5 Steps To Authentic Goal Setting

When I weighed over 300 lbs, my dad did something that changed my life. He lost 60 lbs. 

It was inspiring, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit jealous. Here I was, spending all my energy trying to lose weight, desperately needing to, and he did it in a snap. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong and seeing him do it right in front of me drove me a little crazy. 

I used my disease as an excuse, even though I'd been heavy long before diagnosis. It calmed my mind from having a complete meltdown.

Fortunately, for me - the universe wasn't done sending me the message, and the meltdown came as I watched my brother lose over 120 lbs with his chronic illness. It completely destroyed my excuse and I felt more trapped in the weight loss goal than ever. 

For my entire life, weight loss was THE goal. I've been the heaviest girl in every room since childhood, despite my constant focus on weight loss. I journaled about it, made plans, met with trainers, and tried every diet I heard about with little to no success. I always cheated. I always binged. And I always hated myself for it. I was weak.

Or so I thought. 

When Multiple Sclerosis became a roadblock on my path to weight loss, I had no choice but to take a detour. I couldn't focus on weight loss anymore because the pain was so severe, it literally blinded my focus for anything else. When walking without a cane (or even with one) became a struggle at 25 years old, I had no choice but to change focus. 

Healing my body of this illness became my number one priority and changing the goal changed everything. 

As I focused on healing my body, the weight poured off as a happy side effect. I didn't have to worry about the weight because I knew that I was doing what I needed to do for my disease. I ate, exercised, and chose products without chemicals all with my illness in mind. I didn't care about going slow, about results, or about fitting into that cute pair of jeans. I just cared about being able to walk. 

And now, It's officially been 3 years since I last used my cane, so I would say I accomplished my mission to heal. 

I learned that weight loss itself is not a goal. It's simply the road we travel to get to the destination we want. No one WANTS to have to lose weight, we want the results that come from it. We want to feel happy, attractive, healthy and confident. We want to be able to live an exciting life that the weight might be keeping us from, but we don't focus on those things. Instead, we focus on the part we hate, and I'm starting to question why we put ourselves through the misery. 

So now, I'm going to give you some tips on how to transition your mindset for SUCCESS and let weight loss be a side effect to creating a life you love. 

5 Steps To Authentic Goal Setting:

1. Write A Bucket List!                                                                                                

Alright, so you like what I'm saying but you don't really know how to start. I get that. I've been there, and while I was forced into my new goal, I didn't realize until I was feeling better that weight loss simply wasn't a goal. How? Because I went right back to it once I could walk again. 

And guess what? I gained 30 lbs and a lot of mental frustration. 

So, I decided to focus on things that made me happy. I'd always wanted to learn to hula hoop (even though I'd never been able), so I started focusing on that. I bought a weighted hula hoop and practiced daily, getting in a solid workout and having a blast. 

As I ticked things off my bucket this, I felt happier and healthier which made me want to make other positive changes. I wanted to keep experiencing life and in order to do that, I had to make sure my mind & body were in good working order. I have to be able to fit in an airplane seat if I want to travel. I have to make sure I'm fit enough to hike if I want to climb mountains. I have to make sure my balance is good if I want to learn to salsa dance...

See what I'm saying? Start writing a list of the things you want to do in life and then make it your priority to take care of yourself in ways that allows you to accomplish them. Weight loss will come along the way. 

2. Discover Your Blocks

We all have things that block us from doing things for ourselves. Perhaps it's low self esteem/lack of confidence, lack of motivation, or it could also be a side effect of trauma. Regardless, no need to wallow in them because even if you can't change the reality of a situation, you can always change your perception of how it shaped you. 

The blocks you have are there for a reason. Obviously, I wish I never weighed 360 lbs or was diagnosed with MS, but those blocks allowed me to start understanding what was going on mentally that kept me cheating and bingeing. If I'd never had that, I might have been thin and physically healthy, but I would never be authentically happy. 

And that's what we all want, right? To feel genuinely and authentically happy. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm telling you from first hand experience, being happy is not only completely possible, it's also completely your choice. 

3. Find A Plan (Or Create One!) That Feels Doable

Organization is key. I'm sure you've heard this before and if it bothers you, you're not alone. I was so disorganized (the queen of "organized chaos) and my room felt just as messy as my rapid thoughts. 

Now a days, though, my room is getting cleaner and cleaner, and so is my plan. Once you have a plan in front of you with clear, simple, and direct instructions, it's hard to mess it up. Setting aside the mental and physical space to be productive is CRUCIAL to hitting our goals and if you're setting off without a plan, you're making it much harder on yourself. 

If you don't know what plan to follow, keep it simple. All fitness goals can be accomplished through the basics - whole & unprocessed foods, consistent cardio and strength training, time for stress management (think meditation/yoga/journaling), enough water, and plenty of sleep. 

4. Be Nice To Yourself

This seems easy, but it's easily the most difficult thing on this list. We're taught by our experiences to judge ourselves constantly. Look at every commercial, advertisement, magazine, etc - all teaching us to pick out our flaws (and offering a solution to how you can change who you are/how you look). 

That is truly insane. 

Truth be told, all these ideas that you're "not good enough" or "flawed" are complete and utter BS. We all have different opinions on what's beautiful and not fitting into a societal standard doesn't effect your true authentic beauty. It's up to you to start refusing these thoughts and ideas. To start telling yourself how worthy, strong, beautiful, and incredible you are (BECAUSE YOU ARE). 

If it's painful, start small with something easy. Maybe it's complimenting yourself on a job well done (instead of harping on how it could have gone better). Maybe it's reminding yourself how cute your hair looks. Whatever it is, if you start changing the conversation you have in your head about who you are in a positive way, you will start building the positive self image that helps give you purpose and moves you forward. 

5. Find Gratitude In Your Struggle

When I lost the feeling on my right side in 2016, I could barely walk or use my right (dominant) hand. If I touched my skin, I couldn't feel anything. It was a miserable time in my life, but I felt incredibly grateful. 

Being grateful for struggle is difficult but I couldn't help but appreciate that I wasn't having a flare that left me in severe pain again. I felt grateful for the opportunity to slow down and breathe. To start making changes. If I hadn't struggled with my walking, I don't know that I would have taken the initiative to create my new goal of healing. If I hadn't done that, I don't know if I would still be alive today. 

If I can find gratitude in my struggle and see all that it taught me, please understand that the path to health and happiness can start from anywhere. It's a long road to travel, but as long as you don't get stuck focusing on the GPS, you get to see some seriously beautiful sights along the way. 

Still feeling unsure of what to do? Contact me today for a coaching consultation to help you design a goal that works for you. 

I wish you love, light, and all that jazz. 

 

 

 

 

Starting the OMS Plan? Here's 3 Steps to Overcome Overwhelm!

In 2014 I got a job selling gym memberships. I was new to Boston and desperately seeking employment after taking five months off due to a severe relapse. At 25 years old and still using a cane on and off, I applied to the gym as a joke. I’d never even considered doing sales and even though I’d lost 80 lbs, I still weighed over 275.

Who in their right mind would buy a gym membership from the obese girl using a cane?

When I went into my interview, I focused on the positive changes I’d made for myself. MS had knocked me down and obesity ran over just to kick me in the gut but here I was, grateful for each and every day I could get out of bed in the morning, and the hiring manager felt that energy.

He called to offer me the job and I cried for three days. I felt trapped.

After weighing the pros and cons of doing sales, I realized that my con list was full of insecurities and my bank account simply didn’t have the patience for that. I decided to take the offer, go through the month of training, and if I hated it by the end, I would look for something else.

For the next month, that hiring manager (also my training manager) inspired me every single day with his pitch. He’d been studying and practicing sales for over a decade and his positivity spoke to me. I bought every book he recommended, watched lectures, studied sales, and within a few months, I became one of the top five salespeople in a company with over 160 locations across New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington DC.

Working in sales was the most fun I’ve ever had at a job and I held that top five ranking numerous times for years until I finally decided to leave the company.

These days, my family still makes fun of me for crying for those three days after I was offered the job, and I can’t blame them. But change is hard, any kind of change, and improving your health feels particularly tricky. That being said, I use this story often to describe the power that comes with developing confidence to hit my goals and it is the same formula that I used to lose over 145 lbs and officially put my cane in storage.

If you’re feeling nervous about starting the Overcoming MS program, you are not alone. It’s scary to change the way we eat – it’s such an integral part of who we are – but I broke down my process into three easy steps to help you get started without turning your life upside down.

Step 1: Do Your Research

If you want to be successful at anything – work, relationships, or in your health – you MUST know what you’re doing (and why!). Imagine talking to a mechanic who didn’t know how to explain what was wrong with your car. Would you leave it with them? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

In order to trust in yourself, you have to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and, luckily with OMS, the work has been done for you – you just have to sit down and focus on it.

Step 2: Create A Plan With Slow Steps

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we do have a special advantage with the OMS program in that the architecture has already been designed and tested. When I started selling gym memberships, I had a detailed plan of how to tour someone and the steps to sign them up. I would break it down into bite sized pieces and practice each part until it all felt natural. Slow, simple steps. 

If adopting the entire diet feels too daunting, you’re not alone and you don’t have to fear. You can start small, perhaps with just a green smoothie (or any sort of smoothie!) each morning for breakfast. Once that becomes a routine, you can start to work on lunches and then dinners. Overwhelming leads to burnout, so start small with realistic actionable positive steps.

EVERY SMALL CHANGE MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

Step 3: Watch Yourself Talk

When I was crying for those three days, I wasn’t saying or thinking very nice thoughts about myself, but when I started in training, my manager changed that. He sold me on selling, on my ability to sell, and once I left training, I sold myself on myself.

Would you let someone talk to you the way you talk to yourself? Become aware of how you speak (internally and externally) and, whether or not you believe it to be true, take a moment to stop, apologize, and change direction.

You can absolutely have success in your health but it has to come from your heart first. There are no repercussions in being nice to yourself and the benefits are enormous.

Stay positive and take it slow. I believe in all of you because I know that if I can feel this good (after feeling that bad), absolutely anyone else can do it too.

Peace, love, & light,
Carolyn Kaufman

Is Stress Good For You?

   Since we're always talking about the negatives, I'm going to take a moment to stick up for stress.

    We need stress to be able to react to dangerous situations. It's what keeps us alive as a species, just in case we're threatened or attacked. Positive stress (eustress):

  1. Releases hormones into your bloodstream to get your heart pumping and give you energy.

  2. Burns off your sugar stores to give you fast acting sugars for an energy turbo boost.

  3. Creates a cushion around your cells and tissues in case you get tousled up in a fight or fall.

  4. Pauses digestion so you don’t have to waste time.

  5. Clears your mind by creating  so you can be totally present and focused.

Stress triggers the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) to get through difficult and life threatening situations. It’s the basic goal of the body to survive and it uses stress as a warning bell to keep us alert and alive when attacked.

I mean honestly, how amazing is your body?! Take a moment.

The reason why stress gets so much flak is because the nervous system doesn’t realize that we’ve evolved and made a society that creates a lot of mental stress without a physical threat. In today’s world, when we experience stress through the day, it’s usually not because we’re in physical danger.

Still, it’s triggering those benefits I listed above EVERY TIME we stress. Think about that… Let's say, hypothetically, that lava is pouring out onto the floor you're standing on. If you needed to climb a flight of stairs once or twice to escape, you could handle that and survive no problem. But what if you had to climb 10 flights? What about 50? Or 100? You’d be on constant alert, stressed, and absolutely exhausted. But that’s what we’re putting our mind and body through every day. Lots of us are living in a constant state of stress (77% of Americans reported physical symptoms as a response to stress!) and that lava is burning out the positive benefits! That’s negative stress, distress, and chronic distress is what people are talking about when they hate on stress.

Chronic distress:

  1. Gets your heart pumping over and over again through the day, creating fatigue and high blood pressure.

  2. Completely depletes our sugar stores making us crave sweets and carbs for a quick refuel.

  3. Creates a cushion, inflammation, around our cells and tissues that stimulates the immune system (affecting those with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases).

  4. Leads to digestive disorders and imbalances.

  5. Creates inflammation around the frontal lobe so our conscious decision making becomes hazy and strained.

    Distress is what everyone is talking about when they connect stress to chronic health issues. If you feel like you manage burnout more often than stress, understand that the first step in overcoming it is becoming aware of it. Don’t let it upset you, but simply notice how often you feel stressed through the day. Notice how fast your thoughts race through all the worries of the day. Become aware of how you feel energetically at the end of the day and whether or not you have cravings. Take time to pay attention to how your body feels physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Stress is a natural part of life, but distress - especially chronic distress, can negatively impact your entire experience every single day. Being aware allows you to recognize and begin to stop situations where stress takes over.  

So don’t hate on stress, it can do a lot of good. Just be mindful and remember... Everything in moderation.

Do I Deserve It?

Most of the parents I know do whatever they can to make the best life for their child.

They work crazy hard to make sure that kid has a better life than they did.

More opportunity, more success.

But if you think about it, that collective desire to enhance the experience for the next generation isn't something that comes from just our parents (or even grandparents).

This understanding has been passed down for the entirety of human kind and is part of our foundational make up.

It's amazing to think about.

Our entire family line has been working tirelessly for each new generation to have a better life.

Every new child pushes the next generation a little bit further and now, here you are, with all this opportunity and centuries of support from your ancestors.

After all their hard work,

Imagine if they heard you were filled with self doubt and insecurity.

Imagine if they knew you didn't go after your passion out of fear.

Imagine if they knew you didn't love yourself.

There has been a lot of time, energy and work put into creating a positive life for you.

Find gratitude in that and remember that you are absolutely capable of harnessing and manifesting that energy into a positive wonderful life filled with love, happiness, and success.

It is not about whether or not you deserve it, 

it's about whether or not you're willing to step out of your shame and into the power that has been building for you since the beginning of existence. 

What you do now is just the tip of the iceberg.

Love & light,

Carolyn Rachel

Be Stress Free for Free!

I've been working in the health and fitness industry for years. Between selling gym memberships and coaching clients to use stress management for overall health, I hear one complaint over and over again:

"It's too expensive to get healthy!"

Between the gym membership, personal trainer, heart rate monitor, $100 sneakers (when did kicks get so freaking expensive?!), an organic/whole foods diet... I get it and I completely validate that getting healthy can feel like a MAJOR money suck.

Truth be told, slowly changing habits makes it way easier to adjust, but sometimes getting big change requires making big changes and I'm happy to tell you, stress management exercises are as cheap as cheap can get.

How cheap, you ask?

I'm talking that Thursday before payday cheap. Most of them fall under my favorite four letter word: FREE!

And thank goodness for that because stress is taking a HUGE toll on our health. Both Eastern and Western practitioners both agree that chronic stress can make you sick (or sicker) and cause weight gain. Plus, we all know how exhausting it feels to constantly be jumping through those stressful mental hoops and it's a lot easier to get healthy when that's not (as much as) a factor.

Stress management has physiological, mental, and emotional benefits. Just to name a few - it reduces inflammation, food cravings, and improves clarity and focus. Stress management truly is the missing piece to getting focused, hitting your goals, and luckily enough, it costs absolutely N-O-T-H-I-N-G to add it to your wellness plan today!

All you've gotta know is where to begin so I picked my favorite stress management technique and broke it down into simple, basic steps to get you on the road to a stronger mind, body and soul in 2018 (that won't break the bank!)

STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUE: DEEP BELLY BREATHING

Deep belly breathing is such an easy and effective method of stress management, it seems crazy to me that I never used it before. We spend so much time stressed and wandering in thought that we start breathing in shorter breaths that stay in the torso and chest. This is because stress is activating your fight or flight state (sympathetic nervous system) which shortens your breath. When you get very stressed or angry and someone reminds you to take deep breaths, it calms you down and switches you into your rest and digest state (parasympathetic nervous system). We all have this reaction, but it seems strange that we don't use this tool all the time to quell our overworked brain.

Now, don't get it twisted., this isn't meditation. Meditation is amazing, but it's advanced and a lot to take on if you've never kept a practice before. Deep belly breathing is less about the soul connection and more about calming the body and focusing the mind.

Step 1: Schedule 5-10 minutes every morning (start with 5 and build) to simply breathe and keep this appointment with yourself. You wouldn't miss an appointment with a doctor, don't miss one with yourself.

Step 2: Sit in a comfortable seated position with your posture straight and your shoulders back and down. If this position is uncomfortable for you, start by laying down on your back. Whichever position you choose, place your hands palm side down on your lower abdomen.

Step 3: Set a timer for the amount of time you want to focus on breathing and set an alarm.

Step 4: Take a deep breath in and allow the air to fill your belly. Watch it expand. If your belly doesn't expand, don't worry, this will come over time as you practice.

Step 5: When you exhale, allow your belly to contract as you let all the air slowly escape your body. Repeat at a comfortable pace until your alarm goes off.

This is my favorite technique because it's not only free and instantly effective, you can do it anytime, anywhere with no negative side effects! Doing it daily allows for mental clarity and focus to begin your day which is ALWAYS helpful for setting up a healthy routine.

If you try this technique or you already use it, comment and let me know! I'd love to hear your experience!

Peace, love & light,

Carolyn