All the Feels

The holidays…sometimes loved, sometimes dreaded.

Yet ALWAYS, for me anyways, a time for “all the feels”.

Seriously.

I cry.  I grin.  I reflect. I plan.

christmas-magic

Crying

I cry because all the animals in the shelter look extra cold and lonely this time of year.  I cry because there are kids being bombed instead of waiting for Santa.  I cry for the “perfect” holiday moments that I will never have.

I cry at EVERY. SINGLE. PUBLIX. COMMERCIAL.

Sometimes I know it’s coming, and other times (usually because of those sneaky commercials) ….BAM, floodgates open outta nowhere!

Grinning

When I’m not tearing up, I find myself grinning like the Cheshire cat.  I look at the kids and their eyes sparkle just a little brighter this time of year.  The expectation and miraculous wonder that this season embodies just emanates from kids around Christmas time.  I watch them sleep and I swear I can see those dancing sugar plums…

I stand there, creepily staring as they sleep….and begin to reflect…

Reflecting

not-a-season

There is nothing better than the holidays to put me in a reflective, “What’s the meaning of life” kind of mood.  Reflection is a good thing sometimes.  I just tend to go into reflective hyper-drive in the months of November and December.  It is during these months that I find myself reflecting on ALL things…. GREAT and small.  Yes, I said ALL things.

Pick a topic…chances are I have reflected on it during November or December.  And if I didn’t get to it this year…I will work on it the next holiday season…

I reflect on Christmases past. Nostalgia takes over.  I remember the excitement of my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve.  I see my grandpa laugh and smile as he opens his gifts (he was always a big kid at Christmas).  I smell oodles of Christmas cookies my mom and I baked in our overly-decorated, yet oh so cozy home.  I sleepily listen for reindeer and hope I to catch a glimpse of Santa.

There is nothing like Christmas through a child’s eyes.

I love that I get to experience this magic again through my own children.

Yet amid these heart-warming reflections, this year I also find myself reflecting on the state of our nation and the rampant hate that seems to have such a vice grip on it.  The state of our planet and the lack of regard for her. World-wide chaos.  Priorities that seem flipped upside down.

I reflect on my life, on past mistakes and past successes. On what I thought life should look like at my age vs. reality.  I reflect on people that have come and gone.  I reflect on the person I was three years ago, five years ago, ten years ago.  So many changes I have undergone…so many truths I have unearthed, so many people I have been.

Change

The one thing, the only thing, all my reflections have in common….

Change

Regardless of whether they are the best memories or the worst memories, the one thing they all have in common is…they don’t last.  Change is the one constant in our lives.

After all the crying, grinning like an idiot and being uber nostalgic, my reflecting turns to a focus on change.   What changes do I want to see happen in my life?  What changes are key to my success?  What changes can I make to get me closer to my goals?

Planning

While some people REFUSE to make one New Years resolution, I tend to make a LIST.  Go big or go home right?  Somewhere, in the middle of crying, grinning, and reflecting, I begin to plan.  My list is sometimes beautifully handwritten (those are my favs, all swirly and artsy, colorful and fun), sometimes it is typed, sometimes it is scrawled in barely legible handwriting on a legal pad, it has even been a journal entry once or twice.  It is normally at least 25 items in length…sometimes WAY more, sometimes a little less.

There are just so many things I want to do.  So many things that I want to remind myself to make into daily habits.  So many ways that I feel my life can be improved.

I have so many interests, so many goals, so much I hope to do with my life!  I can be a little scattered at times (which drives my husband crazy…sorry honey…).  This scattered thinking leads me down many rabbit holes.  Some of which I am glad I went down, others not so much…but live and learn, right?!? I am a believer that life is meant to be lived.

For too long I have let life live me.  I’ve gone along for the ride.  My planning this year is all about changing that.

I have plans to take charge of my life.  I have plans to make my dreams a reality.  I have plans to live MY life, MY way.  I have plans to be able to contribute in ways that matter.  I have plans to surround myself with people who are doing these exact things.

The magic of the holidays, the magic of possibility.  Love it.

Maybe I’m the only one who becomes emotionally unstable during the holidays?  I am sure there are others out there just like me…sniffling through those pesky holiday commercials, remembering Christmases past, planning for what is coming next.  Is this you?  What do the holidays bring out in you? What “feels” does this time of year bring to the surface for you?

Sending love and light

to you and yours

this holiday season!!

merry-christmas-to-all

 

 

 

 

Addicted To Thought

Confession

I’ve officially been MIA from my blog.  Not because I had nothing to say, simply because I couldn’t find the words nor energy to express all the things circling around in my head.  While my writing ceased, my thoughts grew.  That’s how it happens.  I begin going inward, getting lost in my own thoughts, lost in the worry of tomorrow and pain of yesterday.  It feels as if I lack the ability to get out of my own head.  I become trapped there. Fighting. Fighting through depression, fighting through sickness, fighting tiredness.  I become more and more unconnected.  I distance myself from friends, family, even Brent.  I feel alone in my pain, alone in my depression, alone in my cerebral prison.

Unfortunately, this experience is not new to me.  I have become aware of this pattern in my life.  The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

Hello, my name is Kristal.  I am addicted to thought.

Cerebral Prisoner

I have become controlled by my thoughts.  This has led to being anxious, depressed, hopeless…I could go on.

So now what?  What do you do when your prison guard is with you 100% of the time?  How do you escape?

My quest begins!  I am hopeful that I will be able to break this habit.  I recently learned, I am not my mind.  Sounds crazy, right?  It’s not.  That statement alone has allowed me to climb out of the dark caverns I’ve been hiding in.  It has given me freedom to live.  I am not my thoughts.  Instead I am the keeper of thoughts, the watcher of the mind.

I am becoming more aware.  More aware of my thoughts, my emotions, my reactions, my anxieties.

The Watcher

So far, this has been quite a change.  It is changing the way I look at myself.  I am no longer defined by my mind.  I am the watcher.  I like it.  Just this slight change in perception has already helped to quell my anxieties.  Becoming the watcher has made me feel more at peace, more even tempered, more hopeful.

I have so far to go.  My mind is not the only thing that is in desperate need of change.  While hibernating in the darkness I have not been kind to my mind or body.  I know that.  Again…I am admitting…. As I become more and more identified with the watcher I am more aware of the need for balance.  Yes, balance (there’s that word again, my favorite word for quite some time now.  Balance in all things is what I’m after).  I must start feeding my body what it needs.  I must start moving more.  I must keep myself hydrated.

Begin Again

Stoked, to see what this journey is going to teach me.  Happy, that instead of becoming the definition of insanity, I am breaking those patterns in my life that aren’t working for me.

This is just the beginning.  I am retraining my brain.  Taking charge of my mind, which gives me charge of my life.  I WILL run my life, instead of life running me.

Recent Inspo

Women Who Run With the Wolves

women-who-run

The Power of Now

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Live Your Legend

the-creed-of-living-legends

What are your thoughts?  Do you identify yourself solely through your thoughts?  Do you think the mind is powerful enough to control us without our even being aware of it?  

 

 

 

Boost Your Mood

I’ve been in a low recently.  Booo hissss.  Good news is, I’m climbing on up!  I’ve done some soul searching, some meditation, lots of reading…you get the picture.  My mind and soul are feeling much better, but I have still been lacking in the body department.  Since my goal is balance in all things, I’ve gotta get my butt in gear!!  Get movin’!

I made this infographic to share some much-needed motivation for myself & anyone else feeling the struggle.

Here’s to hoping this gives someone a little boost!boost

 

Mindfulness: There’s An App For That

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness defined by Merriam-Webster:

1: the quality or state of being mindful

2:  the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also :  such a state of awareness

william-blake

Ever gotten in your car, arrived somewhere, then thought, “How did I get here?”

Sat down with a bag of Milanos turned on your fav Netflix addiction, suddenly look down only to realize the bag in your lap is empty?

Found yourself, anxious, mind racing, worrying about a situation that may or may not EVER happen?

I can’t be alone here! Right?

We lose ourselves in the noise.  It seems to be the norm these days. Have you ever met anyone that is just naturally mindful? Aware?  I haven’t.  I am sure they exist, heck maybe you are one of those people.  Good for you!  For the rest of us, mindfulness takes practice.

Practice Makes Perfect?

Practice?  Practice mindfulness?

Yes, that’s right.  Practice.

As for perfection?  I really [don’t] hate to break it to you, just in case you didn’t know already… You aren’t built for perfection. None of us are! Don’t expect your meditation to be.

It can be HARD to reign in the mind.  It feels unnatural to sit quietly…DOING NOTHING {GASP}. Even when I conquer the guilt, there are days my brain just won’t cooperate.  Insisting on going 10,000 directions, the mind refuses to be leashed.  Then, other days I have focus. I leave those meditations feeling like a BOSS, feeling like I can sit in Atlanta traffic without swearing, like I can solve world hunger (I’ll let you know if any of those happen).  Ups and downs.  So while I can’t promise you will suddenly find yourself sitting underneath the Bodhi tree.  What I will promise is, the more you practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes.

I’ve been finding more time for me. And guess what? The more time I spend in meditation, the more I find mindfulness in my every day life. I’m becoming more and more aware of my NOW.  Of this very moment. Of the breath giving life to my body.  Of the sounds and smells around me. Of my thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness brings awareness to who you TRULY are.  

Who you were MEANT to be!

Where Do I Start?

Maybe you know all about meditation.  Maybe you know NOTHING.  Either way, mindfulness is achievable.  If you can breathe (if you can’t, I’m pretty sure you have bigger problems than how to be mindful…just sayin…) you can meditate.

The secret of meditation?? Meditating.

Just DO IT!  Start right now, wherever you are.

It’s as simple as taking a moment, closing your eyes, finding your breath and focusing on only that.  Breath in, Breath out.  That’s it.  Repeat.

Connect to that life-giving breath.  Really feel it.  Take some deep breaths.  Breathe normally.  When your mind begins to wander, gently bring it back to your breathing.

That’s it.  That’s meditation. That’s mindfulness. You did it!

It’s seriously that easy.  You don’t have to fold yourself into a pretzel, you don’t have to become a Buddhist monk.  You don’t even have to sing Om.  Nope, none of that.

And you know what I love?? Mindfulness meditation can benefit EVERYONE.  It makes my heart happy.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, your religious affiliation, your culture, your sexual orientation, your ethnicity.  None of that matters.  Meditation is for everyone, mindfulness helps us all!

I don’t know about you, but in this crazy world, I need all the help I can get.

You Said There Was An App For That!

Ok, ok so the point of all my ramblings…

If you wanna dig a little deeper into this mindfulness business, or maybe you already have a meditation practice. Doesn’t matter… Either way, I made a discovery for you!!!!!

I am SO STOKED with this new app I downloaded a few weeks ago!!!!  Yep, I am a weirdo.  Yep, I do get excited about random things.  This is one of those things.

smile-on-your-mind

Smiling Mind

On my quest to find some new guided meditations I found TONS of apps.  Lots of them say FREE!  Yay!! Right???!?!

Nope.

With most of the apps I downloaded, you got one measly meditation for free…that’s it…ONE…really!?!?!! Grrrr….Ain’t nobody got $$$ for that!!! 😉

So I was getting a little disappointed with my options…Until…

SMILING MIND 🙂

Wooohooo!!

First off let me just say, it’s completely FREE!  No in-app purchases, no pay to unlock, nope, none of that! F-R-E-E, free.

Smiling Mind is a non-profit who’s goal is bringing mindfulness to ALL! This app was designed by psychologists & educators who are on a mission to bring mindfulness meditation to the Australian NATIONAL curriculum. Yes, national (A whole country full of mindful kids?  Sounds Awesome!).

8yr

It is full of programs for everyone.  There are categories for kids, adults, classrooms, workplaces.  Whoever and wherever you are, you will find something here that fits.

There are also REMINDERS!  I love reminders.  (Even with them I tend to forget stuff…lots of stuff…) You can set the app up to remind you to meditate at certain times of day, or to remind you that you haven’t meditated in a certain time frame (1 day, 2 days, 1 week….it’s up to you).  I’ve set mine up to remind me if I’ve gone longer than 24hrs without meditating.  Although, I haven’t needed it thanks to Phoenix (he’s the youngest member of the Tribe).

 

Are We Going To Do Our Breathing Tonight?

I hear this EVERY night from my youngest, Phoenix.  We made the app part of our bedtime routine.  I love that they love to be mindful!!  It has made a difference in our bedtime routine!  After we do our short 5-10 minute guided meditation, the kids are relaxed, peaceful & ready to hit the hay!!!  Struggle-free bedtime??  Yes, please!! Sign me up!!!

Mindfulness is helping in their everyday lives as well.  They are finding ways to calm themselves, discovering emotions, making wishes,  appreciating the work their bodies do for them each day.  Spending those few minutes meditating at night brings us all more peace, and who doesn’t love peace?

So, what are you waiting for?

Check this app* out, and let me know what you think!!

*Smiling Mind also has a website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking Free: Escaping Religious Guilt

religion-blindReligion.

It’s become a bad word in my book.

Religion brings barriers between cultures, countries, individuals.

Religion.  Such a small word, with so much power. Power over the masses.

After moving to a sleepy little West GA town from Michigan, a friend of mine pointed out that she was constantly being asked “what church do you go to?”  That was new to her.  She said it felt like a requirement.  Ha!  It is true that in the South people are often greeted or met with the question of where they attend Sunday service.  Welcome to the Bible Belt….

Heaven help you if you don’t have an answer to that question.  Your poor children are going to hell.  Don’t you care? Oh, the looks you will get…Bless Your Heart…

The Bible Belt.  The Deep South.  Such oppression here.  Such division. Is that what religion brings?  Oppression?  Division?

Religion makes us quick to judge.  Why do we feel that is our right?  I am speaking to myself here…I have been quick to evaluate people based on STUPID STUFF!

Why do we feel like if people have differing beliefs than we do that they are bad?  Why do we feel the need for EVERYONE to believe the exact same way?  Why are we more concerned about people’s belief systems than their actual LIVES??

Believing the Lie.

Super closed-minded.  I spent more than half of my life thinking this way.  Well, being taught to think this way.  While under the guise of humility and concern, the lesson was still, “If they don’t live the way we do, they are WRONG.”

I believe now that regardless of what religion people “profess”.  The truth about a person’s character comes through their life, their actions, their thought processes, their response to the earth and all the other people in it!  Back then though, character was just an afterthought….religion is more important than anything else…duh Kristal…remember??

I honestly can’t believe I bought into the lie for so long.  Being raised in a family where church is the most important thing in one’s life will do that to you.

Am I “Bad”?

faith

As a child I was always drawn to nature, to animals, to astrology, to the supernatural, to the moon, to any and all kinds of weirdness.  My love for these things never went away, but I was forced to suppress them. Those things were BAD.  I was taught that it was BAD to question.  It was BAD to read too much (this will confuse your mind don’t you know?).  It was BAD to have interest in anything secular* (including but not limited to: music, movies, tv, cartoons, friends, books, etc.).  I couldn’t love God and these things at the same time…nope, just not possible.

(*Definition of secular for those non-religious folks out there: denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.)

Not only was I taught to believe those things were BAD.  I was also taught that I was BAD.  Yep, that’s right, BAD.  Little ol me…who only wanted to love on animals, look at the stars, be friends with everyone.  I was BAD.

Don’t get me wrong.  My parents never set out to make me think I was bad.  They just wanted to be sure I was pointed in the “right direction”.

Instead the direction I was pointed in was guilt.

I felt bad for being me.  I must be bad.

Later on, I would be told this was a feeling of conviction over my sins.  Ha! I now know, I was just feeling bad because I thought something was wrong with me for being different. For thinking for myself. For not wanting to be a sheep.

I loved what I loved, yet I was being told those things were BAD.  So I must be BAD right?

The people I defined as “good” were the people my parents told me were “good”.  This list of people was reserved for Jesus, preachers, deacons, evangelists, Sunday school teachers, elders and deacons in the church… (you get the picture)…

My little child eyes watched carefully the choices and paths these “good” people took.  There was good and bad represented by the people on my list, I know this now.  Back then though, I had to reevaluate what I thought was “good”, if these people were the definition.

I knew I didn’t want to be like these people.  Though, as I stated before, there were good and bad represented on my list.  I knew this was not me.  Soooo….

I grew to become quite the rebellious kid.  I already knew deep down that I was BAD.  The things I loved were BAD so I must be BAD.  I didn’t totally buy into what the church was selling, so I must be BAD.  My beliefs never lined up with the Pentecostal beliefs of my parents, so I must be BAD.  I had friends who were different than me, so that stuck me in the BAD category as well.

Since I knew I was BAD already, I ran with it.  I was always in trouble at home. I was depressed and broody.  I ran away more than once.  Religiosity was always close on my heels.

Religion taught me to feel guilty about living.  You can’t watch that, you can’t listen to that, you can’t read that, you can’t talk to them, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t…. Of course, I did all those things anyway…. then felt even more BAD. Maybe I should just throw in the towel?

Living the Lie.

As time pressed forward, I began to lose some of that guilt.  Sounds good right?  Not so much. Along with that guilt, I also lost myself.  I began looking at people through the lens of religion.  I began thinking that I had it all figured out.  Those poor sinners out there, geez, they should stop being so BAD!  They should be more like the people on my list.

The small town I lived in did nothing but reinforce this mentality.  Most folks there dress the same, talk the same, pull for the same two teams.  Different = BAD.

Sure I wanted EVERYONE to come to our church.  I wanted everyone to be GOOD.  I wanted everyone to be HAPPY. I also wanted EVERYONE to CONFORM!  In order to be good, or happy for that matter, you had to conform.  That was the rule.  You had to mindlessly follow everything that your fearless leaders told you.  From the words you spoke right down to the clothes you wore.

I wasted so much of my life judging others.  Imitating people I thought were “good”. Complaining about differences.  Labeling. Being closed-minded.

My guilt, though lessened, still remained.

Wake Up Wild Woman!

sleeping-women

Underneath the religious facade, lay the real Kristal.  The wild woman, the girl that loved nature, the astrologer, the dreamer, the lover of weirdos, she was still in there.  Knowing this, led to more guilt.

It didn’t happen all at once.  I can’t even tell you when I really began to break free, but I did.  The wild woman was tired of being suppressed.  She was trying to break out of her prison.

What?!?  Leaving religion behind?!  Let me just tell you that in my family, in the Bible belt, in a world of conformists, this is FROWNED UPON. I will also tell you that change is HARD!

Overcoming thought processes that I have had my entire life takes effort.  The prison walls were high and thick…but thankfully they are coming down.  Piece by piece.

As the conforms of this religious mind-set slowly fade, I am awakened more and more.

I now find comfort in my beliefs.  I no longer feel the need to judge or label someone based on their religious affiliation.  I am freeing myself daily from the negative prison of religious, unjustified guilt that had been a fixture for so long in this brain of mine.

This continues to be a process, but I am so thankful that now:

I am free to come to my own conclusions.  I am free to research and find my own truth.  I am free to accept myself and others for who they really are.  I am free to THINK.  I am free to ACT.  I am free to LIVE.

I am breaking FREE.

Progress Not Perfection

Success…

Amazing.  Awesome.  Fantastic.  Incredible.  Invincible.  Inspired.

These words describe what I felt like after reaching my weight loss goal and becoming a personal trainer.

My life was completely changed by fitness.  I felt younger, happier, healthier…just plain AWESOME!

Years passed…

Obsessed. Critical. Self-deprecating. Labeling. Judgmental.

These words are what I allowed myself to become.

Never Enough

For YEARS I struggled with the issues above.  Instead of focusing on my accomplishments and how awesome I was feeling, I focused on my weaknesses and my feelings of inadequacy.

In my eyes, I never measured up.  I was never fit enough.  My arms: not defined enough.  My butt: not firm enough.  My stomach: not flat enough.  I needed more muscle.  I needed a lower body-fat percentage. I needed a better tan.

Nothing was ever ENOUGH. I was never enough.

Due to my constant need for comparison, I began drowning in negative thoughts.  I compared myself to every female I saw.  Ladies at Target, chicks in magazines, fitness competitors, skinny chicks, muscly chicks, girls at my gym, ladies at the grocery, TV stars…. You get the picture.

comparison-is-the-thief-of-joy

So, I trained HARD in the gym.  Is that a bad thing?  Not necessarily, but…

Working out TOO hard or TOO often can be a bad thing.  Your body tells you when it’s had enough…mine was screaming for me to slow down, back off, REST!!  I just wouldn’t listen.  This mentality landed me a couple lovely shoulder and back injuries that haunt me to this day.  If only I had listened to my body, these injuries were entirely preventable.

My unhealthy obsession continued to grow.  I began to weigh myself… EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  If the scale had moved up…AT ALL…I would begin to panic, or feel like a failure.  Eventually, once a day was not enough.  I began to weigh myself every time I stepped into my bathroom!

I felt as if I had something to prove.  I was vocal about health and fitness. I ate healthy and made sure everyone knew.  I drank TONS of water.  I downed protein shakes. Ate loads of veggies.  Took my vitamins. Timed my meals. Planned my workouts in advance.  All the while, making plenty of time to judge others who weren’t as “dedicated” or “healthy” as I was.

Still despite all of I effort, it was never enough.  At least not in my mind.

I constantly felt like a failure.

Eating a bad meal? That one bad meal would ruin my whole day.  Eating ANYTHING not considered “healthy” made me feel an overwhelming sense of guilt.  I would berate myself.  I’d call myself names while looking disgustedly at my reflection.

My thoughts: “Ooooooo, you had a piece of chocolate cake?!?!  Throw in the towel, fat kid!”

Missing a workout?  I would worry about the weight I would put on because of that missed workout.  Missing one workout made me feel like a phony.

My thoughts: “Personal Trainer?!?  You can’t even get your own ass to the gym!  You are a joke!”

I had an ALL or NOTHING mentality.  If I failed miserably at one meal, I’d follow up with even crappier eating choices the rest of the day.  If I missed a workout, I would miss five.  Makes sense right?!?!  (Why the heck do we do this crap to ourselves??)

your-journey-toward-your-health-goals

Why???

What started out as a journey to freedom, became my own personal prison.  I was not free to live.  I had to stick to a certain diet.  A certain workout.  A certain number on the scale.  A certain persona.

At some point, I began to come to my senses.  I began to think, WHY?  Why am I so concerned about how other people view me?  Why am I so hard on my body?  Why is this no longer fun for me?  I was letting my comparison mentality rob me of who I was.  Of my goals.  My desires.

My health and fitness journey began as a way for me to better MYSELF.  Not to impress anyone else.  I go to the gym for me!  I eat well for me!

My journey is just that…MY journey.

People-pleasing used to run very deep in my DNA.  So it’s a disease that I’ve had to work hard at curing. I am slowly, but surely, cutting this mentality out of my life. Trying to measure up to someone else, trying to meet someone else’s expectations, trying to be someone you aren’t…All those things are ridiculous, and not to mention, EXHAUSTING!!!

Shaking off that mindset, feels like coming alive.  Many of us live daily under the weight and baggage of social constraint.  Why?  Why do we let society dictate our “norm”?  Have you seen the state of our society today?  WHY would we want to let THAT dictate who we are?!?!?!?

News Flash:  This isn’t high school anymore.  Time to leave the childish thought processes behind.  Time to grow up. Time to live life for YOURSELF!  Who the hell cares if you’re the cool kid?  Who cares if you are the most good-looking? Who cares if you are the strongest? Fittest? Most disciplined? Who told you that you had to be defined by a number on a scale?

So what if you don’t look/act like everyone else.  You are YOU!  You are not better than anyone, and there is NO ONE better than YOU!

just-be-you

Finding Balance

Ongoing theme of my life at the moment = “Finding Balance”.  Why do I want balance so much?  A balanced life = a happy life. Sounds easy enough right?  Ha!

In order to find balance, I had to completely change.  Not my diet.  Not my workouts.  Not my beauty routine.  Instead the thing that needed the most change was my mindset.

I began to view my life as a whole.  Fitness and nutrition are just two of the puzzle pieces that make up my life.  Just two words in the definition that is Kristal.  I am so much more.  Taking a step back, looking at the big picture, makes it much easier to see where adjustments must be made.

I want a life filled with peace and happiness.  I want a life that makes my heart smile.  I found that the negative vibes I was drowning in were coming directly from me.  My own thoughts toward myself and my body were poisoning my life.

So I threw out the scale (ok,ok…it’s still around, just not easily accessible).  And now, instead of beating my body up about not looking up to par, I thank my body.  I began to allow myself to feel comfortable in my own skin.  I accept that I am flawed.  We all are.

It’s ok.  I’m ok.  You’re ok.

The key, to overcoming this negativity, lies in knowing you are amazing.  Your body, no matter the shape or size, works miracles for you every day.  Mine has done some pretty awesome stuff:  run miles, jumped hurdles, hiked a few mountains, and given me five amazing kids.

Balanced Eating

Here’s a secret: there is no miracle diet.  No juice cleanse, no Dr. Oz concoction, no cabbage soup or lemon drink  is going to make you healthy.  You may lose a pound or two, but nine times out of ten you are gonna gain those pounds back and they will bring their friends. You’ll end up weighing MORE than you did before starving yourself in the name of “detox”.

Your body needs FOOD. Eating is a GOOD THING!  Just remember…. Find balance…

For me balance in nutrition is not about finding the perfect diet.  Instead it’s about being mindful of my choices.  I try to eat whole, healthy foods on the reg.  I stay hydrated and I still take my vitamins (just not the 52million supplements I thought I needed before).

The difference is, I also allow myself to indulge in the occasional chocolate cake, Starbucks coffee, and slice (or two) of pizza, WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY!!  I allow myself to live. (Funny, now that I allow myself to eat these things without guilt, I don’t eat them nearly as often!  Mind over matter?  Who knows…all I know is I LOVE that it is working for me!)

We are all SOOOO different.  That’s the beauty of life.  What works for me, may not work for you and that’s OK!  Find what works for you, find what balance looks like in your eating habits and roll with it!!

Perfection is a Myth

Before I wrap up this post, I want to let you in on one more secret.

Perfection doesn’t exist. 

We are all human, it is in our very nature to be flawed.

Not one person, on this Earth, is perfect. 

I have a friend who runs an awesome personal training studio in West Georgia.  His motto is, “Strive for progress, not perfection”.  I LOVE THAT!  I’ve made it one of my mantras.

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Progress!!  It’s all about the progress…Keep striving for progress.

Maybe you aren’t the super fit guy/gal at your gym.  Maybe you’re not be the skinniest person in your circle of friends.  Maybe you LOVE pizza and ice cream way too much.  Maybe you’re not be at goal weight.  Maybe you aren’t society’s idea of beautiful.

Let me tell you right now…

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!!*

(*Unless you are ugly on the inside, that’s an entirely different can of worms…a post for another day? Ha!)

What matters most is…YOU are YOU.  Be true to who you are.  If what you are doing is not making you happy, STOP doing it.  If the people that you are associating with don’t see your worth, find a NEW circle of support.  You are in charge of your life.  Stop letting society and negative thought patterns tell you otherwise.

Fail, Fail and Fail Again

My last tidbit of wisdom on this topic: Don’t be afraid to fail.

We all fail.  We all eat bad shit.  We all skip workouts.  We all have bad habits.  We all struggle.  It’s OK!!!

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Don’t let your short-comings stop you from being who you were destined to be.

You my friend are DESTINED to be happy, healthy and balanced: Mind, Body and Soul!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Inspirational Quotes from Buddha

Confession:  I AM A QUOTE JUNKIE!  Seriously.  I love quotes.  Since I was a little girl I cannot count the number of notebooks that I have filled solely with quotes.  Strange?  Maybe.  Truth is, I STILL DO IT!!!  Yep.  I do.

Some days I just need some motivation.  Other days I need to know that someone else has felt the same way I am feeling.  Then there are days that I just need the beauty of another’s words rolling off my lips.  Ok, ok, is that a little to artsy, and weird?  Maybe that is true too.

When I am down, when I am lonely, when I am emotional, when I feel lost, when I feel infinite…all of these are times that I find myself reaching for the quotes.  Quotes bring me peace, motivation, new mantras, new outlooks.  I just love them ok?!?!

I’ve been reading a lot on Buddha and his thoughts.  His quotes are classics.  I know that some of these will be familiar, but I hope that you find motivation for your mind, body and soul in # of my favorite Buddha quotes

#1

“The mind is everything.  What you think you become.”

#2

doubt

#3

“In the sky, there is no distinction of east & west; people create distinctions out of their own minds & then believe them to be true.”

#4

candles

#5

“The darkest night is ignorance.”

#6

universe

#7

“True love is born from understanding.”

#8

peace

#9

“If your passion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”

#10

conquer

#11

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”

#12

chaos

#13

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”

If you haven’t OD’ed on quotes yet, check out 10 more quotes from the ol’ Enlightened One!

 

 

My Fitness Journey: Part Two

I’ve been a personal trainer for 10 years now…whoa…. it’s been a minute!

Thanks to personal training I’ve had the pleasure of working with some pretty cool folks! I landed my very first personal training job working for two professional bodybuilders John DeFendis and the late Mat DuVall (…talk about an intimidating interview! These guys are HUGE!). I owe my start in the business, and a lot of knowledge about training/nutrition, to them.  They gave me a foundation that to this day remains timeless.  In a world of fitness fads, they taught me that new isn’t always better.

Many trainers and individuals have served as inspiration for my fitness journey.  Each and every one of them pushed me to break past intimidation and reach for what I wanted out of life.  There is one trainer that does happen to stand out from the rest…

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Love this guy!

I met my handsome husband, Brent, at the gym.  He was a fellow trainer, just some crazy guy that tended to loiter in my office a little too long.   He and I began working out together and to be honest I stole a LOT of training ideas from him (shhhh it will be our secret).

Fact is, no one has been more inspiring/encouraging to me than my hubs, Brent (note: no one has ever driven me more crazy either!).  He has taught me tons in our crazy life together. He helped, still helps me, face my fears. My fears of not being good enough.  My fears of being left behind.  My fears of other’s opinions.  He taught me it was ok to fail (in & out of the gym).  He held my hand and led me to accept myself for who I was.

Enough of the sappiness…he also taught me proper form, weight-lifting technique, how to use hand wraps, the importance of having a decent spotter and a TON about eating to be lean. Brent is an old-schooler when it comes to fitness.  If you wanna know how to get the best physique quickly and efficiently he’s your man! He is responsible for the fact that I am, and forever will be, a lifter at heart. I mean for real, I like the movie Pumping Iron.  I blame him completely.

I have lazy days (ok, weeks).  I am a real person (with real shit to deal with). I work a full time job. I am no longer able to spend hours and hours at the gym.  But…

I still love all things fitness! While Brent is an old-school iron pumper.  I am random.  Especially in fitness!  I get bored with the same ol’ routines, same ol’ classes, same ol’ results.  I am constantly switching things up.  I am a lover of Crossfit, Yoga, Zumba, Kickboxing, Boot Camp, Bodybuilding, Tabata, Cycling, Hiking, etc.

I have recently been slacking off in my eating and exercise routine!  What a difference in how I feel.  I am dragging!!  I am logging off now, I have a hot date with my stairs…Look for a full body stair workout post soon!!!

I hope that by sharing my story I can inspire someone else to push past the fear! Take charge of your life! If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

Give me a shout out! Tell me about your fitness routines!

 

 

Fitness Journey: Part One

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (ok maybe just one state over from where I am right now) lived a chick who NEVER had ANY weight issues.  She had never given THOUGHT to working out at a gym.  Then the UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED!!!!  The girl had kids!  Her body turned into a stranger!  She was overweight, unhappy, unhealthy and was clueless as to how to deal!!!

Yep, you guessed it…I’m the chick.  After the birth of my third kid (I have 5 total! They all ROCK!) I got tired of being tired.  You feel me?? I hated to look in the mirror.  I felt worn down all the time.  I had to do something, but what?!?  I tried a million workout videos and just as many quick weight loss schemes.  I would lose a few pounds but then put it back on.  Depression, a presence I have dealt with since the age of 18, began to tighten its grip.

I was either going to fight back or give in to the darkness.  I chose to fight.

I was going to DO THIS!  I was going to lose the weight and be a hot mama!  I headed to the local YMCA.  I joined, did a short cardio session.  Then I went home and didn’t return for another month!  I had three young children at home to deal with.  I had more important things to think of.  I had places to be. I had a plethora of excuses and let me tell you, I used them!

The truth is, I was terrified of the gym.  Saying I was intimidated would be an understatement!  I had never even SEEN most of those machines so of course I had NO IDEA how to use them!!! There were days I put on my gym clothes, got in the car, drove to the gym. Only to sit in the parking lot for 10 minutes before deciding to turn around and go home.  It took multiple times to actually step my foot in the door, but I DID IT.

I found a comfortable elliptical in the corner out of the way.  That became my go-to spot at the gym.  It was there that I became a cardio queen!!  I was killing it on that thing!!  I starting losing a little weight & I was digging the weight loss but it was not a quick process.  I was growing increasingly bored in my corner spot.  Lucky for me, I caught the eye of a couple trainers.  These two took me under their wing & let me join in on their personal workouts.  They poured knowledge out and I soaked up as much as I could!

Those two changed my life.  That small act of kindness, allowing me to join their workouts, was pivotal in my life.  Kindness has a tendency to produce some pretty awesome shit!

I began to LOVE the gym. It became my refuge.  I could take my frustrations and fears there & leave them!!  I felt great, like I could conquer anything.  For the first time in my life I felt comfortable going to the gym!! GO ME!

I lost the weight I wanted to lose and then some.  I went from being overweight, unhappy, defeated to being healthy weight, energetic and happy! From a size 14-16 to a size 4-6.  I didn’t have to dread getting dressed!!! Wooo hoooo!!!!  I wanted to pass along that kindness I had been shown, so I became a trainer myself.

Hope sharing this helps someone else!  If I can do it YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!

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Tell me about your own successes/failures.  What are some of the fears you are in need of conquering??