Be Gentle … It’s My First Time

First Kiss

Picture from Tampa Band Photos

Do you remember your first time?
The anticipation, the subtle scent of perspiration, and the heavy breathing. Maybe you were with someone you cared about, but maybe you felt alone.

I felt this way, my first time. It was exciting, challenging, and sometimes confusing. I thought I knew what I was doing, but it was more than I had expected.

Afterwards I was tired, sore, and sweaty. I felt like I had accomplished something. I remember thinking; I’ll never forget this. I’ll never forget, the first time, the first time I did Cross Fit.

The First Time
Just accept it. The first time you do anything, it’s going to be hard. Some people are naturals, but more often, they’re naturally awkward.

Don’t worry! There are many great things about doing something new. Here are a few things to focus on when you try something new.

The Basics
See that woman at the yoga studio doing prasarita into a headstand. She looks pretty cool right? Think about how cool you would look. Maybe I’ll just try to … STOP! You aren’t that woman.

The best way to start is with the basics. Don’t do complex workouts or heavy weight lifting. Learn the basics and build from there.

Learning bad form increases your chance of injury and limits your ability to go further in your practice. A strong set of fundamentals, will help you achieve more ,whether it’s in weight lifting, yoga, or cross fit.

Ask Me Anything
Who wants to be the guy/girl who doesn’t know anything? You want to be in the ‘IN’ crowd,

The only thing worse then a neophyte, is a falsely confident one. When you are new, let yourself be helpless. People like being treated like experts.

Ask a thousand questions. You never know what might help you and another student afraid to ask.

Notice Negative Thoughts
Starting something new activates your inner critic. Your inner critic is the voice or the part of you that tells you you’re screwing up.

Notice this voice arising. It will say you are awkward, slow, and crazy to try something new. Don’t listen to it, but don’t ignore it either. Just notice it, realize this voice isn’t you, and let it go.

Your inner critic wants you to do well. But it only has one tool and that tool is criticism. By noticing what your inner critic is saying you can work with it.

Be Proud
Be proud of yourself for starting something new, especially if you are over the age of 30. Many people’s lives shrink as they get older. The only way to counter act this is to make trying new things a habit.

I’m not suggesting you pursue novelty, but learning new things is a great way to help us pay attention and appreciate all life has to offer.

MindFitMove Practice
– Pick something to try and do it.
– Sign up for an introductory class, join a meet up group, or find a local yoga shop.
– Don’t invest big money, but make a small commitment to get started this week.
– Make your initial commitment small but consistent.
– You may discover that you don’t like it, but that’s ok.
– You’ll have more time to explore something else.



Be A Bad Student.


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A Bad Student?Be A Bad Student.

Be A Bad Student.

I was a bad student.
I regularly got kicked out of class for talking back. I got sent to the vice principal’s office. I almost had to repeat fourth grade. In high school I failed geography and German.

Mix and Match
All my life, I’ve been a mix of a good student and a bad student. In some classes I was attentive, creative, focused, and in love with the subject. In other classes I was bored, distracted, and didn’t respect my teachers.

My math classes were like this. In other subjects I was in honors classes. With math I was in the regular classes. I lacked a natural aptitude for math, but I did ok. Until my senior year …

Things Change
In my senior year I had an amazing math teacher, Mr. Stelmaszak. He was different than other math teachers. He was like a cross between Rain Man and Kramer.

Mr. Stelmaszak was excited about math. And he wanted us to be excited too. Amazingly, he helped me enjoy doing math.

So I studied hard, really hard. And that semester, I was awarded ‘most outstanding trigonometry student.’

It wasn’t because I was great at doing the homework. It was because I fell in love with the subject. Even better, I learned more than just trig that semester.

I learned to be flexiblie. I learned I could find joy in the strangest places. Best of all, I learned about myself.

Unnatural Success
Being a bad student and slow learner can be one of the best gifts to receive. It forces us to learn, to overcome, to adapt, and to grow.

I see this in my friends and clients alike. The people who make the biggest gains are the ones who aren’t naturally good.
When we are bad students we must be a better student of ourselves. As the Dalai Lama says, “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

Being a natural is fine, but stumbling is even better. When we stumble, we see our blind spots.

If you aren’t naturally good at something you have to work harder. You have to stretch to get better. It’s the stretching that makes deep transformation happen.

Speak Up
How have your struggles helped you grow?

What mistakes helped you become who you are today?

Please comment below and let me know.

MindFitMove Practice
Imagine you have a good friend who is struggling to maintain a fitness or eating practice.
Then think about everything you have learned on your own journey of transformation.
What are 3 things you could tell your friend to encourage, inspire, and motivate them?
Write a letter to this imaginary friend.
Start with “Dear, Friend I know you want to quit, but …”
Next take and put the letter in an envelope.
Put it aside.
Next time you are having a hard time take it out and read it.
We are always our own best teachers.


What is Mindfulness? – Mindful Eating 101

Mindful eating is one of the best ways to bring more joy into your relationship with food. Notice I didn’t say it’s the best way to lose weight. Mindful eating can help you lose weight, but that’s not the main goal.

Often in the halls of fitness, food is made into an enemy. Food becomes an object of obsession. We must study, prod, and portion everything. We count calories, eat paleo, go vegan. Then we fall back into our old habits.

Why Diets Work Sort-of
Any part of life gets better, if you start paying attention. If you keep a budget you spend your money better. If you decide to only eat foods that begin with the letter b and c, you will eat less.

You may not eat a balanced diet, but you will eat less. You eat less because you are paying attention. This is great, but it has its limits.

What do all diets have in common? They give us lots of rules to follow. The problem is rules exist in the world of the mind. But we don’t eat with our minds.

The mind isn’t hungry for food. It’s hungry for more data about food. The mind doesn’t love a succulent juicy orange, or a crisp salty potato chip. It loves, rules, calories, facts, and studies.

I Have the Hunger
So what’s hungry for food? The mouth wants taste. The stomach wants substance. The heart wants comfort that good food gives.

Most diet plans only give us information to satisfy our minds. They do little to help the mouth, stomach, or heart. Very often diets tell us to ignore our instincts. They tell us to achieve our goals; we must subvert our desires.

This is almost always a path to failure. The drive to eat is primal. Filling our head with facts isn’t the same as filling our bellies with food.

Some people can subvert desires and instincts for a little while. But these drives need to be honored. Most dietary plans just aren’t up to this task.

This is where mindful eating is different than diets. You don’t push down your desires. You get to know them. You learn to enjoy food more. Often if you enjoy it more, you’re satisfied with less.

Don’t Eat With Your Mind Full
We often zone out while we are eating. When we zone out, we eat more food. When we practice mindful eating we zone into the food. When we zone it we savor it and often find we are satisfied with less.

Diets increase our anxiety around food. We feel like we have to be hyper-aware or it all falls apart. Diets make paying attention and enjoying food opposite things.

Mindful eating brings paying attention and enjoying food together. When we pay attention we get all the texture, flavors, and tastes of our food. Best of all learning to enjoy food, helps us have a healthy relationship with it.

Practice, Practice, Practice
The best part about mindful eating is that there are lots of chances to practice. We all have to eat on a regular basis and there are some very simple practices you can try out that will help you enjoy food even more.

MindFitMove Practice
The first and simplest practice to start eating mindfully today is to stop Eating+.

Eating+ means:
Eating+ checking email
Eating+ watching TV
Eating+ talking on the phone
Eating+ reading a book, magazine, or newspaper
Eating+ worrying about our day
Eating+ talking non-stop

When we Eat+ we subtract taste, flavor, and awareness of hunger. But Eating+ is what most of us do. It seems like people have forgotten how to just eat in our society.

Try these 3 things to stop Eating+:

  1. Turn it off – Turn off as much as you can. This means radio, TV, computer, and especially your phone. At my house growing up we never answered the phone during dinner. This is a great practice to start, especially when eating with your loved ones.
  2. 5 mins of silence – If you are alone try not to think too much about your day, what you have to do after you eat, or really anything other than the food. Try to focus on the food completely.

If you are eating with someone else, you’ll have to ask for silence.

You might try saying, ”Hey, this is one of my favorite dishes. Do you mind if we just eat in silence just for the first 5 minutes? I really want to savor this.”

Another way is, “Hey, I’m trying out this new mindful eating thing. I thought we could try it out together. Do you mind if we just eat in silence just for the first 5 minutes?”

3. 3 Mindful Bites– Speed is often the antithesis of awareness. So when you eat mindfully it helps to slow down.

    Take a bite. Hold it in your mouth for a second. Chew slowly. Imagine you are eating the most delicious meal of your life. Notice flavor, scent, texture, and consistency.

    You don’t have to do it the whole meal, but try starting off that way. If you eat your first 3 bites mindfully, you are much more likely to be aware for the whole meal.

    Mindful eating doesn’t have to be a daily habit. You can start with just one or two meals a week. Remember the goal is to learn to appreciate food and find satisfaction. You will be surprised by how little it takes to satisfy you when you’re paying attention.

    Have you ever tried mindful eating? What has worked for your practice?