Really tough challenges will confront you on the road to permanent lifestyle changes. Sometimes you need a guide. It’s a little scary to expose your inner self during a live coaching session, but there is so much power in vulnerability. Stories of transformation need to be told; they offer courage to the next person.  


Today, along with CEO of Cardsmith, Monica Burrell, experience a live, unedited transformational coaching session similar to those led by Christa King each week in the Fitlandia Fitness 30 Days to Thriving Program. There, host Christa King helps participants navigate those really tough challenges they are confronted with while making amazing lifestyle changes.  You can hop on board for the June 30 Days To Thriving.  For a 25 percent discount, enter code:  friend25 at checkout.

Now, join Monica Borrell and host Christa King as they get real with each other and today’s listeners. It’s a little scary to expose your inner self during a live coaching session, but there is so much power in vulnerability. Stories of transformation need to be told; they offer courage to the next person.

Who are You, Monica Borrell?

Monica calls herself a “serial entrepreneur”; she has started several businesses. Cardsmith is definitely her “child”…it is her most exciting and most challenging business venture. It is software as a service. She describes it as a virtual sticky notes brainstorming wall that can help individuals or teams engage in visual problem- solving.

Host Christa King admits that like many of her program participants, she is a “planner junkie”, overwhelmed with thoughts, ideas, projects. “Anything that we can do to simplify things, and streamline things is just awesome.” That’s why she recommends tools like Monica’s Cardsmith software and her own Strategic Vitality planner.

Intersecting Journeys

Christa entered the “start-up scene” a few years ago, first joining Woman Led, where she crossed paths with Monica.  Christa admits that since then, she has been caught up in the culture of “do more, do more”. She knows how hard it is, whether you are a start-up exec or a busy mother, to make yourself and your health a priority.  Fortunately for Christa, her business, Fitlandia Fitness, has become her own health journey along the way.

At about the same time, Monica started her journey with her own woman led start-up, Cardsmith.  She survived a lot of financial stress and hard times, as well as the excitement of a thriving relationship. However, the combination of stress-eating and happy-eating, lots of travel, and long working hours led to a physical gain of thirty pounds.

Christa remarks that many people are not aware of the time, money, resources, and sacrifice of going all-in for a new start-up business. And nothing is more important during such a stressful venture as a sense of community connection.

Monica Meets Fitlandia

Monica was involved in one of the first programs that Christa King offered a few years ago. She continued to take part in a Keto program, as well as Fitlandia’s 30 Days to Thriving elimination diet program, most recently. 30 Days to Thriving provides a structure for overcoming addiction to sugar, refined carbs, and alcohol while healing the gut and reducing inflammation. It’s about taking a break from certain foods, getting healthy, and then adding things back slowly in moderation, while you carefully observe the effect they have on your body.

Keep Moving Forward

Monica admits that she struggles with consistency in working toward health goals, and has been in and out of various Fitlandia programs. Host Christa King reminds us that whether you are feeling successfully “all-in” to a program or not, what’s important is the evolution of your journey. Christa defines success in the program as getting out of your head and into your body. Success is when you really start making mental connections about your food triggers and your relationship with food. And replacing unhealthy habits with things that better serve your goals.

Monica agrees, offering that she knows that Fitlandia has helped her to move forward. For one thing, it has helped her zero in on what kind of food life makes her feel the best and she has a new awareness of what happens when she wanders away from that.  As a bonus, she is happy to report that in spite of ups and downs, she has lost almost ten pounds since joining the Fitlandia community.  

Coach Christa Asks Monica to Share Her Discoveries

Some of Monica’s discoveries about food that works for her:

  • emphasizing plenty of healthy fats with lots of vegetables…
  • especially power greens!
  • two eggs for breakfast with greens and home-made sambal
  • Basic approach:  Keto minus dairy
  • Some of her discoveries about what gets her off track:
  • feeling crunched for time
  • temptations of on-the-go food
  • watching others enjoy their food choices
  • relying on alcohol to relax and reward
  • staying up or out late at night

Getting Honest

Christa asks if Monica finds herself back in a carb-craving cycle “the next day” after late night wine leads to a Taco-Bell binge, for instance. Monica says she feels horrible the next day, but since participating in 30 Days to Thriving, she can usually get back into her Keto food life within a day. However that first day she thinks: “Well, I blew it and I gotta get back on Keto because I know that I’m going to feel better…” and then adds, laughing, “but while I’m here why don’t I just have a little snack!”  Host Christa King admits that this is the honest reality for most of us!

Reframing Negative Thoughts

Christa is excited today to help Monica learn more about herself and about overcoming obstacles that keep her “stuck.” She points out that in the time she has known her, Monica has become a master something critical to lifestyle change: reframing negative thoughts.

An essential component of Fitlandia is Mind Zoning® meditation. Monica has learned to create her own Mind Zoning® mantras and incorporate them into her daily mindset. They are positive affirmations or reframes of negative thoughts.  An example might be: “I’m too busy to cook my own healthy meals,” reframed as “It’s easy for me to make some time to cook my own healthy meals.” What we tell our mind is what our bodies will execute! When we reinforce positive thoughts, we create strong new neural pathways and our decision-making begins to support those positive thoughts.

Time to Deep Dive

Christa probes Monica a little deeper, asking her why in those challenging moments, like making choices at a restaurant, does she NOT make decisions that will support her health goals? What keeps her from choosing the best possible options from the menu?  Monica sighs, “That’s a good question!” For one, she admits to tiring of sticking to that ONE best option every time she visits a favorite restaurant. She misses variety in those situations. Christa empathizes, noting how important it is to acknowledge that it has to be about incorporating a dietary strategy with a target of 80-90 percent compliance. We all need to have some flexibility. However, she points out that in those situations we should become mindful, asking, “Is there something triggering this decision or am I simply just tired of the same old thing?” In the latter case, we need to allow ourselves to choose the next best thing, without any shame. The consciousness of the decision is ultimately what is important.

I’m Taking a Break From ________.

Monica shares that alcohol is her toughest challenge when it comes to sticking to her healthy lifestyle changes. Evening card games with friends are a great way to have fun and enjoy a sense of community, but often lead to late night drinking. Alcohol contributes a lot of sabotaging sugar load and triggers craving cycles that can really get her off track quickly.  Christa relates to that, adding that working hard and finishing projects…that sense of needing to celebrate…is a known trigger for her own indulgence. But she has learned how to step back when she forgets what moderation looks like. She creates a new Mind Zoning® mantra that soon leads to decisions for changed behavior.

Coach Christa encourages Monica and podcast listeners to experiment with what it looks and feels like to simply “take a break” from sugar, or processed food, or alcohol. Set a period of time to explore moderation or refrain completely.  Use that time wisely. Without pressure, observe how easy it can actually be, how good it makes you feel down the road. Become curious about your connection to things in your food life. What triggers set you off? What traditions automatically set you up?

Contemplating the Million Dollar Question

How have your social encounters come to depend on your food (or drink) life? There is great power of revelation in this question. Christa urges Monica and all to contemplate when and how this first became your social pattern. In Monica’s case, she remembers that cocktail hour was the daily construct for her parents to unwind with conversation together before dinner. It was just a familiar pattern for the occurrence of comfortable connection that seemed to work…her elderly parents have been married a long time, so it seemed like a recipe for success. So she and her husband carry on similar rituals.

What Would it Look Like If…

The next step is to make an opportunity to really get curious about what the same social scenario would look like without alcohol (or sugar, or fast food, or junk food, etc.) The Fitlandia 30 Days to Thriving Program is a perfect way for anyone to take a month to explore just that kind of possibility!

Identify the Tipping Point and Remember the WHY

Going even deeper, Coach Christa asks Monica to consider what it is in the moment that makes her finally give in. What makes her decide that what she is choosing to cave in to is more important than the well-being that comes from not caving. This is a very critical question for all to get real about. A way to be strong in that moment is to have a well established “WHY” that you can clearly recall. Why is this (break from alcohol, sugar, etc) important? What is going to be your greater thing to remember in those make-or-break moments?  That is a foundational element in Christa King’s 30 Days to Thriving Program weekly motivational coaching.

Beware the Tiger

Even a well defined personal WHY cannot escape the tiger chasing you all day. Christa uses this metaphor to describe how compounded stress, good and bad stressors throughout the day, wear us down. The prefrontal cortex of the brain carries around our goals and holds up the WHY I AM TAKING A BREAK FROM (fill in the blank) card. But the primal brain is exhausted from being “chased by the tiger” all day and it says to the prefrontal cortex, “Shut up! I’m surviving here!” Basically when we are over-stressed, over-tired, under-fueled, our judgment lapses.  The prefrontal cortex pulls out the lists of dos and donts, but the primal brain says, “Nope! We are DOING this (indulging)”. This is why it is so important to do our daily movement (exercise) in the morning before we are burned out. And to do our food prep and batch cooking on a restful day off, so that we are not confronted at the end of a busy weekday with no safe plan for dinner.

A Hard-Wire Re-Wire

The challenge is really to put all these self-evaluation considerations together in a way that allows you space to re-wire all those hard-wired patterns. It takes time, but with reframed thoughts, weekly coaching, and community connection, it can be easier than you ever thought possible. Start on your own by looking at your event calendar or conjuring up the next opportunity to test a re-wire. Imagine yourself in that trigger moment or challenging scenario and picture what you could do differently. In your mind, walk through the situation. What would it look like to see yourself choosing to serve your highest goals in that setting?  

Monica walks through this mental exercise and determines that she is going to have to figure out a way to tell her primal brain, “You are not in charge!” That is what resonates with her and imagining herself empowered with that in the future is impacting her view of the achievable nature of real change. But she still isn’t sure how she will feel about it “on Friday night.”

Accept the Invitation

While Monica wonders if she can actually override her primitive brain on Friday night, Coach Christa invites her to commit to a goal, an action. She reminds her the choice is all hers. Christa asks, “Monica, it’s Friday night. What would you LIKE to do?” Monica responds, “I think I would like to have one drink” with the intention of observing what that decision and action feels like and what the results are.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Now that Monica has committed to a goal, Christa challenges her to determine what will set her up for success. These are the actions Monica thinks will help her:

  • I can take my prepared WHY with me.
  • I can ask my husband (friend, etc) for support.
  • I can ask the server ahead of time to only serve me one drink.
  • My “morning-after self” can write a letter to my “Friday-night self” and I can keep that with me.
  • I can start with a non-alcoholic drink and see how that goes.
  • I can repeat a mantra such as “moderation is easy for me”, “moderation looks like one drink”, “I am stronger than any craving”, etc.
  • I can calendar my commitment

Christa suggests more:

  • Get your work out in during that day to boost endorphins
  • Before going out, do even just one minute of deep breathwork to support serotonin levels
  • Find an accountability partner in your support community

As the live coaching session ends, Christa is encouraged about how much we can inspire each other through our vulnerability and willingness to connect and share accountability. Monica feels like she has a full toolbox to face her primal brain on Friday night!   

To experience transformational coaching with host Christa King, join the next 30 Days to Thriving Event, or register for the Mind Zoning® Academy, visit the Fitlandia Fitness website.   

And take a look at guest Monica Borrell’s innovative Cardsmith visual problem-solving software.

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