Category Archives: self efficacy

The Journey of Loving yourself

This blog is extremely personal. I want to bare my soul in regards to my body and mind transformation process with all of you.

Before I start, I’d like to ask you: What drives your food decisions? Why do you eat certain foods? I

Is it out of fear of something? Fear of gaining weight? It is emotionally driven?

or Is it because you’ve learned about specific nutrients that your body needs and enjoy the process of fueling yourself with healthy choices?

 

My personal development and weight loss journey has not been easy. I’ve been learning about my body, fitness and nutrition since I was 16  years old. I had always struggled with body image acceptance and loving myself for how I am. I grew up overweight, with braces, headgear, and acne. Middle and high school were very rough years for me.

 

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Before photos: Bottom photo age about 15, my deepest darkest year. Top right age 14.

Top left I am about 16 or 17 years old & this is within my first few months of beginning to workout. I developed an eating disorder termed “non-purging bulimia” where I purged in the form of over exercising at least twice a day. I was taking ephedrine pills, forging notes to get out of school early to work out. I wrote down everything I ate and only allowed certain foods at certain times, if I missed the window, I wasn’t allowed the food.

Here are two short sections from my essay written freshman year of college 2003

“My eighth grade year was my all time worst. This was when I was the biggest of my fat stage. I had grown to the size of 14/15, and felt like I was the biggest girl in my grade. Boys in my Earth Science class would call me names, make me put my head down in tears and not want to show my face until the end of class. One boy told me that if I died he would throw a party and everybody would come. This struck me so hard and it later led me into making one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. The emptiness and hatred I felt inside was unforgettable.  I got braces the spring of eighth grade and those made me feel uglier than ever.  I would look at myself in the mirror, smile, and then cringe at the site of the metal junk that covered my teeth.  My self-esteem had reached rock bottom.”

“I started playing soccer for my school and working out regularly. I lost my weight over the years, and by senior year I was the size I had always pictured and dreamed of being. One thing was still missing: satisfaction. I would still look at myself and still see that “fat girl” that everyone used to call me. I would workout harder and harder and eat less and less trying to conquer my weight situation and still I would never feel satisfied. I would go to stores, find a pair of jeans, try them on and look into the mirror. In disbelief, I would still look extremely fat. The pain inside was still there. The disappointment every time I looked into the mirror was still there. My distorted body image of myself will probably never change. The torture of the students throughout my middle school and beginning of my high school career will always stick with me.

As a person, I am still affected by my early years. My self esteem still suffers. I still find myself comparing my body to other girls’ at the gym. I continue to look into the mirror and criticize myself. I truly believe I will never be fully satisfied with my body image. Whether or not it was the ridicule from my fellow classmates, or my own self not accepting my body structure, it is a personal situation I will have to live with for the rest of my life.”

 

I carried these obsessive eating, exercise and negative self talk habits to college with me. Not until end of freshman year, when I began an intro to Nutrition class-did I realize how fear driven all my actions where. This revelation also inspired me to become a certified personal trainer- my thought: if I wasn’t eating correctly I probably wasn’t exercising the right way either.

I had turned a new leaf. Motivated through the desire for knowledge I applied it to my current dedication and this is where things began to blossom.

 

The three biggest influences in my development would be learning the art of hoop dance, receiving an educating in biochemistry of human metabolism and finding the Isagenix nutritional super food system.

When I was 20 years old, my mother gifted me the hula hoop. That was a huge blessing and awakening for my confidence and believe in oneself. Once I mastered the motion of keeping it going around my waist, I begin to watch YouTube videos and the obsession was clear. Learning new trick after new trick and connecting with the community allowed for me to fall in love with what my body was capable of doing for me. Now at age 32, I’m on stage in little britches and tops, feeling confident and rocking audiences. It’s incredible to witness honestly. I feel a since of a pride- and coupled with pride seems a bit of shame. Where does that come from? What story has me telling myself that its embarrassing to be proud? I’m grateful for The Healthy Mind and Body mindset coaching program I went through that helped me find this self limiting belief around sense of Pride.

Now, I feel confident to declare: I am SO proud of myself for my accomplishments with the hula hoop and as a performer! and with this statement I hope to give you permission to be proud of your accomplishments as well.

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Second largest influence was receiving the education in Foods and Nutrition. Through understanding food and how the body processes specific macro-nutrients for specific activities, I learned how to eat foods that work for my body type and activity level. Now food is not the enemy but one of my favorite things to do several times a day. Mindful eating practices such as slowing down and chewing each bit 20-30 times and practicing gratitude for all the effort that went into creating the meal.

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The most recent influence on my journey to loving oneself is the introduction of Isagenix super foods and the Healthy Mind and Body Coaching program.  I’ve been on the products for over a year and 3 months and I am so grateful to Laura and Scott St John for sharing them with me.  The no compromise quality nutrition provided in their shakes and bars have help me maintain my daily protein requirements and reduce the amount of meat I am consuming. Also the nutritional cleansing aspect has help me reduce my BF % and have body confidence like never before! The Healthy Mind and Body program helps empower the mind and achieve your visions by:

  • Habit-forming process designed for long term healthy success
  • Identify patterns holding you back from your ideal health
  • Intelligent, simple, and important daily activities that, if done everyday for 15 minutes, are guaranteed to change your life forever

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It wasn’t easy, it took a lot of time, patience, self-compassion, guidance from my mentors, and lots of education. It is possible to re-frame how you view yourself, life and your body. It is possible. You are capable. The beginning might be the hardest part, but if you reach out for support and make sure you remain compassionate with yourself I believe you can achieve whatever your heart desires.

 

 

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Self-efficacy-Belief in one’s self

Self-Efficacy

There are many reasons clients hire personal trainers. Individualized program design, accountability, to gain knowledge about specific equipment, effective workouts, injury rehabilitation or prevention are all superb reasons. But to learn how to believe in themselves is a skill that flies under the radar.

The concept of self-efficacy is central to psychologist Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning, social experience, and reciprocal determinism in the development of personality. According to Bandura, a person’s attitudes, abilities, and cognitive skills comprise what is known as the self-system. This system plays a major role in how we perceive situations and how we behave in response to different situations. Self-efficacy is an essential part of this self-system.

People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid challenging tasks
  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities
  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes
  • Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities

Self-efficacy is a concept I’ve been working on personally and with my clients for the last year. It seems to be a common theme amongst clients to want to avoid discussing nutrition or regular workout routines because it’s viewed as challenging and difficult.  The level of self efficacy reflects the confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior, and social environment.

As fitness professionals, imagine the possibilities for our clients when we focus on increasing their self confidence and improving mental attitudes! It could impact every aspect of their lives, not just fitness related goals.

So, where does self-efficacy come from?  According to Bandura, there are four major sources of self-efficacy.

1. Mastery Experiences

“The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences,” Bandura explained. Performing a task successfully strengthens our sense of self-efficacy. However, failing to adequately deal with a task or challenge can undermine and weaken it.

As personal trainers, effective goal setting is a great way to

-build self-efficacy; effective meaning measurable and realistic

-carefully select short and long term goals to help establish a set path to achieve even the smallest accomplishments.

2. Social Modeling

Witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy. According to Bandura, “Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers’ beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities to succeed.”

As a personal trainer, you may help your clients select role models. Professional athletes, support groups, introducing them to past or current clients, friends and/or family that have had success in similar goals. Creative ideas like making a collage of activities and role models to put on the fridge or in their home gym. Keep in mind what works for others may not work for your client. The concept behind this is “If he/she can do it, I can do it!”

3. Social Persuasion

Bandura also asserted that people could be persuaded to believe they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve a goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand.

As personal trainers, I believe this is the most important aspect of our interactions with our clients. Together you have set realistic and measurable goals and it’s part of our job to keep them motivated.  Increasing the awareness to their “self-talk” is key. While in session you can reinforce these beliefs by using their name and their goals while performing difficult exercises or tasks. You could try introducing the tools of positive affirmations and positive self-talk.

Examples:

“You’re doing great, Sandra! This exercise is strengthening your core and getting you in shape for bikini season! I know it’s challenging and you’re doing it!”

I really appreciate your honesty in your food journal, Sandra. It’s important that I’m fully aware of what you’re doing on your own time so we can accomplish your goal of decreasing body fat percentage by 2% in the next 6 weeks. You are doing great!”

4. Psychological Responses

Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in these situations. However, Bandura also notes “it is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted.” By learning how to minimize stress and elevate mood when facing difficult or challenging tasks, people can improve their sense of self-efficacy.

This aspect may be the most difficult to monitor. Personal trainers face the challenge of meeting with their clients only several hours a week. This might not allow us to be aware of the situations causing our clients stress, as well as their reaction to it.

What we can do is listen carefully when we are with them. Taking notes, remembering annoying co-workers and specific situations causing stress all go a long way with clients. By offering any self-care advice that you believe to be appropriate, your client can build upon physical fitness by improving his or her mental attitude.

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Sources:

References: Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/self_efficacy.htm

https://www.acefitness.org/updateable/update_display.aspx?pageID=575

http://www.learning-theories.com/