On a client call today, my client told me food has always been the easiest coping mechanism / distraction/ outlet for her because with food, you see it multiple times a day and you’re faced with eating decisions or opportunities constantly.
But when it comes to other activities she enjoys like reading, painting, or finding a class online it’s not as accessible or front of her mind.
This hit home because it’s a recurring theme in most people’s lives.
Convenience of something like food makes it the first thing your mind might think of for comfort or freedom or control or relaxation since the pattern of turning to it in these times has been reinforced over and over again each time you’ve done this.
While you may not want to turn to food, it’s an inevitable part of your life.
You’re going to need to eat to live. So you need to be able to live with the food you need to eat.
Meaning, you can’t run from it!
But you can run toward other things & make them parts of your daily, weekly, bi weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly goals and routines!
Maybe you seek control through food so you choose to participate in something familiar each day or week to remind yourself you are in control.
Maybe you seek comfort so every morning you listen to relaxing music or at night you color under a heater blanket.
If you’re seeking peace or relaxation or an escape you might plan a monthly stay cation or a weekend getaway or every day you might schedule in breaks to breathe & connect back to yourself or lay in the sun.
It will require effort but just open up your calendar right now, & put one thing in there that can satisfy and fulfill you beyond food, over exercising, or fixation on your body.
Whatever you’re getting from the food, you can give to yourself in a new way & practicing this consistently can help condition your brain to think “I need some sunshine to feel better” before saying “I need some food”.
While these are more tangible ideas, it’s also important to honor that getting help is ok & having integrity & congruency with yourself is worth exploring.
I hear a lot of competitors say they would like to be able to eat intuitively one day. They may be tired of following a restrictive diet or constantly tracking macros, and they want to feel more freedom with their food choices.
The principle of intuitive eating itself is about trusting your body and its cues to determine when you eat, what you eat, and how much you eat. But I think there is an opportunity to go much deeper than that!
If you wait to eat until you are hungry, you are more likely to eat past the point of hunger because your thought have been consumed with food and feeling satiated. Compare that with eating throughout the day and being able to go into a meal without the need to overcompensate for that deficit.
On one hand, you can wait for an intense hunger signal, on the other hand you can be proactive and use the awareness from waiting too long to eat sooner moving forward.
Here are a few things to help you eat intuitively without intuitive eating:
1) Being mindful
Ask yourself what your body needs right now and if the need can be met within your macros/meal plan. For example if your meal plan calls for an apple, but you are craving an orange and you notice you are lacking in calcium, potassium and vitamin C in your micronutrients, you may consider how would making that substitution feel to your body or in support of your long term goals?
2) Practicing listening to your intuition
Try to listen more while you are on a meal plan to set you up for success when you are off of that plan. Every time you eat something, take a moment and write down how it made you feel or what led to the decision. In doing this, you may develop a great reference sheet to support decision making in the future.
3) Consider is how you feel
Before you eat, think of how the food will make you feel.
Bringing mindfulness to your decisions is a great way to bring your intuition into a set nutrition plan or macros.
In a single breath, you just want to avoid being on autopilot with your food decisions because then as soon as you are presented with a decision off plan, you may lack the awareness necessary to trust your intuition with food.
If you never take the time to truly listen and honor yourself, it is unfair to expect yourself to be able to handle a free meal, intuitive eating day, or a trip without tracking.
In my food relationship program, I have a full journal that includes a set of mealtime rituals and daily reflections. This program is a lot of deep, intentional, introspective work. This is something that I'm very passionate about and I love bringing mindfulness to the table-literally, to encourage people to connect back to their bodies.
Our body has this innate ability to guide us to what's best for us. If we truly believe that our body wants to function at an optimal level then we can trust our body, but we have to be willing to put in the work to get there.
I can't wait to hear how you apply these tactics for yourself!
Please share this with a friend if you think it would help them.
Remember; Start with mindfulness. Start by asking your body how she feels after, before, and during meals. And reference your past experiences.
You can't go wrong if you're present!!
Are you looking for support with the mental demands that competing brings in every season?
Wish you had a place you could go to ease your mind, help you understand your struggle, and find a solution immediately?
Are you truly committed to becoming the BEST athlete you can be and achieving your goals in this sport long term?
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As a competitor, your mindset is tested and challenged in new ways daily whether you are in prep or in your improvement season.
To become a champion, feel amazing on stage, have successful reverse diets and therefore even more successful preps, as well as work your way up the ranks in the sport, you have to do what others aren't always willing to.
So, imagine investing as much energy and time into your mindset as you do your workouts, nutrition, sleep, recovery, coaching, posing, and the shows themselves?
By focusing on your mindset, you would have the mental stamina to support your longevity in this sport!
And, since your mindset wouldn't be sending you into self-destructive spirals with food, body image, discipline or any other challenges that come up as a competitor, you would have more time and energy to focus on becoming the elite level athlete you dream of being.
I urge you, from competitor to competitor, don't wait until you NEED to work on your mindset to set yourself apart from the girls next to you, be PROACTIVE so that EVERY time you step on stage you feel empowered, beautiful, proud, and fulfilled regardless of the outcome.
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Can you travel without going crazy on food? Can you trust yourself to be able to enjoy your experiences without ruining them with an uncomfortably full stomach, head full of regret, and this nagging voice telling you how much you messed up again?
Can you go to a restaurant or food market and say 'I want this, so I will have it' and not feel the need to go crazy on food the rest of the night or restrict all the next day? It may sound impossible to you. Especially if you have always dieted or been in prep or reverse dieting or focused on making food meet macros or meal plans or numbers or used for changing your body.
Hyper fixation on how food impacts your body usually comes from the in depth calculation, science, and true art of building an incredible physique. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, humans thrive off of routine!
I have never believed that anyone should have to give up routine to find freedom, I think quite the opposite. As a competitor myself, I find I can resonate and understand my clients on a deeper level.
I don't just apply the psychology, mental health professional tools, or coaching, counseling, and mentorship techniques...I truly honor athletes for being athletes! But the reason I ask if you can trust yourself around food is because if you cannot, then your longevity as an athlete will be shortened.
This may ruffle some feathers but many people who quit bodybuilding struggled with food or their body image. This is not to say it cannot be triggering for many, it can be! And some people really should take a break to reevaluate their intentions/reasons.
But, it doesn't deserve to be constantly demonized! If you compete, your mindset, your relationship with food and your body, all need to be a priority.
My job is to support you in developing a healthy relationship with your goals, your body, and food.
If you cannot even enjoy a nice meal out, or a fun experience like your first cannoli (hello, yes that was my first!), or a simple BITE of food without it turning into a free for all then we have a LOT of work to do. It is not just a mental health concern, but it's a threat to your potential.
Athletes that succeed are the athletes that can play the long game. The more games you play, the more chances you have to win. But if you are not playing the game to win or to play again then what are you really doing?
I started my Food Relationship Healing and Discovery coaching Program because I wanted competitors like you to know that you can learn to trust yourself and still reach your goals (if not even surpass them with the increase in trust).
I don't tell you what to eat or how to eat or what you should and shouldn't eat (unless there are major red flags) because this is your physique coaches job!
I focus on what’s happening within you, your past, your environment so we can BUILD MORE THAN JUST A BODY
I am humbled to say hundreds of competitors have trusted me in their journey. You can see tons of their stories, learn about the program, and apply to work with me at: www.celestial.fit/foodfreedom now
It’s not always going to be easy or seem worth it or go your way. It certainly hasn’t been for me.
Seems like one day I’m my normal go after everything and stop at nothing to accomplish your mission and the next I am crying in the gym because I got a cramp that feels like a pull and now my one thing that I usually can rely on to make my day great went to shit. In all seriousness, today was hard.
I expected this week to be telling all of you about my amazing experience in residency which started yesterday and that I’d be on a high from it like my first one but it hasn’t been the case
I contemplated today just not posting or sharing how I’m in residency or resorting to my usual new blog to help competitors and athletes. But it didn’t feel right.
I am being authentic because I have a lot of self awareness and I work through things at a faster rate than I used to because of much of the work I’ve done for myself, my education, and the work I do.
But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt and suck or that I’ve got no worries in the world.
I’m human and you’re human and that’s our greatest quality. We have so much potential, always!
Sometimes though, I have to remind myself that if I’m doing my best, then that is good enough especially on harder days. I didn’t immediately quit my workout. I did what I could. I told my coach.
I vented to Robbie because it brought up so many other things for me. And ultimately I knew I needed to call my sister.
You and I deserve to feel loved and cared for even when our problems feel silly or inadequate or meh.
I just suffered the most painful loss of my life, nothing has hurt I’ve been numb, but the feelings have surfaced over other things in my life and I knew by calling my sister I’d be able to share my thoughts and be validated and heard and know it’s okay for me to be hurt or have everything feel heavy.
Some days have been really amazing and my workouts have been awesome and killing it in school big time and my clients are the frikkin best & I have an amazing boyfriend and a family full of love & friends and people who care for me & I them.
I’m proud of myself! I accept myself & I take price in processing.
Willpower is fatiguing, Passion is freeing, & self-awareness is sustainable
If you want long term success, know your values & connect to them every day
If you want consistency, create congruency between your actions, ideal self, & positive emotions
If you want to be proud of yourself, set intentions and fulfill them each day
If you want to get results, they have to mean something to you that goes well beyond surface level—not even just physique related but in everything; others expectations, money, fame...
People will tell you you need more will power, but you know that is fleeting, otherwise it would’ve worked by now, no?
To progress, you can’t rely on willpower. You have to step up to the plate and do the inner work to learn about yourself, work through limiting beliefs or behaviors, and commit every day to something better
Your reality will never change just by “trying harder to resist”. This will tire you out
When I used to practice ju jitsu my sensei told me something someone told him which originally came from Saulo Ribeiro, “if you think, you’re late. If you’re late, you muscle. If you muscle, you’re tired. If you’re tired, you die”
In application here:
if you rely on your automatic thoughts to save you, when they never have, they won’t—you need to peel back layers and work to establish new ones
If you don’t have those in place you’ll think will power will do it, which will fatigue you
If you’re fatigued from willpower then you’ll likely fall into old, comfortable patterns— exhaustion is not optimal for new efforts
We all know where this goes, the pattern repeats because it was never truly addressed or interrupted
It’s a dangerous game to tell others or yourself to use willpower when you haven’t established the disciplines you can be accountable to outside what you think you “should” do
You need techniques. I specialize in helping others make the most of their season by combining psychology & personal development
I’m not your average “mindset coach” either. Get ready to really dig deeper & BUILD MORE THAN JUST A BODY
During prep, you will usually start to see a trend of getting leaner, tighter, and smaller, as you get closer to your show day which then creates this association between heels, bikini, and check ins with looking tighter and smaller
In an off season you might check in or practice posing and think, "Oh my god, I don't look good at all. I don't look like a competitor. I look like a normal person just putting on a bikini and trying to pose. I don’t even look like I workout” and even though these things are probably not factual, the way it feels is so real!
I want you to know it's normal to have these emotional reactions given that you've been conditioned to see your body going smaller, getting tighter it’s natural to then feel a bit shocked when the opposite becomes true even if you’re “expecting it” because 94/100 of the last times you’ve checked in you’ve been getting leaner so now those 6 since your reverse or improvement season started are like the odd balls out and it can take time to get comfortable with the subtle growth that begins to happen
You’re not broken for thinking this way, it actually makes perfect sense why you would be!
There’s a lot more to this that I’ve discussed before too like positive reinforcements with the scale or measurements changing that we have to be mindful of too
But in this case, you need to become open to forming new associations in the environment of check-ins and posing, recognizing that even in off-season, when your body is getting bigger, you are still a competitor.
If anything, you’re even more of a bodybuilder because you’re committing to BUILDING, growing and improving while knowing you’ll have to go through a prep again in the future to reveal it all. Even if you’re not trying to build muscle it’s important to find homeostasis and give the body and mind rest so you can come back and strike!
if you obsess over getting “too fat” or “too big” or “too heavy” you could be inhibiting your potential
You're in a new phase, a growing season, which is an important part of the process, and your progress will be evident tin the future when you are doing your check-ins for another prep if you can get comfortable with all phases and see they’re ALL valuable and ALL serve a purpose
If you really are being diligent and doing your best, you're gonna be okay and you're gonna form a new association with your body and check-ins with consistency (not from avoiding anything!)
Having a positive body image will support you in treating your body (and yourself) positively which ultimately fuels your progress more than anything!
I encourage you to join the Build More than Just a Body community by becoming a member of my On Demand Mindset coaching platform that covers common struggles of competitors at your fingertips!
you can learn more and join now here: www.celestial.fit/ondemand
It is common to use stories to justify addictions. The addiction itself becomes a goal or it can become attached to a goal.
Of course, there can be different reasons or motivations for eating eating habits that are outside of addiction. Often times even more than one contributing factor.
But in focusing on this specific scenario, what happens in your mind is you start justifying those addictive behaviors to satisfy the need, which leads to creating stories that help satisfy the addiction
The more they are positively reinforced, the stronger they become. The justifying behaviors start to snowball and become easier to do because they’re seen as necessary, safe, or beneficial (due to those justifications).
In order to release yourself from the justification cycle, you have to be willing to let go of the goal, the addiction. But first, you have to feel safe to do so!
Start by asking yourself, "Why am I so attached to ___? What is it bringing to my life? What would letting go of it mean for me?" Once you start to gain insight, you can redirect your energy into more positive pursuits that genuinely satisfy the needs you have and are sustainable + life giving
If there is an unsatisfied need, we can easily fixate on it, turning to external sources of addiction or a focus that takes us away from important things in our life.
I break an example down in the video but if you are “addicted” to binging and purging (whether that be through exercise, restricting calories, or throwing up) and you feel safer doing this because it feels safer to stuff everything down and throw it all up as a release than it does to address the intense underlying emotion, you’re going to justify your disordered eating as protection from the emotion so when you lie to family or you hide in private or you go to the bathroom or wake up for hours of cardio it’s all “fine” because it has served its purpose
I would love to hear your reflections on this topic. If it resonates with you, I would encourage you to check out my free 8 day food relationship series. Click here to find more information.
To apply for my in-depth food relationship coaching program, click here. You will find client testimonials and stories to show you what this kind of coaching is all about.
Research papers consider limitations, not as failures, but rather as variables that could’ve negatively impacted the result or limited the results in some way.
You might read a research paper that says a limitation of their study on the impact of social media on self esteem was that they didn’t perform a mental health assessment before collecting the qualitative data.
Doesn’t mean the qualitative studies through stories collected need to be discounted. It just means they need to be viewed from a new lens of “here’s what we didn’t know or didn’t consider while gathering this info and even though it would’ve been better if we did, future studies can!”
I repeat, it does not mean the study was an utter failure or worthy of discrediting (likely wouldn’t have been published if that bad!)
It just means future research can now take those things into consideration to improve and refine the results.
I like to think of every season we have the same way.
Your setbacks or challenges are not the defining moments of the entire experience.
Rather, they are variables you can consider for the next one.
Seeing each day as an experiment can help detach from the negative emotions of attempts made that didn’t go as planned or learning something “too late” that you “wish you knew before”
If you remain curious and objective, considering alllllll contributing factors to your journey, and even asking for others to support you or provide feedback, then you’ll only gather more data or breakthroughs to apply next time you prep or reverse diet or go out to eat or have a vacation or try a new thing.
I discussed this on the monthly group coaching calls I hold for my #BUILDMORETHANJUSTABODY community of past and current clients and members.
You can get access to the replay of today’s call and our past calls on a wide variety of common mental health topics of concern or for growth of competitors and athletes now by joining the On-Demand Mindset Coaching Platform at www.celestial.fit/ondemand
Hope to see you in there so we can all support you in making the most of all your experiences by applying insight gained from the last!
It’s okay to want to be above average and demand more from yourself.
To deny yourself the satisfaction of growth is to deny yourself the satisfaction of being human.
We are growth driven beings constantly striving for self-actualization.
Making excuses for ourselves and settling is a disservice to ourselves of course but even taking it a step further, to future generations.
Contentedness is one thing, that’s actually quite desirable and can be good for homeostasis and satisfies being happy and literally content with life.
But being complacent is a whole different story.
If you accept the status quo, you submit to life as we know it.
But if you accept that it’s okay to want change and you even encourage others to seek improvements for themselves then you allow for new normals, new records to be set, new standards, new breakthroughs, new ideas and so much more!
It’s okay to demand more of yourself.
In fact, it’s arguably healthier than just existing with a “fine as is” mentality whilst knowing you, and others, are capable of so much more!
You’re always going to be amazing as you are and enough as you are simply for being you, of course.
But because you’re a naturally bright light, it’s okay to go shine.
For more mindset based work, mentorship, & mental health resources visit: www.celestial.fit/links