HELP TO OVERCOME UNHEALTHY FAMILY CONDITIONING

Research shows very clearly that what we are exposed to early in life could impact us throughout life. For most of us, our family or who we were raised with were the first lessons of exposure in our life. These individuals taught us how to:

  • Walk
  • Speak a language
  • Religious practices or not
  • Prejudices in some cases
  • Expectations of success or failure
  • View of being advantaged or disadvantaged
  • Propensity to violence
  • Drug/alcohol/food addiction
  • Importance of love and relationships Exercise and other health practices
  • Belief in oneself
  • and the list could go on and on and on
  • Here are some examples of how some of us could have been conditioned by family and those involved in our childhood upbringing.
  1. I have a close friend that was raised in a VERY strict religious manner. As a child, she was told to dress in a certain way, treat men in a subservient way, and worship God in a certain way. This created feelings of confusion and frustration for her that led to other excessive behaviors in areas of her life, especially the way she ate. She was able to overcome this, develop her own belief system about religion, spirituality, and God. She also uses the strictness of her childhood to be disciplined in her life with nutrition, exercise, thinking patterns, and to educate herself.
  2. I grew up in an area of many different ethnicities, cultural, and economic diversities. There were working poor, wealthy, people of every race including a large Native American population due to the small town’s proximity to two large reservations. My Native friends regularly ate fry bread, potatoes, and desserts. Often, meals were a celebration or family gathering. Many ate this way because of economic conditions and not knowing how to eat healthy on a tight budget. As a result, many of my friends developed diabetes and other health related issues due to obesity and other poor health practices. My friend Jeff was one of these people. After being diagnosed with type two diabetes and weighing 275 pounds at age 34, Jeff decided to make some positive changes with his health. He began to study nutrition and exercise moderately. He did not change where he lived or family. Although he had many struggles conquering his addiction to food because of his early life conditioning, he eventually won the battle and dropped 90 pounds. After one year, he had no signs of diabetes and ran his first half marathon. He did not love his culture or family less. In fact, many of his family have joined him in creating a healthy lifestyle and are making major changes themselves. He did not allow others to influence him, HE DID THE INFLUENCING!

Exercise:

Answer the following questions as they pertain to you. It is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE to handwrite the answers if possible and to communicate as clearly as you possibly can. This cannot be understated. Think and communicate clearly with yourself in your answer.

How has your family or culture impacted your nutritional beliefs?

 

 

How has your family or culture impacted your attitude toward exercise?

 

 

How has this conditioning impacted your weight and/or health?

 

 

If it has impacted you negatively with weight or health issues, are you still continuing the destructive behaviors?

 

 

Without blame or judgment, list 5 ways you can develop new and healthier practices and still appreciate the family and culture of your past.

Examples:

  • I can honor my culture and family during celebrations and parties by enjoying some food. The rest of the time I will focus on my health goals and honor my family by staying as healthy as I can.
  • I will recognize when I am being sentimental and eating out of emotion due to my family conditioning. I will respond to this lifelong auto response by having food prepared and sticking to my plan. I will focus on my health and distract myself, call a support person, or go exercise until I work through the cravings or desire to go on a binge.
  • I love my mother and know she was doing her best. From a young age however, she gave me lots of sugary treats and simple carbs. I believe I developed a physical food addiction that still plagues me today. I will meal prep and stick to only whole food and natural sugars through fruits and vegetables.
  • I will recognize when my unhealthy desire for sugars is becoming an obsession. I will eat a piece of fruit, meditate and breathe, and text my support person.

Now It is your turn: Make sure you communicate clearly:

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.

 

I hope this helps you at least recognize how you may have been conditioned to believe, eat, and live in a way that does not serve your goal of good health. The more self-awareness you have, the more you will develop change. Begin as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

For more information on our programs, health psychology coaching, and products go to:

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HAVE YOU BEEN DEALT A TOUGH HAND WITH GENETICS OR FAMILY CONDITIONING?

How did we get to where we are today? For many of us the road has taken many turns but began with what we inherited through genetics and early life conditioning. It is called nature and nurture. Genetics are the traits we are born with. Research shows that some genes can go back centuries and can be passed on to generations from family members we may have never met or known. Our early life conditioning is what we have been taught by others (parents, teachers, coaches, people we admire), learned from observing others, believe deeply, developed from life experience, or have learned from media, among other things. It has helped us to develop our customs, beliefs, and philosophies about life. It is the environment that shaped us. It is the way we have been conditioned by family and culture, neighborhoods, schools and institution, and even ourselves. Socialization and conditioning teaches us how to act within a certain culture and shapes our views of race, the opposite sex, male/female roles, crime, employment, potential for success, and EVERY view of life, including the way we eat and our approach to exercise. These factors include:

  1. Attachment to parents  
  2. Peer Pressure
  3. Abandonment (also single parent)               
  4. Abuse  
  5. Prejudices
  6. Attitudes
  7. Self-esteem
  8. Prejudices
  9. Work Beliefs
  10. Language
  11. Abuse
  12. Religion
  13. Relationships
  14. Institutions (Schools too)
  15. Education Peer 
  16. Success/failure principles
  17. False glorification
  18. Self-esteem
  19. Anger toward authority     
  20. Relationships Prejudice                                                                                                                            

Scientific research has shown that being exposed to things both good and bad early in life is HUGE in our personal development and our belief system (National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Children, 2009). Many of us have been conditioned to eat in a certain way (we must eat everything on our plate), react in a certain way (I am being treated unfairly because of who I am or where I am from), or believe in a certain way about ourselves (I am limited in what I can do in life because of my family, neighborhood, ethnic background, cultural or racial heritage). It is VERY TRUE that some of us may start with a disadvantage in life. In a nutshell, it is no wonder that many of us have become the way we are today. For some, it is all that we know. Fortunately for us there are examples of individuals who have overcome the EXACT problem you are facing and been faced with the same disadvantages as you are encountering.  How were they able to enact change and how can we create the transformation we seek? The answer—the same way we learned it. We just have to learn a different way to believe. We must change our core beliefs and the environment that we place ourselves in and what we place into ourselves. But what does that mean? Continuing to place ourselves in the same environments, relationships, and situations will only slow the change process. No duh right? Then why do we continue to engage in this? Because it is easier for most people to continue to react, behave, think, and continue on the same path that has brought them to where they are today, whether successful or not. It is hard to change the way we react, behave, and think but it will be a crucial component to the change process that you desire. “You are the company you keep” was no fluke.

Today is no different. Whether you are aware of it or not, your belief systems impact every facet of your life, especially the way you treat your health, manage stress, and live day to day. In the coming days, I am going to share with you how you may have been conditioned in your life, genetically and socially, and provide you evidence based tips on how to change or manage your lifelong conditioning. This is so important for many of us to learn to manage. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

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STOPPING THE SELF TALK SABOTAGE

Whether we are aware of it or not, we are talking to ourselves (don’t worry it is normal) throughout the day. We tell ourselves it is okay to do certain things, tell ourselves it is not okay to do other things, daydream, make judgments of ourselves and others, and prioritize tasks. We also talk to ourselves when it comes to our coping choices and the way we use unhealthy things to cope with daily life. Many times we will “talk ourselves into” unhealthy choices or “talk ourselves out of” healthy choices. For most of us, this has been a practice we have perfected over many years, probably since childhood. How we have “made it okay” with our self-talk to make unhealthy choices plays a key role in the health status we are in today. Changing the “automatic” words we tell ourselves when we are justifying our choices will play a key role in you achieving the weight and wellness goals that you so strongly desire.

Exercise: Choose a time twice per day for 15 minutes where you can be mindful (aware or “in the moment”) of your self-talk. Choosing times on opposite ends of the day such as morning and evening will work well for many. Before and after your hours of employment, during your commute to and from work or errands will provide you with the opportunity to examine your thoughts and self-talk as it relates to the actions you take during that time, whether it is health related or not. The exercise will help you to see how you justify behaviors, judgments of yourself and others, carry out daily tasks and of course make nutrition choices. You should start with about twenty minutes on this exercise. In the space below, list at least five ways you spoke to yourself during the time of this exercise. It could be judgments of yourself or others, work related, reward justifications, talking yourself out of exercise etc. Try to conduct this exercise without stress or pressure. In other words, relax and look at the way you talk to yourself and make things okay or not okay.

Examples:

  • I told myself the person across from me on the bus was poor because her clothes were worn and her shoes had holes in them.
  • I told myself I did not have time to exercise today because of work and a school appointment with my child’s teacher.
  • I told myself that I am being treated with less respect than others at work because of continued reprimands by my boss.
  • I told myself that I had to eat unhealthy fast food because I did not have time to prepare breakfast.
  • I told myself that I “needed” chocolate and other comfort foods due to the hard day at work.

Now it is your turn:

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.

 

 

Based on the answers that you have listed above, how can you change the talk you have with yourself to change the outcome or behavior so that it reflects your goal of improved health, wellness, and a leaner weight?

Examples:

  • As I see the person across from me on the bus with worn clothes and shoes, I will tell myself that the person is acceptable to me without judgment and allow that person to be themselves and dress in the manner that they may need to for work or economic reasons.
  • As I tell myself that I do not have time to exercise today, I will examine other ways I can get my exercise done either today or when I am faced with other busy days. I will tell myself to learn from the experience and that exercise is a key part of my goal of improved health and wellness. I will make exercise a priority and focus on the benefits of exercise.
  • As I tell myself that I am being disrespected at work because of continued reprimands by my boss, I will change the talk to myself to, “I am responsible for the emotions within myself and not for the actions of others. I can control the extent to which I get upset and look openly at my work performance to see if I can improve and/or address the areas my boss is reprimanding me about.” Or, “I have examined everything my boss is reprimanding me about. I feel as though I am doing the best I can and will talk to my boss about the reprimands and be open to the feedback he or she gives me. I will communicate clearly, honestly and with respect.”
  • As I tell myself that it is okay to eat an unhealthy fast food breakfast because of time, I will remind myself of the work I have done to achieve improved health and wellness and the consequences of poor food choices. If I have to eat at a place that has mostly unhealthy choices, I will order fruit cups, salads, or the healthiest choice possible to stay on track with my health mission. I will plan better for morning meals and give energy and thought to being successful with my health choices. I will know that resilience will be necessary and explore my time management to create time to make a healthy breakfast in the future.
  • As I tell myself that I need the comfort of chocolate or other foods, I will recognize that this may be the way I have automatically coped with stressful, anxious, and/or depressing situations in my life. When I begin to automatically go to the thought of comforting chocolate, I will immediately switch all thoughts and energy to something else. I will remind myself of the benefits of eating healthy and focus on how I can be successful in my health choices that day only. I will dispute the talk that I have with myself and my definition of “need.” I will refocus on my health mission, call my accountability partners, read a story of inspiration, or anything necessary to stay on track. I am worth it.

Now it is your turn:

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2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

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It is so important to recognize thoughts quickly that do not lead to our best health and overall good. Focusing on negative events that have occurred in the past, ruminating about events that have happened recently, holding onto resentments, having anger toward another person that you feel has wronged you, remaining sad for extended periods over losses, and failing to correct anxiousness are not healthy for the physical body.

 

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TURNING FAILURES INTO VICTORIES

I have had the opportunity to experience many things in life that can be categorized as wins, losses, successes, or failures. I scored the winning run in a Little League game and made an error that helped the other team score the winning run in another. I failed or dropped out of college 6 times and graduated with honors and earned a Master’s Degree. I have lived in seedy motels, in my car, and didn’t know where my next dime was coming from. I have been paid above six figures and lived well financially. I was taught like many of us that winning the game is good and losing the game is bad. I learned early that if I was average in school and brought home a C, I would not “see” the light of day for a while and I don’t even want to talk about the day I brought home an F. Failure was bad and harsh punishment was mandatory, especially my own self-punishment. Many people that I speak with feel the same way and harshly self-punish when “failing” at something. It is the way we were taught, agreed with, and adopted as fact.

Congratulations, You Screwed Up!

In my mid-thirties my life course took a different direction. I had worked at various positions up to this point and I tried my best and did well at all of them, except when I failed at something and harshly punished myself for the error. That is when I met Greg who had hired me as a windows salesman. I would sell customers custom made, high quality residential windows and doors. I was responsible for writing the order correctly, measuring the openings, and submitting the order for review. My first order I got correct. My second order I screwed up everything but my name. As I made the long walk to Greg’s office, ruminating about what a failure I was, how I should start looking for another job, and how being a salesman probably was “too hard” for me, I saw Greg’s smile. He said, “What’s up? You look like you’ve lost your best friend.” I told him about how I had screwed up the order and sincerely said I was sorry. He continued to smile and when I was finished he stood up from his desk and I knew I was done as a salesman. But he stuck his hand out and said, “Congratulations you just screwed up on one order more than most people do in five or six. This is so great!” Great? I looked at him for signs of intoxication but there were none. Greg is a brilliant businessman and he was serious. He liked my mistakes.

Learning From Losing

Greg instilled in me that mistakes are good and should be learned from. Each mistake that we make is an opportunity to grow as a person and can be utilized in any walk of life. That does not mean we do not try your best all of the time, but humans make mistakes. It is reality. I continue to learn from the mistakes I make in my life. When I have a day where I make less than healthy choices with food and exercise, I learn that I need better preparation, more sleep, stronger focus, supportive environments, and not to bring the unhealthy food into the house, among other things. I also learned to not hold onto guilt or shame and to move forward and start over. I am human and will make decisions that I need to learn from. For years, if I was trying to be healthy and had a few “bad” days, guilt and shame would set in and it became a revolving door scenario. It NEVER changed until I changed the way that I viewed “failure.”

You’re A Winner!

You will make mistakes and be a human. You will have days where you make less than healthy choices, yell at the guy in the other car, defend your point with your spouse to the brink of breakup, and be a couch potato. You can choose to learn from your mistakes like Greg and so many successful people in business, sports, politics, window sales, and wellness do. You can congratulate yourself for totally screwing up. You can be your own miracle!

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GRANT ME THE SERENITY

It is nearly mid-September here in Phoenix and the high is expected to reach 108 degrees. Many of us complain about the heat all summer long and “wish it would end soon.” When I ask others how they are, often they respond with “I’m hot and I can’t wait for summer to end.” I myself struggle with the heat and often complain about it as well but find myself questioning the grumbling that I have with the outside temperature. And the question I ask myself is, “Why do I complain about something I cannot change given current circumstances?” I could move to another city but chances are I would find something I could do nothing about there and complain about that too. I like to focus on positive things just like the next person so complaining about things I can do nothing about is not only negative energy but also a waste of time. Research also reveals that focusing on events and things which we cannot control leads to depression, anxiety, and other things that I do not need more of. So today I will focus on what I can control:

  • gratitude for what is good in my life (like AC)
  • how I respond to events I cannot control
  • how I treat my health
  • how I communicate in all situations
  • how I spend my free time
  • what I do to serve God and others
  • all of my present thoughts

 

My goal daily is to be as healthy as I can be, including the way I respond to adverse events. Having gratitude, being present with the way I am communicating, managing present thoughts, and how I spend my free time all impact my health in a positive way. Today I will do my best to only focus on what I can change and that is me and me alone. Thankfully I will be doing so next to an AC and some fans. Stay cool my friends and only control what you can today, just you. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com

STAYING STRONG IS A VITAL KEY TO A HEALTHY AND HIGH FUNCTIONING LIFE

A study published in The American Journal of Medicine is showing how important it is to stay strong as we age. The study followed 3695 people over a 15 year period and all of the men were over age 55 and the women over age 65. Researchers found that participants who had greater muscle mass were 20% less likely to die, had fewer overall disabilities, and functioned at a higher level than those with less muscle mass. You do not have to be perfect, a bodybuilder, or a gym rat. But it is important to stay strong for longevity and quality of life.

The second article that I will share reveals how important your outlook is when exercising.  Researchers had two groups who exercised in the same manner but were told two different things about the exercise. One group was basically told it was a “workout” while the other was given music, told to be social, and were educated regularly about the benefits of the exercise. The second group not only had better results physically but also made better choices with nutrition. “The way we see the world creates the world we see.” Please see exercise as beneficial. Most of the time exercise is more about learning how to cope with uncomfortable situations in life more than anything else. Learn how to work through 30 minutes of discomfort with exercise and it will help you learn how to deal with a lifetime of uncomfortable situations. Our coping skills need a workout too!

Please do your best to make an effort to care for your health today. Move some vigorously but safely. Mange what you eat most of the time. Your organs, joints, back, brain, and those you love will enjoy it. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

The Fitness For Everyone Else and Build YOUR Healthy Life Programs are evidence based, healthy, and safe lifestyle modification programs designed especially for people who struggle to maintain healthy habits. If you need help with exercise but don’t want to go through misery the Fitness For Everyone Else is the program for you. The Build YOUR Healthy Life Program helps participants learn how to manage food, negative emotion, exercise, and life in a healthier way. Each program has helped hundreds of people make permanent positive health choices. Please join us!
We have gym, home, and online programs for everyone. All fees are paid in advance of service.

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IS IT REALLY A CHOICE?

If you have struggled to overcome anything, you know how hard it is. Many will say that is is “just a choice” and while that is ultimately true, there are many factors that go into making “the choice.” There are genetics, social conditioning, the way your personal brain is functioning (unhealthy in parts), your gut, belief systems, media, family/culture, and the region of the world where you were primarily taught in your early years. All of these things create “the autopilot response” and a big reason why we cannot overcome things we struggle with. People who have learned to overcome these choice deciding factors did it by becoming proactive and intentional with their daily practices in life. All became present with his or her emotions, reactions, self-talk, and the way that they had conditioned themselves to “autopilot respond.” All were open to the feedback of others for personal improvement and even sought out people to help in the process. Every one recognized that the easy way would not be that forever and eventually life would be harder if they continued on the same path. They were willing to go through discomfort to be better. And all got back up immediately if they had a fall. Resiliency matters for health and happiness. Start to overcome your struggle today. If you need help seek it. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com