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Talking Mindfulness with Sal Scifo

As part of the Working Against Gravity program, we encourage our clients to complete a weekly mindfulness exercise to ensure we are approaching our fitness and nutrition plans from a place of love.

We are fortunate to work with some incredible individuals, and recently we chatted with #TeamWAG member Sal Scifo about how mindfulness has played into his nutrition journey.

Q: Why did you decide to join Team WAG?

A: Food is one of those things each and every one of us has a “special” connection too. There are some we just really love, like oreos or peanut butter, and some not so much, like squid.

A problem with food, we all suffer from is the idea a “healthy diet” is black and white. When in reality it's shades of grey. My food pendulum would swing from hardcore paleo to let's eat a whole pack of oreos.

My hope with WAG was to find a happy middle ground where I could learn to balance out my diet pendulum. To find a place where I wouldn’t resent the food I just ate. After all, food is just food it shouldn’t make us feel guilty.


Q: What has been the biggest change you've made in your lifestyle since joining?

A: Results come from a consistent effort. The more I practiced my “food boundaries” with myself and others the easier it became to enforce other boundaries in my life. When you start to see how your body and mind change with boundaries created from authenticity it’s insane. Give it a twirl and tell me not experiencing resentment for a week won’t make you happier.


Q: What has WAG taught you about mindfulness?

A: You can practice mindfulness in almost any activity you do. It doesn’t have to be meditation, coloring, journaling, or yoga. It could be you running, cooking, or talking with your partner. It’s being present in your experience. Practicing it as a daily habit makes it easier to enforce your boundaries.

Mindfulness is when you’re about to eat that extra oreo you haven’t measured out and you stop yourself because you remember your “why” or it’s when you’re out having drinks with friends and you say no to having just one more because you’re out of macros. You remember that one extra oreo or one shot of tequila really won’t make you happier. It’s just food.


Q: How do you practice and incorporate mindfulness into your life?

A: Every morning I wake up, turn on the coffee, and then turn on the most wonderful app in the world, Headspace. After taking 10, I’ll journal any thoughts that came up when meditating then plop down on my yoga mat and hit up a ROMWOD. All these things make me feel present in my body before I start the day.

At work, I wear mala beads and always bring my journal. Throughout the day as I’m walking around I can feel the beads moving up and down on my arm. It serves as a reminder to stay in the present and not let my mind wander to how things will be when I get off.

If I have a particular aggravating or irritating moment at work, I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself to stay with it and stay calm because like all things, it will pass. Then on lunch I’ll go out to my car, journal about it and if I need to re-center myself, turn on headspace for another quick 10.


Q: What apps or books do you use for mindfulness?

A:
Apps

  • Headspace - It’s my favorite meditation app out there. If you can make it through the first 10 days there is no turning back.
  • Quality Time- It measures how much time you’ve spent on your phone. It’s easy to veg out on Instagram or Facebook.
  • Evernote - Great for to do lists or to create a digital journal for yourself.
Books
  • Rising Strong by Brene Brown
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer
  • Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
  • The Obstacle if the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday


Q: What advice do you have for people who are hesitant to try the WAG weekly mindfulness exercise?

A:Start with journaling. It’s something personal that you don’t have to share. It’s also an extremely amazing way to see how your mind has changed.

When you really think about journaling you already do it for your food and I’m willing to bet you “journal” all of your PRs in the gym. Then really what is the big deal with taking 5-10 minutes to write about your day?

I journal because it’s so easy to see how your body has changed on WAG through the pictures you take on a weekly basis, but it’s so hard for us to see how our relationship with our thoughts have. When you take the time to journal every day it becomes so much easier to look back and see how our relationship with our own inner voice has changed. The only thing you have to do is go back and read an old entry.

When you start to see how having great boundaries makes it a whole lot easier to love yourself, there’s no going back.

Once you get comfortable journaling about your thoughts and being honest with yourself. Then I would start to do the WAG mindfulness practices in your journal. You don’t have to share them all with your coach, there really just for you. If you need help with one of your questions, or you feel like you’re the only person who feels a certain way, your coach is there to let you know what you're experiencing or feeling is a shared human experience. We have all been there.


Q: Why do you think mindfulness and nutrition are important together?

A: They go hand in hand. Healthy body, healthy mind. Healthy mind, healthy body. The more you practice one, the easier the other gets.


Q: What advice do you have for people considering hiring a nutrition coach?

A: The more precise you can be about your goals the better. You’ll find the more exact they are, the easier they are to stick to, while the more ambiguous they are, the easier it is to lose motivation. A really great book for goal setting and understanding how to motivate yourself is Switch by Dan & Chip Heath.

Oh and never forget, your coach is just an email away. They are there to help you succeed and be your cheerleader. To be a positive force in your nutrition journey. They have been where you are and understand that success isn’t linear. More importantly they know somewhere along the line you might mess up, but they are there to pick you back up and get you back on the path towards your goals.