Be a Robot/Fail Forward

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“Failure isn’t a badge of shame. It’s a rite of passage”

– Tony Hseih, co-founder Zappos

One hashtag I check regularly on the WordPress Reader is “diet.” I’ll usually find a variety of posts ranging from informational to motivational to interesting to just plain silly.

There’s one type of post I find EVERY time. I call it the “wah wah failure post.” It goes something like this:

“Dear Internet:

Wah wah wah. I’ve only been on my diet six days, and already I’ve caved and eaten seventeen hamburgers smothered in cheese, marshmallows, and gravy.

I knew from the beginning that I was a fat stupid failure, and now once again I’m reminded of what a stupid fat failure I am.

Well, I figure if I already ruined this diet, might as well enjoy the weekend. It is Easter after all! I guess I’ll  start again Monday.

It’s hard staying motivated with this slow metabolism. So unfair! Especially since my sister eats anything she wants and stays rail thin. #ughhhh”

 

Stop Expecting Not To Fail

Why do people expect that they will declare themselves on a diet, and from that day forward – they will never fail?

In the whole of human history, no person has ever achieved ANYTHING without failing at it first. And no, I’m not talking about large or notable accomplishments. I’m talking about the basics. For example, tying your shoe.

How many times did you mess up tying your shoe before you finally got it right? Three times? Seven times? One hundred and three times?

You failed a lot at first. And then you got a little better. But, although passable, your knot was still probably not great for some time. Finally, you became a shoe tying expert. And once you did – you forgot how hard it was to get there. And then some bastard came along and invented velcro shoes. You become a nihilist. After all, what’s the point?

Basically, we are born with three abilities: suckle, breathe, defecate. Everything else we need to learn.

Our bodies are basically sensors and processors. We act then measure then act then measure until we get an action down decently enough to call it “not a failure.”  And we still probably suck at it. We have to fail more and get even better.

And Yet…

And yet, when you go on a diet – you expect that you’re going to magically summon some untapped reserve of willpower and never fail.

The foolishness is TRIPLE here, because:

  1. If your willpower were excellent, you prrroooobably wouldn’t find yourself in this current predicament (not that I believe in willpower, see my post here); AND
  2. Your body doesn’t WANT to lose weight. It wants sweet sweet homeostasis.

When you tie your shoe, your shoe isn’t fighting you at every step. 

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Or is it? 

..But when you diet, your body IS fighting you. And it wants to win badly.

That’s because your poor hot body thinks it’s dying. And you’re the sick nut who’s killing it. “Why won’t you feed me?” asks your poor hot body. But it only hears its own echo.

When you fight your body, you’ll win sometimes. But you won’t win every time. No big deal. You don’t have to.

You just need to fail forward.

You ARE going to fail. You will. So you need to fail forward.

Failing forward means taking accountability for your failure. Which is VERY different from making yourself feel guilty about it.

Be an alien robot from another galaxy. Don’t color your failure with emotions that don’t serve you. Instead, examine your failure with the disinterested mind of a curious yet mechanical being, programmed by a wizard lightyears away in a galaxy called “Disintrestrex Four.”

What are the FACTS behind your failure? Separate them out from the story you weaved yourself.

Robots don’t care about stories. They have no idea about your childhood or your mean aunt Mae or your white privilege or all of those terrible things your third grade teacher said to you when you accidentally killed the class pet.

Robots only care about the root cause of  your malfunction. They need to compile an error report to send back to the mothership, and they don’t want your humanoid opinion. They want facts.

Why do you fail?

I never fail, because I’m an exemplary person. Wink wink.

..But if I ever WERE to fail (WINK WINK), it might be because: 

  • I didn’t get enough sleep
  • I ate a carby breakfast
  • I drank a tub full of alcohol
  • I kept tempting foods in the house (ahem…girl scout cookies)

Knowing this list keeps me in the habit of making good decisions. And that’s enough.

You don’t need to be an angel like me to look and feel hot as Satan himself. You just need to make a lot more good choices than bad ones.

So know yourself! And know thyself! Even if those both mean the same exact thing.

Know why you fail, and how you fail.
Know that it’s ALL YOUR FAULT. And yet, know also that you’re not at all to blame. Losing weight is hard! Food is good. And your body is fighting you.

Finally, fail forward!!! 

  • Leverage your failures to learn more about yourself.
  • Use this knowledge to improve and refine your efforts.

How can YOU use YOUR last “failure” to improve your odds of success?

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Help! I HATE Healthy Food

Hungry cute female reaches for donut at night near fridge

In the land of picky eating, I once reigned as queen. Processed carbs were my vassals. Flavor, my sworn enemy.

When I tried new foods, it felt like a terrible explosion in my mouth. Sometimes it still does.

My mom told me I’d thrive in jail. “All you need is bread and butter,” she said. Maybe that’s why I became a criminal defense attorney.

What to Do

  1. Try New Foods. Obviously. 

I love tomatoes. And I still can’t believe it.

Like most foods, tomatoes were once my enemy. Just the tiniest sliver made my whole mouth feel like it was vibrating. What monster brought these wretched things into being?

One day, I just grabbed a tomato and vowed that I would love it. In fact, I would make love to it. So I started adding tiny bits of tomato to my meals.

I’d put it on my fork, together with other flavors to drown it out. And I did it over and over and over again. I never made myself eat all of the tomato, but I always made myself have at least a little bit.

Now I love tomatoes. Weird. But that’s how our brain works.

2.  Start With Iceberg, then Romaine. 

I wanted to eat salads, but I could NOT stand greens, let alone dark greens.

I found iceberg lettuce tolerable, but I knew it had zero health value. So what, who cares? Eat it anyway. Soon you’ll move onto romaine, which is a little better. And after that, you’ll move on to darker greens.

When I first started eating salads, I used the following ingredients:

  1. iceberg lettuce
  2. microwavable popcorn chicken (yes, breaded)
  3. hardboiled egg
  4. small amount of shredded mozzarella cheese
  5. croutons or crushed up saltines
  6. small amount of kraft french dressing

Not exactly the picture of health. But it was a step.

Later, I would start using grilled chicken. Then I would add romaine. Eventually I removed the cheese. I added  cucumbers. I added a little bit of tomato.  Soon, I started mixing in dark greens.

..But not that soon. It probably took a good 6 months. I started with baby spinach. Arugula is good too.

At some point, the croutons were replaced with seeds. All of this happened because I wanted it to. Not because I made myself. I was getting tired of iceberg lettuce, and I wanted more flavor. Trust me, you will too.

3. Do a Several Day Juice Fast

There is a lot of controversy surrounding juice fasts. I won’t get into that here. But I will tell you this. Juice fasts absolutely 100% changed my food preferences for the better.

Once I finished a 10 day juice fast, I craved healthy food. After 10 days of juice, all I wanted was a salad.

Maybe 10 days is extreme. Try 3 days. Or maybe juice is too extreme. Try smoothies. All you need is veggies, fruits, and a blender.

I got my recipes (and inspiration) here.

4. Intermittent Fasting

Like juice fasting, a 5:2 diet will help you crave healthier foods.  I don’t know why, but it works. Maybe 5:2 isn’t for everyone, I don’t know. For me, it helps regulate appetite. And I was a binger of the highest order.

I don’t actively do 5:2, I just kind of do it naturally. It feels like the right way for me to eat now, and I imagine it will be for a long time.

For more on 5:2 check out “The Fast Diet” by Dr. Michael Mosley. Or, if you don’t want to read a book, check out the BBC Documentary “Eat Fast Live Longer” also featuring Dr. Mosley. It’s free on YouTube.

Share the Wealth

Do you have any tips or experience with regards to healthy eating for picky eaters?

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Eggs and Beans on Top of Greens

 

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“breakfast of greatness”

This is one of my favorite breakfasts.

It’s filling, it’s yummy, and it makes me feel slightly less terrible about the several decades I spent eating strawberry pop-tarts and bagel bites.

The essence of “Eggs and Beans on Top of Greens” is this:
1. Eggs
2. Beans
3.  ….on top of Greens.

It’s basic. In a good way. And like all food, this recipe can also be enjoyed for lunch and/or dinner.

Plus you can modify it easily to make it your own 🙂

In case you’d like some guidance… here is how I do it.

Ingredients

  • one or two cage free eggs
  • approx 1/4 small onion, chopped
  • a handful of mixed greens (baby spinach & arugula = perfect)
  • 1/4 can Bush’s or Heinz Vegetarian Baked Beans (SO GOOD!)
  • salt
  • coconut oil/coconut oil spray (to coat pan)
  • Optional:  olive oil
  • Optional: tomato
  • Optional: splash of asian sesame dressing

Process

  1. spray pan w/ non-stick spray, or use coconut oil to coat pan
  2. cut up onions, begin sautéing them on light flame
  3. once onions begin to brown slightly, crack egg(s) on top of onions and scramble them all together
  4. salt egg/onion concoction
  5. move egg/onion concoction to one side of pan
  6. add beans to other side of pan
  7. put a handful of mixed greens on plate
  8. add egg/onion concoction on top
  9. add beans on top
  10. Optional: add a splash of olive oil on top of your concoction
  11. Optional: add a splash of asian sesame salad dressing to your mixed greens
  12. Optional: cut up tomato, add on top

If you’re feeling extremely rowdy, add half of an avocado for an enhanced gustatory experience.

…But don’t get too wild. Any more than half, and I WILL be forced to call the breakfast police.

Enjoy 🙂

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Thank You for 100 Followers

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It’s been nearly a month since we started Fat Girls Fitness!!

We are SO excited about all of the wonderful feedback on our blog, and we are so happy to have hit our first milestone of 100 followers.

We are finding the wordpress community to be AWESOME and we’re so pleased to meet so many likeminded people.

If you love our blog please follow us on Facebook here 🙂
Or sign up to our email list here.

If you’d like to get in touch, you can email us at theFGFblog@gmail.com

Who we are

We are three childhood friends who each went from FAT to FIT over the past couple of years. We each take slightly different approaches to fitness, and we talk so much about fitness that we decided to start a blog.

Rachel works in the housing industry. unspecified-8She grew up in New Jersey, and currently lives in PA with her husband, two adopted cats Chip and Nita, and dawg Marty. Rachel takes a low carb approach to nutrition, and is our expert on all things cooking. She is also interested in fitness fashion. Rachel has lost over 100 pounds!

Dori is an attorney based in New York and New Jersey, where she works witunspecified-7h small businesses, and also practices criminal defense. She lives on the Hudson with co-contributor Valerie and her cute adorable puppy face Herman Canine.

Dori also blogs about libertarian politics. She recently finished editing a documentary called “Hitchhiking w/ a .357 Magnum” and is now working on a documentary about Civil Asset Forfeiture. Dori has lost over 60 pounds in the past two years, and takes a whole foods plant based approach to nutrition.

Valerie is a staffing profesional in NYC, and is also the reluctant roommate of Dori and unnamedHerman Cainine. Valerie takes an active approach to fitness, and has become quite the Yoga Kickboxer. In the warmer months, Valerie can be found hiking a mountain. Of all three contributors, we consider Valerie most likely to trip over her own legs and fall down the stairs.

Thanks again for the love 😀
Here’s to the next 100!

-Fat Girls Fitness ❤

 

Willpower versus Motivation

People blame their shortcomings on a lack of willpower. But do you treat willpower as if it’s a static personality trait?

..Because it’s not. Willpower is simply a measure of two things:
1. your level of motivation for a particular outcome; and
2. your willingness and ability to take a concrete action in furtherance of that outcome

When you see a cheeseburger, you easily conjure the will to eat it. That’s because it’s salient. It makes your brain cells dance, and you suddenly experience a high level of motivation to just stuff it into your mouth.

When you are highly motivated to do things, suddenly it becomes difficult to NOT do them. So really – your willpower problem can actually be seen as a problem of motivation.

And if you know yourself, and you know the things that really interest you – you can increase your willpower by increasing your motivation. Over time, mundane acts (like exercising) will become a source of familiarity and joy as they become habits engrained in your mind.

Here are just a few ways you can increase your motivation, and thus, your willpower:

  1. Temptation Bundling. Research has shown that coupling highly enjoyable acts with less enjoyable acts can increase your motivation to participate in the less enjoyable acts. For more details, check out my post on temptation bundling. And while you’re at it, check out my Serial Challenge for Gym Haters.
  2. Make Exercising Social. Don’t focus on exercising so hard. Instead, focus on making exercise a fun and social event. Take a dance class with a friend or go for walks with coworkers. It’s not exercise, it’s just fun with friends. (But shhh…it’s also exercise.)
  3. Create Small Goals. Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds. Of course it’s doable. But 50 pounds is a lot of weight, and it’s a very demotivating thought when you’re just starting out. But what if you only wanted to lose 4 pounds? Losing 4 pounds is easy. And if you do it over and over again, you’ll eventually get to 50 before you know it. Set small goals to increase your motivation. It works!! See my post about setting small goals here.
  4. Buy one dress that doesn’t fit. When I first started my weight loss journey, I bought an adorable dress that was several sizes too small. I hung it up, and I promised myself that someday soon I would wear that dress. It was bright yellow, so I noticed it every time I opened my closet. When the dress finally fit, it was incredibly rewarding. Say YES to the dress!
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Summer 2015, the day the yellow dress fit! I’ve lost about another 20 since.

What are some ways you keep your motivation high?

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Your Friends and Family are Stupid

Romantic Love

Enough about love. Let’s talk about hate.

The People You Love are Killing You

Some people are fortunate enough to be surrounded by people with healthy habits. Most of us fall into a different category.

Being fit takes work. And if the people in your life support your efforts, then that is a beautiful thing. If not, it might be time to make some very difficult changes.

Failure to Respect Boundaries

Some people will  never respect your boundaries.

Maybe it’s your friends who tell you to “live a little” while pushing a plate of nachos in your face. It could be your colleagues who tell you, unprompted, that they’d rather be “fat and happy” than deprive themselves. Perhaps you have an Italian grandmother, who despite your morbid obesity, insists that you’ll starve to death if you don’t have another meatball.  And also, don’t forget your coat.

Losing weight is so hard. Your body is fighting you, your friends are fighting you, and maybe even nana is fighting you.

For me, I couldn’t do it without enforcing my boundaries. These people must be classified as “Haters” and removed from your life, temporarily, while you establish good habits.

Don’t Shun Nana

Ok, when it comes to nana – don’t shun her.

Just put on your mental blinders. When she offers you a meatball, don’t fight. Just change the subject. Then do it again next time, and again next time. Nana is probably so old she won’t even remember.

And Nana is your grandma. She’s not god. She can’t make you eat the meatball. She can barely even lift a newspaper. Deep down, you want that fucking meatball. So don’t blame nana, who can barely even see without her bifocals.

Your Family is Nana

Nana is a metaphor. I’m not even Italian.

Nana represents all the people who think you’re beautiful just the way you are, and who want to stuff the shit out of you because they lived through the great depression.

Nanas of the world are old as hell, and they’re stubborn. You can’t change them. But you can’t let them change you.

Don’t shun your nanas. Just ignore their efforts. They brought you into this world, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat what they offer. Go ahead and break their hearts. We all have nanas. Your nana will be offended, but she won’t be uniquely offended. Disappointing grandma is just an unavoidable fact of life.

And Then There are The Others

If a person is not a nana in your life, and yet they are negatively impacting your weight loss efforts, just do this: drop them!

Temporarily, maybe. Permanently, maybe. Who cares? Once you’re hot, everyone will want to be your friend.

Why so harsh? Because people in your own age group should have the mental flexibility to respect your goals and boundaries. If they don’t, they are losers – or worse yet, jealous haters.

People who love you want you to be happy. When they see you struggling, they want to help you. All the others are just bags of douche.

And Then There Are Your children and Spouse

I love when people who are overweight say they MUST keep crap in the house because the kids like it. Or their husband likes it.

Fit people don’t feed poison to the people they love and care about. Just because your kids and husband are skinny now, doesn’t mean they’ll always be. And it doesn’t mean that unhealthy foods aren’t affecting them negatively.

This is YOUR life, and those are YOUR children and YOUR spouse. Set some parameters, and stop using them as an excuse. I can’t even imagine feeding unhealthy food to my dog, let alone my human family.

This doesn’t mean be a dictator. But it does mean TRY your best. And ACTUALLY try.

Your husband  is entitled to make his own choices. And your kids, depending on their ages,  are also entitled to do the same. But young kids won’t starve to death if you don’t feed them garbage. And older kids can buy junk food with their own money if that’s what they want. Set a good example by living it. And don’t be a nana to a younger generation.

On Stupid Lies

People who love you (and people who hate you) will fill your head with stupid “facts”. Facts about life, about diets, even facts about you.

Examples:
1. Oh, our family just has slow metabolisms
2. Oh, you’re naturally big. Not like your sister – she’s slim
3. Oh, you shouldn’t eat avocados, they’re fattening. Here, have some cake.
4. Everyone who loses weight will just gain it back, plus more.

These aren’t really facts. They are silly opinions that have been filtered through these people’s various biases. All they amount to is a giant pile of BS.

You don’t have a slow metabolism. Have you ever noticed that people with slow metabolisms are usually the same people who eat crap all day and night?

And no, you’re not “naturally big.” YES you probably should eat avocados.  And no, you’re not destined to gain back everything you lose.

In Sum

The people you love AFFECT you. The people who surround you AFFECT you. Both with their actions, and with their words. But they don’t own you.

So this Valentine’s Day – be careful of the people you love the most. You might be using them as an excuse, or they might just be killing you.

Now a question

How do YOU deal with difficult family and friends?

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