Faces Of Itness: Meet Sheila Viers

by Dana on September 28, 2012

The Warm-Up

Favorite workout song: Robert Randolph – Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That.

Favorite outdoor activity: Running at the Santa Monica Bluffs overlooking the ocean.

Favorite motivational quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson

Favorite Words to Sweat by (or other) mantra: Put your heart into it.

The Heavy Lifting

What does being “healthy and fit” mean to you?

For me being healthy and fit means that I have the energy and clarity to be able to enjoy my life. I see health and fitness as a gift that I give my body every day. I see it as something that I GET to do, not something that I HAVE to do. Shifting my perspective on this one thing totally changed my relationship with my body and with my fitness. I no longer have to motivate myself to workout (and that’s saying a lot considering my past). Now it’s just “what I do”… it’s a part of me.

Have health and fitness, in some form, always been a part of your life? If yes, how so? If no, why not?

I’ve worked out pretty regularly since I was 15, but back then my reason for exercise was much different. Back then I was working out in order to get skinny, measure up (compared to other girls), and get rid of all the areas on my body that I despised. I’ve had much evolution over my years in the world of fitness, and now looking back I see this rocky road that I’ve traveled as actually a really good thing, because it has allowed me to come to a place where I really appreciate the body that I have right now in this moment, without having to change anything about it in order to feel satisfied with who I am and what I look like.

What challenges have you faced over the years related to your health and fitness?

I’ve faced everything from yo-yo dieting and over-exercising, to issues ranging from food sensitivities to hormonal problems, to mental self-sabotage things like self-judgment, lack of self-esteem, and fear of food.

I know what it feels like, the diets that put your life on hold, stepping on the scale and seeing a number that makes your stomach sink, the desire to be able to look in the mirror and truly love what you see. It sucks and these types of self-inflicted roadblocks can seriously zap the joy right out of your life!

What goals around your health and fitness do you set and how do you stay motivated?

I used to set goals all the time, mainly focused on weight loss and measurements. These days I set different kinds of goals. Goals that are focused on how in-tune with my body I feel instead of how fast I can achieve physical or end result.

For example, when I am trying to decide what to eat, I often ask myself questions like, “What would be most nourishing and satisfying for me to eat right now?” or “Would this food that I am about to eat really make me feel nourished and satisfied?”

I don’t tell myself I can’t have a particular food or drink anymore, because that has never worked for me.

I choose to eat and drink “whatever I want” in quantities that allow me to feel: 1) nourished and 2) satisfied.

Once I began approaching food from this more empowered place, I started to see that I naturally chose to fill my meals with whole foods, meaning minimally processed, preservative-free foods and my desire to eat any food that doesn’t make me feel nourished and satisfied has pretty much gone away on its own, without any big force or effort.

I don’t feel like I need motivation anymore because of this more empowered relationship that I have with my body and with fitness at the root. Or in other words, I’m really connected to and inspired by the REAL reason behind WHY I want to be healthy and fit, rather than the superficial ones I used to guide myself by.

What types of lifestyle changes have you made over the years that were the most beneficial?

Tons! But they were all baby-steps. A couple would be:

1. Setting my alarm to get my workout in first thing in the AM, which sets me up to feel full of energy and clear-minded for the rest of the day.

2. Carving out time in my schedule for meditation and journaling. I used to think that I didn’t have time for these woo-woo type things, but once I started to incorporate them into my routine on a regular basis, I realized the huge difference that it made on my ability to manage stress, stay present and focused on my true intentions (rather than distractions that actually lead me away from what I really want in life), and to be able to reduce the constant “do this, do that, go-go-go” chatter that runs through my mind on a regular basis as a type-A!

What tools or approaches have you found most useful in meeting your goals?

Practice. Going easy on myself, which is pretty much the opposite of what you hear most often (and what you’d expect from a weight loss and emotional eating coach).

For me, if I eat something that has sugar or white flour, in it or other things that we’ve been told are bad… I just don’t make a big deal of it anymore because as a result of my healthy relationship with all food, I don’t have the desire to eat these things very often.

And yet, that being said… I’m human (like we all are). I have my moments too where for one reason or another I disconnect with my body and my signals of nourishment and satisfaction. And if by chance, I eat one too many slices of pizza or cookies or have one too many margaritas out with the girls… I don’t worry about it. I drink a lot of water the next day, let my body flush out whatever it needs to flush out, and I get on with enjoying my life.

I’ve even stopped telling myself to “learn from my mistakes” because that just keeps me focused on what I could have done better. No need for that. Learn by default… without agonizing over the details, and just let it go.

The ironic thing is, this sort of approach to food is what has allowed me to maintain my leanest body to date… without even trying.

What workouts do you find most effective for your needs and your time constraints?

I like a mix – HIIT/intervals, body-weight/at-home workouts, long runs or rollerblading at the beach, and walking to run errands (rather than driving). For my resistance workouts I often do Valerie Waters’ workout programs because my body responds to them really well – they make me feel strong AND sexy. I love using the Sandbag and kettlebells too. And I love vinyasa flow yoga, I have a favorite hot yoga place that I go to that is hot, but not too hot, and totally blisses me out. When I leave I feel like I’m floating, ha.

The Cool Down

What are your next goals related to your health and fitness?

To learn new forms of fitness like aerial fitness and pole dancing (serious upper body strength necessary!) and getting back into scuba diving, which is a passion of mine that I’ve set by the wayside for some time now.

What advice do you have for people looking to find their own health & fitness groove?

Above all else, listen to your body and your intuition. Let go of the need to always follow the latest trend or what you read in a magazine. Of course we all want to learn about new things related to health and fitness, but getting a lean, healthy body is not nearly as complex as we are lead to believe it is. Your body knows how to be healthy and if you take the time to listen to the signals it provides, you’ll know the best foods and fitness plan for you.

Want To Connect With Sheila?

Website URL:  Sheila Viers and Live Well 360

Facebook: Sheila Viers and Live well 360

Twitter: @sheilaviers, @livewell360

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