Are you hard on yourself?
Do you push yourself to do hard things. . . but in a kind way?
That is what I am talking about in today’s podcast inspired by an Echelon coach, Vandon Jones, who says “Easy doesn’t make you better, but take it easy on yourself.”
I’ve got a great little clip from Vandon himself at the end of the episode so stay tuned for that!
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this is the Eat well, Think Well, Live Well podcast. I'm Lisa Salsbury. And my mission is to help women stop obsessing about everything they eat and feel confident about their ability to lose weight without a diet app. This is episode 37. Take it easy on yourself. I'm going to jump straight into this episode today. It's a solo one. That I have planned for you today. I've had so many great interviews lately and actually tons of them lined up as well. But I still like to talk a little bit on my own sometimes. So. I've got an Echelon bike in my garage. If you're not familiar with that one, it's sorta like the poor man's Peloton. But, yeah, I love it though. It's just that the bikes can be sold like at Costco, so they aren't maybe quite as fancy as the Peloton system. But it's got all the live rides and the leaderboard and on-demand rides all of that, that the same as Peloton. So. Um, this isn't a promo or anything. It's just something I have. And I enjoy doing, I ride five to 10 minutes as a warmup to my weightlifting days. And then I usually typically do one or two cardio rides each week, like the 45 minute classes. So one of my favorite instructors. Sadly doesn't teach any more. So I just have all of his on-demand rides. So there's plenty. So it's fine. It just makes it harder to connect with the instructors, but I hardly ever catch a live ride anyway, so that's okay. Anyway, his name is Vanden Jones. So if you have an echelon bike, you should check him out. He called his rights, the athletes rides, and he teaches a challenging, but very doable class for my current level. So one thing he says at the end of every ride is easy. Doesn't make you better, but take it easy on yourself. At first, when I heard him say this, I thought, oh, it's kind of contradictory. But then the more I took his class and the more I heard him say this, I just came to an understanding of what it was, he was really saying. And I realized that this is actually a lot of what I teach as well. So I just wanted to make that sane, um, actually the topic of today's episode. And I actually popped into Vandon's, Instagram, DMS, and I was like, Hey, I'm going to do this. Do you want to add anything? And so he sent me. A little voice memo of what it means to him and why he says it. So we'll be playing that in this episode as well. So let's take a look at both parts. So the first one, the first part of this is easy. Doesn't make you better. This is the hard part of what we're doing here. Weight loss. Isn't easy exercising and moving your body every day. Isn't easy. Planning out meals and writing grocery lists and going and doing the hunting and gathering at the grocery store is not easy. I mean, seriously. Have you ever noticed, like how many times do you have to handle the food to get it in the place where you can cook it? You go to the store, you pick it up, you put it in your cart. If you're like me, you pick up several items to compare before you even select one. Then you own load it onto the belt to be scanned and you pick it up again to bag it. If you're at a place where you have to back your own groceries, you put the bags in the car. Or in the cart, you load them into your car. You take all the bags inside and then you handle the food again, to get it put away. That's like seven touchpoints. It's no wonder our brains are like, nah, not today. We can go one more day without grocery shopping. Right. Obviously doing online orders where they put it in your cart can re or put it right in your car can remove. Like some of this barrier and I of course recommend that if it's available to you, but the truth is for me, I never plan ahead enough to do that since they usually need like 24 hours notice. But anyway, I digress. What I'm saying is like a lot of this stuff, like having healthy food on hand in your home. Is just one aspect of this, that. Just all these things we do in order to make health a priority. It's not easy. Specifically, when we're talking about exercise, the easy movements don't change your body in significant ways. We've got to put stress on the muscles. If your resistance training. Or on the cardiovascular system, if we are doing a cardio workout in order to keep it all working in tip-top shape or to improve some aspect of our fitness, we've got to get uncomfortable. We've got to push ourselves and that isn't easy. This isn't to say you should push through pain. That is the injury type of pain, but you should be using good form. And then going to failure on most of your big lifts. I think you'll often hear me say like, well, what exercise do you love if you're thinking about like, starting an exercise routine and. That's the one you should do, right. Because we, aren't going to stick to exercise that we hate, but even if we love doing it, or at least we tolerate it better than we tolerate other exercises, it doesn't actually mean it's easy when you're doing it. If you listen, especially to episode 33 with Maverick Willett, where we are talking about resistance training for women. We talk about progressive overload. What that means is with any training regimen. The body is always in a state of adaptation. So in order to continuously improve performance, you need to gradually increase the intensity. Or difficulty of workouts over time. Although this primarily refers to resistance training, a similar concept is true of cardiovascular training as well, where you need to keep things fresh and alter what you do. So you aren't just taking the exact same three mile run each and every day. So this is all not easy, right? If it was easy, we wouldn't be doing any kind of progressive overload. We wouldn't be improving or getting better. That's why easy doesn't make you better. Easy movements that don't challenge the body don't change the body. It's not that we constantly need to change the way our body looks, but our bodies are in a steady state of decline with age. If we don't actively combat that. So even if your exercise routine is simply maintaining your current muscle mass or cardio level or. Or the look of your body that is actual progress since, without doing anything you would be in decline simply due to time and age. If your workout has become easy to do, it can also be because you have become more efficient and better at doing that workout. So as it was hard to do in the beginning, you have become better and better at doing it. And now it becomes easier. So. Easy doesn't make you better, but doing the hard thing over time. Makes it actually a little easier. So, this is true in the functional sense, as well as you continue increasing your fitness, you make carrying the groceries in the house even easier. It makes your stamina for daily activities. Actually easier. The other side of this is getting better at the emotional aspects of your life. I work with clients, for example, to conquer their cravings. This is not easy work. If you want to get better at saying no to every donut offered in the break room or every candy your kids bring home from school or all the cookies maybe you even make for the kids. This is actually not easy work in the beginning. But easy doesn't make you better. You don't get better at listening to your body and to your emotions. By feeding the craving every time it occurs. You get better at feeling your cravings by doing the hard work. Of processing that urge. Letting it exist in the body without pushing it down and allowing it to be there. Being present with uncomfortable emotions is not easy. But it does make you better and more of an emotional adult. Okay. The next part of the sane is take it easy on yourself. And to me, this is the internal part. This is the mental part of how we treat ourselves in our own brains. When you don't hit the workout, when you don't hit your nutrition goals of eating. Um, say on plan 80% of the time when you don't get your water in or don't get a good night's sleep. Notice I'm by the way, saying when not, if, because. Nobody is perfect. Right? So when these things happen, the first thing to do is to not punch yourself in the face about it. I was on another podcast recently and the host asks, what do we do when we find that we overeat? Like you had the best of intentions and then because you weren't paying attention, or maybe you just ignored your fullness cues on purpose, because it was a bad day or eating to feel better. Whatever it was. And I said, well, the first thing I want you to do. Is not punch yourself in the face with your thoughts. When your body feels overly full, your waistband is pressing in your super uncomfortable. Your body feels bad enough physically already. So let's not pile on some guilt and shame on top of that. This is the first step of taking it easy on yourself. I promise you that no one has ever improved their life longterm by continuing to hate on themselves. When we talk to ourselves in a way that we would never, ever talk to another woman out loud. That is not taking it easy on yourself. So when you find yourself in this position where you have overeaten or missed a workout or whatever it is, the first thing to do is to not. Say things like, of course you did. Of course you ate that because you always do that. You always fail on your plan. You always, these, those kinds of words where like you always, and you never, this is how we talk to ourselves and it is so unkind. This mental effort of being kind to yourself is far more important. Then you think. If you are constantly being berated and criticized by someone. Do you have very much love from that person? If someone in your life were to consistently point out your shortcomings and let you know where you miss the mark today, do you think you'd want to hang out with them? Unfortunately. This is what you are doing to yourself. I know because clients tell me all the time. What they are thinking about themselves simply by telling me how their day went. And most of the time, it's not very nice. Obviously after we're working together, that's something we tackle and we get better at, but I was just doing a free strategy session with a potential client last week. And after we were all done, I said, okay, I'm just going to leave you. With one more thing. I said, listen to how you described yourself to me. And I read back a few of the notes I took that were her own words. She mentioned things like I ate crappy food. And when I was dieting, we didn't go out to dinner because I didn't want to be that person. And a lot of uses of the word ridiculous. When referring to her efforts and her choices. I said, imagine if you were talking to your lovely daughter and you told her that her food choices were crappy. And so she was crappy for making those choices. What have you told her? Her behavior was ridiculous and that she was too much trouble to take out to dinner because she had specific things she wanted. We would just never, ever say these things out loud to another woman. In our life. Honestly, I mean, I was about to say another woman that we loved, but most of us wouldn't even speak this way to someone we hated. We don't just say like, you're the worst? Like, why would we want to accommodate what you want? Why would we want to go where you want to go for dinner? Why would we want to be with someone that's so ridiculous. Taking it easy on yourself. Is eliminating the way we are so, so critical of our own choices. We're so critical. Of the foods that we eat. And so then we put that morality on ourselves. If you eat a bad food, then we, we believe that we are bad, et cetera. So you might be thinking at this point. Well, Uh, if I just give myself a pass, then I'm going to just let myself go. If I, if I'm, if I take it easy on myself. Then. If I'm not hard on myself, I'll just let myself go. Listen. No one has ever hated themselves then or healthy in the long run. I promise you that hating yourself to quote, motivate yourself to do better. Only goes so far, it might work for a little bit to yell at yourself to do better and get yourself to the gym and whatnot. But in the long run, taking care of yourself from a place of love. We'll go so much farther. This will take you to long-term health because instead of focusing on the short term to just get better, do better, do more. All right. Now, You'll be asking yourself, how can I care for myself? Long-term. How can I best take care of this body I've been given. How can I make my health span? Match my lifespan. Those are the kinds of questions that will help you take it easy on yourself and to help you approach this health and wellness. From a place of love. Taking it easy on yourself essentially means. To me to speak kindly. It doesn't mean to not hold yourself accountable to your goals. It means to be encouraging to yourself, to speak to yourself in a way that is kind gentle and yet can be from this may be sounds like I know it doesn't sound fun to go to the grocery store right now and set myself up for healthy groceries this week, but it is scheduled. So I'm going to do it for my future self. Contrast that with how you might be currently talking to yourself. Like if you don't go to the gym, you're probably just going to stay fat forever. Or get your lazy self out of bed. If you've ever called yourself names in your head, like you're so lazy or. You're so fill in the blank. This is what I'm talking about is so unkind and not taking it easy on yourself. Years ago when I was in counseling for postpartum depression. My therapist encouraged me to use the word rather, I'd rather not be doing the dishes, but I'm going to right now, or I'd rather eat a cookie, but I'm choosing an apple instead. This was like really the first time I had worked on any kind of thoughts and. Surprisingly, this helped me a lot. I I'd rather eat this, but I'm choosing to eat to eat this other thing right now. And it really did. Help me make some better choices. And we weren't really talking about my health so much as a lot of the chores and overwhelm and things that I was feeling at that time. But I think it's really applicable here because you can acknowledge what you'd rather be doing. And be firm with your goals, whether they be movement or food-related and you don't have to be mean about it. You don't have to criticize your body or your looks or your past choices in order to make an excellent choice today.
And I promise those criticisms are not as motivating as you currently think that they are.Lisa:
Another way you can take it easy on yourself, aside from the way you talk to yourself. Is to make some plans ahead of time. It's so much easier to know what you are going to eat when you have made a few plans for meals. and done the grocery shopping. So you aren't in desperation mode when it's time to eat something. This includes both your weekly planning. So that you have groceries as well as your daily, 24 hour practical plans that, so that you just have to think about food. Once per day. Mind you, this also includes plans for going out. So don't think I'm expecting you to, you know, cook a meal three times a day. Some of your weekly planning includes, and we're going to go out to dinner on Friday night or whatever those plans are. It's so much easier on yourself to make those decisions with your higher brain. And not having to figure out what to eat several times a day and in the moment and relying on that lower habit brain that just wants to hit a dopamine. This dramatically decreases your stress levels. To have your food decisions made ahead of time. And I know this to be true because my clients tell me all the time. If you don't already have it, be sure to download my free go-to meals guide at www.podcast.wellwithlisa.com/meals. And that link is also in the show notes as well. This will help you come up with some go-to meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In order to relieve some of that food decision stress. I've given you some of mine, how to create your own go-to meals. I've given you a few recipes for some of mine, as well as a plank worksheet for you to come up with your own go-to meals. So let's get to that clip from Vanden himself about what this concept of easy doesn't make you better, but take it easy on yourself. What this concept means to him. Like I said, I messaged him on Instagram and he sent me this quick voice memo.Vandon:
Hey there. Sorry I've been, um, mad busy, but, uh, I really appreciate you checking in and, um, I'm so happy to hear that this message resonated with you. Um, when I think about easy doesn't make you better, I think it's very, very important to start off with giving yourself grace in any situation. And what I mean by that is, Whatever you're doing, whatever you're accomplishing, wherever you're at in any given moment, I think it's important to just have a lot of gratitude for being in that space and, and for recognizing how far you've come and what you've endured and what you've had to go through, and the byproduct of who you are, uh, today as a result of what you went through. Um, so it's very, very important, uh, before you start acknowledging. Opportunities to level up. It's very, very important to acknowledge where you're at in any given moment, but once you're able to acknowledge where you're at and once you're able to kind of come to terms with what you've accomplished, I think it's very important. To challenge yourself and level up. I think a lot of times the ego likes to be saturated by only, um, allowing it to immerse itself in things that it knows it can accomplish, and things that it knows it could do, right? Because if, if I know that I can do X, Y, z and I'm certain of it, um, when I accomplish it, it, it feeds my ego and it gives me a degree of satisfaction. I think the biggest piece is really determining what is it going to take to help me level up? What is it going to take to bring me to a, uh, a new stage in my life? And when we start to think about those new stages, what happens is, is naturally we become uncertain of our. To accomplish, um, whatever's in front of us or accomplish the goal or the challenge or the, the obstacle, the trial. But really that space of being uncertain, that's where you really tap into. Um, the idea of easy doesn't make you better, right? Because if it's easy and you know you can accomplish it, once you do, you've already reached that, that point in your life. But it's the thing that you haven't done, the thing that's going. Challenge you. The thing that you may have to do 10 times before you get it right, when you're able to, to immerse yourself in that experience and try time and time after again, that gives you the opportunity to level up and grow and that gives you the opportunity to be better. And those are moments we should relish.Lisa:
Okay, that is so helpful. I'll wrap up this episode with those great words from Vanden I'll see you back next week here for an episode with Allie Damron on stress and hormones, and it is a really good. Thanks again for listening today. And as always, please share this with your friends and tag me on social media. If you share a screenshot of you listening, I would love that.