearance, even though, I had absolutely no reason to be.
Step #1: Find your true “why.”
Your “why” is the reason behind the reason… behind the reason… behind the surface reason you want to make a change in your life.
Finding your “why” is a shortcut to finding your pain.
Because often, your deepest reason for wanting to change your body or habits dredges up yucky stuff.
For example, the shame of having gained 30 pounds after having kids. (‘Why does every other mom seem to have it all together?)
Or the helplessness of realizing you can’t even bend down to pick up a pencil off the floor.
Or the regret that comes with admitting you’re not the kind of active, inspiring parent you want to be.
These are the “whys” that drive change.
Don’t settle for the easy answer.
Getting to your “deepest reason” requires some introspection. An exercise called the “5 Whys” can help kickstart the process.
Here’s how it works: Take your initial reason for wanting to make changes to your nutrition, workout routine, or lifestyle, and use that as a starting point.
Maybe you want to get fit.
Ask yourself why do I want to accomplish this?
Then, with whatever answer you come up with, ask why again and again
I’m reminded of my toddler asking “why” with every answer I give her, BUT there is something to that method.
For instance, for me currently:
"I want to be healthy."
That’s a lot of insight for a few little questions.
For me, being healthy really means being in charge of my life to prevent outcomes like my mom.
That’s a crucial insight.
I’m not just looking to be as strong as I was.
I also want to feel a certain way at the end of the process. Strong. More energetic. More in control of the outcome (even though we have no way of knowing what will actually happen, at least I can say I did everything I could).
And that's what's really important to me.
Being strong is just a way to get there.
Put in the work.
Some people can define—and confront—their “why” quickly. For others, it requires a little more time and effort.
Practicing meditation and/or mindfulness can help you access uncomfortable thoughts you’ve been avoiding or pushing away. To get started, try this simple mind-body scan.
Find a quiet place. Take 5 minutes and find somewhere you can be without interruptions. This could be just before bed or just after waking. Or in your office, resting on a park bench, or sitting in your parked car.
Notice physical sensations. Scan your body from the top of your head down to your toes, part by part. Note how you feel along the way. Don’t judge or rush to change anything.
Notice emotions and thoughts. Once you’ve done your “body scan,” do the same exercise for your emotions and thoughts. Again, don’t judge or try to make sense of it. Just observe.
Ask yourself 3 questions. Right now…
You may find it helpful to jot down a few notes after each session. (It’s okay if you can’t find the perfect words.)
Over time, you’ll notice feelings, thoughts, and ideas that crop up consistently. These can be important clues to revealing your “why”… and your pain.
Ok, now it’s your turn to play. Write down your 5 Whys.
Give it some thought.
If you’d care to share send me a DM, I’d love to hear from you!
Nourish your purpose now,
To achieve real, lasting change, many people have to confront the emotional pain or discomfort that’s making them want that change.
Once they do, their true motivation is crystalized. And that’s often far more powerful than any single exercise plan or diet approach.
The challenge is uncovering it.
When it comes to goals, people usually talk about losing fat or moving better or getting healthy. All fine aspirations, indeed.
But for many of us, these goals aren’t very meaningful in the context of our everyday lives. They’re more like health and fitness clichés.
Our true motivations run much deeper than having a “bikini body” or “sleeve-busting arms” (as the ads and coverlines promise).
That’s the surface level stuff we think we want.
Sure, these types of goals might inspire you to show up for six weeks of training and cut back on alcohol for a while. But for most people, how much do they really matter?
How easy are they to give up on?
On the other hand… you know what’s way more motivating?
Wanting to be able to take care of your child or grandchild so badly that months of new habits, tiring workouts, and saying no to cupcakes in the break room seemed like the only choice. It wasn’t just a “look better” fitness goal—it’s a burning passion.
For me, it's to live. To fully live. Not just go through the motions of life. To soak in every moment with my kiddos. To play when they want to play. To be active and keep up with them. To go on adventures and not worry about if I'm healthy enough.
Discovering why you really want to change gives you resolve.
A wise person (okay, it was Tony Robbins) once said: “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
There’s just one problem: A lot of us never actually get to the root of what’s bothering us. We don’t face our pain or discomfort because it’s uncomfortable. As a result, we’re much more likely to stay the same.
Find your pain… to stoke your passion.
Sometimes, pain will be obvious: divorce, a scary diagnosis, the loss of a loved one. This kind of pain is easy to identify. It’s right there in front of you, flagging you down.
Other times, pain can be more subtle: It’s hiding in a dark corner of the basement—always there, even if you aren’t constantly aware of it.
Maybe it stems from all those times you were picked last as a kid. Or from that “harmless” comment a loved one made about your body… or about someone else’s body (who looks like you).
These hits of pain may not feel that impactful in the moment, but over time, they accrue power and influence over your actions and self-worth.
The result? Pain that’s hidden can crop up as:
These examples all suggest there’s trouble below the surface. Pain is discouraging you and holding you back. If you can access the source of this emotional discomfort, you can use it to achieve serious change.
Next week I’ll share three steps on how to do just that.
Nourish your purpose now,
January was Thyroid Awareness month.
February is Heart Health month.
March is Nutrition Awareness month.
…all three playing a significant role in my life...
My mom had thyroid issues for well over 50 years. She didn’t talk much about it until I was diagnosed Hashimoto’s over 12 years ago.
Everything she had been feeling in her body made sense to me now.
Overtime, she developed type 2 diabetes. Many things could have contributed such as a crappy food choices, emotional eating and minimal exercise. She did her normal activities of daily living…yard work, cleaned house, walked from time to time and of course she got a lot of walking from going to yard sales every weekend!
…But studies have found that diabetes and thyroid disorders tend to coexist in patients. Both conditions involve a dysfunction of the endocrine system. Thyroid disorders can have a major impact on glucose control, and untreated thyroid disorders affect the management of diabetes in patients.
Both diabetes and thyroid disorder can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack, clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis), and high blood pressure.
Something that mom would soon find to be true.
…December 29, 2006 she had a heart attack.
Days before, she looked tired and worn out but we all assumed she was working too much…because she was.
She was up in the middle of the night throwing up but went back to bed not understanding why…maybe something she ate.
When she got up to shower that morning, she experienced the classic symptoms of a heart attack and was able to call and get help.
She was lucky. She had over 90% blockage that was treated with a couple of stents.
That was a wake-up call for her.
For all of us.
She was committed to make her health a priority.
She was ready to do to what it takes.
I worked with her for 6 months walking daily, adjusting her meal plan and watching her commit to never feeling that pain ever again.
She lost 30 pounds during that time and her cardiologist said she was one of his star pupils.
She was full of energy.
She felt amazing and like her “old self” again…
But sometime shortly after that, her primary care doctor adjusted her thyroid medication.
Her energy decreased
Her brain fog started to come back
She was tired and focused what energy she did have on her work.
Her weight started to come back
…and then was back to old habits.
The stressors of life continued to weigh on her also.
She continued to try.
It was beyond frustrating.
There was so much that we still didn’t know.
We were able to spend just over 7 more years with her before she passed away of a stroke.
As I take a bird eye view from those years, I can see what pieces of the complex puzzle needed to be put where. And perhaps that’s even more frustrating.
But I channel that into uncovering the layers and helping others…
What do we need to uncover so that we can start building a new foundation?
Love your heart. Love the women in your life.
Do not think it could not possibly be you…
The truth is heart disease impacts ONE IN THREE WOMEN…
So if it isn’t you, look to your left then look to your right-
And start talking about it
Because it’s largely PREVENTABLE
Nourish your purpose now,