Making People Wrong Doesn’t Make You Right

SHAMEI’m a little bit fired up. Okay, a lot fired up.

In the past week, I’ve seen two instances on social media of messaging that was not only not helpful to the intended audience, it sought to make the audience wrong. And they came from professionals.

Instance number one: Guy says that walking is not exercise, that you burn no more calories than sitting around.

Instance number two: Guy says that dieting is about deprivation and must therefore suck.

Instance one is both ignorant and dangerous. Instance two makes me wonder how that’s working out for you.

But the thing that really, really irritates me is that these two assertions use shame as a motivator. Both are rooted in scarcity – you aren’t working hard enough, you aren’t suffering enough. You aren’t enough.

I have to call BS on that.

Movement: Start where you are. Move in ways that you find fun (because if you enjoy it, you’ll do it). I would much rather you go for a walk than endanger yourself by pushing too hard too fast. And if you’re an experienced exerciser, you’ll know (hopefully) where the line is between pushing just enough to continue to see progress and slacking (which isn’t the same as active recovery or honoring your body).

Mindful Nutrition: Dieting doesn’t work, so don’t do it. Period. Find a way to eat that honors your unique nutritional needs and find your ideal balance. Yes, this takes some time and it takes effort, but the end result is sustainable weight loss (if that’s what you’re after), mitigation of any health issues, and perhaps the best thing, zero deprivation*.

*Of course there is an asterisk – because we each have unique nutritional needs, some of us do end up eliminating certain foods from our diets. But I promise that not only is it worth it, if you find you do still want those things, we can come up with substitutions. And you may find that on rare occasions, that there are few “worth it” items that you can handle. This requires work and troubleshooting though. You also may find that eliminating those foods breaks any connection you had to them and you no longer want them.

I’m not the only one fired up about shaming people and making them wrong though. In the past week, two articles have come across my social media feeds that address this in different ways and I have to share them with you all as well:

Why Diets Fail and “Eat Less, Move More is Bad Advice

Your Diet Plan Isn’t Working? New Baylor Research Explains Why

The bottom line is this: shame has NO place in health and wellness. If someone seeks to shame you into compliance, I lovingly suggest you reconsider your association with that person. You ARE enough and no one gets to tell you otherwise.

Where are you struggling in your life right now? How can I help you? Whether you are looking for feedback on a some changes you might make to your diet or are looking for longer term accountability as you tackle some big things, I offer one on one coaching options that suit your needs. Click here to schedule your session and get started creating your amazing life.

As We Think

Whether you’ve heard this attributed to Buddha or seen different permutations from the Bible, the message is the same: the thoughts we think shape the persons we are, both physically and psychologically.

Years ago I would have called bullshit on this. I was so invested in my misery, my stuckness, and the blame I got to throw around that there was no possible way for me to accept ownership for it. That really is the sticky bit of this quote/concept: ownership.

Let’s unravel this a bit. If you’re at all human (and I’m guessing you are), you’ve likely at some point or another experienced detrimental thought loops. Maybe it sounded like “I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this.” Or “What did I do to deserve this?” “I’ll never do/be/achieve______.” “I’m not enough.” There is an infinite number of possible negative thought loops, but you get the picture. Even the most successful among us experiences this on occasion. The difference is what they, and now I, do with them.

Before we go there though, I want you to think about how those thoughts FEEL. What do they feel like in your body? Tight? Constricting? Draining? All of the above? These are the physical manifestations of your negative thought loop. This is the direct result of the cortisol that starts pumping through your body because your autonomic nervous system doesn’t know the difference between real (a bear chasing you) and imagined (I am unlovable). “I am unlovable” was one of mine.

So what can you do with these loops? And where does ownership come in? The first step is having the awareness to recognize a loop when you’re in it. At some point, for many of us, these loops become habit, so ingrained in our beings that we don’t even recognize we’re in them. The next step is to interrupt the loop. The kindest, gentlest way I know of I learned in a meditation class: set the thought off to one side, thank your mind for making you aware of it, then let it go. There is no assigning of good or bad, right or wrong. There is no berating of yourself for getting sucked into a loop. It’s simply an “ah, I see you” and “it’s okay, I got this.”

Need an example? I’m in a relatively new romantic relationship and every once in a while I recognize myself getting sucked into old Barbara thought patterns like “what did I do, why isn’t he responding” or “why hasn’t he done x, y, or z?” I will literally say to myself, out loud “Don’t do that Barb. You’re pretty amazing and I’m pretty sure he’s quite enamored with you. So stop.” Okay, that may sound a bit tough, but I know I can be, and sometimes need to get, tough with myself. Call it tough love because it is definitely an act of love to call myself out on my bullshit.

Which brings me to ownership. Recognizing and disrupting these negative thought loops gives you the gift of ownership over your life. It puts you in the driver’s seat, where you belong, instead of being a passenger to your story and the circumstances of your life. Taking responsibility, accepting it really, is the most empowered thing you can do with your life.

As I mentioned last Friday, I’ve opened up my schedule to 10 new 1 on 1 coaching clients and there are still slots open. One thing I failed to mention is that the price is locked in for one year, so should you want to keep working with me beyond the first 6 sessions, the rate stays the same. Email me at to schedule your intake session today!

Weeky Round Up

Here’s your round up of tips, ideas, and other great stuff.

Book I’m reading: Rising Strong by Brené Brown – I haven’t read Daring Greatly yet, but it’s in the queue. My take away thus far include: Story telling is powerful, powerful stuff. Like any good story though, you can’t skip the middle. That’s where you hit the point of no return, where no matter what you do, your life will be changed.

What I made this week: a pizza frittata (eggs, dried oregano, red onion, garlic, Applegate Farms pepperoni), antipasti salads (nope, not Paleo and not perfect), and chili (modified from Cook’s Illustrated – the only thing I alter is swapping the beans for another pound of ground meat, usually turkey). It was a pretty low key week, though I may attempt some grain free baking this weekend. I have cassava flour I’m really wanting to play with.

Mantra I used: I am a powerful creator. This was definitely helpful as I started writing my book and developing a mini course.

Content my subscribers received: Monday I introduced a new focus to my newsletter subscribers – mindset. I’ve been writing about mindset and it’s role in my evolution for a couple years now so it didn’t feel right to leave that out here when it has been pivotal in my success.

How I moved: Neghar Fonooni’s Lean & Lovely Program – I can’t remember when she released this program, but I’ve run through it a couple times, at least the first two phases. I’m in Phase One right now and it’s amazing to me how quickly the routine of a program helps me find my stride.