Follow Schully's Journey with Fresh Start Fitness!
Step 3: Nutrition
We’ve made it to Step 3: Nutrition. This is a tough one for many people, including Schully; she let us know that she has struggled with food for most of her life. Stress, emotional turmoil and anxiety are triggers for her to eat. Because of this, we have spent a bit more time on this step of the program. We want to make sure she has the tools to maintain healthy eating behaviors throughout her divorce process and beyond.
For the past few weeks, she’s been tracking her food using My Fitness Pal. She enters in everything related to her meals and snacks - what, when, where, how and how much. We also look at how she’s feeling that day and identify any emotional triggers. As expected, her patterns determined that she truly is a stress-eater. That’s why it’s become important for us to really examine her habits around food: what are her triggers? How and why do they cause her to overeat? What are the foods she tends to gravitate towards when she’s feeling anxious?
Once we learned and assessed the patterns, we needed to address it and set up an action plan. For instance, when her emotions were running high, she would reach for salty, high-fat snacks: french fries, chips, etc. The connection was strong and immediate. Afterwards, she wouldn’t feel well, physically or emotionally. She felt guilty after the fact, but not in the moment. The key was to get her to “feel” the after-effects without actually participating in the behavior. Before she reached for those fries, I would ask her to stop for one moment and pretend she’d already eaten them. “How do you feel?”, I’d ask. “Like I don’t really want to have them anymore”, she’d reply. We were making progress.
Next, we looked at her portion sizes of the healthy choices she was making. Eating grilled fish, veggies and complex carbs was great, but we had to be intentional about portion sizes as well. By using the rule of eating until she was 80% full, we were slowly making changes in portion-controlling. This is a technique that takes some time to adjust to, but will be a game changer in the long run.
In order to employ the 80% rule, we needed to slow down her eating. Simple things like focused meals without the distraction of TV or phone, setting the fork down after each bite and taking sips of water between them as well - these may sound silly or obvious, but the fact is that we are all guilty of mindless meals. Eating from a container, standing up at your kitchen counter is not focused eating. Getting Schully to sit at a table in a designated area (kitchen/dining room) and putting food on a plate began to help her make the connection to slow and mindful eating.
While Schully isn’t following a specific food plan per se, we are making adjustments as we go along and experimenting with a variety of techniques. She isn’t following a strict keto, paleo or diet-of-moment, but we have reduced her simple carbohydrate intake as well as dairy and meat consumption. We have also tried some intermittent fasting methods (which I am a proponent of) and she has had weight loss success with those.
As with all of the steps thus far, one builds on the next and nutrition will be a continuous part of this process (I mean, she can’t exactly give up food, right?) There is much more to come regarding healthy eating - the pitfalls and successes, the struggles and strategies - so let’s keep cheering Schully on in support of her healthy lifestyle!
GET ACCESS TO JENN’S GUIDE TO CLEAN EATING BY SIGNING UP FOR FRESH START FITNESS TODAY!
Step 2: Yoga
We have entered the second step in our Fresh Start Fitness Program: Yoga. Strategically placed after meditation, yoga will incorporate movement with breath and a more peaceful mind. Since we now understand how to look inward and focus on the connection between mind and body, yoga flows (pun intended) naturally into the next phase of our program.
While moving slowly and intentionally into challenging poses (asanas), yoga allows us to be fully in the present. As we hold these asanas, however uncomfortable, we adjust in them and breathe through the discomfort. You will connect with the areas of your body where you hold tension and allow your breath to let it go.
As you focus your attention on how your body moves through space, you will likely become aware of imbalances, restricted mobility in certain areas or lack of flexibility. These are all okay. It’s okay if you can’t sit in a crossed legged position or if you can’t balance in tree pose. Every individual is unique. We have different body types and levels of strength and flexibility. Some of us may be injured or have never taken a single yoga class while others may be practicing for 30 years or have hyper-mobile joints! The point is, do not compare yourself to others. Although it is tempting to look around the room and envy your classmate who is in that perfect side crow, stop. Yoga is an individual practice. It is for YOU alone. Have patience with yourself.
Patience and present moment awareness are essential in getting the most out of your yoga practice. It’s not necessary to rush through your chatarungas just to get to the next pose. Each movement in yoga should be deliberate - not necessarily precise - but if we move through our practice at lightening speed, we are not accomplishing anything. Yoga should be a sacred time for you to learn, grow and expand your mental and physical body. To me, yoga is a combination of effort and ease. It’s learning how to adjust to discomfort without fearing it. No one likes to be uncomfortable so we do whatever it takes to remove ourselves from the situations that evoke that feeling. What would happen if we leaned into it instead of trying to escape? I promise, you will survive.
The benefits of a regular yoga practice go beyond increased flexibility, improved posture and better balance. It is a great practice for stress relief, reduced anxiety and deeper sleep too. Restorative yoga or yoga nidra gives our nervous systems a chance tounwind and rest. When going through stressful transitions such as divorce, these are areas of particular importance. Our thoughts will inevitably distract us, but the more you practice and by taking slow, conscious breaths we can bring ourselves back into our bodies.
Get access to Jenn’s yoga classes by signing up for Fresh Start Fitness today!
Step 1: Meditation
I chose meditation to be the first step in this program for many reasons. As you make any transition in life (especially a divorce), you need space in your heart and mind to get clear on things. Taking quiet time for yourself - sitting with your thoughts and feelings, as painful or difficult as they may be is critical to this holistic approach to healing.
While there are many forms of meditation, for Lori I decided to begin with mindfulness and body scanning. The purpose of this method is to allow her first to physically relax each area of the body. As we scan from head to toe, we can identify any areas where she may be holding tension or tightness. This usually means she is holding onto some form of emotional trauma that is manifesting in her body. We work to progressively reduce the “gripping” feeling by breathing into each area; with slow, deep inhalations and long, expelling exhalations, she starts to unwind.
Using some visualization techniques and language such as “melting into the earth”, “softening into stillness” and “surrendering”, we begin to notice subtle changes in her physical body. The breath is super important to this stage and helps to further relax the muscles.
At this point (or sometimes before beginning), I like to set an intention for the practice. If you are familiar with yoga, this is often done at the beginning of class and used as a reminder throughout your practice, then revisited at the end. Your intention can be anything you want it to be. Think of it as your “why,” or your purpose. It can be a simple phrase like “I want to feel more grounded” or “I want to have more patience.” This is different (in my opinion) than a mantra. A mantra doesn’t have to be limited to just your meditation or yoga practice. A mantra is something that you can refer to throughout your day, it can replace a negative thought or it can shift your energy to a more positive place. A mantra is not just an Instagram meme - more on that as we follow Lori on her “journey” (she hates when I use that word).
Back to our meditation: we begin to notice thoughts next. The key here is to truly notice. Many people think they can’t meditate because they don’t know how to stop their thoughts. Well, no one does. Meditation is not the absence of thoughts, it’s the non-attachment to them. Simply letting a thought in, acknowledging it for a moment and letting it go right back out. It’s easy to get lost in thoughts and let them carry out a story that may or may not be true, or allow them to take over completely - segueing from one to the next and before you know it, you are anxious or angry or trying to problem-solve. By practicing this method of non-attachment, each thought simply drifts through and floats away.
This takes practice, which is why they call it, um, a practice. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You can do it for 1 minute or 30 minutes. You can do it anywhere. Anyone can meditate, and I encourage you to find a practice that suits you, your goals and your lifestyle best. Explore the options. Find your style and embrace the benefits. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it can change your perspective and calm the chaos in your daily life.
Get access to Jenn’s guided meditation by signing up for Fresh Start Fitness today!
Meet Schully & Fresh Start Fitness
Meet Lori, affectionately known as Schully. She is a hard-working Producer for Live with Kelly and Ryan, one of the highest rated daytime talk shows in the country. She has called this her home for almost 24 years. Her actual home is on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her beloved rescue dog, Oliver. She grew up in Katonah, NY as the oldest of five siblings in a tight-knit family, then moved to NYC shortly after graduating from Northwestern University.
Schully is friendly, outgoing and fun to be around. Her positive energy is infectious, she is generous (sometimes to a fault), and her upbeat personality often garners much attention from her TV hosts as well - so she may look a little familiar to you!
Why is she the subject of this post you’re wondering? Well, she is about to go through a major change in her life and we want to help her though it.
After 12 years together and 9 years of marriage, she and her husband are getting divorced. We will not be diving into the details of the split but instead, focusing on her journey and the steps she can take to heal and thrive throughout this process and beyond.
She is ready to feel confident and strong, brave and unafraid; she wants to say goodbye to her old self, once and for all. She is ready to let go and embark on the next chapter: the best chapter. So we’re going to be with her as she works through our program, Fresh Start Fitness.
Jenn, founder of Trainers in Transit and overcomer of divorce herself, partnered with Worthy to create a program designed to help women live and thrive in a healthy way during and after a divorce.
The program includes:
Meditation: step out of the chaos, quiet your mind and let go of your thoughts with 10-minute, guided meditation sessions.
Yoga: follow a yoga routine that will help you release the negative emotions from your divorce and feel more centered.
Nutrition: divorce can disrupt your eating habits. Jenn's guide to clean eating will help you make balanced, healthy (and realistic) choices.
Cardio + strength workout: boost your confidence with a selection of exercises designed to make you feel empowered and able to achieve anything!
Sign yourself up for Fresh Start Fitness here!
As Schully begins our Fresh Start Fitness program this coming #FreshStartFriday, we will be beside every step of the way. Use #schullyshares to watch her transformation, post encouraging words and cheer her on!