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Square One and a Half

Disclaimer: If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, please spare us both the inevitable heartache and unsubscribe yourself immediately.

Ok, now that I’ve culled the non-nerd herd, on to my post.

One of my favorite parts of Harry Potter is Platform 9 ¾. As a kid, I loved reading this part. I mean, seriously – how cool would it be to go into some mundane place and then – BAM! – be transported to a magical land full of people waving wands in weird clothes holding toads and eating treacle (full disclosure – I’m still not quite sure what this is)?

And the fact that it wasn’t a whole number always made me smile. I don’t know why, but there was something charming about the fraction thrown in. Like it’s a magically ambiguous place that semi-exists and semi-doesn’t. It’s the Schrodinger’s cat of transportation (huge shout out to the nerds who get this one!).

So, in honor of Harry Potter, I’m going to introduce a concept I like to call Square One and a Half.

We’ve all heard of Square One.

That’s the dreaded place that you go to when you fall off the wagon.

You missed your workout for a week? “I’m back at Square One!

You were eating well and then the weekend wine fest with the girls happened? “I’m back at Square One!

You *insert whatever setback you had and aren’t where you think you “should” be*? “I’m back at Square One!”

But are you REALLY?

Think about it – if you missed your workouts for a week then you’ll probably lose some strength and stamina. But you’re not starting completely over. It’s a slight setback but you’re going to be back where you started in no time.

If you fell off the wagon with food, congratulations, you’re a human being! Give yourself a round of applause that you have friends and a social life. Get back to your normal healthy habits and the bloat will subside after a few days – you’re NOT back at Square One, and you shouldn’t think that just because you had some pizza you might as well make out with a fro-yo machine too (pro tip: toppings are where it’s at, anyway).

Ladies and Gents, I’d like you to consider a lovely concept called Square One and a Half.

Square One and a Half is a magical place where you may have slipped or tripped or meandered away from your goals a bit and you aren’t where you think you should be. But if you look back on where you actually started, you’re ahead of that “old” you.

You’re not at Square One.

Last summer, one of my friends made a goal for herself: she could do three pushups and wanted to be able to do ten by her birthday, which was a few weeks away. We put together some workouts and progressions and before too long, the moment of truth arrived.

It was a pretty amusing moment of truth.

We were at a Young Professionals’ Networking event and may or may not have had a few drinks before I remembered (very excitedly, of course) that she needed to test her strength. After a little convincing, we went to the back on the venue (so as to avoid baffled looks) and did pushups. She hit all ten, and there were lots of hugs and excited squeals to celebrate her accomplishment.

It was fantastic to see the look in her eyes and excitement about accomplishing something that had been a far-off goal just a few weeks previously.

But even more interesting was the conversation we had a few weeks later.

She hadn’t kept up with the pushups and – you guessed it! – lamented that she was back at “Square One”. But the funny thing is, when I asked her how many she could do, she said, “only six.”

Six… SIX?

How the heck is that back at Square One when she could do DOUBLE what she started with?

Sure, it might not be all ten any more, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t work her way back. It’s totally achievable. Since she’s accomplished it once, she KNOWS she can do it again. It will just take a bit of time.

You might not be at your best, but you sure as heck are farther than when you started.

That’s Square One and a Half.

Next time you fall off the wagon and are nursing your bumps, change your internal dialogue around the situation. You’re rarely starting from scratch.

Embrace the journey ahead, realize you’re at Square One and a Half, and start working again.

You’ve got this.

Have you ever fallen off the wagon? What helped you get back on? Leave a comment below to help other Square One and a Half-ers out!



Err on the Side of Success

It’s not very often that I want to jump off a cliff, but sometimes people say things that make me contemplate it.

One of my fitness mademoiselles was texting with me to make sure she was doing things correctly. Long story short, she wasn’t. After explaining what she should do, I received the response, “Eh, screw it, whatever!”

I face-palmed.

Everywhere you look you’re bombarded by ads that say that healthy food is too expensive, too hard to make, too lame, too boring, too inconvenient. And the funny thing is all of those are both completely true and utterly false.

But YOU have to decide which one it is.

If you think it’s too difficult or inconvenient or expensive, it doesn’t have to be. And I’m living proof that it isn’t. But I’m not here to argue against you because we’d be wasting both of our time.

I’m here to represent the people who realize that healthy living doesn’t have to be hard but might not know how to incorporate it into their life. Yes, it will require adjustments, but you and I both know that it’s possible. And not only is it possible, it’s easy, delicious, inexpensive, and, dare I say it, FUN.

I stand for the woman who is taking charge of her life. She realizes she isn’t where she wants to be. But she knows that it’s up to her to make a change. And she knows that taking an attitude of “screw it, whatever!” just doesn’t cut it for her.

She and I have something in common: we err on the side of success.

The phrase “err on the side of caution” is an ok starting point for most when it comes to diet and exercise, but I want to take it a step further.

When you err on the side of caution, you might be hesitant to try something new, thinking that a change may be harmful to the status quo. But if you want to be healthier, OF COURSE YOU WILL HAVE TO CHANGE!!

That’s why erring on the side of caution doesn’t quite do it for me. It lacks the boldness, the vision, the confidence to go out and show the world that you are a force to be reckoned with. It lacks the spirit of adventure and gumption and grace and courage and humility it takes to make a change. And most importantly, it lacks the heart behind knowing you CAN improve to be your best self.

“Whoa there, Gen,” you’re probably thinking. “This isn’t like your usual posts! What’s up?”

In the spirit of full transparency, I’m starting contest prep this upcoming week.

Contest prep, for the unfamiliar, is the process where I get ready for a figure competition. It is a few months long and requires extreme dedication to diet and exercise. Every little bit of sleep, stress, nutrient timing, food composition, and supplement intake matters. In short, basically your entire life gets shifted so you look your best in the show.

When you’re up on stage, every little thing counts. You’re putting your body up for comparison to lots of other women who have been dialing in their lifestyle to present the best package they can. And if they’re doing the details correctly, you’d better bet your ass that I’ll be right alongside them, monitoring everything so that I can bring my best package to the show.

This is where I am erring on the side of success.

There will always be temptation to cheat. There will be birthday parties, bar hopping with friends, invitations to gatherings. And yes, the temptation to say “whatever, one little slice of cake won’t matter!” will definitely come up.

But at those moments, I will remind myself of my commitment to err on the side of success. I’ll remember that this prep isn’t forever and there will be more celebrations later where I can indulge. But for right now, it’s more important for me to feel good onstage and know without a shred of doubt that I did everything I could to succeed. And that slice of cake just isn’t worth it to me.

So when you’re weighing your choices next time, I invite you to stop and think for a second.

Ask yourself, “Will this make it easier or harder to achieve my goals?”

Make the choice that errs on the side of success.

It might not be easy, but I bet it will be worth it.

What are you doing to err on the side of success? Leave a comment below to share your wisdom!