Team Mind Strong Athlete Focuses on Mindfulness

mentaltraining2This week in the Team Mind Strong Athlete Members area we are focusing on mindfulness as well as anxiety reduction and relaxation. I know I am like a broken record with this thing. But the truth of the matter is once we master mindfulness, we can master any mental skill. If we want to be able to visualize our goals, regulate our emotions, streamline our focus, or let go of what is out of our control, the key step is mindfulness.

Just like when you start your diet, you first get rid of the cookies and junk food. That is the way I see mindfulness, an important foundation to our upcoming mental skills.

I have added a video and audio practice on mindfulness and I also have videos and worksheets. the worksheets will first help you to assess your anxiety level, second, establish your current relaxation resources, and create new ones, and finally to help you focus on what is important, controlling the controllables.

Feel free to email me any or all of your worksheets and I will provide you email feedback. For coaching clients we will discuss in our next coaching call the worksheets and how we will be incorporating those into your mental training program.

And if you are not already a member, what are you waiting for? Team Mind Strong Athlete is the only contest prep team that focus not only on your body but your mind.

Here is what I do specifically, I help figure, bikini and physique athletes who struggle with confidence, body image and distorted thoughts, and instead want to feel empowered, self-assured and mentally strong.

Check out the focus of the week here:
https://mindstrongathlete.com/focus-of-the-week-mindfulness

Using Cue Words to Stay Motivated

Woman Doing Yoga Exercises In Gym, Sport Fitness Girl Sitting Lotus PoseUsing Cue Words to Stay Motivated
Lately I have been playing around with the voices in my head. OK, I admit, that sounds rather strange, but follow me for a minute. We all talk to ourselves. I think I probably talk to myself non-stop throughout the day when I am not engaged in an actual conversation with another person. I would love to have a transcript of all the things I say to myself throughout the day. I am guessing I am not alone on this.

Do you talk to yourself? What does the voice sound like? Is it generally pleasant, or it is mean and critical? One way we have a positive effect on our goals is by changing up the way we talk to ourselves, using cue words. I will admit, I won’t be able to change all the negative voices in your head in one article, however, cue words are a very effective way to easily help us stay on track with our goals.

Here is an example of how the process of developing cue words can work. This week I have been rather busy studying for finals. When I study, I feel extra snacky. I want snacks!!! The café cookies and brownies were looking extra good this day. I took a moment to check in with my body and really connect with my cravings. Urge surfing is a technique that I walk through with my clients in session that have challenges with snacking. So I checked in with my body and I said to my body, what is this feeling? Then I noticed I said to myself: “I feel unsettled.” I took a deep breath and did some brief mindfulness and I said to myself “Settle in.” Ahhhhh!! Instantly I relaxed and felt better. I repeated settle in a few times and the craving went away.

Now you can use this technique to help with cravings, to motivate yourself for a workout, or any other behavior that you are wanting a little extra motivation with. Cue words are usually used in a performance context, but I tweaked it, because those of us on a fitness journey of sculpting our bodies have additional challenges with our sport or lifestyle when it comes to hunger.
 

Step 1: Identify an area that you want to have more motivation with. It could be to workout, to eat healthy.

Step 2: Connect with the feeling. It is good to do this in real time. For example, if you are not wanting to go to the gym, do this right then on the spot. Check in with your feeling and ask yourself: “What is this feeling about?” Or something like that. Take a few moments to connect with it.

Step 3: Take a few nice deep breaths and you wait for the communication from your body. Relax into whatever the feeling is.

Step 4: Identify a cue word based on how you feel. For example, I was feeling unsettled, so I said to myself settle in.

Step 5: Repeat your cue word several times to test the effectiveness. If it is not very strong, repeat the steps and create a new cue word.

Step 6: Write your cue word down and use it as often as you like for similar situations.

That’s it, that’s all there is to it. I hope you enjoy this technique and find it helpful especially now at a very tempting time of the year. I like to say, if you can eat healthy this time of year, you can do it anytime.

Also be sure to visit my audios if you are wanting some extra motivation in this potentially challenging time of the year. Here is the link:

And if you are interested in some personalized attention, check out my customized programs. I would be happy to offer you a complete custom nutrition plan along with all the mental tricks custom to your situation. 

Until next time,

Nancy Georges

IFBB Figure Pro
Contest Prep Coach
Mental Game Coach

The Mental Game of Dieting for Competition

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Transforming Hunger
The Mental Game of Dieting for Competition  

What I am about to talk about is a very controversial subject. I want to approach this subject with extreme care. I am going to talk about hunger, and how to accept it as part of the dieting process. I am sure you can already see why this is controversial, since hunger is our body telling us that we need food and it is mandatory for our survival.

So, I will issue a warning, that is, I am assuming that your diet is enough food to sustain you but you are still hungry. If you are having problems with memory, concentration and focus, extreme headaches, and lack of motivation, or if your diet is under 1200 calories, then the probability that you are not eating enough is higher. Each person will be on a case by case basis but, I want you to be responsible enough to gauge whether or not you need to change you plan of action (i.e.: the diet) or change the way you are thinking about it. If you feel you are eating enough calories and you trust your support team, then please read on. If you are having any concerns then please consider a second opinion to your procedure.

The subject of hunger came up because of several athletes that have mentioned to me they are struggling with hunger. In addition, I was having a conversation with my sport psychologist recently about the sport and we were talking about hunger, and he was asking what I do when I get hungry. And I said, well you are going to be hungry, there is no way around that. He seemed pretty surprised by that. I just accept hunger as part of the process. I told him that I reframe hunger into my hunger for how I want to look. And the better you look, the easier it is to live with the hunger. He really did seem shocked. He said, so hunger is inevitable? I said, of course, it is a diet. I said most people (non-competitors) eat at the smallest discomfort, they don’t even wait to be hungry. So the reality is, most people never feel real hunger. This got me thinking and wondering if people really think that they are going to diet and not feel hungry, seriously? We are reducing our calories, so of course there will be hunger. Which got me to wondering what other misnomers are out there about dieting and the competition journey. I always claim for things to be easy and I stand by that. However, I do feel hunger. It is the way I perceive it that is what makes the process easy for me. Here are some other common threads that we have as competitors. Now, this is not a license to complain, rather an awareness to reframe and use some mental techniques to help make the journey you are on easy and fun.

Normalizing the Dieting Journey

1. You will feel hungry. I think that we all are in agreement that we will feel hungry. However, stating it as such that everyone feels it, really puts it into perspective. There is nothing wrong with your hunger signals, they are real and we all feel them. We are used to grazing. So, when we set up a plan to eat every three hours and not snack in between, it is difficult. The sooner you make peace with hunger, the sooner you get shredded.

2. You will sometimes have lower energy. This also surprises some people. I am going to be upfront, we all feel this too. Some of us hide it better than others, some of us drink more coffee than others, but we all go through periods during dieting where we feel tired and we don’t want to go to the gym, or fold our clothes or wash our hair. Seriously, sometimes washing my hair during contest prep is just a hassle. Now you know, we are all feeling it, even if we don’t say so.

3. You will sometimes get irritated about things that normally don’t bother you. When I am dieting and I hear someone complain about something that seems trivial to me I am thinking… seriously? Do you realize that I did an hour of cardio, spend an hour packing my food, and had a weight workout before you even woke up this morning? I like to pretend that I am stoned. (not that I have ever been stoned) but if I had been, I would want to feel stoned when someone was saying something annoying so it would just roll off my back like no big deal. Realize we are a little hypersensitive and give others the benefit of the doubt that their behavior would probably not be that annoying if we had just ate an entire pizza.

4. Some people will comment on how you look in a negative way. This is probably the hardest one to deal with, feeling fantastic about how you look and then someone saying, you look tired, are you OK? Or you look sick, you really should eat. Or, are you still doing that diet thing? People don’t get it. I stopped trying to force them to get it. I don’t let it bother me.

5. You may feel lonely or isolated. This is probably the most difficult. We so want people to understand and appreciate what we do. As it gets closer, we do limit our social activities, but that does not mean we need to be or feel isolated. We usually connect through food, but we don’t have to. Find other ways to connect with people. It is challenging but it can be done. Make peace with many people not getting what you are doing, this will also be very beneficial in helping make the process easy.

6. You will wonder if this is worth it, or if you should quit. This may not come into play until a few weeks out. But, most athletes at some point in the contest prep will have an emotional meltdown (or two) wondering if it is all worth it. I remember one time having a meltdown and crying over nothing as I recall it. I was sincerely and honestly upset. I finished my rant to my boyfriend, then lifted up my shirt and said, and look at my abs, my abs are shredded! And I continued to cry. No joke. Doesn’t happen daily but it happens. Make sure you have a strong support team that will be there for you when you need it.

I hope you found this list helpful, there are of course many many other things I could have selected, but in the 20 years that I have been competing and coaching, those are the ones that stand out to me most. My thought process around all of these subjects is to find ways to make them a normal part of your process. Not everyone is going to understand what we do, personally I don’t care. I want what I want for me, not for anyone else anyway. So if I don’t get the approval, I don’t try to force it down people’s throat like a religion, but if they want to ask me questions about what I am doing, then I will share, and of course I hope they join in on the healthy eating bandwagon, because that is one less stressor in my life, however, I don’t need other’s approval in order to move forward to achieve my goals. I move from the passion of my heart, that is my guiding force. I hope that it is yours also. At the end of the day, very few will really get what we are doing, and that is OK. That is what the fitness community is for.

Mental Game Tools: Hunger Resources
Hypnosis Download: Appetite Control
Visualization Exercise: Nutrition Compliance
Nutrition and Life Balance: Inner Athlete Coaching

Figure and Bikini Contest Prep and Off-Season Nutrition Coaching Back by Your Demand

You guys are going to keep harassing me until I bring nutrition coaching back aren’t you? I have to say, it has been very unexpected and also I have to say I have really missed the nutrition aspect of contest prep. So now you have it. Nutrition coaching for contest prep, off-season and non-competitors is back. Thanks for the motivation, and for missing me.

You can get nutrition coaching combined with mental coaching, or mental coaching alone or nutrition alone. I think this way will make everyone happy and also help me to bring to the fitness community the much needed resource of mental skills. What I am really most interested in is helping you to have a confident and successful journey that feels empowering and takes you to the next level, mind and body. Getting in amazing shape should be an evolutionary process that empowers you and helps you in all areas of life.

Give me a shout if you are wanting nutrition, I have a few openings, here is the link for more info:
http://www.nancygeorges.com/nutrition-programs.html

Offering Figure contest prep coaching, bikini contest prep coaching, figure and bikini off-season coaching and non-competitor nutrition.