This is a first for me! I recently got to sit down with a college professor on this last podcast and I was so freaking excited! Sabrena Jo was a college professor at California State University and has been involved in the fitness industry since 1987! She is now the Senior Exercise Scientist for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and a relentless pursuer of finding ways to help people start and stick with physical activity! And I just HAD TO have her on the podcast because she comes from a certifying body that has a certification on behavior change!
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Have you ever said, “I am so stuck I DON’T KNOW what to do with myself.”, you have to keep on reading or head over and listen to the podcast because IT IS YOUR BEHAVIOR, and you can start changing those behaviors today!
The first question that I asked Sabrena Jo was “Why is behavior change so freaking hard”. She says that question is fairly easy to answer, but SOO hard to solve! There is no quick solution for behavior change, and the reason it is so difficult is because human beings are resistant to change especially when it comes to doing something that is unfamiliar or that requires a lot of thought and effort, in addition to all the other stuff that we have going on through our days!
There is so much information out there readily available to us, that we can get caught up in trying to figure out exactly what to do and then actually giving it any effort falls to the wayside. The best thing to do is pick 3 things that you feel comfortable changing and go from there. Then you narrow down 1-2 things to start on immediately and focus on what you really want to work on. Don’t put yourself in a position where you are struck by “paralysis by analysis” because there is so much to work on… Start off with the 1-2 things and the rest will come easier after. This is about really getting to know yourself and say “Okay, what is the most important thing I can focus on now and how am I going to go about getting it done?”
Starting small is so important when it comes to changing behavior. When you are looking at overall health and the bigger picture, any small change you can do to affect your overall health will result in greater changes across the board. It’s so hard to control your own physiology and your own metabolism, and when you compare yourself to others and you make pounds on the scale the focus of your success or failure, it is really hard to feel good about yourself when nothing budges after 7 days or goes in the opposite direction.
Just feel good about yourself!
Feel good that you are making strides in the right direction!
Feel good that you are trying to change your health for the better!
And I know you want to lose weight, but I want you to give me a goal that has nothing to do with that scale!! Yes losing 50 pounds would be the 🤬! But what about getting 7 hours of sleep😴?? Or 8 glasses of water💦?? I want you to start to think about how you physically feel vs that number on the scale.
When Sabrena is working with clients, she implements a 3 Lever System which is so simple, and ANYONE can do it! It includes:
- Physical Activity
Alright so let’s talk about Nutrition. Overhauling your entire nutrition plan is huge, especially when we are busy humans. But it is the #1 lever because we are frequently eating, we just have to. And it’s one of those behaviors that if you can tweak slightly, might make a huge difference. I totally understand the desire of meal plans and just tell me what to eat, but once you provide an example of what to follow, that may work for a few days, but then you are off to something else or life got in the way and that plan becomes impossible to follow.
I understand the need for simplicity off of a meal plan, but this has to be CHOSEN not DIRECTED. Choosing to do this and not being told I need to lose the weight will help you to understand the why. Why is this important to you? Try to understand the lever 3, individual and lifestyle factors, and how the nutrition is going to work in that lifestyle. Your expertise on yourself and shining a light on that and propping that up, where you are successful in X areas of your life will help you tremendously. Take some of those things and apply them to the next thing you want to change about health and so on and so forth as you move forward. Focus on the areas you want to change and focus on your strengths!
Life can be so complicated right, so why do we have to throw nutrition into another complicated layer… BUT there is a lot of crap out there that you read that says if you don’t do this this or this then you won’t be healthy! And it’s all bullshit!!! Pick your battles. Pick what is possible for you right now in this moment! And trust me, it will go further than you can only imagine. And this process is going to be different for everyone! You cannot compare yourself to others!
No let’s talk about the physical activity/working out shall we….
It is for health and wellbeing and really the joy of movement, and it can be so difficult to reeducate people on this concept! I know for so many of us we used exercise as a means to an end!! But you really have to stop and figure out how movement is important to you??
What is physical activity anyways? Physical activity is anything you are able to do to get moving! Living a happy normal life with physical activity is in terms of walking, playing with kids, walking the dog or yard work is all physical activity. All of these count, because it makes you a healthier, a more well-rounded human being.
No don’t get me wrong, structured exercise is just as important, especially if it is important to you. But it is an option, it is your choice and should be something that works well with your lifestyle. How can you actually enjoy it when you do it vs just over doing it and not really loving it while you are doing it. Movement and exercise should not be a punishment. Instead you have to look at how it actually fits into your lifestyle and what you can do when you can do it.
Remember, this is a process. So many people lose sight of the process and only focus on the progress. When we focus on progress and we don’t have a process, how do we know where something is breaking down?? Be willing to adapt and adjust and approach behavior change as a scientist. All scientists conduct experiments, they take what they learn, and they adjust and adapt accordingly. We want to give you permission to try something for a week or so and if it isn’t working, let’s figure out what works because it is completely LEGAL in the behavior change game!
When it comes to you, the individual and your lifestyle, what are you willing to tolerate? What are your goals and what you are willing to do to get there? If it’s weight loss, these are the levers we have to pull and how hard are you willing to pull them? – Individual factors, preferences, limitations, genetics, training history, sleep, recovery, age, all of that falls into that 3rd lever and have to take this into account.
What is possible for you to do? The small things are what counts!! Do you have a lot of life going on right now? Then pick something small, walking, water, sleep, playing with kids, whatever it is, pick something that is for you. Know that you are doing something that is adding up and helping you day by day, and helping you to build belief in yourself. Belief that you are putting together this manual for yourself that creates a process that is repeatable. We all want a repeatable process. We are asking for you to have plan b’s and plan c’s when life throws you that inevitable curveball your way. So, biting off more than you can chew when you are starting something new will eventually set you up for failure. AND WE DON’T WANT THAT!
Figuring out ways and things that are simple enough, small enough to enact immediately to make a successful change that will build upon itself so you can have bigger and better changes. It’s all momentum and we want you to be able to do things without feeling like it’s overly effortful. You sure as heck don’t want to be tied up with the next thing or change you have to make. You just want to live your life!
Life can be complicated and so many things are thrown at us day in and day out, so you don’t want to make these changes complicated, so you don’t want to complicate your life any more than it possibly already is. So keep it simple, implement small changes that blossom into BIGGER changes and more growth and on the road to living a happier, healthier life!
If you want to learn more about what Sabrena does, head over to ACE to learn more about resources that are made available to you, as well as information about becoming certified in either personal training, group fitness or health coaching. Because these certifications are one of the top certifications that you can have. And it can be done remotely!
What makes you feel magical??
That moment when I can help a client or person realize that they have the strength within themselves to make change. I don’t think a lot of people understand that they have the power. -Sabrena Jo
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