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Ep. 50: Maintaining a Healthy Mind and Body with Tina Fraley

Let’s face it, it’s hard enough to build in time for a physical workout routine let alone time to build the muscles in our mind. We are overwhelmed with responsibilities, e-mails, to-do’s, goals. Everyday life crap. And while the most important thing we have is our mind and our body, it’s often the first thing we let go off.

Today we’re talking about maintaining a healthy mind and body, and I couldn’t think of a better guest than Tina Fraley, the owner of Fit Minded Living. After having her — wait for it — seventh child, Tina decided that it was time to reconnect with herself. She wanted to develop a positive relationship between her mind, body, and spirit. She started that journey by first losing 150lbs of her physical body, which led her to understand the emotional aspects to physical transformation.

She’s since developed a three-step process for strengthening the balance, confidence, and joy in everyday life. And with a certificate in personal training, nutrition, and mindset mentoring, AND over 20 years in the mental health field, she’s helped thousands of men and women overcome their obstacles to live a healthier, happier life.

Tina, welcome to The Gutsy Podcast.

From one Mom to another

Laura: I can’t wait to hear what you have to share. So first of all, seven children and 150lbs. Girl, you do not play small.

Tina: No, not at all. I absolutely have loved being a mom. Seven definitely was not on my to-do list when it comes to my life, but it has changed me in every possible way. And I talk a lot about those seven children raising me just as much as I’ve been raising them through this.

Laura: I can only imagine. Just kudos and hands down to immediately because of that. What are their age ranges, if I may ask?

Tina: My oldest one is 22. I have a 21-year-old, 18, 17, 16, 13, and 9.

Laura: So you’re getting all the arranges of emotions from both a child and parent perspective.

Tina: Oh, my God, yes. Any given day, there’s how do I apply to college to Barbie doll house parties and tea. Then you’re in the middle of the road teach me how to drive, I want my license.

Laura: My goodness. I mean, just the balance in that let alone. Being a woman and a wife to a husband. Like what would you recommend? I’m literally at a loss for words right now. So what advice do you give to a growing family? Because, you know, obviously that takes an impeccable amount of balance and creativity.

Tina: Absolutely yes. My best advice, I would say it’s live every single day as it comes to you. I have learned that, probably the most over all of the years and through all of the different experiences, whether it was having kiddo number seven or taking on the weight loss journey, taking each day 24 hours at a time, nothing more, nothing less.

One of my mentors along the road gave me a quote that I have attacked everywhere in my home in little ways, that you cannot keep one foot in the past and one foot in the future because you’ll be pissing on your present.

Laura: [laughter] That’s fantastic.

Tina: It really brought it home for me. So I lived that way, breathe that way, and teach that way, whether it’s a client or one of my kids.

Laura: That’s great advice. It reminds me of like yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here yet, So we’re literally standing in our moment every day, but we’re always either over-thinking something that’s already happened or completely immersed in something that’s ahead.

Tina: Yes, that overthinking is what will stop us from living our life to its fullest and actually being the best us that we could be in those moments. So take just breaking it down into the little baby steps, even if it’s from here to the kitchen table to the refrigerator for the food. Just knowing each step you’re taking is on purpose and has an end goal in sight.

from Overthinking to intentional thinking

Laura: So as we’re talking about having a healthy mind, I think that overthinking is one of the one of the most intense challenges from a mental aspect that we have to work through as people, and specifically as as women. What what suggestions do you have? What advice do you have to combat overthinking?

Tina: Journaling is one of the best ways I have found. Just not allowing yourself to be so trapped inside of your own mind and body. Releasing it, whether it’s verbally or on paper. I used my phone’s voice memo to do verbal journals, and I do different books with plain paper and just kind of word vomit out there. I also use a planner that’s called the High Performance Planner and it’s very regimented, specific questions every single day. So it really helps me to focus and set my intentions where I want them.

Laura: I think you tapped into something really important, and that’s about being intentional. Because half of the battle with overthinking is getting away from your intentions in the first place. So from just like a healthy mindset aspect, how do you channel into intentional thinking?

Tina: For intentional thinking, I would say the first step I do is capture my breathing. I’ve noticed for myself that I will tend to be speeding through things, whether it’s my breath or my thinking or even my physical body is just moving really fast. So pulling myself back, whether it’s sitting down on the chair or just kind of stopping and standing up against the wall to kind of ground me, just picturing my feet in the floor and taking three deep breaths is a really simple way for me to just go, Okay, I’m here. What do I want? And then setting the intentions for the moment, the day, the situations, that kind of thing.

just how powerful we are

Laura: Breathing is one of the most underestimated tools that we have. I mean, yeah, we do it subconsciously, but the power of just like being still. I think we forget to be still.

Tina: Yes, we do! And we forget just how powerful and strong we actually freaking are in life. When you really step back and think about it, me just as a woman in general, whether you do have kids or you don’t, we physically come to the planet ready, set, and able to have a person come out of our bodies.

Laura: I mean, let’s just acknowledge that for a second humans come out of our bodies.

Tina: Exactly. And when I finally started to comprehend, it may have taken me awhile given that I had seven, but when I fully comprehended that Oh, my God, like I really do know how to do this. I know how to take care of myself. I know how to make myself happy. I know how to calm myself, how to soothe myself, how to comfort myself and how to grow myself. What are the things I’m putting in the way of me actually being my own strength and honoring and celebrating it?

Laura: Honoring and celebrating yourself. You know, I think we get wrapped up in everyone else’s thoughts and opinions and our responsibilities, and we just get away from we were, before anything, we were us. We were ourselves.

Tina: Yeah, reconnecting with who you are is such a huge, huge, growth moment. It’s a pivotal wife moment for me. It was something that I know I had probably put off, for lack of a better way of putting it. I got so lost in being a mom and being a wife and being a college student and just trying to do the things I was supposed to do. But I didn’t actually get to be the person I waas. That’s where my weight came from. That’s where the overwhelm within my mind came from. That’s where the chaos thrives. And knowing I had a choice that I could choose myself is what changed all that for me.

tina’s journey

Laura: So I love a good backstory. And you led right into what I was about to ask you. Obviously, something has happened in your journey to get you to this point. So take me back, you know, take me back a couple of decades. Tell me about where you were physically and mentally before you started on this new, healthier journey.

Tina: So, nine years ago, I had my seventh kiddo. I I knew I had always struggled with my weight. It was something that always teeter-tottered. I’m an emotional eater, and I know that was my struggle point. I probably at that point had tried 20 plus different attempts at different ways to lose weight. Some were really good options, some were ones that landed me in the emergency room because they were not such good options. Those were really hard moments because they were even medically-advised.

One of the prescription weight loss options I was given was called Phentermine, and it worked. And then it worked so well that it actually had me blackout because I wasn’t eating. So that’s a huge, underlining moment for why eating is such a huge part of today’s nutrition goals for me.

When I was starting out, I realized that I had to go at this with a conscious, intentional way to be healthy. Not a quick fix, not something that was gonna work for a couple of weeks and then I would be back where I started from yet again.

So the moment that everything just shifted for me, it was probably about 3 a.m in the morning. Bella was for four weeks old really little. I was still breastfeeding and I had taken her into the side room to do early early morning feeding. And I got really frustrated because the boppy that I had wouldn’t fit around me. I was almost 300lbs at that point. At my postpartum appointments, they had talked about my blood pressure. Still not coming down. The pre-diabetic options that I was gonna have to look at and see realistically were happening because of the weight I was at and how unhealthy I was at that point.

I remember looking down at Bella’s face, my youngest daughter. She was the most amazing, beautiful thing I had ever seen in my entire life. And in that moment, I realized I had a choice. If I wanted to be around to see her grow up, if I wanted to make the change and the differences that I didn’t for my prior six, I needed to shit or get off the pot. It could not be another failed diet scheme. It couldn’t be another quick fix option that was going to just hurt me more.

I was running through the TV that night trying to get her calm and myself calm, and I came across a program and decided to buy it. It came in the mail and then it sat on my entertainment center and collected dust for about three more months. When I finally got up the guts to do it, my husband did it with me because I was too scared to do it by myself. He was amazing. And every night we would come home, take turns putting the kids to bed, get them settled with snacks and showers and everything, and then we would go in my side room and we would do this 60-minute program that literally kicked my ass.

It was p90x, and it was something I had never envisioned being able to do. The movements were so challenging. But I showed up and I started to build this emotional integrity within myself, and that momentum is what kept me going.

I dropped 50lbs in 90 days, and I’m like, Holy crap, I can do this. And I did it. The problem was I only exercised. So one day of skipping the exercise turns into two days. And then before you know it, you’re like not moving at all. And you’ve got all those old habits feeding back in, and I gained 42lbs back. So I realized I had to do it again. I had to start over. This time, I was going to come at it from a different angle and add in the eating component, the nutrition, and just trying to understand it.

Now, at that point, I still hadn’t gone through any certifications for training or exercise education or any of that. I was just doing this myself as myself. And I started to slowly just clean up my food portion. Size still wasn’t really a focus at that time. I knew if I ate salad, it was better than the greasy cheeseburger. And that was like my litmus test.

So I did the exercise program again for another 90 days and then I had added in the nutritional component of just purposefully choosing healthier options, and I dropped that weight off. And another program came to my home and I continued to do one after the other, after the other. I went from a size 26 down to a size 6. It took me a year and 1/2 to do it, and I was a different person. The mindset piece started to really play in at that moment because I didn’t recognize who I was in the mirror. There were pictures of me from that beginning point to the current point where I was at a year and 1/2 later, and friends and neighbors didn’t recognize who the person in the old picture was. And I’m like, No, that was me.

It was completely life changing because not only did I gain my health back, I regained a connection to my mental and spiritual self that literally went non-existent for probably the better half of my entire life. I gave myself back life, and it was… life changing is such an understatement because I wasn’t being the mom I wanted to be and I wasn’t being the wife my husband deserved. I wasn’t a friend that I knew I needed. Being able to lose the physical weight gave me the ability to lose the mental pains from so much that had gone on in my childhood and in my first marriage.

I’m a survivor of domestic violence and I hadn’t processed it, and that was a great deal of where most of that weight came from as well. I held on to so much and it physically manifested in my life over the years and developing a conscious and intentional plan of moving my body every day, eating foods that served me, and learning to believe in myself again. Those were the essentials. That’s where I turned to every single day now for myself and even from my children.

My 20-year-old went through a lot of the same behaviors and food traumas that I did. He was just as lucky as I was to have that emotional eating turn to. And when I was able to do this for myself, he was able to join in and he dropped 40lbs doing the same exact programs, eating the same style on a day to day basis, and learning to believe in himself again.

So it wasn’t just me giving my life back, I was giving life to one of my children that needed it most. And it just continues. The ripple effect is endless when you choose to take back your life and own it.

Laura: Oh my gosh, Tina. Like, I wish I could physically hug you right now. One, thank you for your transparency and vulnerability. I mean, I just think sometimes we live behind walls and think we’re the only ones. And I know that your story is gonna penetrate the heart of somebody because they’re going to know they’re not alone.

So, first and foremost, thank you for that. And second. like fucking kudos to you. I just feel like you’re a machine. You know, I may be a little biased because I know you personally, but also — change is not easy. Changing your life is not easy. Dealing with trauma is not easy.

You know, it is easy to quote-unquote stay where you are and keep doing the same things that you’re doing. It’s really hard to make those big changes. And those, sometimes temporary, sacrifices. So the fact that you state that starting over is hard — it is really hard. But it’s also 100% doable. And you are proof.

IT’S A RESPONSIBILITY TO BE HEALTHY

Laura: So I have a question for you because I think this is a common problem and I’ve heard it and experienced it myself. We have unhealthy habits, some things in our life we know are not good for us. We know we need to make a change, but inevitably we don’t. Why is that and how do we overcome that?

Tina: I would say that it is a complex answer. No one answer is going to to set it off. I would say the starting point is, do you realize how much you matter? Do you truly have an understanding of how miraculous it is that you’re here in life; here on the planet, in your family’s life, in your own? Do you know how fucking lucky you are to be breathing? Because there are so many people that don’t have that option. There are so many of us that can’t move. There are so many people that don’t have the opportunities that we have, and we have a responsibility. It’s not just an opportunity — it’s a responsibility to be healthy.

My own personal journey with that one. Specifically, I was 17. I had a horrific car accident that completely stopped me cold. I went from being an active softball, baseball, football, field hockey, you name it. I did it. Even though my family was a little sideways at times, my brother and I came about a very strong, sports-oriented family. This car accident stopped me cold.

The car was supposed to turn to the right, and we turn to the left and went over an embankment, a railroad track, and clipped the top four feet of a telephone pole and hit, and hit and rolled, hit and rolled. The top of the Mustang caved in. I was upside down. My head was under the dash. My feet were twisted in the back seat. I was medevacked to Baltimore shock trauma and spent months in the hospital and then months in a back brace that completely immobilized me and taught me that there was more to life than what I realized I was living.

The ability to move, today I celebrate because I was taught that there is a time that you can’t. Every challenge I have, whether it’s a new exercise or a new breathing technique or a new mindset model that I’m learning, I enter it with the knowledge that I have the opportunity, the privilege, and the responsibility to do it 110% all in every time, because I matter.

HUMAN BEINGS WITH A CAPITAL BE

Laura: You do matter, and that type of story is the kind that, you know, sometimes you need to be rattled a little bit. I think hearing that is a great reminder that we’re in control of a lot. But there’s also a lot we’re not in control of. Yes, we have this mind and we have this body and we have these aspirations.

Jeez, you know, you’re gonna get me crying. I don’t remember the last time I cried on one of our own episodes. You know, it’s just, I think that we forget we are a human. We do matter. We are a gift. And we have something really invaluable to bring the world. Yet we get so caught up in the bullshit and minutia of everything else that we forget about ourselves.

Tina: We do. We have to remember that we are a human being. Capital BE. We are not a human that’s been — we are human BEing in every single moment. Which means it is okay to fuck up and get back up and try again. It is okay to not know it is okay to be afraid. It is okay to not understand. Look for the next step in front of you, that’s it. That’s all you have to do is just look for the next step. Be your authentic self in it and believe that you’re worthy of it just like everyone else is.

One of the most magical moments for me as a coach is getting a mom in front of me and having them know that they can love themselves just like they love their children; that they can invest and put into themselves the exact amount of effort and love and adoration and fucking respect that they give their children. They can put it into themselves. Because it’s not I matter, too concept — it’s I matter as well. I matter in this moment just as much.

building your tribe

Laura: I think when amazing women come together and support other amazing women, such beautiful things can happen. And just having the support system. I think sometimes that’s one of the most challenging things about being a woman trying to make changes is having the support team around you. Who you surround yourself with has an enormous impact on what you do or what you don’t do.

How do you build a tribe around getting healthier both mentally and physically, and what are some recommendations you have about building a strong tribe that encourages you along the way?

Tina: Reach out to your local community for volunteer opportunities. Reach out, look for your rotary groups, your homeless shelters, your churches. Those are just some of the immediate ways you can kind of reach to it.

I joined a rotary locally Chamber of Commerce. I’m actually getting involved with a local food bank here, and my daughter and I are going to be doing that together. Looking for options at the school, talking to the guidance counselors and finding out if there’s a way you can serve in any capacity. The local P.T.A. is with the schools. Also, Facebook, being what it is, social media being what it is, we have no excuses to not connect with people. Even for those of us like myself.

Believe it or not, I’m highly introverted. I love being apart, but I get really nervous in the beginnings until I get kind of familiarized with everything. So closed groups on Facebook were a huge avenue for me to grow myself and my confidence, and to connect with people I would have never met otherwise.

Just plug in Mom’s in the Facebook groups. Work at home moms was an option that I took because there’s a whole lot of us. But just simple ways to connect that aren’t going to overwhelm you and allow you the opportunity to kind of grow from where you’re at. You don’t need to to go all in and join this big, elaborate group that just is overwhelming and kind of inundating emotionally. Start where you’re at.

beginning the transition

Laura: So I know a lot of the things we’re talking about today, women are like, Yeah, I want that. Yeah, I’m hungry for that. I want to do that. But, you know, I have no freaking idea how to even start. This all seems maybe even overwhelming to me because I am carrying around, you know, the traumatic things that are manifesting in my body like you mentioned. I am overwhelmed at work. I do feel like I have too many responsibilities.

So what do you recommend? How does one start a process of healing both mentally and physically?

Tina: Oh, that’s a big question. So I can only speak from my own personal experience. Starting out, look for a mentor. They could be someone that’s physically in your presence or you can watch them on YouTube or read their book or go to their meetings. Find someone you can receive inspiration from.

For me, it was Tony Robbins. I started with YouTube videos in this little juncture, but backstory I was like, eight years old when I discovered Tony Robbins. There were cassette tapes, said it was a long time ago, but that was a way for me to raise my current standard because looking around at my life, that was the thing that was missing. There wasn’t anyone that was feeding that part of my mind. I was still was going school. So I had that educational component that was kind of growing me educationally, but it wasn’t fulfilling me. And that’s the difference.

Books are probably a huge go-to, I recommend books like The Charged Life by Brendan Bouchard. If your brains more of the like munching on numbers and lines and very finite type stuff, he has one called High Performance People, and that’s a really good one as well. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. It was a phenomenal book. And then Dean Graziosi is another one that I have followed.

routine with purpose

Laura: I think sometimes we think to build a routine, we have to join the biggest gym, and we have to get all the right gear, and then we have to build in this whole like regimen. And, you know, it just becomes really big and really overwhelming. So therefore we do nothing.

Tina: Oh, no, no. Absolutely. The opposite. The opposite is what will will give you the most out of that. Start super close to where you are right now.

So, like when you get up tomorrow morning, put your feet on the floor and put your hand over your heart and take three deep breaths. And in those three deep breaths, remember Holy crap, my heart speeding. Oh, my God. I have a day ahead of me. Thank you. I get to serve in some way, shape, or form today, myself and others as I go. And that’s that’s how I start my mornings.

Every day I put my feet on the floor. I have those breaths. I take my hand to my heart. And I remember that I’m here. I get to do something now. And then I have my meditations. I have my journaling. And somewhere in there I have scheduled my workouts.

In the beginning, when I go at it from a coaching standpoint, I actually have my clients break up this process. So for the first week or two, I just have them pick one thing to work on. So if it’s their mind and they’re trying to find a mentor started book, that’s what they do for the 1st 2 weeks just so you could get your feet wet. And you don’t feel like you’re drowning in it. Because it’s really easy, like we talked about earlier, to get caught up in that overwhelm, hit the fuck it switch, and then you’re back to square one.

And then so the 2nd 3rd and fourth week focus on foods. Focus on just introducing a new food like it doesn’t have to be, Oh, my God, I don’t get to have any of the sweets I want any more? Pizza is banned? Like, that doesn’t happen in my life. I don’t say no to foods. I say, not yet. I say, not right now. I say, that doesn’t serve me. But I don’t say no. And that’s a huge gift I believe I’ve given to myself and the people that I work with. You don’t have to say no to the shit you love. You just have to figure out a way to work it into your life so that it serves your purpose.

i don’t have time to

Laura: I think another setback a lot of people have is I’m too busy. I don’t have time for exercise. I don’t have time for meal planning. I don’t have time to go to the grocery store every other day.

How do you help coach women through that really challenging obstacle?

Tina: Okay, so that was me in so many ways. My go-to excuse was you’re nuts, I don’t have time for this. But you have to put it in perspective.

One of my favorite mentors, like I mentioned earlier, is Tony Robbins. And he has a quote that says if you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life. So that’s just very ingrained in my brain.

The key to taking time for yourself is 1. Remembering you’re the one making the time and 2. Choosing how to go about doing it most effectively.

So, what I do when I have a client in front of me (because I did it for myself as well) is the split your paper down the middle. And on one side from the time my eyeballs open ’til the time my ass hits my bed, I number off the time frames and then I list everything I did that day. And that’s what I have them do. From the moment they wake up, they went to the bathroom, they put the kid on the bus, they made breakfast, they skipped breakfast, they went to the office, they starved and forgot lunch. All of it. All the way down the carpool, the friend’s coffee spot — like everything.

And then on the other side, I have them write the same exact times. So they got up at 4:44 a.m. on one day. It’s 4:44 a.m. on the other side of that paper, and it mimics the timeframe all the way down. On the second half of that paper, you put what you want your day to look like. Once you have that side by side, you have that lovely little center that has a line down the middle of it. But that is your line of center and balance. That is your equilibrium line. That is the core to your day.

Look at side one on the left and look at side two on the right at 4:44 a.m. and 4:44 a.m. Did you get up with the time you wanted to get up? Yes or no? Breakfast? Did you have one? Did you not? Bus stop time, did it go well? Did it not? All the way down your schedule. You’re looking to see: Where can I tweak things? Where can I put more of myself in my day? How much time am I spending scrolling through my phone on aimless feed that isn’t serving my mind — it’s actually numbing it? How much of my time did I waste not doing something I wanted to do?

Those are gonna be the things. Those are the hard answers. But they’re the solution to giving you more of the life you want to live.

mind-body connection

Laura: I have a question about the mind-body connection because I feel like you can invest in one, but it’s more important to invest in both. So how does the mine and the body affect one another when one or the other is not dealt with? Does that make sense?

Tina: Yeah. So the way I look at it, my mind, my body, and my spirit are kind of like a chair that I choose to sit in. If it’s off balance, one leg of that chair, you know, like when you go to a restaurant and they don’t have their chairs or the tables quite right —

Laura: [laughter] And it just has that little back and forth knocking.

Tina: Yes, yes. So we go through life, I mean, back in the day it used to be like a matchbook you would kind of shove underneath the gap between the floor to fill in where the teeter-totter was taking place.

We go through our lives and we have these matchbooks. Sometimes it’s food. Sometimes it’s booze. Maybe it’s drugs. Maybe it’s emotions. Maybe it’s career choices, so on so forth. All of these things that happen in our lives, we continue to use them to fill and bridge a gap between us and the life were meaning to live in authentic truth. We can use those things and they become excuses.

So in my own personal experience, my kids became excuses to take time away and I couldn’t do things for myself. My husband became one of those excuses. My school became one of those excuses. When I took the time (and I phrase it like that on purpose, I had to take the time for myself) I sat in that chair and I felt the teeter-totter and I didn’t want that imbalance in my life anymore. I didn’t want to feel trapped in my body, and I didn’t want to feel disadvantaged and trapped in my mind. I wanted to feel whole and my soul was craving life.

So pulling back and starting to slowly connect the two through movement and mindset shifts, learning more about myself, learning that I do love music and I do love concerts, and I do love pepperoni and bacon pizza, and I do love to read late at night when everyone has gone to sleep, and that time for myself feels really good. I love to dance. I love to write and sing. Learning who you are and embracing that and enveloping it on a day to day basis grows the connection between your physical body and your mental assets.

You develop a kindness and compassion for yourself the same way you do for your friends the same way you do for your loved ones. But you’re investing it in yourself and that that disparity between your physical body and your soul self starts to diminish when you realize how much you love yourself.

What Does Gutsy Mean to You?

Tina: Oh, my goodness. Gutsy means that I showed the fuck up, no matter what.

connect with TINA

Facebook | FitMinded Living, Tina Fraley

Website | FitMindedLiving.com

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