Healthy Priorites

Body Dysmorphia: Facing the Facts

body imageDo you have a unhealthy body image?

The world puts unnecessary pressure on looks – especially for fitness enthusiasts across the globe. Whether you are an athlete, dancer, fitness competitor, fitness professional, aerobics instructor, crossfit gamer, gym member or life-long dieter, you may not see yourself as others see you. You may look in the mirror and see Fat, Thick and Out of Shape, while others see you as Fit, Trim and Healthy. In today’s blog I get super personal and tackle a sensitive topic of an unhealthy body image and Body Dysmorphia.

fat is not a feelingWhen I was in the doctor office earlier this week, I was talking to my girlfriend (Dr. Jennifer Stepanek) about my struggle with not being able to workout right after my vacation. Like I said in my last blog, there’s nothing like being off your diet and workout program, and then getting hurt and you can’t exercise. I confessed that I felt so fat. I honestly think I told her that because she was about to hold onto my body and manipulate my back, and the last time I saw her it was close to my competition and I was super lean. I honestly know that the last time I saw her I was too lean. Meaning, it wasn’t healthy lean – it was pre-competition lean, but it didn’t change the way I felt.

Her compassionate and concerning response was “you know that’s not right? That’s really a sign of body dysmorphia”. I was taken back a little. She followed with explaining how she dealt with that as a dancer, and watched many girls put excessive pressure on themselves for how they looked and what they weighed. She continued to encourage me and I continued to confess that this was an area I’m working on as I try to find balance in the crazy fitness world.

Objects in Mirror As a fitness professional, I probably have unreasonable expectations I put on myself to look, and live, the part. Steve warned me about this as I prepared to compete this year. He encouraged me to allow myself to gain some weight back and not freak out. I also now understand why we whines about feeling fat even after one big meal. There is something that happens to people who compete, or get really lean (like for modeling jobs, performances, competitions, TV, etc), that raises the bar too high – and it messes with your head.

While someone else’s “best” is closer to a normal healthier weight, my perceived “best” is not a healthy weight. That is why, when I weighed in on the inBody machine (our comprehensive body composition machine) close to competition, it said I needed to gain 11.7lbs of fat. I look at that and think that’s ridiculous, that’s a LOT of fat! But, that is what is considered a normal healthy weight for my age, my height and my muscle mass.

Bonnie PfiesterOK, so back to the day of that doctor’s visit. Later that day, Steve took this picture of me holding an Atkins frozen dinner for a campaign I’m working on. He snapped a few pics and I ate my meal and didn’t post the pic until later, after Steve left. I hadn’t even looked at the photos yet, but when I did, I was surprised. I looked thin. Not super-fit thin, or really lean or anything (remember, I have been off my diet for a bit), but I didn’t look as fat as I felt (and I REALLY had been feeling super fat). Please bear with me here. You maybe thinking this is ridiculous, or that I’m crazy, and I’m writing this to say “yes, it IS ridiculous and yes, I AM crazy”. lol That’s why I’m sharing this with you. Maybe someone else will benefit from my own struggle and discovery.

body issuesAs I looked at that picture and reflected on what my friend said, I thought about the seriousness of not having a true concept of what I really look like. I waited until Steve came home and said “can I ask you a question?” Of course he said “yes” and I proceeded with opening my phone to that picture and asking “do I look like this?” He laughed (not understanding) and I explained “do I look heavier in person than I do in these pictures, because I feel like the pictures makes me look thinner than I actually am”. He responded with “no, you look much fatter in person” and then laughed (totally teasing me). He of course said that was what I looked like. That I was thin. That just baffled me!

I explained that I thought maybe I was dealing with body image issues. He said “duh, yes, you most definitely are dealing with dysmorphic issues. Most competitors do”. Hmmmm I thought. Dang it. I don’t want to be like ‘most people’. Ha! So I decided to do some research to learn more about this disorder.

I found an online test and took the test to see where I stood. I actually thought the results would show traces of BDD (Body Dysmorphia Disorder) – and was expecting the results to basically say “yes, you have some of the symptoms, but it’s just a mild case”(and I was even conservative with my answers!! haha – but instead, the results screamed ‘you gotta get this under control girlfriend!”. lol

CLICK HERE to view the questions or take the test (the answers will be emailed to you).

Spoiler Alert – you can skip the test and just use me as the guinea pig! lol Here is the “answer key”

* 1 to 3 test items checked: There is a low probability that you have BDD.
* 4 to 7 test items checked: There is a medium probability that you have BDD.  
* More than 7 test items checked: There is a high probability that you have BDD. I checked 14 freakin’ lines! FOURTEEN! OMG! Ok, so I’m going to be so super honest here and share my thoughts on each symptom. Lord, I hope this helps someone because this is sorta embarrassing.

Getting Personal: My BDD Test Revealed

Test questions are in light grey, and my answer and thoughts follow.

  1. I excessively worry about my physical appearance. YES. I didn’t think I did until I reeeeally thought about this hard. I ended up checking yes because, realistically, I do know I stress about how I look more than I should.
  2. I often check my appearance in mirrors or other reflecting objects (i.e., windows, car bumpers, spoons, etc). YES. I don’t typically have long gazes in the mirror or window as I walk by, and rarely do it if anyone is watching, but if no one is around – yes, I totally do. I just have the prudence (or pride) to hide it well because I see others do it in public at the gym and realize it looks self-centered and is unattractive.
  3. I frequently avoid mirrors and other reflecting objects. I checked NO. Ironically, I used to always be in the back of an aerobic class because I didn’t like to see myself in the mirror. I used to tease that I hated seeing my long limbs flying around and how awkward I looked. But other than that, I want to look in the mirror so I have a chance to improve a flaw (like messy hair, shiny nose, etc).
  4. I excessively perform basic grooming activities (i.e., washing skin, combing hair, brushing teeth) related to my perceived flaw. I said NO to this one. I don’t have any excessive grooming rituals. I mean, I do have a skin regimen I have to do or I’ll be one big walking zit, but I don’t think I desire to wash my face 15 times or brush my hair 100 strokes. I do have to wash my face really good to get all the pounds of make-up off it since I use so much make-up to cover my yucky skin from my teenage acne years. Who am I kidding?! I never stopped having acne! ha!
  5. I often use make-up or clothing (i.e., hats, scarves, long sleeve shirts, long pants, etc.) to camouflage my perceived flaw. A reluctant YES. I never leave the house without make-up. I’m a little better now. I sometimes do run without it, but most of the time I have SOMETHING on my face (foundation to smooth out my freckly uneven complexion). I also definitely change the way I dress depending on how fat or fit I feel. I think this is normal to some degree, but I definitely need to consider this as an issue I need to work on.
  6. I frequently attempt to hide my perceived flaw by using my hands, by sitting in certain positions, or by staying in places where I believe the flaw will be less noticeable by others (i.e., a dark corner in a theatre or restaurant). Another reluctant YES. No, I don’t hide in a dark corner when going out, but I do tend to try and hold myself in certain positions (especially on the beach or in tight fitting clothes) so fat rolls don’t show, etc. Again, probably somewhat normal, but borderline obsessive. I have been known to wear my hair a certain way to hide a blemish and I can’t just stand normal in a photo without wondering if I’m in a “fat position”. LIke anyone cares what I look like in the dang picture! lol
  7. I regularly scrutinize others’ appearance for comparison. NO. I might admire someone else, but I don’t scrutinize others. I’m too worried about my own flaws. lol
  8. I sometimes discuss my perceived flaw with others, or ask others to verify my perceived flaw. Well, I can’t say that I would have answered YES to this before, but after my talk with the doctor and Steve today, I couldn’t answer no. ha!
  9. I often seek reassurance from others about the appearance of my perceived flaw. I had to check YES on this one too. Although I don’t feel I seek reassurance from others, I do seek it from Steve. I may complain about being fat, but it’s not to hear “you aren’t fat” – it’s more of an admission or confession. As if I feel the other person is already thinking it, so I might as well say it. However, with Steve, I do seek his reassurance because he’s really the only one I care about.
  10. I often touch, pick, and/or measure my perceived flaw. OK, this is getting personal here but I am SUCH a picker!! I admit it! All the dermatologists and aestheticians in the world will hate this but I touch and pick at my skin a lot. I can’t STAND having a blemish. I want it OUT and fixed – and I’m no different with any flaw. I don’t have a lot of patience with flaws. If I notice a new flaw, I want to fix it right away, even if I have to cut it out, cut it off, dye it, exercise it off, glue it, paint it, cover it, medicate it – whatever the fix is, I almost can’t even work or do anything until I first deal with it. So YES was the answer to this one. I always thought that was my perfectionist side, but I now realize it’s more than that and I need to work on this more. I also weigh myself daily to “measure” how I am really doing with my weight/body.
  11. I diet and/or eat only specific foods related to my perceived flaw. YES. One of my percieved flaws is body fat. So, yes, I do diet and eat specific foods that would help that area. This would be OK if this was the only line I checked YES on, but considering I have a whole host of issues, this is just another area that could get out of control if I don’t learn to maintain balance.
  12. I excessively exercise and/or lift weights in an effort to alter my perceived flaw. YES. Duh! lol Oh boy. I don’t even need to explain my thoughts on this one. Again, whether this is healthy or not comes down to balance in all areas.
  13. I avoid certain places and/or activities (i.e., parties, dating, swimming, restaurants, theatres, etc.) because I don’t want others to see my perceived flaw. I answered NO on this one. However, I will try my darnedest to stay home if I feel ugly, and I most definitely won’t put on a bathing suit if I feel fat – but I typically don’t let it keep me from going places and having fun.
  14. I generally avoid having my picture taken. NO. I’m learning to be OK with ugly selfies. I have to take pics for brands. I used to take a million pictures to get just one OK one, but this is actually an area I’ve improved on. I’m more OK with less than perfect photos. #workinprogress
  15. I have undergone cosmetic procedures to correct my perceived flaw (i.e., plastic surgery, hair replacement, skin bleaching, etc.). Let’s just say I used to work for a plastic surgeon’s office when I was in my twenties and I had every skin peel there was to improve my skin, I’ve had various un-invasive treatments to improve skin texture and color, and used bleaching creams to improve acne scars – and STILL use 3 different medicated treatments from Vein Therapies (Dr. Beckett’s office) to help my skin. It definitely did give me more confidence and improved my skin greatly. I also have permanent make-up because I couldn’t stand the way I looked without eyeliner. My face just disappeared. I have to admit, that was WAY worth it and definitely helped me feel better about myself since I loved the water and sport, etc. Obsessive? I don’t think so, but the answer still is YES.
  16. I am dissatisfied with the outcome of these cosmetic procedures. Well, I had realistic expectations of each procedure so I can’t say I was dissatisfied. Do I wish my skin was even smoother and clearer? Yes, but I answered NO on this one because my skin has definitely improved.
  17. I am planning or hoping to have cosmetic procedures to alter my perceived flaw in the future. I would LOVE to have laser on my face and go on acutane. I always thought I’d grow out of acne, but it never happened. I have pores so large you can swim in them and acne scars that have destroyed the texture of my skin – and now I have wrinkles too! ha! It’s always been a dream of mine to get laser to improve my skin. It’s a pretty big procedure (lot of down time and painful from what I understand) but I’ve seen how baby smooth it is after it’s done. Someday! I answered YES, because if I had the time and money, I’d do it in a heartbeat – complete with a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery to fix my old wrinkly eyes).
  18. I am often anxious or depressed thinking about my perceived flaw. YES. Sadly, I worry about my weight way too much. I get really depressed when I gain even 5lbs. It’s not right, I don’t condone that, but I’m just being honest. I know it’s not healthy and it’s unnecessary.
  19. I am often late for activities due to performing behaviors related to my perceived flaw. I am much quicker to get ready now, but I have a hard time “stopping” the perfecting process. I’m always running late because I change my clothes 5 more times in search for something that looks better. Or I curl a few more chunks of hair, as if that will make all the difference. I fix, fix, fix and re-fix, when I should just say goodbye to the mirror and be OK with everything the way it is – even if it’s less than desirable to me. Lately, I’ve been working on this. Even though I have a bad attitude about it, I will say “forget it. that’s just as good as it gets” and will flip the light off and walk away. It’s a step. The next step is smiling and being OK with it. So, YES.
  20. I often believe others notice my perceived flaw and/or are thinking negative thoughts about my perceived flaw. This is a big one for me. YES. I totally think people look at me and think “boy, she’s gotten fat”. Sadly, people have said stupid stuff like “you don’t look like your pictures now do you?” I never forget my mailman pointed to a poster of me and said “you don’t have those abs now do you?” It crushed me. I was like “No, it’s freakin Christmas and I’m not training for anything. I’m trying to enjoy my life, but thanks for reminding me of how fit I was a few months ago. So, yes, I do fear people whisper about me if they feel like I’m not as thin or muscular as I can be. I wonder if my enemies enjoy seeing me a little fuller or if people judge me. I don’t know why I even care, but maybe it’s just being a fitness leader. I want to practice what I preach and I desire to be a good example. I don’t like letting people down. Another unnecessary pressure I put on myself. I know. Another big one to work on.
  21. I am significantly distressed about my perceived flaw. YES. I rarely am free from this, unless I’m really lean and have been dieting hard for something. I stress out way too much about this. I can even realize that there are obese people who would love to be my weight, even at my heaviest. However, it still doesn’t change the way I feel in my own skin.
  22. I often believe others are discussing or commenting on my perceived flaw. This goes with the earlier question about feeling like others think negatively about your perceived flaw. YES, sadly, I think there are catty women who love to see you at your worst. I think people enjoy putting others down in order to be lifted up. Shute, there are some people who look down on us BECAUSE we workout and because I have muscle (because they perceive that to be unattractive, un-womanly, self-centered or showy). I always think people see my flaws more than my strengths, but I don’t feel that way about the people I truly love and who truly love me.
  23. My concerns about my perceived flaw are interfering with my relationships and/or with my academic or professional functioning. NO. I think they probably take up too much time, thought and emotion, but no, I don’t let them interfere with my life for the most part.

So there you have it – an up close and personal peak at my warped brain! ;) Now on to making a change!

Disorder or Dis-Order?

out of orderdisorder /dis·or·der/ (dis-or´der)

Medical Definition: a derangement or abnormality of function; a morbid physical or mental state.
Regular Definition: lack of order or regular arrangement; confusion:

While I’m sure many psychiatrists would disagree with this statement, I still will say it. I will not label myself as having BDD just because I scored poorly on this test. (Granted, if you have severe depression or suicidal thoughts related to these symptoms, I do recommend seeing a professional please!) But, in my case, I will address each concern and work on it.

I will not use it as a crutch or an excuse to continue BDD behavior. This test simply made me aware of areas I need to work on. Whether you or I are clinical or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I can improve and so can you! In many ways, I have improved (like with my skin). I might be worse temporarily with my body after experiencing competition weight, but I’m not going to settle for this emotional state – and, if you struggle with this too, you should not either.

I look at it this way. I can either say this is a disorder, or I can realize these symptoms are a result of dis-order meaning things (life) out of order (not in premium working condition). As I attempt to put my life in the right order – putting God first, Steve/family next, others next, etc. my focus will slowly shift off myself and onto others and more important things than the way I look.

Treatment

The OCD Center of Los Angles says “From a mindfulness perspective, much of our psychological distress is the result of trying to control and eliminate the discomfort of unwanted thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges. In other words, our discomfort is not the problem – our attempt to control and eliminate our discomfort is the problem. For an individual with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, the ultimate goal of mindfulness is to develop the ability to more willingly experience their uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges, without responding with compulsions, avoidance behaviors, reassurance seeking, and/or mental rituals.”

therapySo, if I want to improve in this area, I need to purposefully allow myself to experience the “perceived flaw” without always frantically responding to it. This means, I should start running without makeup more so I get used to being out in public with no make-up. No one in my neighborhood cares or notices anyway! I used to think I just did this to make myself feel better (and I do believe that is the main reason), but maybe I am fueling the fire and creating a habit that is hard for me to break. So, as a result of this test, I plan on “exercising” this area of my life.

Another thing I have already started “practicing’ is wearing loose clothing. Why not be more comfortable right? I always think of loose clothing as sloppy and making me look fat, but it is more comfortable, and it takes my eyes and mind (as well as others’) off my body. This is especially important to me when I’m close to a competition. Many people get skimpier and skimpier the leaner they are (to show off their progress or just because they are more comfortable exposing skin). I was convicted earlier this year, I should do the opposite. It’s one thing to wear fitting clothes to the gym, but when I’m out and about (at church, shopping, etc), I should really dress more conservatively and cover up more. It’s less pressure on me, and is better for me to take the focus off my body and more on other important things.

Practice Makes Better

practice makes betterYou might have heard the saying, “the first step to recovery is admitting there’s a problem”? Well, I do believe the first step is admitting you have things to work on. Now it’s up to me to WORK on them. I will not suddenly be OK with my body or skin, but I absolutely can practice changing my mindset. I can take less time getting ready. I can refuse to change clothes 10 times on fat days, and just shoot for 1 or 2 times. I can wear less make-up when it doesn’t matter and I can walk the beach in a bikini on my fat days and remind myself that no one cares if I am 5lbs heavier than I want to be. I can choose to smile and not complain about how I feel. That is a choice, not a reaction. I have full control. i just have to practice more control.

The fact of the matter is that I know I am being unrealistic, so I can let a lot of this go – BUT, it will be a daily dying to self (not letting my body rule me, Romans 8:13) and practicing a healthier ORDER to my life. How does God see me? Righteous and redeemed!  (1 Corinthians 1:30)

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Learning a Healthy Balance:

#1 Do not worry – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25 How often do we worry about things that have nothing to do with eternity or to do with anything that TRULY matters. It’s a waste of time and energy. We must practice NOT worrying.

#2 Focus on what is most important –  I need to realize being fit has some value, but it falls below godliness. I should spend way more time on working on my heart, than my physique.

“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

#3 Actively work to re-prioritize your life. The world can knock our priorities out of order. Work may require us to work later, and miss time with family. Stress may force our eyes of other important things. We don’t set priorities and call it a day. We set them, and then spend the rest of our lives re-prioritizing them – putting the important things back in the right order and pushing other stuff out of the way. A life without purposefully reordering our life, is a life completely out of order. This is how the world conforms us if we let it. It is only by being proactive with our thoughts, relationships and priorities will we be transformed by the renewal of our mind like this scripture says.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

We can’t let our thoughts go wild. We have control over our mind or God would never tell you to set your mind on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2) because He’d never tell us to do something we couldn’t do. God is telling us that we can change our mind, and set it to more important things than worrying about how we look or feel. Again, practice makes better. :)

I hope this super long blog helped, or encouraged you. If nothing else, if you struggle with these things, you now know you aren’t alone. We all do to some degree – just some of us need to work on them more than others!

So You Ate Like Crap, Get Over It

I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up

When I talk about fitness and dieting, I often refer to falling and getting back up again. Maybe it’s because I’m a clutz and relate to falling, or maybe it’s just because falling is a part of life.

We’re human and it’s inevitable that we will mess up – and there is no truer example than with diet and fitness. However, I don’t think it’s all about just preventing the failure, I think the most important action is what we do after we fail.

Damage Control

I think it’s healthy to allow ourselves to cheat occasionally. It’s almost like planning a controlled fall. Stunt men do it all the time. They learn how to fall without getting hurt. We all know eating certain foods aren’t healthy, but we “allow” ourselves to have them. But, if we don’t plan it carefully, and practice safety measures, we can find ourselves in big trouble quick.

While some people planned their Thanksgiving cheat meals out carefully, there are others that just threw out all the rules, and dove face first into every dish that came their way. Whether we convinced ourselves that  “we deserved it” or acted like we really didn’t care, eventually our bad choices catch up to us. The feeling of disappointment and guilt might hit us as soon as we finish the last bite, or it might take days of repetitive bad behavior to finally get us to the point of being sick of how those bad choices make us look and feel. However long it takes us to reach that point, when we finally get to that point, it’s time for damage control.

It’s time for you (and the scale) to face the facts.

Some people are quick to jump back on the scale and boldy face reality. One thing I can guarantee is this: You WILL eventually deal with all this. You can deal with it now or later – the choice is yours.

3 Post Holiday Scenarios: Which One Will You Choose?

1. Stay Knocked Down. This is what most people do after a Holiday – especially when there is another excuse (like another Holiday) right around the corner. They decide it’s going to be impossible to fight, too hard to manage, not enough time, no fun, or not worth the effort. So, they just give up and pretend they can continue through the Holidays without repercussions. The problem with this is, if you do this often enough, it becomes a pattern. Weight continues to creep up on you – and before you know it, you are in way over your head, and you may be tempted to quit for good.

2. Get Back Up – slowly. This person waits for the ref to count all the way to 9 before they get back up again. They are procrastinator, slow learners and naturally lazy (like me – yes ME!). Sometimes it takes a friend (or dog!) to drag them back to the gym. But, most of the time, this person will try everything under the sun before doing what they know they need to do. They’ll cut everything out they don’t mind forfeiting and try making “their way” work by finagling diets and fitness around their lifestyle. Then they will complain when they fail.  They will justify their actions, make a million excuses, and, finally, at the very last minute (when they just can’t take it any longer), they will stand back up and get back to what they know works.

3. Bounce Back Fast – The person who is fast to recover and quickly gets back on their feet, accepts what has to be done and doesn’t waste any valuable time. They get right back on their diet, and get right back in the gym – as fast as they possibly can. They may dread it, they may not want to do it, but they do it anyway because they’ve either learned the hard way or they hate feeling fat and unhealthy more than they hate the work it takes to stay fit. They could easily wallow in their sorrows and beat themselves up while their down, but they don’t. The get over it. They move on. They get back up on their own two feet – and fight it back out.

So, you ate like crap  – get over it, it’s time to get back up!

Subscribe to my blog to get Bounce Back Tips tomorrow, and learn how to get your home and body back in shape FAST! 

FITNESS: You CAN Afford It!

money where your mouth isIn this economy, many people would say they couldn’t afford to get fit. However, it is likely they can afford more than they think. Most people simply spend too much money on things that make them fat, instead of things to get them fit.

As a result, you can easily nickel and dime yourself right out of a healthy lifestyle. For instance, many people don not think twice about going through a drive-through at lunch or buying a five-dollar latte for a caffeine boost. One modest dinner date would cover a gym membership for the month, offering endless fitness opportunities. Sadly, people keep putting their money where there mouth is – literally.

1 drink alcoholic drink per night can average $90.00 a month.

In my recent article on Answers.com, I show how some of our food and drink choices add up if you aren’t careful – and it’s AMAZING how even a cup of coffee a day can add up! CLICK HERE to read the whole article, 7 Ways to Afford a Healthy Lifestyle and see other ways to cut back and make more room for fit choices.

What have you given up to help you afford to get healthy and fit?

10 Tips to Kick the Never-Ending Diet

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” Dolly Parton

When I think of Dolly’s quote I think of how my mother also tried every diet in the book before she finally lost her weight. I know she must have felt like she spent her entire life dieting. The truth is she just made a few common mistakes that just continued to prolong her results – and it happens to so many people. That’s why so many American live their all their life dieting.

10 Tips to Break the ‘Never-ending Diet’ Cycle:

  1. Avoid diet hopping. Some people never stick to a diet long enough to get results before they hop on the next diet that comes their way.  If you chose a diet plan, stick to it.
  2. Never attempt an unrealistic diet. I can’t help but think of the Cabbage Soup Diet, which I was on for all of four very long days. A successful diet is one you can stick with for the long haul.
  3. Don’t rely on the quick fix. We all know better, but our patience often gets the best of us. Don’t give in to weight loss gimmicks. A quick fix is just a temporary fix and only postpones the inevitable.
  4. Be realistic. If you are on a mild diet and exercise plan, expect mild results. The more intense the program, the faster the results. Be realistic when setting and working toward your goal.
  5. Be honest with yourself. People seem quick to recall all the healthy low-calorie foods they eat but get amnesia when it comes to unhealthy choices. The scale will tell on you so, in all actuality, you aren’t fooling anyone but your self.
  6. What you don’t know can hurt you. I find most people who have failed on their diet have been guessing their way through it all. Other people just don’t want to know the truth. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has taken a bite of something and as soon as I begin to read off the calories he plugs his ears saying “lalalalalalalala, I don’t want to know, lalalalalala”!  The fact is the calories are there whether we know it or not.
  7. If you aren’t dieting, you should be maintaining. Even if you lose the weight, you still have to be accountable for what you eat in order to maintain your new size. Many people who hit their goal end up right back where they started because they went back to eating poorly.
  8. The “Weekday Diet” doesn’t always work. Many people diet all week, only to erase their hard work each weekend with poor food choices. Although this may work while in maintenance, this diet faux pas is what makes people feel like they are dieting all the time and never reaping the reward.
  9. Never underestimate the power of the calorie. Weight loss boils down to one thing – calories in vs. calories out. You can’t expect results if you are not sure how many calories you are eating.
  10. Commit to dieting the right way. A lack of commitment just prolongs the amount of time it will take to get results. You can live on a yo-yo diet for the rest of your life and get mediocre results, or you can commit to working hard for a while and live the rest of your life enjoying your results.

4 Dangers of Lazy Living?

LazinessWant to lose weight? Are you the kind of person who would just do better if someone else would cook for you, or at least just tell you what to eat? You aren’t alone. It’s called being lazy – and we ALL have a lazy bone that wishes dieting could be easier. Are we really going to let laziness rule our life? Seriously? We KNOW the reward is great, so why would we let a few food prep and calorie-logging steps get in our way?

We are lazy creatures. We want to be spoon fed. We don’t even want to read information now – we want to hear it or watch it on TV, because reading would take too much effort. We prefer to be forced to do the right thing because making the decision to do the right thing on our own would also be too much work. Even people at church want to be given a really good word from the pulpit to last them all week because they are too lazy to open the Bible and actually get a word from God themselves. Here are 4 ways laziness gets us in trouble.

Knowledge quote1. We do not apply what we learn. We constantly seek more information, when we aren’t even applying what we have already heard. James 1:22 says “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Of course it’s talking about the word, being the Bible. However, I believe we can learn from this and apply it to many areas of our life. How often are we searching for new recipes, new workouts and new fitness toys when we already know what to eat, know what to do and have enough fitness tools to do it? Normally, the difference between someone who is getting results and someone who isn’t is the person getting results is actually applying what they have have already learned. While the person who isn’t getting results is only applying SOME of what they’ve learned, and still in search of an easier route or a shortcut.

big-boned-exercise-cartoon2. We have selective hearing. When we choose to have selective hearing, and only apply what we like while ignoring the stuff we don’t like, we are deceiving ourselves. We live life pretending we are doing everything right, because we are doing some stuff right. This is a VERY bad habit. Why? First, you begin to believe the lie that you are doing “everything” you can. That’s not true. You are doing everything you WANT to do, but not everything you SHOULD do. Second, as we decide to pick and choose what we want to apply, we become more susceptible to false teaching and gimmicks. This applies both to our fitness and diet, as well as our spiritual journey. You don’t get to pick and choose truth. Truth is truth and if you ignore the truth long enough, you will begin to fall for any lie. You must apply all the principles to get the results you want – not just some of them. However, many people find themselves working hard in the gym (because they don’t mind that part), yet ignoring calories (because that is too much work) – and they wonder why they can’t lose the weight. If you want to succeed, you have to decide to apply EVERYTHING you learn, not just some of it.

Diet Cartoon3. You never really learn what is necessary to make fitness a lasting lifestyle. If you take short cuts, you are missing out on gaining more knowledge. Eating Lean Cuisines instead of learning out to prepare and weigh food, and count calories keeps you in bondage to boxed foods. As soon as you are left to cook or eat out, you will be lost. There is a certain amount of “homework” required to the fitness lifestyle. You must make the extra effort to measure food, weigh it, research foods, count calories, look up healthy recipes, study workouts, learn proper form, research supplements and study nutrition if you really want to KNOW how to live healthy. Sadly, people don’t want to know anything. They want to get healthy with limited knowledge. This is why people say “just tell me what to do” or “tell me what to eat”. Just telling someone what to do or eat sets them up for long-term failure. The best way to make fitness a lifestyle is to invest time in gaining the knowledge you need to KNOW how to live healthy (not pretend to live healthy). Think about how much time you waste surfing facebook or watching TV, where you gain NO knowledge. Don’t you think you are worth the investment?

too busy to exercise4. You make life harder than it has to be. ironically, we waste more and energy time trying shortcuts than if we did everything the right (and often longer) way. Proverbs 12:24 says “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” I think this passage is interesting because what it tells me is lazy people will be FORCED to work even harder. It’s funny how easy life is when we suck it up and just do what we are supposed to do. It’s when we try to avoid work, we often have to work much harder. I’ve personally experienced this time after time – especially with home improvement projects. I can’t count the number of times I had to either completely do something over again because I was trying to cut corners.

You can do MOREWhat this scripture also tells me is that I will be more in control if I am diligent. How many of us want to be in control of our lives? Of course our life really is in God’s hands, but there are many things we can control – and exercise and diet falls in that category. Do you really want to be FORCED to labor – possibly doing what you don’t even want to do? Or do you want to take control and choose what you are willing to do? Unfortunately, many people wait until it’s too late and the doctor tells them they need to make changes or they are going to die. You can decide now, or someone will decide for you later. Either way, we really can’t avoid work. It’s a part of life – so you might as well take control now.

Have you been guilty of trying short cuts, waiting on an easier way or only applying some of what you have learned? Save a lot of time and energy, and each your goal faster, by doing fitness the right way – applying what you have learned, and continuing to learn something new every day! You will be SO glad you did!! Your only regret will be that you wish you did it sooner!!

Motivational Quote:

You can do more

Are You Lying to Yourself?

call it what it isHave you ever been afraid to verbalize something in fear it would make it more real? I believe we have a way of candy-coating the truths in our lives by not calling things what they are.

Recently I was listening to a message about Joseph, the coat of many colors guy who was sold to slavery and raised up to leadership. He was a loyal worker, and had great favor where ever he went. It also said he was EXTREMELY handsome. As a result, his boss’s wife tried to seduce him. His response was “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God“. This may not seem like a big statement here, but how many times do we respond to doing something wrong with calling it what it really is?

Joseph not only saw it wasn’t right, but he saw just how seriously wrong it was – not just that it wasn’t right to do to his boss, but he saw how it wasn’t right to do to God. Talk about taking things up a notch!

What if we were to be more truthful with our struggles, thoughts and actions? What if we started being more honest with ourself and with others? I believe in my heart, we let things (problems) linger in our life because we never really truly address them in truth.

There needs to be a time when we all look in the mirror and we face the things we try to run from. Here are a few examples:

I can’t lose weight.
Am I really doing everything I can do?

I probably should cut back the wine.
Am I an alcoholic?

I need more time and money.
Am I using my time and money wisely?

I don’t want to join a gym.
Am I letting my pride get in the way of my health?

I just really like her/him a lot.
I am married and I am fighting an attraction which is wrong and will never be right.

I eat really healthy.
Could I still be eating too much?

I love food.
Am I letting food control me?

You fill in the blanks…..
We all have our issues and our demons we must face. For Joseph, it was a constant pursuing of his boss’s wife – even when he was doing all the right things. BUT, he never gave into temptation because he never stopped seeing it for what it was.

I challenge you today to face your struggles head on, write them down, talk about them with someone you love and trust. You can never win a battle you never admit you are having. :)

It’s Not a Diet, It’s Self-Control

I'm not dietingPeople do NOT like the word diet. It’s like a bad 4-letter word that’s offensive in all countries. Everyone has a different definition of diet. I admit I use the word all the time, but I never think of it as a bad thing. To me, diet means results. It means healthy food, smart food. It means perfect portions, not overeating, not eating junk. It means practicing self-control and it means feeling great.

When did practicing self-control become so scary and bad? God ENCOURAGES us to practice self-control. There are countless scriptures on the importance of controlling our body, cravings and desires.

As you know, I like chips and salsa. I can’t eat it every day (but I WANT TO), but I do eat it. What if you let your kid eat whatever they wanted to eat every day? That’s a scary thought right? Well, it’s not too much worse than a grown adult eating whatever they want to eat every day. It might “look” healthier than PopTarts and Happy Meals, but it’s not much different when it comes to self-control.

Stop looking at dieting (or practicing self-control) as a horrible thing. Instead, look at it as empowering! Every time you resist your favorite cheat food, you are reminding yourself you are strong, you are one step closer to your goal, you are in control, you are not letting food rule your life, you are bettering yourself, you are doing the right and healthy thing. Every time you are eating healthy, you’re fueling your body with the foods it needs to help you reach your goals. Be proud, be excited!

Self-control requires sacrifice. Sacrifice requires being uncomfortable at first, but pleasure follows. Lack of self-control is the other way around. Pleasure first followed by discomfort that typically way outlasts the pleasure. Dieting (eating right, practicing self-control, managing calories) is investing in your future – and it’s SO worth it!!

Download the LoseIt app today and start taking control of your eating – and your body!

Fat & Frustrated: The Secret to Finding Peace

walking the fenceWhen I was in high school, my homeroom teacher came up to me and said “you’re walking the fence Bonnie.” I knew exactly what he meant and I’ll never forget it (or him, Coach Youngblood). While he was talking about how I acted at school verses how I acted at church, I believe this same condition (walking the fence) happens to all of us in many different areas of our life – including fitness. People have so much unnecessary stress in their life because they “walk the fence” with their diet, with exercise, with relationships, with finances and absolutely with their spiritual life. This “condition”, I’ll call it, causes so much discontentment, frustration, restlessness, resentment, anger, bitterness, conviction and conflict. Why? Because you want peace, but your body and mind are in conflict. You know what you WANT, but you aren’t doing what you NEED to do to get it. You are “walking the fence”.

Conflicted

diet good vs evilFor example, you want to get fit, but you aren’t fully committed to the diet. In this case, every time you eat poorly, every time you weigh yourself, or every time you don’t like the way you look in clothes, you are filled with regret, guilt, conviction, stress and disappointment. In addition, every time you are with your fit little friend, you are uncomfortable. A matter of fact, you are actually downright grouchy and feel even worse because she’s a constant reminder of what you should be doing. As a result, you may even avoid your fit friends or avoid the gym. Listen, there is more to life than how we fit in our jeans. I admit, I like myself better at a certain weight, but what I like more is the peace I have with myself when I am taking care of my body and living right (or at least trying!!). I refuse to live a life buried in guilt and discouragement from letting my life get out of control. While I sure do enjoy feeling thinner and fitter, I also enjoy the peace of knowing I am doing what is healthy and good.

Restless?

Maybe your issue isn’t with food or fitness. Maybe it’s with relationships or with God. No matter what you are wrestling with, if you are filled with conviction, anger, frustration and restlessness, it’s often because you keep doing what you WANT to do and resisting what you SHOULD do. Once you want peace more than whatever you are currently craving, change will happen and peace will come. Joyce Meyer said peace finally came in her home when she wanted peace more than she wanted to be right. How often do we trade peace for something temporary? hanging from the fenceThere is simply NO PEACE when you are on the fence. You can’t “rest” on the fence. On the fence, there is indecisiveness, conviction, conflict and restlessness. Peace requires commitment – the commitment to do what you need to do, not just what you want to do. It’s the decision to get off the fence and get on the RIGHT side of life. Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue (go after) it! Psalm 34:14 I LOVE this scripture!! If you crave peace, don’t wait for it to come to YOU, chase after it, seek it, pursue it, do everything you need to get it – and depart from the things that are getting in the way of peace. What are you not willing to “depart” from? Are you trading peace for food? Are you trading peace for what makes you feel good in the moment? You know which side of the fence you should be on so what are you waiting for? Seriously, what is more valuable than peace?

Weight Loss is Like Marriage – It’s Hard Work, but It’s Worth It!

Steve & Bonnie PfiesterWhen you go into a marriage, you each come with a lot of baggage – baggage you might not even know you had. At first, you are so in love you don’t notice the weight you each carry right away. Over time, the burden of carrying the extra junk begins to show – and new junk gets piled on too! In many ways, marriage is like weight loss. It requires a permanent commitment to succeed, and it takes a lot of work, discipline, balance, self-control and constant effort if you want to maintain it.

Today we celebrate 20 years of marriage! This above photo was of Steve and I at a company beach party in the early part of our marriage (in the 90’s – that explains the high waisted swim suit I had on! OMG!). The party was put on by Steve’s favorite boss of all-time, Tom Kane of the Center for Orthopedic Sports & Physical Therapy in Tallahassee, FL. We thought we were so fit. haha!  Boy did we have a lot to learn!

steve and bonnie pfiesterSure, we worked out. We even did occasional cardio! lol However, we were merely in the honeymoon stage of both our marriage – and our fitness. The newness was fun and exciting. We were beginning to do a lot right, but we were still doing a LOT wrong.

Over the years, we not only learned that marriage was going to be harder than we thought, and so was staying fit and healthy! It’s taken years to learn how to eat healthier and work out better (more effectively and more efficiently). We’ve learned how to maintain a healthier weight by managing calories and practicing self-discipline. Instead of yo-yoing up and down, binging (cheating) and then crash dieting, now we eat pretty healthy all the time with small cheats here and there – which is a healthier and happier way to live. We rely less on exercise to erase our food “sins” and more on self-control and keeping our diet and lifestyle in balance so we don’t have to spend 2 hours a day in the gym.

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterI encourage you to always work to improve. Alway seek knowledge. Always work at it! And always remember you are learning every single day – even in your failures. And, most importantly, NEVER GIVE UP. All the hard work, all the failures, all the mistakes, all the struggles are WORTH IT as LONG AS YOU stick to the commitment you first made. If you quit, all the work was for nothing.

I’m so thankful Steve and I have stuck it out, even when the hard work didn’t seem to work right away (like doing a new fitness program…and you wonder when it will EVER pay off!). Sound familiar? I am telling you! There were days we both were nearly convinced we couldn’t succeed no matter how hard we tried. Now we laugh at that thought! And the same goes for you – in whatever you are striving for. Don’t give up when things are tough…chances are, victory is JUST around the corner!!!

Keep your eye on the prize! Don’t look back and keep pressing on. The reward is greater than you could EVER imagine!!!! Whether it’s weight loss or your marriage. The reward is worth the work!

<3 Love you Stephen James Pfiester!!!

Motivation Monday: Try Something GREAT

“When Is the Last Time You Attempted Something Great?” 

attempt something greatThis is a very powerful question. I believe many of us avoid attempting great tasks to avoid experiencing great failure. There comes a time you have to ask yourself, “What is worse? Attempting something great and possibly failiing, or not attempting anything great at all and succeeding?”

I’ve recently been asked to do some pretty scary things – scary to me at least. My first instinct was to say “no”. Then I had to ask myself why I was saying no. Was it because it would hurt me? No. Was it because it would hurt anyone else? No. Was it because I was afraid to fail. The answer was yes – but that should NEVER stop me from trying something. When it boiled down to it, I had no other choice but to decide to do it because I really had no good reason not to at least try.

Sadly, many people never really ever try to do something great simply because they don’t want to fail. I believe we are looking at success all wrong. Success is not reaching your goal without opposition, struggle, failures or setbacks. Success is reaching your goal, or getting closer to your goal, despite all of that. Success is also not just doing what you are good at. You can be successful in just trying. You can be more successful attempting success, even if you fall short of your goal. Your goal may be in trying alone. Let me explain…

The Success In Trying

Julianne Talley Ms Senior FloridaSomeone recently suggested my mom be in the Ms. Senior Pageant. She thought long and hard on it and decided it was time she step outside her box and do it. Her goal was not to win. Her goal was to get out of her comfort zone and to experience personal growth, as well as encourage the other ladies there. Her goal was to show up.

Her dress didn’t come in time but she didn’t stress (I admit I would have freaked!). She could have easily used that as an excuse to back out. She could have taken that as an omen, “well it’s just not mean to be”, but she didn’t. She pressed on. She was scheduled to be out of town for work a lot, and she could have used that as an excuse for poor timing, but she found a way to fit it all in. She had never done a pageant before and struggled with the perception of being in a “beauty pageant” but she focused on what good could come out of instead. She had plenty of really good excuses but decided to not use one of them.

Just showing up for her was a big win. We were all so proud because we knew she was way out of her box. She was proud of herself. She said she would sit there at practice thinking “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” As I watched her on stage, I marveled at her bravery, knowing it wasn’t easy for her. I gleamed with pride and reflected on my own need to step outside my comfort zone. She not only did it – to her surprise, she won.

Ms. Senior Florida 2014

What If You Fail?

What if she failed? What if she didn’t even get to be a runner up? Would she really have failed? Absolutely not. She met some amazing ladies and she could celebrate the victory of stepping out of her box. The moment she said “Yes, I’ll do it” she succeeded. The moment she stepped on stage, she was a winner because she attempted something great. She practiced and performed her song. She memorized her philosophy. She learned how to walk, dance and prepare for such an event. She walked away with more experience, more confidence and more ways to encourage people. Whether she walked away with a crown on her head and a sash across her chest or not, she would have left a better person, a more fully developed person with one more great experience under her belt. Victory was inevitable. 

a-cannot-fail-textI want to challenge you today to try something great. Don’t just attempt to lose 20lbs, attempt to lose the full 50 you need to lose. Ladie,s don’t try to just get any man, aim to find the BEST and GREATEST man for you. Don’t settle for a job you are miserable, keep applying for the job you’ve always wanted. Don’t settle for an average marriage, work hard to develop a phenomenal marriage. In every single attempt, you will likely see much improvement whether you reach your desired goal or not.

Remember…

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” (Les Brown)

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