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Why exercise can lead to weight gain—at first! Plus, how skepticism can lead to healthy choices.

If you're an active reader of this newsletter or other thoughtful resources, I'm going to guess you're an intelligent person who likes to think deeply and figure things out.


When it comes to the information we consume online, most of us well-informed folks are pretty good at asking ourselves a simple but important question:


Is that actually true?


We examine the source, consider our accumulated knowledge and experience, check the facts against other credible information sources, and come to a satisfying conclusion.


But in response to our own frequent and rigid assumptions about who we are, what we're capable of, and what we're "always" doing wrong, we are far less likely to recruit those investigative skills.


Thoughts like, "I'm a slacker with no willpower," blow by like leaves on the wind, settling into the ground and rotting in the topsoil where we plant our flags.


As a coach, I hear lots of declarative statements like: I don't have time to take a walk. My nighttime routine is an impossible disaster. I'm a failure. I'm not working hard enough. I could never fill-in-the-blank.


But is that actually true?


Or are you, in fact, a high-functioning person who has accomplished many things like getting an education, pursuing a career, nurturing relationships, devoting yourself to activities that matter to you, and/or raising fur-babies or human babies—while also periodically turning to unhelpful vices for comfort or stress relief?


Sometimes smart, caring people feel that because they are highly capable, they should be able to solve ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW—which is a LOT of undue pressure. Solutions are certainly available, but they come in layers.


Recognizing the layers you've already mastered is crucial to identifying the next ones.


I'm not talking about "positive thinking." I'm not suggesting anyone should pretend to feel like a perfect, brilliant, magic-maker when you feel frustrated and ragey. (Is "ragey" a word? If not, it should be.) I'm suggesting that the skeptical, inquisitive part of you has a role to play here. It can help you establish the facts about what feels great, what doesn't, and how to take incremental actions in response.


I've seen it happen many times over—and the improvements in quality of life that follow.


I've met a lot of you who read these emails, and, in my experience, you are a bunch of generous, thoughtful people who have a lot more going for you than you give yourselves credit for.


That's what's true in my eyes, anyway. For what it's worth.


All the best,

Sarah

 

Upcoming Resources


I need your feedback! In the fall, I'm planning to launch new resources to make this framework more widely accessible, but I want to be sure I'm offering the most helpful options. If you are interested in:

  • a one-hour live webinar or

  • group coaching,

please let me know at this LINK. You can also let me know if you would like for me to speak to your organization. More info on events here.


(If you already filled out the form or are on the wait list for private coaching, I've got you! But please feel free to reply to this email if you have specific questions or requests.)

 

I posted on Instagram recently that the news these past few weeks has made me want to get back to more strenuous weight lifting, so my friend Jen, a nurse practitioner, sent me an article last week from The New York Times called "The Healing Power of Strength Training" about fascinating new research on the soothing power of weight lifting for people with trauma or PTSD.


The author wrote, "Despite weight lifting’s associations with violent bursts of brawn, growing numbers of people who’ve experienced trauma are finding that pumping iron is a balm. For many, the sport’s healing powers come down to the fact that, where trauma has left them feeling helpless, powerless and weak, lifting helps them feel strong — not only physically, but also psychologically."

 

Ironically, just as I was getting the impulse to lift more weight, I was answering a question at Forbes where the reader asked, "Why am I gaining weight when I'm working out?"


They were training for a 10K and couldn't figure out why the scale was going up!


This is a common experience. There are biological reasons for it, and, for most people, any minor weight gain is short-lived. The benefits of movement, on the other hand, can be enormous, regardless of the number on the scale.


Getting past those first few weeks is a matter of placing value on the payoff you're getting right now, while your body is adjusting to the new routine.


Read 5 reasons you could gain weight (at first) while exercising and how to move through it. You can also send your own anonymous question to me at Forbes!

 

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Past posts can be found HERE.

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