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Lessons I learned from Emily Long

It is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend Emily Long. Emily is inspiring, motivating, honest, and her zest for life is infectious. Emily and her husband are the owners of Resolve Studio and The Resolved Life, where they teach their clients to live strong and resolved lives. Yes, that includes a whole lot of weight lifting (you’d be blown away to see how much tiny Emily can lift – her and an ant could go head to head!), but what I love most about Emily is that she lives a life resolved to put God first and help others in the midst of a world that can be so much about self.

Emily is launching an E-book, and allowed me to get a sneak peek. There were two points that jumped out at me so much, and have really helped me refocus with a healthier mind set when it comes to weight loss and living healthy. I hope you download her “Blueprint” on her website, so you can receive the whole thing. In the meantime, I asked her if I could share some of her wisdom with my blog readers. Spring has sprung. Short, tank top, and dare I say it…bathing suit season is upon us. So, I think that this is a timely post, as many of us are looking to lose some of the winter weight – the right way.

As you all know, I’m an open book. I do my best to be as transparent as possible. So, I’m gonna fess up – I have a few extra lbs I wanna shed. I know, I know. I’ve always been health conscious, athletic and petite. But, I haven’t always been 36 years old. Maintaining a peak physique gets more challenging every year. The last couple years have been the first time I’ve had to be extra careful with what I put in my mouth. I was put on a medication that made me hold onto a few extra pounds (which, I’ll thankfully be done with soon!). I also had foot surgery – TWICE in the fall, which kept me from working out for several months…which nicely led into the Christmas cookie season. And, you all know that I enjoy baking cookies. 😉

So, the past couple months I’ve been on a journey to lose those gained pounds, and I have SO appreciated Emily’s thoughts on this subject. It has been so freeing for me. Too many of us make weight loss goals for ourselves (which is good), but they end up turning into crazy unattainable rules for us to live by. While I’ve never been a “yo-yo” dieter, I’ve done the same. I’ve set rules for myself I knew I could never keep.  My hubby and I are in the public eye, have a lot of events to attend and often pictures to take with people. There have been times I’ve used those events as a reason to set unrealistic goals for myself… “I’m gonna lose 8 lbs by next Tuesday”. Yeah right. NOT happening. When we do these things, we just set ourself up for failure. Listen to two concepts that Emily’s E-book taught me that has freed me up completely and helped me to be more successful DAILY. I seriously had an epiphany reading it! I will share with you just a few ways I’ve implemented those ideas into my every day life at the end of this post. I hope this will help you too! Here are some excerpts from what she’s written…

 

HABITS VS RULES

“It won’t be different unless you do something different. The same old “healthy habits” (AKA following a diet and exercise plan) will not necessarily work if it’s not something you know you can maintain long term. Are you really going to never have carbs again? Or never eat your favorite cookies? We are talking about developing very specific HABITS, not rules. It is important that we don’t confuse those two things. Habits are developed intentionally over time. Eventually they become second nature and do not require energy to repeat. Rules require much more energy to follow because they feel restrictive and they hang over our heads. The second we set a rule, it is our human nature to want to break it.

We all want what we can’t have. What has happened if you tried following a restrictive diet in the past where you wouldn’t eat certain kinds of foods? Did you eventually splurge or binge? Eat more than you wanted or planned at a social event? And possibly said “Well, I failed today so I’ll restart tomorrow/Monday”? One of the reasons for this is because we all want what we can’t have and…the plan simply set you up to fail because it was too restrictive to start. NO, you are not a failure. Of course we can all improve our willpower but that is NOT the reason you failed. Only once the rule becomes a habit does it become second nature.

This is why diets fail, 95% of the time. They are a set of strict rules that you know you will not be able to continue following 6 months from now. They don’t teach you how to create life-long habits, and therefore set us up to fail right from the beginning. Dieters follow rules. Resolved Warriors live by habits. Which would you rather follow for the rest of your life? A long list of rules (that usually involve something along the lines of “no brownies… ever!”)? OR… A series of habits that you hardly have to think about or exert energy over, that continue to lead you in your fit Lifestyle?”

 

THE END RESULT VS THE PROCESS

“In my husband’s and my experience training clients from all walks of life, we have had the opportunity to observe the primary differences between two groups of people: The ones who succeed long term, and the ones who repeatedly fail. The primary difference between the two are that the people who fail are focused on the end result and are ignoring the process, whereas those who succeed are focused on the process, and on what they need to do TODAY in order to be where they want to be tomorrow. Consider this, would you rather build wealth slowly over time or win the lottery? Most people would prefer the lottery. However, the shocking statistic is that 70% of lottery winners end up bankrupt and right back where they started or even worse off.

Why?

Because instead of building wealth slowly over time and learning habits and lessons in managing money that would help them maintain that wealth, they got “results” fast, and didn’t have the habits or skills in place to manage them long term. It is exactly the same thing with fitness. You jump on the 6 week program that guarantees a certain amount of weight loss at the expense of following a strict diet plan and exercise regimen. Within just a few weeks or months of completing the program and losing the weight, 95% of the people who did it will end up “bankrupt” physically. Most will end up the same, or worse off, than they were before they started.

…At the end of the day, what builds you as a person, develops your character, makes you stronger and more willing to take on challenges, improves your confidence and quality of life, is not suddenly achieving the end result overnight. The thing that does all of those things is the process you had to go through to get there.

Imagine the YOU at your goal. You’ve dropped the weight and inches, have the energy, and are feeling comfortable and confident. What are some of your daily habits then? Does “Fit You” work out every week? Do you prep and cook healthy food? Do you skip meals? Do you think negative thoughts about yourself? Now think of where you are now. It seems like A TON of habits that need to change, right? So why do we expect it to happen over night? And when it does happen quickly by following an unsustainable plan, how did we ever expect to maintain it long term? The reason that the “YOU” that you envision at the end goal does so many healthy things is because that person has DEVELOPED THOSE HABITS, slowly over time, so that they are sustainable long term. If you just became “her” overnight, you would quickly return to where you are now because you don’t have those habits in place yet. Just like the guy who won the lottery.”

Danielle here again: Here are just a few ways that “HABITS VS RULES” and “THE END RESULT VS THE PROCESS” have helped me. Some of these things I’d built into my life already and realized they work, and a few have been recent changes. If you’re my blog subscriber, you know I love to indulge. But, my regular routine must be a healthy one. It is the things I do habitually that allow me the freedom to enjoy a sweet treat without the guilt. The first thing I’ve recently done is to develop the habit of drinking half my weight in water. It has become routine for me to carry a water bottle with ounces written on them so I can keep track of my intake. I began this before I read Emily’s E-book, but realized when reading it that it was a healthy habit I’d developed that wasn’t hard. I also start my day with warm lemon water now instead of coffee with cream and sugar (that was harder). The next thing I’ve done is to trash the idea of seeing a certain number on the scale by a certain date. My family is going on a trip to Florida in a couple weeks. After reading Emily’s book, I decided to ditch the idea that I’d hope to see a desired number on that thing. Rather, I just continue to work out hard and eat the way I know I should every day in order to achieve my goal. If I don’t get there by Florida, no biggie. I’m in process. Over the years, I’ve also educated myself and slowly replaced junkier foods with healthier ones, especially since I’ve become a mom. I want to keep my whole family healthy. So, my jam recipe, for example, is an easy way to cut sugar from our diet. It’s become second nature to make sugarless jam in 5 minutes, rather than buying the junk. I ditched sour cream and replaced it with plain greek yogurt. I make real oatmeal with fruit and natural sweeteners, rather than use the ready made packs. I squeeze oranges for juice instead of drinking the more sugary stuff. I snack on apple slices and almond butter or air popped popcorn rather than candy and chips. I’ve become accustomed to eating dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. I eat Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, rather than white. A while ago, I also dropped the mentality that when we’re on the road, we’ll eat whatever we want (like it doesn’t count or something), and then go berserk trying to lose it all when we get home. We travel too much for that. I’m also developing the habit of implementing toning into my workout routine on top of running. These are just a few things. It has been a PROCESS to become a healthier family. If I had made all these changes at once, we would have rejected it all, but now it’s just normal. Thank you, Emily for challenging me to continue the journey – the PROCESS to becoming the most healthy, strong and vivacious mother I can be! The entire idea behind “From Milk to Meat” is to help women have a healthy body, mind and soul, and this is your ambition as well! Keep going, girl!

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