Category Archives: JustDoIt July

New Place, New Place

Image result for new apartment memeIn case you couldn’t care less about my social media channels, you might not know that we just moved away from my favorite city (St Pete!) and down the road to another city, closer to the Kid’s new school. I miss St Pete already, but our new place is super nice. The apartment complex has a pool and a nice gym, and I have a garage to charge Ruby (my Volt).

We’re still trying to unpack, and doing the weird unpacking puzzle where you have to figure out where to put those things that had “a place” before but you don’t have “that shelf” anymore. And getting the – normally conscientious – kid to unpack is like pulling teeth. Teeth that have been soldered into place with the world’s strongest metal.

But…we’ve been there less than a week, so we’ve got time to settle in, and the old place is completely clean and totally empty. So we’re in a good spot, honestly.

Which means it’s time for me to start figuring out my workout schedule. The new gym is really nice, which means I can get my sweat on without paying for bootcamp or spin class or a gym membership, but that also means no one else to keep me accountable to actually DOING something. I tend to over-engineer these sorts of things, so I’m trying to decide if I want to just wing this, or if this is a case where I should set up a full workout schedule with daily plans and a list I can refer to, check off, and post on Instagram.

In any case, I need to make something happen. Maybe it’s time to get back into my Nerd Fitness routine? I do a ton of virtual races too, so I’ll make sure they’re part of my motivation.

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Practice, Presence, Peace

Last weekend I walked twelve miles with joy. I watched stories of human ingenuity, triumph over struggle, and fulfillment of lifelong dreams. I saw how stars are born and thought about how very big and very small we all are.

I stressed about wearing shorts, wore them anyway, and then didn’t realize until the end of the day that I DIDN’T spend the day worrying about my legs; in fact, I never thought of them at all.

And then I watched my little girl. I saw her very much she still adores herself, how she embraces her body and brain as one fantastic package. I watched her check herself out in a mirror, and declare that she knew she looked cute because she’d seen a picture I took.

I thought about myself. About how far away I am from that kind of love. And about how much I stand to gain from shifting my mindset…how much closer I could be to living a shining life if I could make the jump.

So what happened? I promised myself that for just ONE day, I’d try to love myself just as I am, in all my glory, with absolute acceptance. That day became two, and then three. I slept more. I worked out more. I ate more vegetables. I felt calmer, slept better, and spent more time coloring. I drew an adorable donut in my bullet journal. Things felt manageable again for the first time in a long time.

I still went to work, came home, picked up the kid, went to swim lessons…everything in my life was functionally the same, but it began to feel ever-so-slightly different. Moment by moment, the layers of stress and fatigue and sadness began to lift, to peel, to crack and flake away in the light of genuine self-love. I’m not quite out of the woods here, but at the midpoint of day 3, I started feeling more at peace than I’ve felt in months. I went back to my beloved Camp Gladiator twice last week, and then again yesterday (woohoo – holiday workout) and am feeling more and more like I can get this done.

It’s a conscious effort every day, sometimes every moment, not to let this mindset slip. I start to fidget, to chafe under the feather-light touch of unaccustomed ease. I spiral out into worry – how will I keep this up, when will it end, what will I do? And then I make the conscious choice to stop, to breathe, to write or color or just close my eyes, and the feeling begins to pass.

The gentle joy ebbs and flows, sometimes barely whispering at the edges of my awareness and other times entirely overtaking me for a moment – a quick, breathless moment of bliss uninterrupted.

I’d like to hang on to that. And so I move forward, spending moments where I need them. Taking little breaks to sketch out a cute coffee cup or try out an alphabet in a new handwriting style. Disappearing for a moment to read a few paragraphs or do some under-the-radar office yoga. Allowing a “no” when a default, because-I-should “yes” is on the tip of my tongue. Saying YES when it feels right.

I’m signed up for (and starting today) a gorgeous 8-week challenge that will simultaneously get me back to a regular yoga practice and help me come back to a place of intuitive eating and movement. Join me if you’d like. The more support we all have, the better we do.

It’s such a gentle process, so unlike the full on, semi-hostile takeovers of past attempts at change. It fills me with a warm anticipation of things to come and makes me smile.

This. Life could be like this.

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Push

We must be willing to LET GO of the life we’ve PLANNED, so as to have the life that is WAITING FOR US. — Joseph Campbell

Maybe I need to push myself out of complacency and into embracing belief in myself and commitment to my own joy. Otherwise, I settle for what’s familiar, what keeps me stagnant.

I’ve been having these thoughts for days–weeks?–now and I can’t let them go. I am in a strange space, where my body doesn’t feel good, and my head is foggy more often than not. I’m not fueling myself well, and I’m letting stress and escape trump even the movement I love so much.

I’ve been on this crazy journey, this mission to find myself and settle into my center, to find peace with my body and my head. And I’ve come SO FAR with that. I’m SO proud of the work I’ve done to begin the lifelong process of unraveling so many years of self-hatred. Except that somehow, in the last few months, something has been shifting. I didn’t see it at first, but I’m seeing it now. Little ways that I’m sliding back into old OLD habits…eating ONLY for emotional release, intentionally choosing negatively impactful foods, seeking out all the wrong things. In a time I thought I’d escaped, it was punishment. I found subtle ways to punish myself, in the guise of reward or treat or indulgence, for what I saw as my own lacking. Now…I don’t know what it is now. I don’t know if it’s that, or something new.

In the process of finding a safe space, I needed to be gentle, to sit back, to relax into myself. But now it’s time to push, to not remain in this place, to revisit the edges of my comfort zone and see what comes of stepping outside the boundaries of what I once believed limited me. I don’t know what that means, or what the next step is for me, but it’s time to find something. I’m hoping I can lean on some of you to help me find my way, because I’m feeling a little lost right now.

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One Month In

In an attempt to keep up with my new habit of more honestly evaluating my work, and also posting Anamaniacs gifs, here’s another installment of where I think I did well and where I think I need to focus harder. To start, I’ll just repost the goals from last time:

  • One baked good/dessert sort of thing per day
  • At least 2 veggies AND 2 fruit servings daily
  • 3 strength workouts
  • 5 conditioning workouts
  • Less than 50% processed foods
  • At least 20 consecutive minutes AWAY from my desk every day

So how did I do? Well…not as well as I would have liked. This week turned out to be a culmination of extra busy, car issues, kid’s lacrosse camp, awful sleep, and extra work hours, and a lot of things fell through the cracks.

What I did well:

  • 2-4 veggies every day
  • 2 strength workouts a week (might still pull off three this week)
  • 2-3 conditioning workouts a week
  • Continued the less sugar route
  • Reduced my processed foods by about 10%

What I’m aiming for now:

  • One truly worthwhile sweet a day
  • At least 2 fruit servings a day (right now I get NONE on most days!)
  • 5 conditioning workouts a week, which include walks and yoga and essentially any purposeful movement that isn’t strength training
  • Another 10% reduction in my processed food intake
  • 20minute break every day at work – this week I missed a day so I’ve had ZERO breaks while trying to make up those hours and, as such, get paid for them
  • 3 strength workouts – at least one done in the morning

I’m liking the way I feel after the workouts, but I’ll admit that I’m finding them a little bit boring. And with the warm up and cool down, all told they take about an hour. I’ve discovered that working out right before bed is a recipe for not sleeping. I’ve just been SO TIRED lately, but I’m still determined to try working out in the mornings instead. I might be exhausted, but getting it out of the way before the day even starts sounds pretty perfect right now.

I also retook my measurements and saw zero change. It was super frustrating, until I posted about it on the FB group for Nerd Fitness and realized a few other things I’ve done that are showing progress:

  1. One pair of my pants feels baggy now
  2. I’ve moved from the Recruit Workout to the Bodyweight 1 workout, and I’m ready to move to Bodyweight 2 now too
  3. I’m completing the workouts faster and some of the really miserable moves (lunges, Spidermans) are getting a little easier.

So I AM making progress. I’m not giving up. I’m also really enjoying the quest features on the revamped Nerd Fitness Academy site, which has now allowed me to give my “character” a goofy cool name and set myself up on the Assassin track (because how could I choose anything else?). I really am a nerd.

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Bad vs. Good

I started my Nerd Fitness journey three weeks ago. I had high hopes for making big changes all at once. Of course, life happens, and not everything went quite as I’d planned. Generally, this would be a time for me to lament my awfulness by rehashing everything I could have done but didn’t. Then, in some cases, I’d backlash with the reasons why I should be proud/am awesome. Thanks for the most part to some #JustTrollin love, I’m changing that up to something simpler, more honest, and less morally charged.

What I did well:

  • Week 1
    • Veggies at 10/14 meals
    • 1 strength workout
    • 5 conditioning workouts (walking, yoga)
  • Week 2
    • Veggies at 8/14 meals
    • 2 strength workouts
    • 3 conditioning workouts
    • Under 72g sugar 5/7 days
  • Week 3
    • Veggies at 10/14 meals
    • 2 strength workouts
    • 4 conditioning workouts (walking, yoga)
    • Monitored my intake of processed foods
  • Overall
    • Transferred all of my workout notes, stats, and instructions into one notebook to make it easier to track and to know what I’m doing at the gym
    • Completed 17 hours of intentional workouts, compared to less than 10 (and mostly <5) prior to these three weeks
    • Upped my veggie intake at dinners and on weekends just by paying attention
    • Started paying close attention to my sugar intake (no more sweetened coffee) and my processed food intake
    • Lost 8.2 pounds
    • Graduated from the Tutorial workout to the first level Bodyweight workout

What I could have done better:

  • Week 1
    • More strength! One workout a week is not enough to see the progress I want
  • Week 2
    • More conditioning. I like walking and yoga. No excuse not to do them
    • Less sugar. Drop that level to even less than 72g, which was an arbitrary MFP value
  • Week 3
    • Step it up with processed foods. Now it’s not about monitoring, it’s about action

My goals for the next two weeks:

  • One baked good/dessert sort of thing per day
  • At least 2 veggies AND 2 fruit servings daily
  • 3 strength workouts
  • 5 conditioning workouts
  • Less than 50% processed foods
  • At least 20 consecutive minutes AWAY from my desk every day
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DoNUT Mess with Me Right Now: Cruller of Deficiency

SALT WATER CURE PRINT – click to get one

Sometimes my feelings hit me hard and deep. They roll over me like ocean waves, the same salty taste on my skin as tears roll down. It happened in Kia‘s FitBloggin yoga class – lying unsuspecting in savasana when I was suddenly hit by tears. Tears of release, of acceptance, of contentment, of body love. The emotional waves always come as tears. Maybe it’s that trope about salt water…

The thing is though, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes I’m so intensely UNaware of my emotions that discovering them (usually in some roundabout way) comes as an unsettling shock. Feeling those feelings (spoiler: these are usually the unpleasant ones) is the only way I can work through then and make sense of them, but how do I feel them when I’m not always aware of them?

Two ways, both of which come down to awareness. The first responsibility I have is simply around being in the moment. I say simply, but it’s probably one of the most difficult things I aim to do on any given day. Being right here, right now is tough for me to manage. I’ve got a lot to manage and I have a hard time not constantly thinking ahead to the next thing I’m responsible for. I’m working hard to change that, though, because it means I’m rarely giving my full 100% to anything I’m doing. Particularly when it comes to my kid, that is wholly unacceptable. The other way I can be aware and accountable is by examining my thoughts and actions even when I’m not feeling vulnerable or stressed out. Because I’m finally acknowledging a sometimes extreme lack of awareness around my emotions, I have to be thinking a little harder about every day.

What helps:

  1. Yoga: Doing yoga is one of the very few times that I can remain successfully in the moment for more than a minute or two at a time. The more time I spend on my mat, the more aware and connected I am overall.  A lot of the time, something will come up on the mat that I haven’t been dealing with at all. When I cried in savasana, it was because I was finally letting go. I was releasing and settling in and feeling something I’d been stoppering up.
  2. Friends: Reaching out to friends when I’m having a hard time, or just maintaining ongoing conversations with friends helps me keep a closer eye on how I’m really feeling. My good friends know me well enough to know when something’s not quite right and they help me see it.
  3. Writing: Writing something down has always been helpful to get me thinking. I usually set out with a particular point or intention, but as I write it nearly always morphs into something else. One sentence sparks another thought, direction changes, and I get out the things I’ve been ignoring.
  4. Meditation: Oh man. This one is so big for me. For a while I was meditating for 5-10 minutes every morning and it was a game changer for me. I’ve fallen out of the habit, but I still turn to it when I’m feeling a little lost. The whole revelation I had around sugar last week was a direct result of meditation. I just sit in a quiet place and listen to relaxing music with my eyes closed and try to let my head settle a little.

Meditating, in fact, is what brought me to the conclusion that most of the time when I crave sugar what I’m craving is comfort. I’m looking for validation. 90% of the time, when I’m reaching for sugar it’s at a point when I’m feeling like I’m not enough. When I feel embarrassed, unqualified, uncertain, or deficient. It led me to the rather interesting realization that a lot of my work snacking is directly centered around worrying that I’m not actually qualified to do this job that I’m loving so much, that somehow I’ve been exceptionally sly in convincing everyone of my amazingness and at any moment they might find out I’m just sort of average. The weird bit is that I don’t actively feel that way. I don’t sit around thinking I’m not good. I do, on most levels, believe earnestly in my skills as a writer…but maybe because I like this job so much, I worry about not being as awesome as I want to be.

imageI had it confirmed yesterday, as I ate my second donut (enter the Cruller of Deficiency) while driving around town trying to find a way to fix a problem I feel responsible for. I don’t want to go into detail here because it’s not just about me, but in the end I felt like I carried blame, so I ate donuts. I don’t know if it goes as far as punishing myself, because as I’m eating the donuts I sure do enjoy them. I still haven’t figured out all the ins and outs of how this thing works, I guess.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Realizing the source of a lot of my sugar addiction. Working on immediacy and presence. Being in the moment. It’s tough stuff, man. As an update on the work snack situation, we’re ordering from NatureBox now and I have input! It’s not perfect, but it’s much better.

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#JustTrollin

As I sat in the #ToughLove session at FitBloggin, I had a lot of conflicting emotions. I went to the session because I wanted to support Steve & Sue, and I thought it would be interesting. At first, I was feeling pretty resistant. I felt weird, and spent a lot of the session arguing in my own head. I wanted to disagree with what was being said, and at first I did. The more I sat with it, though, the more I wondered if the issue was that I disagreed, or that it was exactly what I needed to hear.

After much thought, I did what I’m finally learning to do well. I reached out to chat it out with a friend. At the risk of looking lazy, I’m just going to paste in the relevant stuff…

H: So now I’m in this spot where I want to do more, get stronger, and specifically clean up my foods…I am an emotional eater from a household of junk food lovers, and I don’t know how to clean up the food. Intellectual arguments don’t seem to work. I know the science. I know the worth of clean foods. I feed them to my daughter. And then I stress eat oatmeal creme pies at work.The session was a struggle for me because I want some accountability, but I’m so damned fragile right now and still trying so hard to figure out what I can do that won’t make me crazy again that I don’t know what help to ask for. Also, I’m afraid of being pushed (either directly or in a reactionary way) right back into the physically and mentally unhealthy things I was doing before.

T: They really ARE out to get us. I know playing the victim card feels like bullshit, but you know what, we’re absolutely the victims here. They are VERY well armed. They have huge budgets, research divisions, behavioral psychologists…you’re targeted SO SPECIFICALLY. (“They” being major food corps)

H: I’m a sugar addict and it scares me. I’m terrified of how much control it has. I’m trying to track my macros now, because I think upping my healthy fat and protein might help curb the cravings.

We talked about how the free snacks at work were a HUGE issue for me, and I got the suggestion to write to HR about it.

T: Talk about the marketing. Talk about the studies. Talk about the snacks that are available. Talk about how much you appreciate the company’s effort to fuel employees through their day, then talk about how TERRIBLE a job they’re doing at it. Then suggest resources that could make it better.

I admitted to being scared to rock the boat, and through a lot more conversation was finally convinced that I’m doing the right thing. By asking for the healthy snacks I need, I’ll be doing a lot of other people favors too because the sugary crap is dragging us all down. We talked more about eating cleaner, about organic foods.

 H: I don’t feed my daughter that way. But when something has to give, it’s always me.

The more we talked, the more I realized what a disservice I was doing to myself, and as an extension, to my family too. I’m worth taking good care of. And when did it hit me?

 T: If you’re making good choices for your daughter, and shortchanging yourself, she will see that. And children respond to actions over words. Careful you don’t teach her to put herself last.

CAREFUL YOU DON’T TEACH HER TO PUT HERSELF LAST.

Well, fracking frack. If that’s not a crying at work type of statement, then I don’t know what is. Further conversation and some serious workplace meditation (thanks, empty conference room) led to the weird realization that I crave sugar when I’m feeling insecure. Because WHAAAAATTTTT?!? I mean, seriously. Knowledge BOMB right there. So weird. I’m sitting with that in an attempt to recognize it, label it as such, and work from there.

In the end though, the long-azz conversations led to me actually wanting to participation in a #justtrollin post of my own. I’m calling myself out. I’m making it clear what I want and how I’m going to get it, and I’m opening up the doors to all of you to call me out (with love, please) when I’m not following through. I’ve been scared to do this, because I spent so much time away from tracking and weighing and working so hard on getting into the right headspace. Now that I’m there, I’m so scared of losing it that I fought the notion of this post. I felt like if I went back to any old habits (blogging? tracking exercise? measuring progress?) I’d somehow be undoing all the work I did. It took my own personal Badass Buddha to help me realize it would just be the next step to build on that work.

So here’s what I want, some of which was straight up stolen from other people’s #justtrollin posts.

  • Clean up my social media
  • Take clear, consistent steps toward cleaner foods
  • Keep up my strength training plan
  • Remember how awesome I am

Social media:

Taking a cue from Thea, I pared down my social media accounts. I combed through my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and got rid of the people I don’t ever interact with. Thea’s right. I can’t have meaningful interactions with the people I actually care about when every feed is cluttered up with hundreds of posts from people who I never have conversations with. Now things are still pretty full, but much cleaner, and it’s easier for me to see the people I care about. Keeping everyone in the loop and staying up to date on their comings and goings helps keep the feeling of community strong, and that community is what helps keep me energized and motivated to make the right choices.

Clean eating:

Today at a team lunch I finally realized something EARTH SHATTERING. Something that, in fact, just proves out my theory that this work I’m doing now is building onto the work I’ve done on my mental well-being instead of tearing it down. Ready for it?

It’s not about not having the pizza. See, we sat down to lunch at a reportedly awesome pizza place. I looked at the menu and thought, “I should get the salad.” I thought about it and I realized I had two distinct choices. 1) I could get the salad and feel virtuous. Virtuous, miserable, and unfulfilled as my coworkers ate pizza around me. 2) I could get the pizza, load it with veggies, and really enjoy my lunch. So I did. I got a thin crust personal pizza with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and spinach. It was wonderful, I loved lunch, and I brought half home for dinner. Making the right food choices doesn’t have to be awful and restrictive just because that’s how I did it for so long.

This is also the first week since I started my new job that I haven’t eaten an Oatmeal Crème Pie. I was eating 3-4 a day on some days. It was getting dark. Stepping away from them is step one in my attempts to clean up the food. First up, I’m cutting back my sugar. I’ve stopped putting any in my coffee, opting instead for coconut oil at home and plain half & half when I’m out and don’t have a nondairy option.

The NF eating plan calls for heading in the direction of paleo, but that just doesn’t jive for me so instead I’m focusing on the things I think will help me the most. Sugar is my first concern, and then I want to focus on drastically reducing the amount of processed food I take in every day. As always, I’m much better about it with Evi, but it’s time to make sure I’m taking care of my own needs too. Processed stuff is going to be difficult, as I’ve developed a lifestyle that’s fairly dependent on those “easy” foods, but it’s worth the effort. It might also be an uphill battle with Aaron a little bit, as I’m not sure he’s sold on the value of them, but I think if I can prove that it won’t be a significant price increase then I’ll be able to sell him on it in time.

Just like everything else, this is also about listening to my needs. I got my mom’s trainer to do my macros for me and I was tracking for a while, but in the end it was making me crazy again. I was angry all the time, and it took Aaron calling me out on it to make me see it for what it was. I stopped and was IMMEDIATELY more relaxed. Tracking just doesn’t work for me, and the truth is that if I’m working hard to reduce my sugar and my processed foods and I’m sticking to my planned workouts, I’ll be more than fine.

How you can help

  • Point me in the direction of easy, cheap recipes using fresh foods.
  • Share your tips for saving money while still getting fresh, local foods.
  • Tell me where you shop to save money on fresh, unprocessed foods.
  • Share ideas on how to make things like lunch snacks for kids that are cheap, easy, and unprocessed.

Strength training:

I’ve done decently well with sticking to the Nerd Fitness workouts so far, and I’ve also been pretty good about cutting myself some slack when life gets in the way instead of declaring myself a FAILURE for veering off the schedule. I’m not loving the workouts, but I’m trying to remember the purpose of them, and I do feel pretty awesome when I’m done. I was amused to discover a fair amount of motivation the other day when the gym was playing American Ninja Warrior during my workout. Turns out that watching people do cool things involving strength is pretty motivating sometimes.

I’ve switched to doing the first level of the bodyweight workout instead of the tutorial workout. I think the bodyweight is meant to be harder, but it was the better workout for me. The tutorial workout left me so painfully sore that I could barely walk or sit down for four days. The bodyweight workout left me feeling distinctly sore, but not in actual pain. Definitely the winner, and I think it won’t be too long before I can move to the second level of the bodyweight workout as long as I’m consistent about working out.

Finding time for the workouts is tough for me because there’s always something else going on. On the 4th I managed to go to the gym while everyone else headed to the pool and meet them later. Where I find issues is around timing. The best plan is for me to workout first thing in the morning, but I like to take my time waking up. Once I wake up and have my coffee, it’s time to get off to whatever our plans for the day are. During the work week I can go at lunch time, but it’s tough to take the time in a very busy new job. In the end though, these are all excuses. Yes, some work days aren’t going to allow the time for workouts. Yes, some weekends are going to be about family time and relaxing instead of working out and sweat in the gym. But most of the time? Most of the time I need to be making the time to workout.

I also can’t forget the importance of conditioning workouts. Walking is something I love and it’s so beneficial. It’s also an easy thing to work in on weekends during family time. Yoga is SO important to me, so necessary to not only my physical health but my mental  well-being…and for no reason I can think of, I’ve been letting it slide lately. No more of that.

How you can help:

  • If I’m not talking about working out, I’m probably not doing it. Call me on that.
  • Share your ideas, tips, suggestions on how to make time for working out when you’re busy. We’re all busy, and a lot of people are making the time, so tell me how YOU do it.
  • Share the details about when you choose NOT to make a workout your first priority.
  • If I go more than 2 days without posting a yoga pic on IG, call me on it.

Self-love:

Find ways to choose joy. I’m awesome. I know that a lot of the time, but I frequently forget it. It’s time to work on keeping my awesomeness in the forefront of my consciousness every day. I’m working hard on it, and it seems to be working right now.

How you can help:

Just keep being YOU. Seriously, I’m so inspired by everyone around me. My FitBloggin peeps and everyone else I’ve come to share this space with. Share your stories.

So we’re in this together, right? And ♪♫everything is awesome when you’re part of a team♫♪ .

 




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Changes

I originally wrote this post in Italian during the breaks in my management seminar…

Big changes are coming. In fact, they are already here. Everything is moving so quickly, and I’m as scared as I am excited.  Many positive things are coming, but the negatives are frightening. What happens if I can’t do this? I’m afraid to be alone, to lose patience with Evi.

Commute time, so drastically reduced, is going to be incredibly liberating and will go a long way to reduce daily stress … but on the other hand, being a single parent for most of the week, I am worried about my parenting skills. I’m also worried that I will miss my husband too much, that we won’t be able to replace those countless small, seemingly insignificant moments that we share.

I know that am I strong, and I have to believe that I will make the best choices for my daughter, my family, and myself. I have to work more to be in the moment. I have to push for better focus and immediate connection so I am doing my best work in each of my roles. I have to fight to maintain my inner peace. I need to embrace my incredible strength, and place value on my own needs as much as others. I can’t always put myself last, but instead must remember that taking the time to balance myself means I’m better prepared for everything else I am responsible for. I promise to continue on this beautiful path to self-love and self-acceptance, cultivate the love and light that can only expand to everything I touch.

I promise to reach out, to ask for help, to find new solutions, and (especially) to be gentle with myself. I promise to celebrate the little things in life, experience all the little moments, and appreciate every moment as it happens. I will recognize the love and strength within myself and all around me, stay mindful of the incredible positives in my life, hold close all the love in my marriage, and never stop learning and growing. I will make every decision on the basis of radical self-love, eradicating negative self-talk, and honoring my personal brand of brilliance and shine.

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What I Want Her To Know

31 things to teach your daughter I want MY kid to know:

1. How to give a firm handshake.
2. To never wear clothes with something written across the butt that make you feel uncomfortable or fake.
3. A man will never treat a woman better than he treats his mom. Pay attention to how the guys treat their moms, and run from the ones who aren’t respectful. Choose a partner who makes you feel respected and safe, and who inspires you to be your best self.
4. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Cultivate confidence and self-love, which in turn will radiate love of others.
5. People will judge you by what you say. “I was like, um, totally!” does not qualify as a sentence. Express yourself with confidence and joy.
6. People will judge you by what you wear. Show respect for yourself (and see #2). Screw what people think, because they will find a reason to judge you if they’re so inclined. Be proud of who you are.
7. How to change a tire.
8. How to throw a football. lose yourself in physical movement in a way that brings you peace.
9. Don’t be afraid to use your voice – sometimes it’s the most powerful thing you have, and power is not determined so much by volume, as it is by passionate and consistent communication with respect.
10. Basic self defense – be able to get out of a situation, and run fast. And use that powerful voice.
11. Teach them how to apologize well, ask for help when needed, and that anger is more harmful to the person who harbors it than to who it’s directed at. How to apologize with grace when you’re genuinely at fault, how to stick to your guns without being mean, and how confidence means knowing when to ask for help.
12. What’s in the magazine is photoshopped. Confidence is more attractive than size 2 jeans. Women come in all shapes and sizes. Learn to love your body for the amazing things it does for you every day, and make your food/movement decisions out of love and respect for that amazing, powerful body of yours.
13. Laughter can diffuse many a challenging situation. Especially when you can laugh at yourself.
14. Block out the voices. Not every opinion is worth listening to – listen to the ones that matter, and learn whose opinion you’ll allow to shape your thoughts.
15. Advertising is full of hidden agendas. Don’t fall for it. “Maybe she’s born with it… maybe it’s Maybelline” – really? Maybelline didn’t make her anything she wasn’t born with.
16. How to hit a baseball, throw a punch, and use a compass… or spike a volleyball, roundhouse kick, and use a protractor. Just keep your interests as varied as your beautiful spirit. (Hey, you started out with robots, dinosaurs, and planets and just yesterday declared yourself a doctor scientist astronaut.
17. How to write a proper thank you letter, and how to type…even if you type with four fingers like your Mom.
18. How to manage money.
19. Appreciate the little things (and little refers to more than diamonds and pearls). Appreciate the small gestures in life that make you feel most at peace and in balance.
20. Read often and much. Read works of classic and contemporary literature, fiction and nonfiction. Don’t be ashamed of what you love to read, no matter what anyone else says about it’s quality.
21. Walk in someone else’s shoes. Volunteer for a cause that you feel passionate about.
22. Listen well, both for what’s being said, and for what’s being omitted. Learn to think critically and reason for yourself.
23. Dream big, and set realistic incredible, boundless goals. You can accomplish more than you think you can.
24. Girls can do most things as well as boys can, in general. But know your personal limits, what your own strengths and weaknesses are. Once you know them you can use them to your advantage. Know your strengths and play to them. Acknowledge your weaknesses and work with them. Cultivate radical self-love.
25. Most things worth having or worth doing require sacrifice. Know what you’re willing to sacrifice, and for what.
26. No regrets. Learn from the past, but don’t dwell on what could have been.
27. Just because it’s never been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Push the limits.
28. Basic sewing skills. Find joy in crafting, even if you suck at it…. paint or draw or sew or knit, take photographs or make collages… whatever lets you create.
29. How to handle herself online – using good be aware of online privacy, remembering that anything shared can go viral (including pictures in poor taste), and knowing that people online aren’t always who they say they are.
30. Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Listen to that voice, and don’t silence it.
31. The world isn’t all there is. Rely on God more than you rely on anything else, including yourself. your inner strength and the strength of the people who love you. When all else fails, call your mom and dad. They will hold you up to the last of their strength which, when it comes to you, is boundless. And remember that you’re stronger than you think. 

And a few more, just from me:

  1. If you want to dye your hair a ridiculous color, ask for my help. It’s just hair and it will grow back, but it will turn out infinitely better with someone who can see the back of your head.
  2. Don’t get caught up in what someone else thinks is right for you. You know yourself best (except for maybe me) and what feels right in your heart is probably the best bet.
  3. Don’t lose sight of your heart. It will break, and it will heal, and it will be stronger for it.
  4. If you hate me and your dad, call your Banana.
  5. Move a little every day, in a way that makes your body and your soul feel vibrant and strong. There is no right way.
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The Chair of Peace

On Tuesday, I found inner peace in a chair. This chair…

It was as weird as it was cool. If I’m honest, I’m not a fan of Chair Pose. It makes my thighs burn (I know that’s part of the point) and I’ve always treated it as a pose to just get through before I can move on to a “better” one.

In my ongoing attempt at mindfulness and self-love, I decided this time would be different. I settled down into it. I paid attention to my alignment, relaxed my shoulders, straightened my neck, and engaged my entire body. I let my breathing fall into a slower natural rhythm, and…BAM!

There it was. This wave of peace, of self-love, of gratefulness for all that I have. I felt joy, vulnerability, and utter quiet. For once, my head was quiet. It took an intentional return to functional movement to realize I was crying a little bit, which made me laugh. I settled into a long shavasana that reinforced the lingering calm, peace, acceptance.

For five minutes or so, all was right with the world. Everything was going to be just fine. I was strong enough to handle the struggles and so full of love that I had tons to give.

It was as incredible as it was unexpected. Who knew Chair had that kind of power, or that it would be the pose to unlock my own?!?

Funny thing though… I didn’t realize how vulnerable the moment had left me. When I dove back into my too busy work day, the stress was such an intense contrast that I felt panic. I couldn’t hold on to that peace, and I retreated into emotional eating in a scramble to get through the afternoon.

I’m still working on what went wrong there. Clearly there was something I didn’t quite process, some way I need to transition better, something I missed. Clearly there will be more Chair in my future. I want to access that peace again, even if it’s just for a moment. I have this theory that enough of those moments come together and coalesce into a semblance of consistent self-acceptance and love.

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