HOW TO MAKE A CHOICE

I have heard continuously from people, including many professionals in the health industry, that overcoming lifelong unhealthy behaviors is “merely a choice.” But if it were merely that, then why aren’t we all successful at overcoming addictions, depression, anxieties, overeating, impulsive anger, and other areas of choice? I watched my father almost die trying to quit drinking. I have watched so many others struggle with other areas of life and wonder why they could not overcome the issues that prevented them from being their best self. All are good people with good hearts. Most are successful financially and with other areas of life but struggle with making the best health choice. I struggled for years with making healthy choices. I weighed over 300 pounds, had multiple addictions, depression, anxieties, and other areas that I could not seem to change. That is because it is more than a choice. There are so many things involved in ‘the choice” that many have to learn how to make it including myself. Here is what we have learned.

Choice 101

  1. They learn how to make the change they are seeking an absolute priority. People that are successful at learning how to make a choice see an area of life that they desire a change in. They make this area an absolute priority. They will begin the day mapping out strategies to be successful in the area of change and eliminate barriers that he or she may have used in the past to slow the progress of change. They are responsible for their life and very prepared.
  2. They know and are willing to go through the discomfort of change. Change is never easy. People who learn how to make a choice know that they may have an automatic pilot response when stress occurs in life. It is the comfortable response to stress. It is the way we are conditioned, learned how to cope, and even have a genetic predisposition to be. Learning how to work your way through the autopilot response is possible if you have a solid plan each day to be successful. As each event occurs in life where you need to work through periods of discomfort to make a healthier choice, you will become better and better at it.
  3. Persevere! One of the biggest lessons we can learn is how to keep fighting after a day of choices that were not for our best health. What you give thought and energy to on a daily basis truly matters. If you have a day where you have “made the choice” to eat poorly, focus on negative events in your past, did not feel like exercising or other areas you are trying to improve, getting back on track quickly is vital. The sooner you change the thought, focus, and energy to being successful the better for you. DO NOT DWELL ON FAILURES! DWELL ON SUCCESSES! BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

 

Miracles of Phoenix Fitness Owner Coe Kirby combines evidence based behavioral health research with 12+ years as a personal trainer to provide the most extensive lifestyle modification program for mental and physical wellbeing in America. He has helped hundreds of people overcome self-defeating behaviors and achieve goals of all levels. His unique style and skill set as a personal trainer and life coach make him comfortable to be open with while pursuing the growth or change you desire. Knowing that each individual is different with where they are in the change process, he guides the client on a journey of self-discovery that helps the individual learn his or her own method to success while giving strong support and proven tools to assist them. His two books, Your Health is Your Wealth: Working Out the Inner Self For a Fit Outer Self and Rebuilding Your Temple From the Inside Out have helped people from all walks of life learn how to create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. Both books are available through http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com.  Good luck on your health journey!

A Key To Overcoming Struggle

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I have witnessed myself and others battle with many of the same things for years. Issues with managing food intake, addictions, people pleasing, impulsive anger responses, ADHD, and depression are just some of the things I have struggled with in my past and I have met many who do the same. We tried many things with hopes to change and continuously failed. We beat ourselves up, felt shame and often wondered if we could ever escape the revolving door that never had an opening to step out of. For me and the people that I work with, it is all a matter of learning how. We locked into belief systems and coping skills that have not served us well and that is okay. We are good people who struggle with things just like most of the world. For many, the only things that ever changed were the medication dosages. We believed what we were told by medical and behavioral health professionals who truly meant well. It did not result in a healthier outcome mentally, physically, or emotionally. We continued to struggle. The traditional medical model has not worked well on its’ own for things that can be changed with behavioral and lifestyle adjustments. Thankfully there are ways to move forward and step out of the revolving door cycle of struggle and live a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life. Research says it to be true. I have witnessed it to be true with the change of others. I have lived it to be true.

Becoming Successful at Change

Here are a few keys that I have researched and witnessed of people who overcome long term struggles. I hope it can help you or someone you love.

  1. Intentionally change what you put into your mind.
  2. Begin the day with reading materials that lead to physical, emotional, and mental health improvement is a good way to start. This creates the beginning mindset of being successful for the day.
  3. The talk you have with yourself and what you put into your mind through self –talk is also extremely important. Viewing life through a positive lens is very good for long term health as is “talking yourself into” exercise and eating nutritious foods. If you have self-talk that promotes making less than healthy choices, it is VITAL to recognize it immediately and change your internal dialogue to promoting the benefits of healthier choices. Number one in this section will help create the mindset for this. Giving energy and thought to events and experiences that bring you anger, resentment, depression, and anxiety will lead to a less than healthy outcome. Create positive affirmations and things that encourage you to be successful. Giving energy and thought to being your best in all areas of life will lead to a healthier life. I hope that you choose to be healthier. I hope that you choose to BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

Miracles of Phoenix Fitness Owner Coe Kirby combines evidence based behavioral health research with 12+ years as a personal trainer to provide the most extensive lifestyle modification program for mental and physical wellbeing in America. He has helped hundreds of people overcome self-defeating behaviors and achieve goals of all levels. His unique style and skill set as a personal trainer and life coach make him comfortable to be open with while pursuing the growth or change you desire. Knowing that each individual is different with where they are in the change process, he guides the client on a journey of self-discovery that helps the individual learn his or her own method to success while giving strong support and proven tools to assist them. His two books, Your Health is Your Wealth: Working Out the Inner Self For a Fit Outer Self and Rebuilding Your Temple From the Inside Out have helped people from all walks of life learn how to create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. Both books are available through http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com.  Good luck on your health journey!

MY RUNNING WEINER

I take my wiener dog Zeus out for a little morning run early every day. Some days I only run/walk with him 1.5-1.8 miles and at least two other days I run with him, drop him off, and head out for some more miles alone. He is so happy every morning when I put my running shoes on and grab his harness. He is only “part wiener” and has legs like a terrier (we don’t know what he is mixed with) so he is able to run a couple of miles without any problem. After putting on my running belt and deciding which playlist to use, we head out the door for our run. Just approaching the door my wiener gets excited (Zeus that is-had to do that once) and he begins to shake his tail rapidly in anticipation. As we begin our run, Zeus pulls on the harness indicating he is wanting to run and for me to pick up my pace. As we are running he scans the area and appears to be smiling as he speeds out just ahead of me. He obviously enjoys the experience and makes the most of every moment that he is out there.

Self-Talk and Health

This morning when I dropped Zeus off to continue a longer run I began to tell myself that I could go later, that I wasn’t feeling up to more miles, and I could go back to bed. My history says that I will not complete the run later in the day and to always get my run in before the day starts. My talk to myself says that I can do it later and the bed is warm. The mental tennis match continued for several minutes until I finally head out for the run. It ended up being a great run and beautiful morning.

My Weiner is an Exception

I had a short discussion with one of my clients the other day about enjoying exercise. Zeus gets up in the morning and is happily ready for his run but I am not always. I speak to many people on a regular basis about the outlook toward exercise. I do not believe that we have to get so excited that we are jumping for joy about going to exercise. I do believe that we have to see a benefit and for me it is the way that I feel after exercise. I feel as though I have accomplished something early in the day which starts my day off good. My mind is clear, feels calm and happy. Going back out for the run after trying to talk myself out of it helps me to learn how to work through the problems of the day and helps me to understand the barriers that I believe I have are placed on me only by me. Using running and exercise to push away my self-imposed barriers have led me to working through problems in business, lose 125+ pounds, graduate with honors and earn a Master’s Degree after failing out of college seven times, and achieve things that I never believed to be possible at many points in my life. You do not have to be excited like Zeus but it is so important to dispute the self-talk you have when it comes to talking yourself out of exercise. See the benefits of it; the way you feel, move, and think, and the accomplishment for the day that you have earned. You do not have to be Zeus but please….BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

Miracles of Phoenix Fitness Owner Coe Kirby combines evidence based behavioral health research with 12+ years as a personal trainer to provide the most extensive lifestyle modification program for mental and physical wellbeing in America. He has helped hundreds of people overcome self-defeating behaviors and achieve goals of all levels. His unique style and skill set as a personal trainer and life coach make him comfortable to be open with while pursuing the growth or change you desire. Knowing that each individual is different with where they are in the change process, he guides the client on a journey of self-discovery that helps the individual learn his or her own method to success while giving strong support and proven tools to assist them. His two books, Your Health is Your Wealth: Working Out the Inner Self For a Fit Outer Self and Rebuilding Your Temple From the Inside Out have helped people from all walks of life learn how to create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. Both books are available through http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com.  Good luck on your health journey!

YOUR health news!

Behavioral Interventions Most Effective For Weight Loss

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that behavioral interventions have a much higher success rate for weight loss than just exercise and diet alone. The six month study had nearly 4000 participants (3893) and lasted six months. Those participants that included behavioral interventions such as motivational interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy lost 7.5-14.5 more pounds than those who just exercised and tried to change nutrition habits on their own. Behavioral interventions work for health and life which are so interrelated!

Magnesium is SO Good For Us!

There are reports that as much as 80% of the population is magnesium is magnesium deficient. Magnesium is a very important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of functions, including but not limited to:

  • Activating muscles and nerves
  • Creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
  • Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
  • It’s also a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
  • The heart cannot function properly without magnesium

Take your magnesium!

Miracles of Phoenix Fitness Owner Coe Kirby combines evidence based behavioral health research with 12+ years as a personal trainer to provide the most extensive lifestyle modification program for mental and physical wellbeing in America. He has helped hundreds of people overcome self-defeating behaviors and achieve goals of all levels. His unique style and skill set as a personal trainer and life coach make him comfortable to be open with while pursuing the growth or change you desire. Knowing that each individual is different with where they are in the change process, he guides the client on a journey of self-discovery that helps the individual learn his or her own method to success while giving strong support and proven tools to assist them. His two books, Your Health is Your Wealth: Working Out the Inner Self For a Fit Outer Self and Rebuilding Your Temple From the Inside Out have helped people from all walks of life learn how to create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. Both books are available through http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com.  Good luck on your health journey!

WILLPOWER DOES NOT WORK!

“Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong thoughts cease when doubt and fear creep in. The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step. He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome. His purposes are seasonably planted, and they bloom and bring forth fruit which does not fall prematurely to the ground.” As A Man Thinketh, 1902, James Allen

I have had the honor of witnessing many people make great changes in life over the last few years. I have seen numerous individuals lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off, others overcome addictions, depression, and anxiety; and still others grow into confident, fulfilled, and truly happy individuals with purpose in life. It is always beautiful and I know how hard significant change can be.  Fear and doubt still crept in but each individual who made significant change were able to stop the “encouragement of doubt” and slay any belief that the goal could not be attained. They did not use willpower to resist the lifelong desire to place barriers in the way of goals but rather began a mission of moving toward something to improve all aspects of life. They did not fight against the temptations with willpower because it does not work.

No More Willpower

If you search “willpower is a limited resource” on the internet you will find many articles and journals that show this to be true, including an article from the American Psychological Association (APA). From my earliest memories I have been told to “have the willpower” to resist things that were not in my best interests and I failed miserably at that. I liked some of the things (too much) I hoped to have the willpower to resist. It was when I and the others who have made significant change realized that “moving toward” a goal with ALL OF OUR ENERGY works so much better than “fighting against a temptation.” I used to get told by family that I love that I “did not have enough willpower” to resist the temptations that led to unhealthy outcomes. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! They were being critical but I know now that they were also being scientific. Many of us who struggle to make the best health choices on a consistent basis may have experienced a lack of willpower when faced with an unhealthy temptation. So how does someone reach significant goals and not use traditional willpower? There are    things that I have seen both in research and in person that people who have made significant changes in life do:

  1. They give full energy to the goal. When doubt, fear, unhealthy distractions, or other things that take away from the goal creep into an overcomers mind, they are quick to refocus on how change is possible. “Giving energy” to failure will lead to that. “Giving energy” to how I am going to be successful today will lead to success. Do not fight against but instead move towards. It is a better use of willpower.
  2. They take full responsibility. Each person no longer places blame on environments, genetics, or physical limitations due to age or ailment. They learn to lessen exterior controls and strengthen interior controls. This does not mean they use willpower. Instead each person becomes more present in the way they respond to exterior events in life. “It does not matter what happens to us in a day. Only how we respond matters. Respond by moving toward good health!”
  3. They are open to feedback from qualified people. Many of us have felt shame from others because of a lack of willpower. We also have shamed ourselves when we could not resist a temptation or reach a personal goal. We have developed an exterior sensitivity to the feedback of others because of this that has led to defensiveness and impulsive reactions. FORGIVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS! It is so important to receive feedback from people who can help you in the area of growth you are seeking. Be open to the feedback even if it is a constructive criticism. Learn to learn from those before you. Use interior sensitivity to manage the way you respond. Stay calm, listen, and let your ego go.
  4. Each has learned how to fail. This may sound crazy but the people who have made significant changes learn how to manage failure differently than in the past. While many of us have been taught that failure is bad, a lack of willpower is bad, and we should always get straight A’s, people who make significant change often see failure as something that is beneficial. They learn from experience, keep moving toward the goal they are seeking, and every time they fall off of the wagon they GET RIGHT BACK ON! Instead of giving up after a couple of tries, they continue to fight for the life they are seeking. KEEP MOVING FORWARD!

Most of us have seen children as they are learning how to walk. Often the children will fall down as they perfect the art of placing one foot in front of the other. All children are different but the ones that I have seen for the most part did not give up on walking. They continued to move forward with the goal of walking. They may have cried for a moment with a boo boo but most did not have to use willpower to fight the fear of the boo boo. They wanted to walk and nothing could have stopped them. We all have that from the time we are born. Please use your will to move toward the goal you are seeking. Keep your reason for the goal in the forefront of your mind. Have people in your life that will give you nonjudgmental feedback. Stay resilient. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

Miracles of Phoenix Fitness Owner Coe Kirby combines evidence based behavioral health research with 12+ years as a personal trainer to provide the most extensive lifestyle modification program for mental and physical wellbeing in America. He has helped hundreds of people overcome self-defeating behaviors and achieve goals of all levels. His unique style and skill set as a personal trainer and life coach make him comfortable to be open with while pursuing the growth or change you desire. Knowing that each individual is different with where they are in the change process, he guides the client on a journey of self-discovery that helps the individual learn his or her own method to success while giving strong support and proven tools to assist them. His two books, Your Health is Your Wealth: Working Out the Inner Self For a Fit Outer Self and Rebuilding Your Temple From the Inside Out have helped people from all walks of life learn how to create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. Both books are available through http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com.  Good luck on your health journey!

CREATE GREAT HEALTH NO MATTER THE GENETICS!

I have a client named Larry who is genetically predisposed to being overweight. I have met his parents, one twin brother and two sisters. All are severely overweight except for Larry. His twin brother weighs 75 pounds more than Larry. Throughout his adult life, up until about age 40, Larry was also overweight. While everyone else in his family had resigned themselves to being overweight, Larry decided to take some action against his genetics. Realizing that it was an uphill battle and the cards were stacked against him, Larry attacked his weight issue with determination and unwavering focus. After one year, Larry lost 80 pounds by making a complete lifestyle change. He did not utilize a formal diet plan but instead learned how to prepare and eat in a healthy way for a better quality of life. And a better quality of life he does have and so do his wife and two children. All are very fit, run 5k’s, 10k’s, and half marathons regularly as well as resistance train and cycle. NO ONE IN His IMMEDIATE FAMILY IS OBESE. Larry altered his genetic conditioning and most likely his wife and children as well.

Life and family does not always give us the perfect genetics. We may have physical traits (genetics) that challenge us to grow and create healthier generations than those who have come before us. Some of us have things that are called predispositions. We are at higher risk, or “predisposed,” to struggle with certain physical, mental, and emotional conditions through genetics. For example, the people in my family have a long history of alcoholism, addiction, depression, and anger issues. I have traced back these issues with my family and found that we as a family have struggled with these problems for over 150 years. Despite this, most been productive members of society. I also have family members that are at risk for being overweight because of a “carb sensitivity.” Some of us in my family have to be careful because carbohydrates convert to fat quickly within us. It is my task (and should be yours) to recognize that I have genetic traits that may predispose me to certain things such as weight gain and carb sensitivity. I do not believe I am a victim because of this and have accepted this without judgment of myself and/or family members.

Barrier to Success

Something (or everything) is against me.

Unfortunately, many people believe that they cannot accomplish  goals because they are “lacking something”  or that something or someone is “against” them such as age, failures in the past, current weight, economic level, environment, family, spouse, physical limitations etc. On the other side of the coin however is the person who has accomplished the goal you are seeking and has had greater or equal “disabilities” that would inhibit the change they are seeking. They were able to accomplish the goal despite the assumption that they are at a disadvantage. Below are some examples:

Examples:

  • I have tried in the past to lose weight and I have never been able to lose it and keep it off. I am starting to believe that I am just supposed to be this weight.
  • My husband does not support me with my health goals. It is harder for me because he brings all of the bad food into the house and tempts me.
  • My [mother/coaches/teachers/classmates] criticized me a lot about my weight when I was young. I now feel that whenever people talk to me about my weight whether it be doctors, trainers, or friends I automatically feel “attacked.”
  • People don’t understand how hard it is for me. Other people can lose weight and eat anything and I put on weight just looking at food. I get angry at people who are skinny and overeat and feel that it is unfair to me.
  • All of my friends eat unhealthy foods and drink. It is hard to resist and everyone gives me a hard time when I try to eat healthy foods when we are out.

You do not have to surrender to the barriers that you have whether they be physically with genetics or the failures that you have experienced in the past. Beginning today, you can take control of the food that you put into your body and the amount of exercise you do. Many of us have predispositions that lead us to gaining weight easily, impulsive responses, addictions, and other unhealthy outcomes. Please choose to be as healthy as you can for yourself and those who love you! Please choose to have people in your life that will challenge you to be healthier and ultimately happier! Please give energy and thought to only how you can be successful and healthy today! Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift and why they call it the present! BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

Miracles of Phoenix Fitness Owner Coe Kirby combines evidence based behavioral health research with 12+ years as a personal trainer to provide the most extensive lifestyle modification program for mental and physical wellbeing in America. He has helped hundreds of people overcome self-defeating behaviors and achieve goals of all levels. His unique style and skill set as a personal trainer and life coach make him comfortable to be open with while pursuing the growth or change you desire. Knowing that each individual is different with where they are in the change process, he guides the client on a journey of self-discovery that helps the individual learn his or her own method to success while giving strong support and proven tools to assist them. His two books, Your Health is Your Wealth: Working Out the Inner Self For a Fit Outer Self and Rebuilding Your Temple From the Inside Out have helped people from all walks of life learn how to create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. Both books are available through http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com.  Good luck on your health journey!