You’ve done your homework and have decided on an eating style. Now your question is “Where do I start?”
Cutting calories (or adding, if you’re trying to gain weight) is a good place to start. It’s a simple thing to do. There are now apps for your smart phone that will help to determine how many calories to cut and track the calories.
There are several formulas to calculate your caloric needs. You can find one like this. Plug in your information and click calculate to get your numbers. So, for me, my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is 1,865 calories per day. That’s what my body uses to just run the basic needs. The more active I am, the more calories I can consume to maintain my current weight. So, for me to lose weight at my BMR, I need to cut 3,500 calories per week. Why 3,500? Because that equals to about a pound of fat. That equals to 500 calories per day.
Again, you don’t have to sit down with pen and paper to work some long complicated formula to determine how many calories you should consume per day to achieve your goal. There are apps for the smart phone that will help you do that.
We’ve looked at Achievemephobia and at <the fear of failure>. Now let’s look at what to do with the information overload.
What is it?
Simply put, information overload is when there is too much information – and it seemingly is conflicting – for the brain to process.
A good example is eggs. One study shows that eggs are harmful for you because of ABC reason. The next study show that eggs are actually good for you because of XYZ reason.
Which do you believe? I personally believe neither, and I’ll explain why.
Who to trust?
This is just my personal opinion, but trust nobody fully when it comes to nutrition. Personal nutrition is just that – personal. There is no “One Size Fits All” approach. What may work for my body may not work for yours. It’s trial and error.
Now, I’m not advocating a blind following of any one thing. Do your homework. Test the theories. Take notes. Talk to your doctor. That’s how you find what works for you.
In today’s fast-paced world & instant access to almost anything we could possibly ever want, our minds are being constantly crammed with all kinds of knowledge & information. These aren’t inherenly bad or evil — it’s nice to know the latest score on the game within seconds or to find the best 5-star restaurant on a whim.
What happens is that we start to experience “Information Overload.” You know the feeling – having information pumped at you from a firehose instead of a garden hose. It doesn’t have to be information, either. The feeling can come from stress (having several projects going at once) or emotions (all the feels hitting at the same time.)
You’re feeling defeated.
If only you could find some space to just breath.
You can! And it’s easy to do – whether you’ve got 5 minutes or 5 hours.
Here are my top 2 ways to maintain mental space when I feel overwhelmed.
1. BREATHE MEDITATIVELY
We take our breath for granted b/c it’s something we don’t have to think about. However, taking a few moment to do meditative breathing can help maintain mental space. Here’s how to do it:
Sit in your chair, back straight, feet firmly on the floor. Your left hand is on your belly button, and your right hand is above it on your diaphragm. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply, filling your lungs completely, then exhale slowly, emptying your lungs. Do this for up to 5 minutes.
2. REMOVE YOURSELF
Sometimes, the best thing to do is to remove yourself from the overloading factor. For instance, you’ve been working hard on a project when you start to feel overwhelmed…or it’s not going the way you want it to go. Stop working on it and move on to another less-stressful task. If possible, go outside for some fresh air. If that’s not an option immediately, do it as soon as possible. It’s amazing what that can do for mental space!
I find these to be the most beneficial ways for maintaining mental space.
You’re going along, living your life, and feeling pretty good about it when – BAM! A negative thought weasels its way into your brain, triggering a downward spiral of negative self-talk. Now, you feel hopelessly lost in the sea of negativity.
What do you do?
Before I dive into that, I want to talk about what negative self-talk or negative thoughts look possibly like.
Negative thinking is a thought process where people tend to find the worst in everything, or reduce their expectations by considering the worst possible scenarios. This approach can allay disappointment in some situations; but, negative thinking tends to manifest into a pattern that can cause tremendous stress, worry, or sadness over time. (Source)
You’re having a good day – all the lights were green when you were running late; the cake you were making turns out perfectly. Then it happens – someone makes an offhand comment that wasn’t intended to be negative; the icing for the cake doesn’t spread right. That’s when the first thought pops up. “This doesn’t look as pretty as I want it to.” Then it begets another thought. “It’s not right.” Then that snowballs into an avalanche of negativity. “I can do nothing right. I’m such a loser. Nobody likes me.”
The spiral has started.
Here are 3 strategies I use to “talk back” to the negative self-talk.
1. Say “No.”
Tell that negative voice “No, that’s not true” because the reality is that you are not what your thoughts say you are. (“Stupid” is a common thought.) The situation is whatever. (“That was a stupid decision” vs “I’m such a stupid person.”)
2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness in its totality has to do with the quality of awareness that a person brings to everyday living. Learning to control your mind, rather than letting your mind control you. Mindfulness is the process of observing, describing, and participating in reality in a non-judmental manner, in the moment and with effectiveness.
Take a moment to Observe, Describe, and Particpate. Take a walk and be in the moment. Don’t fret over the future or the past. Be aware of your feeling about where you are (e.g. a park, a neighborhood, etc.), or your thoughts about your location, or the sensation of each foot striking the ground.
You can practice mindfulness anywhere you are just by showing up in the moment and observing, describing, and participating. And don’t worry if it “doesn’t work” the first time. It is a practice, after all.
3. Radically Accept
What does it mean to “Radically Accept”? It means that your acceptance is complete and total. It means that acceptance is in the mind, heart, and body. It’s when you stop fighting reality, stop throwing tantrums b/c reality isn’t going the way you want it to go, and start letting go of bitterness.
Here is what to be accepted:
Reality is as it is
There are realistic limitations on the future for everyone
Everything has a cause
Life can be worth living even with painful events in it.
One big reason to accept reality is that the path out of hell is through misery. By refusing to accept that fact, you fall back into hell.
Don’t get discouraged if the “magic of positivity” doesn’t work the first time you practice it. I have been practicing these skills – and many others – for over a year now and still have times where the magic doesn’t happen.
Today is Day 13 of my 70-day prep. (I’m doing a “virtual prep” for an upcoming bikini competition. It’s “virtual” because I’m not able to actually enter the competition at this time.) I’m so stinking tired! I’ve been following a very strict ketogenic diet, which means that I consume no more than 25g of carbs each day. *AAAGGGHH!* Only 57 days left! 🙂 I’ve already planned my post-prep meal: Nachos Mexicanos & margaritas at my favorite Mexican restaurant! YUM!!!
As far as my workouts, I’ve been doing 2-A-Days when my schedule allows. That’s rough. In the mornings, I’m doing my regular exercises that my trainer gives me. In the afternoons I’m going to a class called Team Strength and doing those exercises (which can be BRUTAL!). My goal is to become a bikini competitor.
And I have a deadline.
And I’m determined to meet it to the best of my ability.
That means that I have to be proactive, disciplined, and (almost) hyper-focused on the process that will allow me to reach my goals. In addition to my bikini prep, I have a life that I need to balance – work, wifely duties, mom duties, being a responsible member of my church/scout community. HARD!
The stress is real….but I am DETERMINED to be the best version of myself that I can be!
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Featured Image: Amanda Bucci, BodyBuilding.com spokesmodel