Posts Tagged ‘change

29
Oct
09

Jessica is The FACE of the FUTURE

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Yes! That’s Jessica on the TOP! 🙂

ALLURE Magazine made a BOLD move this month –  They addressed the fact that the face of America is changing.

“More than EVER before, beauty is reflected in a blend of ethnicities and colors.” Thank the LORD for that!  SWEATCity’s own Jessica Clark was featured in the article on page 146.

Taken from Allure – “My mother always told me that the world was a big-melting pot, and everyone eventually would look like me,” says Jessica Clark, whose grandparents are English, Irish, Indian, and Nigerian, and who says that people usually guess that she gets her looks from whichever ethnicity they themselves belong to.  “She told me I should be flattered to be one of the first.”  The day will never come when every American is a Jessica Clark look-alike. (We should all be so lucky.)  But perhaps a time will arrive when faces such as hers are seen not so much as beautifully extraordinary, but simply as extraordinarily beautiful.”

Thank YOU Allure Magazine for writing a story about this… When I read it about my Fiancee, a tear rolled down my face.  She’s worked sooo hard to be the best she can be in a profession that does not cater to women who look like her.  It’s high time that every ethnicity is given a chance to shine… That is what this country needs to be about – “BEAUTIFUL is BEAUTIFUL.”

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28
Jan
09

It’s a Jungle IN there!

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Here at Sweat City we talk a lot about “creating new patterns”, about deciding upon a goal and then consistently working towards achieving it.  Now obviously that’s much easier said than done.   We’ve all experienced the feeling of thinking we want to go to the gym more often, or to quit smoking (yep, I was once a 20 a day kind of a girl), or to stop obsessing over the loser ex that treated us like crap anyway.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s truly possible for US…even if others around us have made it look ‘easy’.

Breaking negative patterns and creating a life of new, positive habits has become a passion of mine, stemming from my own personal journey and experiences.  It’s what got me interested in the development of neuroscience; that is how and why the human brain works the way that it does. 

I myself am having a hard day today; I’m unusually tired and I don’t seem to be communicating with others particularly well.  I was staring out of the window at the bad weather instead of doing all the work that I have piled up…. Anybody relate? 🙂 I suddenly realized that despite all the above being very true, it hadn’t once occurred to me to resort to my old ‘comforts’ of negative behaviors with food, isolating myself and not working out.  Things have really changed for me on every level.

Then I remembered one of the most interesting and useful things I ever heard about how the brain processes the creation of new thought patterns.  So I thought that I’d share it with you all 🙂

Think of the brain like a vast tropical jungle.  Now there are parts of the jungle that have been explored, there are parts that are as wild and over-grown as they were thousands of years ago. Say there is a path to a water source that was found.  It might not be the cleanest water, or the best tasting but you know that it’s there.  Consequently every time that you’re thirsty you go down the path that has already been cleared away and is easy to walk down with no overgrowth or hanging branches in the way and you drink that water.   The water might be kind of dirty and it might even make you a little sick but it’s there and it’s easy and so that’s what we do.

This is how a negative thought process works in our brains.  For example; “I had a super stressful day at work, so I’m going to get wasted, eat a bucket of fried chicken and stay out until 4am on a school night.

Back in the jungle 🙂

What happens though when we hear tales of the purest, sweetest tasting water that ever existed, that fills you with real energy and a zest for life?  We decide to go after that fresh water, except that it means we have to cut a whole new path in our ‘jungle’ brain patterns.  And it’s hard!  Our new path has to be created by pure will and effort on our part.  No one will cut down the bushes and vines and beat down the long grass except us.  But we do it!  And it’s amazing 🙂  We decide that we’re ALWAYS going to drink that pure, fresh water.

This represents a discovery that we can all make, such as that dealing with a super stressful day by going to the gym, sweating out our frustrations, eating a healthy meal and then getting a good nights sleep, is SO MUCH BETTER for our bodies and our brains than alcohol, wings and sleep deprivation.

But what can happen all too easily after the next horrendous day at work?  We’re tired and are not really concentrating and somehow we’re back at the bar and not in the gym!!  For many of us we can take that as a sign that we’re somehow just not meant to drink the delicious life giving water.  After all… that original cleared pathway in the jungle didn’t disappear did it?!

Here’s the thing that has been scientifically proven about the human brain and it’s ‘neural pathways’, or paths through the jungle to you and me 🙂

They never actually disappear, we can never ‘un-create them’.  BUT what we CAN DO is with a consistent applied effort over a time period of between 21 days and 3 months (depending on the strength of the negative habit) is cause the original path (leading to the BAD water) to become completely overgrown.  This CAN and WILL happen if it is not used for a while: our 3 -month time commitment.  At the same time our NEW PATH is becoming neater, and less and less chaotic and difficult to walk down because we are choosing to walk down it all the time. 

Eventually the NEW neural pathway in our brains becomes the one we ‘walk down’ automatically.  This is why I now automatically want to go for a run or do a spin class when I’m stressed instead of lighting up a cigarette, hooking up with a random person, or eating my way through the contents of my local deli.  Those old, negative, even soul-destroying habits of mine are SO OVERGROWN in my brain that my brain forgets that they’re an option 🙂

What does this mean for you and me?  🙂

It means that we are not ‘weird’ or incapable of change because we’ve been conditioned to think that REAL change can or should happen overnight!!  It doesn’t. Not for anybody and not for any habit.  It can be as silly as deciding to brush our teeth with the opposite hand that we usually use, and it can be as serious as reclaiming our bodies from abusive habits and neglectful behaviors… and every habit in between.  They ALL take TIME.

So it may be a jungle in there; but it’s not one that can’t be explored and CONQUERED with the right effort, support and commitment 🙂

FYI:  I’d love to say that I’m the genius that figures this all out but unfortunately not 🙂 !!

Here are two GREAT books:  ‘QUIET LEADERSHIP’ by David Rock (I thoroughly recommend this one!) and ‘A USER’S GUIDE TO THE BRAIN’ by J.J Ratey which is much heavier going but very interesting if this really grabs your interest 🙂

Stay warm and dry peeps!!  🙂   Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05
Nov
08

Yes We Can!

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The United States of America has elected a new President, Barack Hussein Obama.

Sweat City is not a political blog and it does not intend to become one, but I will admit that as I saw the visual of the new First Family walk out onto the stage last night, a tear slid down my cheek.  Because whatever our political views may be, and wherever in the world you are reading this post, to me this represents a moment of limitless possibility. 

Yes, for the world. But also for each and everyone of us in our own lives 🙂

A junior senator with limited experience; a black man, a man of modest origin, the son of a Muslim, just became the new President of the USA.  Obama, and those around him had what may have seemed to many like an impossible dream.  I am sure that people laughed, they rolled their eyes, or just dismissed him.  But he believed in what he was capable of and just as importantly he surrounded himself with people that believed in him and who supported him every step of the way.

What the election last night illustrates for me is that no dream is too big; the goals and hopes and dreams that we all have for ourselves can be achieved IF we choose to believe in ourselves and our capabilities and self-worth.  It doesn’t mean that if we just decide we want our own successful company, or to climb Mount Kilimanjaro; to have an album in the Top 40, become a pilot, or get healthier and stronger when we feel powerless over our body and food choices: that it just happens.  President Obama didn’t just snap his fingers and get elected.  He had a dream, a goal, and just like we all must; he and his advisors had to break the BIG Goal down into little goals. And every little goal that was achieved took them a step closer to the White House. And committed step by committed step; the journey was made.

Your BIG Goal, your dream: What is one small step that you could take TODAY that will take you just a tiny bit closer to where your heart wants to be?  Is it to email your ex-colleague who now runs their own company and ask them how they got started?  Is it to take the money you were going to spend on new jeans and sign up for singing lessons instead? Is it to commit to going to the gym tonight?

It may even be to take 30 minutes tonight and brainstorm your craziest, biggest dreams.  Don’t limit yourself, go BIG, but try to focus on what makes your heart sing: on what you would do even if it didn’t pay you money.  Because I firmly believe that if can find your passion and are prepared to work your ass off to accomplish that passion, then the money will follow 🙂

And finally: the work of living a healthy, fulfilling, loving life is never done.  When the goal is accomplished, the next one is there waiting.  Barack Obama did it! He accomplished his dream of becoming the first black President in HISTORY. Guess what?  Now his goal has to be to lead the USA well, to work tirelessly to bring it back to a state of power and positivity and strength. The work isn’t over; the goal is just different.

When we have lost the weight, or have met the person we want to spend our life with it might seem as though the work is over, but in truth the goal is then to maintain that healthy, sexy body by eating clean, by working out.  The goal is to try every day to be the best girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife possible, to be honest and open and loving even when you’re exhausted and they’re driving you crazy!

But it can be done. We can all be who ever we choose to be, if we are prepared to do the work and believe in ourselves and just take that next right step every day.

Yes We Can 🙂




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