This phrase has been ever-present in my life the past few weeks. It's been a focus in 2 separate yoga classes, and was discussed in a business meeting just this week as well.
It's been stopped me in my tracks every time.
"How you do anything is how you do everything."
Let me paint you a picture of Yoga Alli.
She is not very Zen.
I decided a number of months ago, for a variety of reasons that I needed to start showing up to yoga. For the first few weeks of classes, I gave myself permission to be kind to my self for just making it there. Yoga has never been a passion, and moving slowly has never been my forte. But it was something I needed to do for personal growth- physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth - to contribute to the personal vision I have for myself.
The self talk that went on during the 75 minute Moksha classes was enough to make your head spin. I'm sure my yoga neighbours could feel the negative energy dripping out of every sweaty pore of mine. I'm sure the instructor thought, "she won't be back."
A furrowed brow at hard postures, coming out of movements early because I was annoyed at how long I had to spend in them, flopping my hands around and skipping the details during breathing exercises because my body wasn't responding the way I wanted to and it frustrated me.
If how I do anything is how I do everything - then this means that the person I am OFF of the yoga mat is skipping details, being angry or not following through.
But that isn't me.
Or, at least, that's not the me I want showing up everyday. That's not how I want to approach my friends, family, relationships & business.
So I kept showing up.
Each class posed challenges, the furrowed brow came back, the desire to quit early, the half-assed movements because my body doesn't do flexibility very well.
I acknowledged these feelings, and moved on.... and slowly, small improvements came.
Your day to day moments reflect how you life your whole life.
It's easy to excuse having a bad attitude or being rude to somebody else because you're having a "bad day."
Or blame lack of enthusiasm for getting out of bed in the morning because of work stress and looming deadling.
When the weather turns, you fall into a funk and get out of your exercise routine.
But how you do anything is how you do everything. Regardless of circumstance. Regardless of how other people treat you, regardless of external variables from work.
You show up as the person that YOU want to be.
If you've defined your personal vision, reflect on that.
I want to be someone who follows through with great ideas.
I want to be someone who pays attention to detail.
I want to be someone who makes others feel lifted, or inspired.
More mindfulness towards your "anything" moments will yield a fulfilling "everything" life.
- Dr. Alli
When you've been in the fitness, health & wellness industry for over 10 years, you do a lot of reflecting on past programs, clients & advice.
In fact, I do this everyday after I've interacted with patients, taught a CrossFit class or responded to an email from an online nutrition client.
"What did I do well?"
"What can I do better next time?"
I often ask myself in an effort to always show up with a growth mindset.
I still remember the worst nutrition advice I ever gave a client.
"Cut out the wine."
I said after a thorough analysis of my client's
weekly dietary habits and her weight loss goals.
"I can't do that!" my client exclaimed.
"I love a glass of red wine with my girlfriends on the weekend, or
with my husband after a long work week up at the cottage!"
"It's empty calories." I replied sincerely.
"It's gotta go if you want to really make a change."
Ugh! I wasn't being flexible at all.
Young Alli was providing this info with the best of intentions for the clients goals. After all, alcohol is empty calories that doesn't do much for satiety, and packs on calories easily in a day. What I was missing, however, is flexibility with my client's diet.
If I could go back in time. This is how the conversation would go now.
"Let's start tracking your wine intake." I would suggest.
"What do you mean?" my client would respond.
"You've said a glass or two of red wine is important to you. But so are your fitness & nutrition goals. Let's make the red wine work for you and not against you by fitting it into your day. By tracking the amount of wine you drink, as well as the amount of carbs, fats and protein you eat in a day - we can make sure that you are not exceeding your caloric needs and stay on track towards your goals"
"Sounds difficult!!" My client responds.
"It's really not. It takes a bit of time to learn how to accurately weigh and measure your food, as well as log it. But any new skill takes a bit of time to do. If you're serious about your goals, and serious about your wine, it's totally worth it. You won't have to give up anything.... you'll just have to plan appropriately, and eat proper portions sizes."
"Where do I sign up?" she would respond ;)
note: this client is still training with me 7 years later! She didn't ditch me, although I've ditched the rigid nutrition advice for a much more flexible and sustainable approach!
- Dr. Alli
The next 21 day challenge starts November 7th. This is a replay of the successful September 21-day challenge that saw over 80lbs & 100" lost and more importantly, a better approach to nutrition adopted by many! I hope you'll join me!
P.P.S if you want to learn more about fitting alcohol into your macros, click here.
Here's what people are saying about the recent 21 day macros challenge!
"...lost 4 lbs, 7 inches all over, I've found I'm sleeping better and I enjoy intentional movement every day. This was a great restart and opportunity to understand food a little better!"
"I am down 4 lbs. And do 5.5 inches total! Very happy with these results and they give me the motivation to continue on with this lifestyle. I learned not to be so hard on myself for bad eating days but rather how to control them so they don't spiral out of control and how to learn from them."
"Bettered my exercise challenge.I learned that it is difficult to eat enough protein but poultry and fish are good options. I figure I was good about this at least 70% of the time. I will try to increase that over the next few weeks."
"These past 21 days taught me where my deficits in my diet are and how I good I can feel when I identify them and commit to changing them! It's not easy but it's a totally worthwhile commitment.."
The winners are....
Many times I am asked if I can make a meal plan for those who are following a flexible dieting lifestyle/ if it fits your macros.
My answer is always no.
I'll admit that sometimes I'm tempted to whip up a program for people- it makes learning a new skill super simple when you just follow what the coach says to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I don't blame people for wanting a meal plan. It's easy because you don't have to think about the calories or the macros in the food. The results are usually good when you blindly adhere to a program... but there's.no learning, no flexibility, just doing.
Herein lies the problem.
There is no way to see sustainable success following a meal plan.
What if you run out of egg whites one morning?
What is you're attending Thanksgiving Dinner at a family members house?
What if the thought of another chicken breast makes you want to hurl?
With meal plans, there is zero flexibility... and should you deviate from your plan you are going to feel a sense of failure.
A meal plan, while it can absolutely provide you with the results you're looking for, offers you no learning opportunity, or chance to step away from your program and enjoy your life!
Knowledge is power. Giving you the power to control your nutrition is important to me. A skill I value as a coach is giving YOU the opportunity to develop a new skillset so that you can eventually go about macros on your own. I don't want you relying on me for the rest of your life.
Honestly, looking back at 19 year old Alli - there were way too many missed social outings because I was too scared to deviate from my meal plan. If it wasn't dry chicken, sweet potato and broccoli you wouldn't find me there. The "dream body" was worth more to me than friends, family and enjoying life.....once I achieved that then obviously I would be happy?! But until then.... happiness was unachievable. Right?
Such a lie. Such a dangerous frame of mind to be in.
The ultimate goal here is freedom.
Unless you are en route to the Olympics or competing in a bikini competition in a month....You really don't need to be perfect with your macros 100% of the time. Those people work towards a "peak" for a reason.... it's not a maintainable level of body fat, fitness level or lifestyle to stay there forever. It's better to find something that works for you consistently, to find a bodyweight, body composition and fitness level that you can participate in and enjoy everyday. Sure, there will be times of caloric deficit that aren't as fun.... but they will be brief and with an important deadline before moving back to a maintenance level of macros.
The skill of macro counting gives the benefit of learning to think for yourself. Learning how to eat what you want, how to sub foods in for one another, how to eat treats and navigate your way around a holiday meal without blowing your whole day. Spending time to understand what works for your body, for your goals and for your life exponentially increases your chances of obtaining your goals and even better, sustaining them for as long as you decide you'd like to.
Join my FREE 7 day macros accountability challenge on facebook! Click this link and request to join. All are welcome. https://www.facebook.com/groups/7daymacros/
I am often asked why I place such a precedence on mindset and awareness training with my nutrition consulting business. "I just need to know my macro numbers, I don't need to work on changing my habits!"
I get it. It can be uncomfortable to turn inward and dig deep. But chances are, there is something you are regularly doing that is working again you and your goals. Identifying this, and then working to change it is paramount to seeing sustainable success with macros. Your mind controls the choices you make for what you eat. Learning to control your mind will allow you to make better food choices.
I've been invested in learning and implementing more mindfulness practises, journaling and meditation into my life for the past year. I am not perfect, but I am making progress. Every so often I will find myself reacting to a situation in the exact opposite way I know that I should, or abandoning my daily practises that have led me to success for no reason. It's a constant recommitment to myself.
I can be guilty of always living in the next moment.
"I'll be happier when I graduate"
"I'll be happier once I purchase my next house"
"I'll be happy once I get my new car"
"I'll be happier when I pay off my student loans"
This is how life passes by. Where did the years go? Did I take any time to enjoy myself?
Working with people on their nutrition is the same thing. Reacting to a situation in the opposite way then know they should, or abandoning healthy practises and losing sight of the goal they have set. Mindset + nutrition go hand in hand. You cannot have nutritional success without working on your mindset.
As it pertains to nutrition...
"I'll be happier when I lose 5lbs"
"I'll be happier when I get back to my college weight"
"I'll be happier once the kids are older so I can get back to my routine."
When it comes to achieving better health, nutrition & fitness - you must remind yourself that success comes from the INSIDE. There is no perfect diet, best workout or ideal timing.... none of this can exist without a mindset shift. Your attitude, not outside variables are the deciding factor for your outcome.
Emotions play a huge role in the consistency that we apply to what we eat on a daily basis. Our habits are a choice. If your habits do not line up with your goals, then your habits must change. It's not easy. It's entirely a mental game. To change your habits first requires an awareness of what's leading you away from your goals, and then interrupting that pattern every time you identify yourself performing it. It's a constant recommitment to yourself.
When someone succeeds, it is not because they've found the perfect workout, the best diet or the timing was just right..... people are not successful because they have the best macros numbers. People are successful because they have cultivated the proper mindset and apply that as often as possible to their nutrition habits.
- Dr. Alli