Photoshopped sticks and boards

Over a year has gone by since I was able to look in the mirror and be happy with the image that reflected back at me. Is this you? Well it doesn’t have to be.

As an American, I find that our society is particularly very critical of curves. Many societies embrace the curves and find them appealing. What is happening to our society that we are so focused on having no body fat and no curves? Do you know you can have an average body fat yet still have curves?

The problem comes down to a society that is solely focusing on the images we see in the magazines and on television. Did we forget that those magazine images are photoshopped and edited to the point of the real person being almost unrecognizable? Did we forget that those models, celebrities, actors have that title as a career and therefore focus their entire career on their image. People, we are real, honest, hardworking individuals but our career is not that of those celebrities.

Have you heard the song by Meghan TrainorAll about that bass“? Here is a piece of the lyrics: …….”I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that sh** ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise ’em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top
Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along
……But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”……..

The first time I heard these lyrics I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling from ear to ear. It’s about time someone sings about the truths and realities. What I love, is how she speaks about loving the body you have. “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”

Ladies, let’s stop comparing ourselves to everyone else out there. No one is in your shoes or your body. What’s important we focus on is showing the world the very best of you. Your you is different than your neighbors you. If we focus on presenting our very best perhaps we can help change the lives and outlooks of our children and children’s children. I have read several times to never let your children hear you say “I’m fat” or “I’m not skinny enough”. What are we teaching our children when we say these kinds of things? Try rephrasing and say” I’m not my very best me, but I am working on getting healthy and fit”. Isn’t being healthy more important than being skinny? Health provides us with longevity and vitality. Skinny just makes us look skinny. Fit shows our strength, dedication, motivation, freedom. Now you tell me what message you would rather send to others? Join me in getting healthy and fit not just skinny.

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Overcoming the perception of our body image

After one of my recent posts on taking on a new shape, I received some positive feedback from close friends and family members, that had me re-thinking of how I see my body. It has become apparent to me that as women, we often see ourselves differently in the mirror than how we look in reality. I’m sure this is not news to you. I have often wondered why I look better in some dressing room mirrors than others and I have always joked with others “well you haven’t seen me naked”, in response to the positive and caring comments of how skinny I am or in shape I am.

I will confess at this present moment that I am just your everyday average body type and I guess I should be feeling thankful for this. I am a 5’6″ gal weighing in at 150 lbs. But, that 150 lbs is tipping the scales for me. Honestly I am 10 lbs heavier than I have ever been, outside of pregnancies. Even after giving birth, I weighed less than I do now.

But enough, about me and onto the purpose of this post……

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I was browsing Pinterest today and came across a Pin about real body images. The site, My Body Gallery, allows you to enter in your body stats (height, weight, age range, clothing sizes, body shape) and then shows you pictures of real women who have the same body type of you. The purpose of this site: “It is a place for women to post their true and accurate pictures. And for other women to see that the world is not a place of cookie cutters. We are all different in our body shape and size as well as our place in our journey to loving our bodies exactly as they are, not as we (or others) think they should be.” I think this is a brilliant idea but at the same time so sad that we as women have come to this.

Its time to…….

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If only we could start valuing ourselves and our bodies for what they are……

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Taking on a new shape

Literally, the year of 2013 has taken a bite out of me! Being now at my heaviest weight (outside of pregnancy), I find myself defeated, discouraged, and disgusted. Having gained 15 lbs since August and still gaining weekly if not daily, I am having to take a step outside of my body and look at what is really going on. For years, I have blamed it on the winter blues (I am a fair weather sunshine kinda gal -yet I live in Oregon) but I cant help to think that it may just be me.

See, I too have peaks and valleys although sometimes I feel like those peaks are way to high to reach and those valleys are far too deep to climb out of. Right now, I am in one of those super deep valleys, fitness wise at least, and I have an anchor tied to my ankles. Mentally & emotionally I am steadily climbing towards that peak thank goodness! My body looks like I am well over 3 months pregnant, have a tumor in my stomach and ass, or my body is secretly forming into a whale. Neither of these are wanted or appreciated. My ankles have turned in to cankles, my “fat” jeans are now too small for me, and my boots barely squeeze over my calves. Never, has my body taken this much shape!

Every winter, I go into hibernation and I stop working out, eat a little less healthy, and gain 5 lbs. Once the sun starts to shine, I wake up and get right back into the swing of things. And every year, I tell myself I will NEVER do that again. Because we all know how hard it is to get started again! But yet again, January 2014, here I am AGAIN but in the worst “shape” of my life EVER! And its a very round shape. OK, so maybe I am being a little hard on myself but lets face it, either I am getting old at the ripe age of 32 or something is really not normal. How is it that year after year I can follow the same patterns and then suddenly this year my body decides to take on a new shape?

The question is, what do I do about it? Isn’t the answer obvious? Yes workout and eat better, but easier said then done when after only working out for 3 days, I have a gained 1 lb daily. Watch out, we might tip the scales! I mean really, cant I just get a break? So what, I’m only 3 days in and I’m gaining muscle! I want to see results and I want to see them now. My “fat” jeans are about ready to burst at the seams and I’m tired of living in leggings. As comfy as they are, they are bursting at the seams too. My pocket book cant afford another wardrobe change. I got rid of my post pregnancy clothes years ago, because I promised myself I wouldn’t EVER get that big again! Well looks like the joke is on me folks.

In all seriousness, HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM! And that problem is me! I became lazy, complacent, and proud. I forgot how easy it was to lose sight of my goals. I have coached many people on this aspect alone yet somehow I let it happen to myself. Maybe this was one of those more difficult life lessons we must learn. My Beachbody coach and friend asked me the other day what I thought it was that put me into this mode every year? I have yet to answer her because I didn’t have the usual answer this time. I was told several times throughout this year that I was lacking compassion and quite frankly I can see now that was true. I lacked compassion for other peoples journeys and situations because I was getting so wrapped up in my own journey.

This winter has been a journey of its own for me in many different ways. I have learned a lot about who I am as a person and what I am “portraying” to others. Lacking compassion, unfit and overweight, and un-supportive are things I have portrayed BUT things I am surely NOT! This year of 2014 is about digging deeper and making what matters to me MATTER!  Its time to wake up, smell the coffee, and show people the real me.

Can you relate?

Unrealistic Expectations

Expectation: The belief that someone will or should achieve something

Unrealistic: Not compatible with reality or fact

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Do you suffer from a case of setting your standards too high and giving yourself expectations that are unrealistic or unattainable?

While at work the other day, a patient walks in and I can remember her face but cannot recall her name. She tells me her name and I apologize to her for not remembering. She proceeds to tell me that I mustn’t place such unrealistic expectations on myself. Upon hearing this, its like firecrackers began exploding in my brain. As she leaves, I quickly write down the phrase “unrealistic expectations” and for the remainder of the day, the phrase rings strong in my head.

Let me step back a few and mention this happened last Monday. To this day, I have thought continuously about that phrase and how it so perfectly fits many facets of my life. In everything I do, I strive for perfection but somehow seem to always fall short. I am constantly comparing myself  to other peoples success’s and continuously being disappointed in the many failures of my life. Why cant I be as successful as her, have a body like her, or be as good of a mother has her. What I didn’t realize until last week, was that I was setting my expectations to unrealistic levels and therefore setting goals that were completely unattainable.

Everything in my life this week as brought me right back to this very same phrase, “unrealistic expectations” yet helped me to make it through a very trying and exhausting week. Without this little piece of knowledge I am sure my thoughts and outlook would have been very different. What I have learned is such a valuable lesson I can use to keep myself in check every time I am feeling less successful than I think I should be.

As written in an article on Psychcentral.com; Unrealistic expectations give substance, heft, and power to an unrealized goal. They squash the budding crocus of success as it pushes through the thick asphalt of failure. Unrealistic expectations kill the flowering of dreams, because you become so disappointed that you give up hope.

So often we don’t see the success in our life because we are too busy focusing on the one or two things we failed in. Why not set our goals and expectations at a lower standard so that we can actually reach them in a reasonable amount of time and then set a new higher goal that is a step up from the one we just achieved? Now I recall what Chalene Johnson was trying to do in her book PUSH.

Check out this earlier post I wrote about success

Are there areas in your life you find yourself setting unrealistic expectations? What steps are you going to take to lower your expectations and make your goal attainable?

Do you suffer from the winter blues?

As usual, like a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, the sun is beginning to shine and I find myself coming out of my winter funk. Every year I go through what some would describe as seasonal depression or SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Come October, my husband mentions to me that its that time again and I’m going into my “depression”. For years, this bothered me and I denied it. He called it depression but I didn’t feel depressed or sad, I simply lost motivation and would lay around the house a majority of the day. It wasn’t until this past month, I read an article in a magazine that sparked my interest. It spoke about how to stay motivated in your fitness routine during the winter months when it is cold and wet. In this article, is where I read about SAD. I couldn’t believe what I was reading; there was actually a diagnosis, per say, that fit exactly what I was feeling. This in itself has given me some power in my thinking. I no longer have to feel guilty for what I go through or feel as if I am a lazy unmotivated person. There really is a reason why I feel and act this way. Being that I live in the Pacific NW, there is a major lack of Vitamin D (sun), which is one of the reasons SAD is more common in the regions of the world that  lack sun.

Sitting here today typing this, the sky is the brightest of blue that I have seen since last Summer and the sun is shining. Reminds me of that song by the Beatles, Here comes the sun. Perhaps this will be my new theme song. In case you have never heard this song (gasp), it sings about it being a long, cold, lonely winter but the sun is here and smiles are returning to our faces so its going to be alright. What a great song!

Armed and ready I have come up with a plan to attack this:

1. Vitamin D

2. Shakeology, gives me my daily dose of vitamins/minerals, reduces cravings, aids in weight loss, gives me energy, and so much more

3. Fitness program, most likely will do a hybrid program of P90X and TurboFire or may try a new program like Body Beast

4. Ultimate Reset Cleanse to restart my system and get it worki, ng right

5. Lots of Sun and outdoors

6. Weekly bike rides with the ladies: fitness and fun all in one

7 . Take the kids to the park to get that sun and get some good bonding time

8. Weekly planned fitness walk/run like I did last year with a group of ladies: again fitness and fun all in one.

9. Reading; always uplifting and motivating (I have 3 books going right now that I have been unsuccessful at finishing since fall) Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity, The Daily Fix: Your guide to healthy habits for good nutrition, and the Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.

10.Clean eating which requires planning ahead to make the most of my money and yummy meals. Check out this post on eating clean

And now I raise my glass to: motivation, better nutrition, health, vitality, and a spring full of sun.

What do you do to stay motivated in your fitness routine?

Lessons in less is more

We need to become less in order to become more                       

Have you ever been overly motivated and enthusiastic that it caused you to become unmotivated? Is there such a thing? I hope I am not the only one this has happened to.

Christmas season 2011 brought changes in my life that were quite unexpected and a little unwelcome, if I may say. I found myself suddenly unmotivated in my fitness and nutrition journey and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t regain my motivation. I felt unsettled with this lack of motivation and refused to let it win. Until….I just gave in. I didn’t give into the junk, and the weight gain, and the chemicals; I gave into the lack of motivation and honored my body trying to tell me it needed a break. My mind, body, and spirit were downright tired and all I needed to do was settle into the fact that I needed a time out.

My body then began transforming from the inside out and working on my inner strength rather than my outer strength. My Monday morning walk with friends became Monday morning coffee with friends in which we formed a strong sisterhood.  Through this sisterhood I was able to build my inner strength and regain my motivation, but in an entirely different way.

Focusing on less being more, I have been able to stay focused on my health, nutrition, and fitness without feeling like it is consuming my life. I have gained many amazing relationships, an inner and outer beauty, and a peace of mind that I am where I should be physically, spiritually, and mentally. I am able to use the tools and knowledge I learned previously but in a more resourceful and productive manner.

I encourage you to focus on doing less and becoming less to BECOME MORE! There is a season of change that is in the air and instead of fighting it, just let go of the reigns. Calm yourself and surrender to the power of yourself trusting that your body and spirit will guide you to becoming more.

Helpful Resources:

http://www.domesticserenity.org/2012/09/time-for-less/

http://www.simpleabundance.com/

Make a change today