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I count my blessings that I met Andrea Marcellus. I’m not the most disciplined person regarding my weight, in my eating habits, or in any exercise programme or even the most likely one to stick with new year’s resolutions about these things, if I made any that is. You can read here what I think about New Year’s Resolutions.
You might not be like me, you might not need some winning strategies for health and wellness and lifting your life. You might be cruising along and prefer I didn’t interrupt.
But if you knew that the whole purpose was to support your wellness journey by creating possibility, direction, purpose & curiosity – the cornerstones of growth, confidence, self-esteem – and actions that will stimulate reward center in the brain and inhibits the amygdala (fear/anxiety center) maybe today would be the day that you would want to hear about Andrea’s 5 winning strategies to support weight loss, greater strength and lift your life.
And just in case that’s true for you I ‘m impelled to share with you Andrea’s mindset for creating a happier, healthier life for yourself in 2020.
Andrea is the author of The Way In: 5 Winning Strategies to Lose Weight, Get Strong & Lift You Life and Creator of the AND/life app and she is the very first person I’ve interviewed on my site.
I’ve chosen Andrea to be a first, because changing habits, changing mindsets to live a grander greater life is what I love to write about and Andrea with her book and app does this in spades.
So I’m thrilled to share her inspiration with you and hopefully you will be encouraged, as I’ve been to take make some changes that truly benefit our life.
What motivated you to write this book and create an app?
The first 16 years of my career, I did so many things we are told we need to do to get super fit: calorie counting and restriction, food elimination, grueling workouts… you name it.
10 years ago, I realized that despite doing all the things we were “supposed” to be doing, neither my clients nor me were able to easily sustain our achievements (if we got to our goals in the first place).
So I threw all the supposed-to’s out the window and came up with a better solution that goes beyond exercise and workouts and thinks about your whole day – including three huge weight-loss inhibitors: caloric drinks, sitting too much and stress.
People care deeply about fitness and well-being, and are far more committed and dedicated than what you might guess based on their results from typical diet and exercise regimens.
They spend generous amounts of time, energy and money on the subject, so the battle to lose weight and shape up isn’t being lost by people due to a lack of commitment, willpower or effort – in other words, people aren’t failing themselves. It’s that the programs they follow are failing them. And the main reason is because of what I call “Imposter Syndrome.”
The majority of diet and exercise programs basically require you to live someone else’s life for a while.
They ask you to be a person who does grueling workouts all the time, calorie counts every plate, eliminates half the food pyramid, says no-thank you a lot.
But then the plan ends or work stresses you out, family events change your schedule, your social life gets busy, vacation – and most people go back to being their old selves and then it’s very difficult to maintain progress – if they managed to make any at all.
For a fitness program to work for the long-haul, it needs to be authentic to you and the life you actually live and establish the mindset you need not to be derailed when life events threaten to derail you. And they will!
What do you see as your wellness mission?
Your best body starts in your mind. My goal is to first address the mindset necessary to make your fitness goals an attainable, sustainable reality and then offer a practical method to get you there.
The Way In: 5 Winning Strategies to Lose Weight, Get Strong & Lift Your Life and the AND/life app not only feature a real-world, small daily goals approach to fitness that takes into account your whole lifestyle –including your social life, I start with your mentality so that life events – good or bad – won’t ever totally stop your progress.The plan makes the body. The mentality makes it permanent.
Getting in shape in a sustainable way is all about consistency. My method builds confidence by keeping the bar low and including your social life in the plan: the small daily goals of the method “magically” turn into life-changing habits that get you to your goals and keep you progressing.
The plan is grounded in 5 practical mindset strategies for when “life” happens so you have the time and energy for fitness and never get derailed. It’s truly a mind/body approach aimed to build both physical and mental strength.
Everything I do is about helping people preserve and cultivate more of their own most precious personal resources: time, energy and money so they can achieve any goal, fitness or otherwise, get the most out of every day and always put their best foot forward. In terms of fitness, it’s about getting your outside to match the strong, capable person you know you are on the inside.
And the fact is, as you strengthen physically, you fortify yourself mentally as well. I’m about true mind-body connection in the most practical sense of the term.
What’s different about your approach to weight, food and exercise?
My method in The Way In and the AND/life app ask people to hit 4 simple goals each day involving food, exercise, hydration and standing. The biggest difference is that I keep the bar low for each to ensure motivation and confidence-building.
The repetition of the goals are what create actual, honest-to-goodness habits – and habits are what we need for sustainable, progressive improvement.
Consistency in repetition is far more important than sporadic, high intensity effort to achieve goals. And by using worksheets in the book and the simple one-tap tracker on the app, we not only keep the goals in the front of your brain and help cement them as habits, you get that satisfaction we feel (dopamine reward) of checking something off a list.
Repeating an activity that activates the reward center in your brain is literally the definition of how to make a habit.
The daily goals are super easy to ensure the highest probability of adherence while still getting results:
1) my food strategy is no willpower/no calorie counting and teaches you HOW to eat before we even worry about what to eat .
2) 20 mins of exercise (whatever that is for you) – the AND/life app offers tons of short classes and custom workouts for you to mix and match or combine with walking or cardio to get your time in – some even at your desk or kitchen counter.
3) keeping caloric drinks to under two per day (a splash of milk in coffee doesn’t count).
4) standing at least 60 minutes a day.
How do your book and app work together?
The Six Week Shape Up program in The Way In is a rocket launcher for your fitness journey and provides an opportunity to learn about yourself and what works best for your body.
Not what the media says is best or the skinny girl at spinning says she does, but what actually works for you and fits into your life.
It’s a truly personalized approach that the AND/life app supports with workouts and recipe ideas.
The AND/life app picks up where The Way In leaves off with Habit Creation – with easy choice tracking, the AND/life app helps turn the four daily goals into habits that will keep you on track forever, even over the holidays when life gets super social and everywhere you turn is a cookie or something dripping with cheese.
This food strategy highly effective at getting people to lose weight because it addresses portions first and foremost.
It in essence non- surgically shrinks your stomach so even when you do eat richer foods, you’re eating less of them and they don’t derail you.
My Habit Food strategy slowly change their tastes away from salty, sugary foods to clean, plant-based ones without making a big “to-do” about it or ever needing to give up your favorite foods.
In fact, to ensure you get fit in a way that will last for the long haul, the method calls for one “social meal” each day (a meal that includes foods that are less beneficial and that you think you can’t eat and still lose weight) – or you can do like I do, and save up some extra social meals for the
Tell me about the 5 winning strategies – what are they?
THE 5 WINNING STRATEGIES create the time and energy you need to get to your fitness goals.
Practice Personal Authenticity – accept who you are, and also who you are not.
The Way In includes a 6-Week Shape Up Program which is a rocket launcher for your weight loss and fitness goals. The plan isn’t a one-size fits all, it’s a learning process to help you figure out exactly what foods and exercise work best for your body and fit easily into your life.
The program is guided by me – but it’s ultimately designed by YOU for YOU.
The AND/life app fuels your results during the Shape Up with super-customized, no-brainer food options and fun workouts based on your level and what you like beginner to pro level.
But the super cool thing is that the AND/life app gets to know you the more you use it – and makes personal recommendations based on your goals and how you answer questions and interact with it just like I would if you were working with me at my studio over a period of time.
And the real gift the app gives you is to help you solidify those daily goals as habits so you can always keep progressing.
The Rule of Awesome – if it’s not awesome, don’t do it.
Socially, pass on foods or drinks that aren’t absolutely fabulous. Not only will you save calories, being discerning is a key way to build confidence and self-worth. Deciding what’s worth it is also a decision that you’re “worth it.”
STUDY: You can’t fool your body. In my book The Way In, there is a fabulous study that talks about how your body knows what you think about your food and how that affects the hormones that tell you when to stop eating. The short of it is, if you don’t think your food is fabulous, your body isn’t satisfied enough to tell you to stop.
Strategize Habits – simple daily goals repeated consistently become habits
- Food Strategy: CRUCIAL – how you eat can be more important than what you eat
- Exercise – 20 mins per day – keep the bar where you can be consistent – way more important than intensity or duration.
- Hydration – not just about 8-10 glasses of water a day, it’s about not having more than 1-2 caloric drinks per day
- Standing – AHA study in 2018 concluded that no matter how hard you work out every day, that will not undo the negative effects of 8 hours of sitting each day.
Worksheets in The Way In and the choice tracker on the AND/life app keep the goals in the front of your brain to fosters the process of cementing them as habit so you’ll keep progressing for the long haul.
Oppositional Stability – stress management technique.
Unchecked mental stress causes hormonal responses in your body that wreak havoc on your weight loss goals.
Oppositional stability means looking at the opposite side of the issue first to create empathy. Not only does this give you perspective to get to solutions faster, empathetic thoughts spur the release of oxytocin in the brain – one of your four happy hormones – the one responsible for turning off your body’s “fight or flight” response (epinephrine and cortisol). So it’s perspective plus, again, using your body’s hormonal system to your best advantage.
Allow In The Extraordinary – The plan makes the body. The mentality makes it permanent.
When you don’t feel good about yourself, you say no more that you say yes – you start to hide. You avoid events – like even though you love the beach, you don’t go because you don’t want to wear a bathing suit. You judge your food as good or bad – and by association, yourself.
Never when you pass the mirror are you looking for what’s right – it’s always about what’s wrong, how bad is it and is it immediately fixable?
The 5 strategies in The Way In aren’t just about lessening the physical burden of too much weight, it’s about lessening the mental burden of negative self-judgment and shame – and the fear/anxiety response on the body.
A worksheet in The Way In asks you to write down what, if time, money and energy were abundant, what are some things you most like to do today/this month/this year and also to write down some stuff that takes less than 20 minutes you never seem to get to but really need to be done.
As I mentioned earlier, the purpose is to support your fitness journey by creating all the things that are the cornerstones of growth, confidence and self-esteem – and actions that will stimulate that reward center in your brain and can inhibit that inner fear/anxiety center that will kick us to the kerb every chance it gets!.
Again, your best body starts in your mind. So here’s to wrangling the beast of fitness in every area of life in 2020!