Kate, 35, is a trade and business development professional based in Minnesota, and was a referral from another one of my excellent online clients, Karis. Kate jumped into my online group coaching in December, and placed second in the inaugural round of Level 1 of the Tone Every Zone Challenge! During the 28-day program, she was incredibly consistent, and it is estimated that she gained three pounds of muscle and lost seven pounds of fat, based on measurements and weight change.
She did such an amazing job, and overcame a tremendous amount of accrued self-doubt, that I knew I had to share her valuable perspective for my community.
Here is Kate, in her own words!
On lifestyle challenges…
I think that traveling so much for work is really hard. I think I do a ton of stuff after-hours for work, too, so it’s not necessarily just the traveling, but it’s also the meetings and the lunches and the things that are work-related, but for some reason always revolve around food, receptions, drinks… It’s not a meeting unless it has some food component to it. So that’s challenging.
I think another thing that’s pretty challenging for me, but I think it was more challenging in my mind than in reality, is that I’ve been kind of living in three different places (three different houses), and I think that initially, before I started Level 1 of the Tone Every Zone Challenge, I thought I’d have a really big barrier to being able to workout, because I felt, “Ugh, it’s too much work to hauls tuff around to be able to work out.”
The other major life challenge in the last three years was that I had a lot of food sensitivities that came out of nowhere. According to this allergist that I saw, it’s pretty typical for people in their early- to mid-30’s to see a change in their bodies and what they’re allergic to and sensitive to, so that added a whole new element where I wasn’t feeling good for several years, either.
On mindset challenges…
I used to run marathons and triathlons and all kinds of heavy-duty working out, and I kind of fell off the bandwagon. I did a marathon and a half ironman in the same year, and I was burned out. I think a really big mindset challenge for me was that I could see how far I had fallen since doing those things. Yet I still have this mentality, “If I can’t work out for an hour, or I can’t go for a 30-mile bike ride or a 10-mile run, it’s not worth it.”
But the reality was that even if I had wanted to go for a 10-mile run, I was no longer in the shape that I could. So it was like this crazy, iterative infinity loop that I was in, where if it wasn’t an hour, it wasn’t worth it, but I wasn’t really in good enough shape to do an hour anyways, so I was in this ugly mindset that I couldn’t get out of.
What she changed in her exercise…
I had been trying to make huge changes – going from sedentary to “I have to work out for an hour.” What I learned in the TEZ program was that I could set what I would consider to be a small, achievable goal. I went from being too hard on myself – and trying to make these huge changes to my lifestyle – to being more realistic and understanding that goals need to be achievable.
It doesn’t have to be an hour to make a difference. 20 minutes – a goal that is achievable and realistic – is making a big difference in how my body feels. For me, that was the “aha moment.” I can fit 20 minutes in any time. I can do it every day. It is something – it’s not not working out because it wasn’t an hour.
What she changed in her nutrition…
I don’t come home and wonder what I’m going to have for dinner tonight. I already have the groceries in the fridge, I know exactly what I’m going to make, and I know it’s going to be my lunch tomorrow too.
Even though I’ve been struggling through these food challenges and digestive challenges, I know what I can and can’t eat. The pre-planning to make sure that I have something available that I can eat is the most important nutritional piece that I think I got out of it.
On the concept of “SOP’s”…
Rachel here. During Level 1 of the TEZ, Kate and I had a heart-to-heart on how hard it was for her to make “habits” in the traditional sense, because of her travel. As soon as she would get hooked into a regular routine, that would get disrupted by travel almost immediately.
So we switched the focus from “habits” to “Standard Operating Procedures,” and this was a golden shift. We made a list of “I always” and “I usually” fill-in-the-blank exercises, which helped her to identify which behaviors she wanted to most focus on.
Here’s Kate again:
Bottom line, travel is hard. I mean, you can try to stay on schedule the best you can, but travel just throws a huge wrench into the mix. The SOP’s that we made have mostly stuck, actually. I’ve been pretty proud of myself for how well those have gone – specifically the one on only having one drink at work functions. I’ve been making that a very conscious SOP, and that has gone very well.
When it comes to exercise,, it’s all about fitting in the routine if I can. My routine is to work out every morning before I go to work. That doesn’t change when I travel on the road, unless I have to have a super early flight or drive. At this point, I’m already looking at my schedule for that week, knowing when it’s going to happen, same as meal planning for the week. I plan my workouts for the week, too. I know when something’s going to upset my plan to work out in the morning, and I plan to squeeze it in at 2:00 instead. When I do my meal-planning, I also do my workout planning at the same time. If I don’t plan to squeeze it in, it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to miraculously appear in my schedule, like, “Oh, this is the perfect time to work out!”
It takes practice. I have to remind myself regularly what my SOP’s are. I think that’ll get easier, but for right now I have to remind myself and pep talk myself before I go on a trip, but it’s part of my weekly planning. I know when I’m going to travel, and I know when I have to have a lunch for work or a dinner for work, and all of that revolves back around to planning for the week ahead, and knowing what I need to pack for my trip when I travel, and then fulfilling my plan.
I’m going to be successful if I set myself up for success. Habits are everything. Making sure that meal planning and exercise planning becomes a habit is my biggest takeaway.
What has changed about mindset…
My mindset before was, “I’m going to set a huge goal, and hope that I see this huge difference in my body.” I think one of my big takeaways here is that I’m feeling a huge difference in my body. I mean, sometimes I can’t help but touch my arm muscles and feel like, “Whooo!” But I’m not necessarily seeing that reflected in the mirror, but I think a more balanced, realistic approach to exercise and what to expect has been a big change for me. You know I got really frustrated in Level 1 when I gained a pound and I thought, “What the hell?” This happened again right before Level 2, but I took it in stride. Weight is just one thing. I have lost another quarter-inch in the two weeks that we had off.
I had also never measured myself before, so that’s kind of fun! I thought, “Holy crap, why am I relying on the scale so much when I have made a huge change in my body?”
On advice for others…
- Take the leap!
- Take a good look at yourself, and find what will work best for you.
- Go outside your comfort zone. I wasn’t super comfortable getting my pictures taken or doing measurements, and going out of my comfort zone has helped me realize the benefits.
- Don’t get overwhelmed!
I feel like exercise and nutrition can be a very overwhelming topic, and I think by seeking outside help and outside programs, it makes it less overwhelming. If you’re overwhelmed by the options and what to do and how to do it, go seek some help and put your health and nutrition in somebody else’s hands. I can tell you – I know exercise. I know squats. But it’s super overwhelming to me to think of how to put together a program.
Rachel here again. As always, I feel extremely grateful when remote clients take their time to share their perspectives with me in real time!
If you are ready to, as Kate said, “take the leap,” fill out this form to get started on your coaching journey and put your health and wellness in someone else’s hands!