Intuition versus Cognition

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Think about it.  Why don’t we ever say “feel about it?”

Our cognitive abilities are amazing.  After all, it is what sets us apart from the animals.  Yet, why are we so dismissive of our intuitions?

You know what intuitions are.  For us girls, many times it is when you are walking down a dark street alone at night and you get that prickly feeling on the back of your neck.  Your brain seems to be saying, “Danger!  Danger!  We need to get out of this situation!”  Intuition can also be less serious: I feel like wearing this dress today instead of the pantsuit.  I feel like taking this route to work instead of this one even though Google Maps says there is more traffic.  I feel like I am supposed to go into this Starbucks right now.  When these feelings arise, do you listen to them or do you poo-poo them?

I think as a culture we have been conditioned to ignore a lot of our intuitions in favor of cognitions.  The brain says, “It doesn’t make a difference if you wear a dress or a pantsuit.”  “Take the other route to work to work, you’ll add five minutes with the traffic this way.”  “Don’t go into Starbucks, you’ve already had two cups of coffee today and you should save yourself the $3.”

What if the president of your company notices you in the elevator because your dress is more noticeable and stylish?  A quick compliment could turn into a conversation which turns into a lunch invitation which six months later turns into a promotion with a major salary increase.

What if, by taking the more congested route to work, you avoided a six car pile up that could have totaled your car?

What if you met the love of your life standing in that Starbucks line waiting for a third cup of coffee that day?

Obviously we can’t spend our whole life “what if-ing” but we also don’t need to shame ourselves for making decisions based on a gut instinct rather than rationale.  There is a time and a place for both.  Maybe what sets us apart form the animals is our ability to differentiate between when to use intuition versus when to use cognition.

I hope you are taking time to hone both.

 

Miracle Morning

Journey of #35by35 is off to a great start!  I feel amazing and can already feel a difference with the way my clothing fits.  I know that part of this is starting my morning off right.  I made a video talking about my morning routine which you can watch here:

Watch that for the details, but the summary is:

10 minutes of journaling

10 minutes of prayer

10 minutes of meditation

10 minutes of visualization

30 minutes of exercise

Grab your breakfast and go!  Thanks for reading and hope you have a miraculous morning!

Heavy

Life is heavy, y’all.  Sometimes this means that we eat the stresses around us and the boredom and the insecurities.  As a result, we are now weighing ourselves down with all of these burdens that don’t even necessarily belong to us.

I’ve been overweight more than half of my life.  I was a fairly healthy kid, but around the time I was 15 I started just eating and eating and eating and I never stopped.  Here’s a picture of what I looked like when I was 17 when genetics and metabolism are most on your side:

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I don’t know how much I weighed at this time because I couldn’t force myself to step on a scale and embrace the reality of what I had become, but I’d guess I was well over 200 pounds which is a lot for my 5’4″ stature.  This was the biggest I have ever been.

A few months after this photo was taken, I started college and experienced the opposite of the Freshman 15.  While I didn’t drop all of the weight, I was probably down about 15 pounds because I was spending most of my days in classes.  When I was in high school, I would come from school, turn on General Hospital to see what Lucky and Liz were up to, and set myself up with a buffet of snacks that could sometimes last me through until dinner.

In college I got a bit better, but I will admit that I would take a Nalgene bottle to the school cafeteria and fill it up with Dr. Pepper from the soda machine.  Just so we are clear on this, that means that MORE THAN ONCE A DAY I was consuming 400 calories and 120 grams of sugar from a beverage.

I would try to lose weight or exercise, but a lack of motivation, confidence, feeling of self-worth, and knowledge prohibited me.  I felt like I was constantly on a diet but never losing weight.

My weight stayed the same until I was about 25.  During this time I started eating a vegetarian diet and also contracted a case of mono.  I dropped 35 pounds in about three weeks.  This was the thinnest I have been since I was 15 and (once I had recovered from the mono) I looked and felt pretty good.  Those size 8 jeans were feeling great!

Unfortunately, in the years since, it all slowly crept back about 5 pounds a year until I’m right back to wear I was pre-mono.  I tried going vegetarian, vegan, eating whole30, and even hired a personal trainer and was working out 5 days a week.  I’d have little bursts of success, but never achieving my weight loss goals or making permanent changes.

So, why is this the case?  Sometimes I ate because I was bored.  Sometimes I ate because I was stressed.  Sometimes I ate because I was sad.  Sometimes I ate because I was happy.  Sometimes I ate because I was lonely.  Sometimes I ate because I was surrounded by other people who were eating.  Whatever I was doing it wasn’t working.

I got a big wake up call in November of 2014.  I started having terrible stomach problems.  I ended up in the ER three times and was eventually diagnosed through my gastroentrologist with lymphatic colitis.  I also have a helping of IBS, anemia, and a few other treats that make life a little more interesting.

I was so tired of looking and feeling terrible.  In October of 2016, I decided I was ready for a change.  I decided that I was ready to put my health first and start making some smart decisions.  I got started on a nutritional system that combines shakes and cleanse days to drop body fat.  The results were amazing, I dropped a couple of pant sizes and felt SO much better.  My energy levels changed so that I didn’t feel like I needed a nap at 3 in the afternoon.  My sleep improved after years of struggling with insomnia.

I wish I could say that I had this magnificent transformation, which is true as far as the way I was feeling but I didn’t have the weight loss I was aiming for because I let myself get side tracked when my life went crazy with job and life stuff.  I wasn’t binge eating, but I wasn’t making the best choices and indulging way too often.

Recently, I was looking at the calendar and realizing that my 35th birthday is only about six weeks away.  An idea sparked in my mind.  What if I could lose 35 pounds by my 35th birthday?  Now, I don’t want to get too attached to numbers especially since weight might stay the same while fat is traded out for muscle.  Yet, something about the idea of 35 by 35 really stuck out in my mind.  The numbers might be a bit arbitrary, but I’m running with them keeping in mind that I will be the healthiest I’ve ever been through my nutritional system and that if the number on the scale doesn’t say I’ve lost 35 but my pant size drops considerably then that’ll will be just fine!  I’m challenging myself now to lose #35by35.

I even made a video where I talk about it!

I also want reach out to anyone who is reading this that feels like they are stuck in a body that isn’t at its best whether that is too much weight or just a little bit extra weight or you just feel like crap.  The best decision I ever made was to put down the sugar and the salt and the soda and make myself a priority.  I’ve learned so much through this journey, both in learning how to be a self-coach but also in the coaching I have received.  I would love for you to be on this journey with me.  If you want to join my #35by35 movement and either shed some weight or achieve some health goals, please send me a message or an email (lauraarrington@100potential.com) I would love for us to be accountability partners and let me help coach you through your own transition.  Everyone reading this is such a beautiful, magnificent human that was put on this Earth for a reason and if we are hiding our shine with poor nutrition, we aren’t achieving our 100% potential that I dedicated this whole blog to.  It doesn’t matter how you know me, if you know me, if you want to talk about your health goals and get on this path to transformation with me, take the step and reach out.  I want to hear from you.

To sum up, here we are today.  It is July 20, 2017.  I look like this:

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The next six weeks are going to be a period of magnificent transformation.  I’m going to document the whole journey so please watch, enjoy, laugh, smile, and hold me accountable.  Also, if you want to have a transformation too, you are welcome to join me because I’m going to be creating a support group for this.

Are you ready?

Neither am I.  Let’s start anyway.

Microwave Society

e62711a1-7ff2-4487-bc99-5cb0711956b8_1000I was listening to a podcast recently where the person being interviewed referred to our culture as a “microwave society.”  Such an amazing image this brings up that captures exactly what is both right and wrong with us!  (I say us because I know I am currently part of the problem, not part of the solution.  As an “old” millennial, I especially hold my generation responsible for this).

I love microwaves.  They serve a purpose.

They also teach us that we can get anything we want, basically as fast as we want, as long as we are willing to compromise on the quality.

What does this teach us to value?  Results that are high quality or expedient?  In certain situations, there is nothing wrong with expediency.  In many situations, there is, especially since the most valuable things we have in life are the ones that tend to take the longest to cultivate or manifest.  Then we also value them more because they taught us patience, restraint, and tenacity.

What do you think?  Are you “microwaving” your life expecting to get what you want now?  Why don’t you want to wait?  How can we all learn to wait just a little bit better?

Falling Again and Again

I rented a movie the other night called Before I Fall.  Apparently it is based on a book, but I hadn’t heard of either but the description sounded interesting so I decided to rent it.  The story is a pretty simple Groundhog Day-style plot, although the movie was a drama, not a comedy.  In the movie, the main character is a teenage girl and we see her repeat the same day over and over again as she participates in bullying an outcast, ignoring the nice guy who has a crush on her, and getting into other various high school troubles.  Although it is hard to figure out where the movie is going, the ending is also pretty evidently going to be once she figures out whatever lesson she is supposed to learn then she will get herself out of the loop.

At one point during the repeated day, the character is sitting in a class learning about Sisyphus.  If you don’t remember your Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra who was doomed by Zeus to spend his time in the Underworld pushing a boulder up a hill for all eternity because of his deceitfulness.  Spending all time trapped in a useless effort full of unending frustration.

The movie made me think of a few things.  Obviously, in real life we don’t repeat the same day over and over again until we learn the lesson, or at least we don’t in such a clear cut way as the movies would demonstrate.  But I do think we can find ourselves in repeating patterns until we learn whatever lesson we aren’t supposed from the situation.  Have you ever found yourself dating the same person over and over again even when you are actually dating different people?  For some reason, you keep attracting the same type of person with the same issues into your romantic life until you learn the lesson.  This can be true not just for romantic relationships, but friendships, work, lifestyle, habits, etc.

Here’s where I think the choice comes in.  We can chose to pause and reflect when something isn’t working out the way we want it, especially if it doesn’t feel like we are living our best lives or we can be like Sisyphus, pushing the same boulder uphill for the rest of our lives.  Personally, I’d rather learn the lesson and get myself out of the loop of the repeating day.  Of course, this can be a challenge too because, even if the pattern feels bad, at least it feels familiar.  Choosing to make positive changes and get into unfamiliar and uncharted territory can feel very scary at first, but I think that’s when it is time to lean in and push forward.  Even if it might feel like you are pushing a boulder up a hill sometimes, the truth is if you learn from it, I bet the view from the top of that hill is beautiful and the boulder will have made you much stronger on the way up.