When Jennifer first joined Aleda a year ago she was in a lot of pain, afraid to exercise, and always felt like she had to scale things back out of fear. As a couple months went by at Aleda she began to see incremental increases in her abilities, and started to believe she could do more and more. “There’s a fear that comes with pain and taking on new challenges was scary, but making incremental changes and building up my strength, posture, and core was very significant to my success,” shares Jennifer. “I never thought I could do a plank without any pain and now I can do it!”

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Jennifer also believes that she is now stronger than her 15-year-old son! “I have confidence in my body, I have more balance, and am much better able to tune in and pay attention to what my body needs.” Jennifer can tell that she is doing everything better than before with her newfound strength and posture.

Jennifer loves the community at Aleda and has felt very welcomed since the day she joined. “It doesn’t have that gym attitude; there is a sense of comfort here.” She is enjoying being a little more daring and taking on new challenges not only in the gym but in life as well! Her next goal is to lose 10 lbs. and to stay off the “medication train.” Decreasing pain and gaining strength has helped Jennifer trust the process and see what’s possible for herself, and we couldn’t be more proud of how far she has come! Keep up the great work Jennifer!

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Susan has been an Aleda member for nearly two years. When she joined Aleda, Susan says she had really “stopped caring” for herself and she was worried about her commitment to an exercise program. At the time, Susan was scared just to walk, much less exercise in the gym!

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“Because the atmosphere is so warm and forgiving, I have been learning that I can restart when I’ve relapsed without giving up entirely,” Susan says about her learning process so far. “I still have weight to lose, strength to gain and balance to master, but now I know I can do it.”

Susan once took a break from the gym while experiencing leg pain and losing her motivation, but she realized her pain wasn’t getting better with rest and recommitted to exercise. She loves the accountability from friends and coaches at Aleda and appreciates the “nonjudgmental warmth and encouragement.” Since Susan lifted weights and did trail running when she was younger, she’s enjoyed regaining her strength and confidence once more!

Susan says she is looking forward to building on the progress she has already made, and we can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next! “The process is the most important part of the journey,” she reminds us all. You’ve come so far on your own journey, Susan – keep up the great work!

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Do you ever wonder why you just can’t seem to make a diet stick?

You may temporarily make positive dietary changes, but eventually it all slips back into old habits. Why does this happen?

I want to thank those of you who filled out my survey last month, because the two most requested topics were stress and nutrition. Both of these are challenging topics in today’s world! There are two things that matter more than nutritional knowledge when it comes to food health if you’re looking to make lasting changes. Before we address these, let’s play a quick game!

Take out a piece of paper and write “Healthy” on the left side and “Unhealthy” on the right. Simply write out all the foods that come to mind that nourish you on the left, and on the right list all the foods that don’t have nutritional value.

Chances are you have a clear understanding of what that looks like. So why don’t you just eat the “good” foods and stay away from the “bad”? You have the knowledge. You have the understanding. Yet many of us struggle to do it. Why?

There are two main reasons we really struggle with our nutrition:

  1. You aren’t looking at your behavior (habits) around food.
  2. You don’t care about it enough – you don’t have a strong enough WHY” that keeps you going, no matter what.

Behavior is the truth. You could say you are doing “all the right things,” but your behavior and your outcome from those behaviors never lie. These issues are different for everyone, but try to identify and understand the areas that trip you up. Can you practice a healthier response instead?

This takes deliberate practice, every single day.

You have to dedicate yourself 80% of the time to stay on target so that the 10% of the time you don’t feel like sticking to your plan, you are well prepared because you have trained yourself to make the right decisions even when you don’t feel like it. (The other 10% of the time is for mindful indulgences. J) Most people do this the other way around: they habituate poor eating habits 80% of the time and eat decently the 10% of the time they feel like it. That’s not going to cut it!

And even with good habits, ultimately if your primary driver (your “why”) isn’t strong, you will quit. That goes for anything in life: if you don’t care about it, you won’t do it. As an extreme example, if a doctor told you, “If you don’t fix your diet, you will not live past the next year and your family will lose you,” you would probably do something about it without a second thought. Intense emotional drivers are what create positive change for people. Without them you’re just hoping you’ll suddenly find the motivation to make things different.

It is not that you can’t improve your nutrition – it’s that you won’t. Not until there is a big enough reason to do it. You can either accept that, or you can find a reason strong enough to change your behavior. If you really don’t care about it (which is fine by the way…just don’t complain about your lack of results ;) ), then you won’t do it.

Is there something in your life that you love doing so much that even if you fail at it multiple times, you’ll keep going? I can think of a few examples: being a parent, being married, owning a business, playing a sport or participating in a hobby you’re passionate about. You keep going because you have a strong emotional connection to it and you love it. The joys outweigh the failures.

This is where you have to get to with your relationship to food.

Find a way to make nutrition fun and playful: if you can turn it into something you love and something that matters to you, you will have a much easier time making behavioral changes and sticking to it long-term. Find the joy in it. Learn from your behaviors around food. It’s never a food problem, ever. You know what to do; you just aren’t doing it, and that has more to do with psychology, behavior, and emotions than any food advice I could give you.

The hardest part for most people will be accepting this information. Everything in life is designed to teach you something about you: what you’re willing to do, what you’re willing to endure, and the self-confrontation to move through difficult things. Working on nutrition is no different.

What are you willing to do about it?

Christine Wilborn

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When it comes to making changes, there are two types of people. The difference in results between these two types is staggering when it comes to successfully making changes and seeing those results stick long-term.

Depending on what’s important to you, you will likely experience both of these within yourself at different times! I always meet both of these types in every program we run, in every strategy session I have, and with every person who comes to me asking for help.
I either meet someone who is interested in change or someone who is committed to change.
We do not make changes for our current selves: that is the self who makes excuses, quits when things get hard, and pushes goals off for another year. No, change is done for your future self: the person you want to become, the person you envision yourself being. You may be mostly content and mildly uncomfortable now, but at the end of the day you want more.
You want something different.
The real question to ask yourself is are you interested in those changes, or are you committed to taking the required actions to do something different?
It’s a significant distinction.
In one approach, you’ll find it easy to back out of things if the process gets too hard or too inconvenient; it will be easy to complain and make excuses. In the other approach, you’ll let nothing get in your way. You’ll meet obstacles and get through them wiser, tougher, and with more perspective. And through this process, you’ll actually get to live out your wildest dreams.
One way is easy. The other is more challenging. One uses language such as “I should” and “I wish.” The other uses language such as “I am” and “I’m fully committed.” One lets you off the hook. The other keeps you in the game no matter what life throws at you. One allows feelings to dictate their actions (or inaction!). The other lets actions dictate their feelings. One allows you to stay the victim of circumstance. The other allows you to become the victor and creator of your own destiny.
Some people are interested in nutrition, but committed to their career. Some people are committed to their relationships, but interested in budgeting. While everything can’t be a priority at the same time, our commitments will always have a bigger impact than our interests on the shape of our lives.
Every time I’ve been simply interested in changing something, it only gets worse over time. It’s not until I fully commit to the actions and the changes I want to make that my life drastically improves for the better.
We are only 90 days away from the time of year when a LOT of people become “interested” in getting in better shape and taking care of their health.
Only the committed survive.
Don’t be that person who gets interested for 2 months and then goes back to your old self. Find deep in your heart why you need to be committed today. Your future self will thank you for it.
Why is your health important to you? What happens when you no longer have “good” health? What’s the cost of not being committed to your health now?
It’s okay to be interested rather than committed – just don’t complain about the results you don’t have.
The ones who figure it out are the ones who show up, do the work, let feedback be their guide and stay committed to the process (not the outcome!). Show yourself what’s possible and commit to the things you want. You’re just one committed decision away from changing everything.
Christine Wilborn
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When Melinda came to Aleda, she had been practicing yoga but had not done any other strength training for some time. Melinda had tried group fitness classes at other gyms before, but never really felt at home in the frantic, busy atmosphere. However, she willingly tried a few classes at Aleda – and more than three years later, Melinda is still a regular despite her busy schedule!

“My favorite part of Aleda is the community,” Melinda says, “but I also really enjoy the variety of the classes – and all of the coaches are great!”

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Since joining Aleda, Melinda has noticed a big increase in both her strength and her overall confidence. She doesn’t get out of breath when she has to run to catch the streetcar, and she’s noticed that her improved mobility means she can continue to go on hikes with her family. When Melinda plays with her grandchildren, she has no problem getting up and down off the floor. She has also noticed that she has a stronger core and less pain than before, which means she is able to stay independent and active in her daily life!

During her time at Aleda so far, Melinda has been surprised both at how motivated she has stayed in the classes as well as how good it feels to push herself. She has found that strength training is very compatible with her yoga practice, and both have steadily improved. “I’ve continuously grown stronger with each year, despite others my age being convinced that decline is inevitable,” says Melinda of her journey so far. She proves that myth wrong every day in the gym!

Melinda has been a member at Aleda for nearly four years now, and her positive attitude and willingness to try new things consistently brightens our group classes and sets a great example for newer members. “Remember that we all started at the beginning,” she offers. “The coaches will help you modify movements if you need to, and before you know it you’ll see big changes!” We agree! Keep up the great work, Melinda!

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