How To Deal with Rejection

A few months ago I was teaching and training at 3 different gyms. I was constantly on the go and eager at the chance to pick up another class.

I put everything I had into each of those gyms. I connected with the members and structured each class to best meet their needs. When an opportunity to sub or pick up a new class presented itself, I responded immediately, hoping that I was first on the list.

One of those opportunities was to run a small group training class at a big box gym. I couldn’t wait to interview for the position. I felt like the job was ‘made’ for me. I had proven myself to the members at the gym. My classes were challenging, I was able to keep them motivated through the toughest part of the workouts, and I heard time and time again ‘Great class!’

I walked into that interview with great confidence. I was going to ‘own’ this interview and help them grow this new program. Everything was going great until he said, ‘I just don’t think this is going to work because you teach and train at other locations.’

“WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? You are denying me because I work other places?”

I just couldn’t wrap my head around this rejection. It would be one thing if I wasn’t qualified but I was being rejected because I worked other places.

Sometimes rejection is exactly what you need.

Sometimes rejection is exactly what you need.

Side note: You might think that membership rates or personal training fees are high, but believe me, those of us in the fitness industry do what we do because we have a passion for helping people discover a healthier lifestyle – not because of the money.

I was angry, I was hurt, I was disappointed and then I was just done. I gave my notice. If they weren’t going to give me the opportunity to help more people achieve a healthier lifestyle it was time to walk away.

But I walked away bitter. I walked away angry, hurt and disappointed and sad that I wasn’t going to see my front row diva again, or my tall blond who complained but still worked her tail off, or my dear friend who scheduled her workouts just to come to my classes.

Fast forward to now. That rejection was probably the best thing for me. I now realize that I was relying too heavily on established class schedules and not doing enough to personally make connections with those who currently don’t exercise.

My passion for fitness isn’t about making a profit – it’s about being an inspiration to women just like me. I love working out, but I have days that I just want to sleep in. I love the way my body feels when I eat ‘clean’, but I have days that I want a slice of double pepperoni pizza! I have days that I look in the mirror and feel like a rock star, and other days all I see is dark circles under my eyes and a sluggish form.

So I’ve put myself out there. I started recording daily workouts that people can do from home. I don’t love every shot – at times my face looks sour, my midsection looks bloated, my triceps look a little flabby…but it’s me. It’s the real me. The rejected me.

I realize the rejected me is the one that is okay with all of that.

Yes, I have a sour face – working out is hard and I don’t have to smile all the time, I’m putting in effort!

Yes, my midsection isn’t perfect – I’ve had three children. They are far more important than having a defined ‘six pack.’

Yes, my triceps droop – I continue to work on them, but just like my abs, it’s not about perfection in looks – it’s about strength.

So the next time you feel rejected, be empowered and dig deeper into the real you.

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Why I Stopped Counting Calories

Even before I was a trainer I believed in the value of logging calories – and I still do. Before the days of smart phones I would keep track of everything in a notebook. Then along came great apps like LoseIt and MyFitness Pal which made it much easier to log my caloric intake. 

Because I still believe in the value of food journals I want to take a few moments to share with you the benefits of keeping one of your own.

Food Journals Create Awareness

Many times we aren’t aware of how much we are actually consuming. By keeping a record you can take an honest look at your caloric intake for the day. This can be extremely eye opening and can raise your awareness to areas you may be able to cut back. For instance, many people don’t recognize the calories associated with beverages because it’s not a meal. Eliminating juices, coffee drinks with heavy syrups, and reducing alcohol intake are an easy way to cut back on unnecessary calories.

Food Journals Establish Accountability

When I logged my food I paused to think about every food choice. Did I really want Hershey kisses bad enough to account for 200 calories of my daily allowance? Probably not. By tracking your food intake you are much more likely to think twice about a food choice rather than just mindlessly consuming it.

Food Journals Reveal Patterns

There are a number of things you can learn about your eating patterns through food journals. Do you snack more at night if you skip breakfast? Are you always looking for something to snack on at 3pm when the kiddos are getting home from school? Do you crave junk food after consuming alcohol? These are just a few examples of what you might discover through food journaling. We all have our own patterns and food journaling is a great way to learn more about your own.

Food Journals Reflect Nutritional Deficiencies

Many times we are not getting the proper balance of carbs, proteins and fats and through food journaling you can discover which areas you may be under or over-consuming. Thankfully most of the apps available now will give you a breakdown of your nutritional intake. In general this is what you should be consuming:

  • Protein: approximately 50 to 70 grams (depending on body size) or 12 – 20% of your caloric intake
  • Carbs: a minimum of 125 grams, optimal 350 to 400 grams or 55 – 65% of caloric intake **NOTE: these are healthy carbs from fruits and veggies, NOT processed carbs found in pre-packed and processed foods
  • Fat: approximately 30 to 65 grams depending on caloric consumption, or 25 – 30% caloric intake

If you want to read more on the benefits of Food Journaling take a look at couple of my previous blog posts, ‘Keeping a Log‘ and ‘Keeping a Record.’

So with all of these benefits why in the world would I stop counting my calories? I’ve been working towards clean eating for many years. In fact, my daughter Ella once told me that I must have different taste buds from the rest of the family since I chose carrots over chips for a snack. 

I’ve recently discovered that for me, food journaling makes me overly obsessed with calories. As a result I make some very poor and damaging choices.

For instance, I am so fearful of going over my calories that I am likely to skip a meal (maybe even two) to compensate for the pizza I am going to eat for dinner. I’m so obsessed with staying within my limits that I limit my protein intake to avoid the extra calories. So in my effort to be healthy, I’m achieving the exact opposite: a screwed up metabolism and a body vulnerable to sickness and injury. 

So I stopped journaling and started focusing on three things:

  1. Recognizing Hunger
  2. Portion Sizes
  3. Smart Choices

Recognizing Hunger

I’m no longer bound to meal time because the clock says so. I am listening to my body and eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. Sometimes that means breakfast is only a green smoothie. Other mornings it may be a smoothie and egg whites. Which brings me to…

Portion Sizes

I am concentrating on staying true to portion sizes. Anything, even pizza, eaten in the proper portion size and moderation can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. So now instead of starving myself all day for pizza, I make sure that I also have a salad with my pizza.

Smart Choices

Having a salad with my pizza is just one example of making smart choices. I’m far less likely to eat 4 slices if I start with a salad. Not only will the salad help to fill me up but it is a great reminder of what good food tastes like as compared to fatty processed food.

So I’ve stopped counting calories because for me it was becoming a destructive behavior. Rather than feeling oppressed by food, I feel empowered to make the right choices.

My goal in sharing this with you today is to empower you to discover what works best for YOU. Life is not a one size fits all. For some, food journaling is the exact tool that empowers them, if that’s you – I encourage you to keep it up! I whole-heartedly believe journaling can be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, however, it is just not a tool that works for me.

When it comes to living a healthy life take time to consider what helps you to feel the best about yourself – if something makes you feel worse about yourself, find a new way. 

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3 Questions to Consider When Setting Goals

Losing weight and improving health requires a lot of work and sacrifice. Weight gain and lack of physical fitness doesn’t happen over night – it’s a gradual increase in weight and a gradual reduction in strength, endurance and flexibility. To counter these effects you need to identify ways to gradually decrease your weight and increase your physical abilities. Again, it’s not going to happen over night!

As a personal trainer I work with my clients to help them set weekly individual goals around diet, weight and exercise (depending on their long-term needs). The goals are specific and measurable and at the end of the week there is a definitive answer if those goals have been met.

I find the key to success in achieving both short and long-term goals is realistically evaluating the change based on the following criteria:

  • Am I ready to make the change?
  • How will this change impact my quality of life?
  • Am I willing to make this a lifestyle change?

Readiness

All change requires willpower. The key is to gauge your readiness for the change so you aren’t solely relying on willpower to accomplish your goals. Why? Because your willpower will fail you.

Think about it…we all know what the right choices are. Faced with the decision of a cupcake or a bowl of berries you know what’s the healthier choice. The same is true with exercise; you know that being physically active is a much better choice than living your life in a recliner.

Our willpower fails us because we allow excuses to override what we know is right. For instance, “I know I shouldn’t eat the cupcake but it’s my friends birthday and I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” Or, “I know I should go for a bike ride but it’s been a really long day, I’m tired, it’s getting cloudy, I need to air up my tire, I’m not sure where my bike helmet is…”

Take the pressure off your ability to battle your own excuses and choose goals that you are ready to achieve.

Quality of Life

It’s also important to consider how working towards a particular goal will affect your overall quality of life.

Let’s say your exercise goal is to workout for 45 minutes 5 days a week and 60 minutes 1 day a week. Decide in advance what current ‘activity’ you are willing to sacrifice and how it ultimately impacts your desired quality of life. Will you wake up early or does getting up before 7 am make you cranky and tired for the rest of the day? Will you go to the gym after work or is that the time you normally spend with your children?

The purpose in setting goals is to improve your quality of life so don’t set a goal that steals your happiness and enjoyment in life.

Lifestyle Changes vs. Quick Fixes

Reaching your goals is only half the battle. It takes just as much (if not more) work to maintain weight loss and physical fitness over time. Quick fixes may contribute to achieving your goals but they aren’t a realistic long-term solution because none of them really require behavior modification.

Think about it this way…most people who go on an extreme diet or exercise plan usually have a set number of days associated with that plan and have no plan for maintaining it once the program is over. For instance, if your method for losing weight is to drink two shakes a day as meal replacement you may achieve your weight loss goals. However, to sustain that loss are you willing to drink two shakes a day for the majority of days for the rest of your life to maintain your weight loss? I’d guess most people would not be willing to do that.

Take some time to think beyond reaching the immediate goal and evaluate if the changes you are making are sustainable over weeks and months to come.

You’ll find that long-term success is built on a solid foundation of small victories all along the way. Start out simple and give yourself a chance to succeed. Each time you achieve a goal you become more confident in your ability to achieve bigger and better.