Work in Progress

Should I Blame the Moon?

I have been slammed with SUPER intense emotions.  Crashing over me like waves.  I’m fine for a minute then, BAM, another hits. Maybe it was the full moon, the lunar eclipse, or the comet that passed a few nights ago?  Maybe it’s just where I am in life?

All I know for certain is…

I am becoming aware.

creig-crippen

I realize, to some,this sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo.  But it is honestly the state of my being right now.  Everything in me is changing, evolving…

Becoming More…

I am becoming more awake.  More aware.

Aware of the things I have let defeat me.  Aware of the thoughts that have held me prisoner.  Aware of the negativity that I allowed to permeate everything around me.

I am seeing with fresh eyes the things that suck up my time.  The things that suck up my soul.

I am becoming awake.

awakening

I am awakening to the collective unconscious.  The societal voices that become our inner monologues.

I am seeing that I have allowed those voices to steal my confidence, my joy, my passion.

I am awakening to the lies that I have believed simply because generations before me accepted them as truth.  I now cringe at the “that’s the way great-great-granny did it” mentality.

I am waking up to see that it is sometimes the comfort of the lies that hold us back.  We have become afraid to rock the boat. Some of us have let our own voice grow silent, adopting instead the voice of complacency.

I see now the time wasted, never to be regained, on the belief that we need to follow societal norms. We live in fear of doing something “wrong”, messing things up.

I see the lie of perfection. The desire for perfection, in all things, cripples us.  We want perfect hair before our pictures.  We need the perfect shoes for our outfits.  We won’t be happy with our body, with our lives, until we reach our goal(s).

I no longer believe the lie that we must “climb the ladder” to succeed.   The need for titles behind our names & signs in front of our parking spaces.  Just more lies.

I pray to never again be convinced of the importance of these pretensions.

Hopeful

I am hopeful that each day I will continue to become more aware, more awake.

I hope to become a better version of me each day simply by laying down things that no longer serve me and making room for new and healthy thought patterns and life habits.

I vow to escape the deception of perfection.  In fact, I will avoid striving for perfection at all. Instead focusing on growth in every area of my life.

I will be me bravely, with intentions of failing boldly in MANY endeavors.

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I have been awakened to the life force buzzing around us all.

The Most Important Thing

I have so many things to be grateful for in my life yet, this is the most important thing I have ever done. It is not easy to change your old thoughts, old habits.  It is not easy to let go of things that you identify as “yourself”, but it is so rewarding.

Striving to become more awake, more aware, has changed/is changing every aspect of my life.   I realize now, that striving to be the best version of me is so important.  It’s not selfish or self-serving.  Working on me, gives me the strength to be there for others.

This awareness has begun to overflow into every detail of my life.  Becoming a better me allows me to be a better mom, wife, friend….PERSON.

Stepping back from old thought patterns, becoming accepting of the way things are, letting in more light and love into my life…these are the things I am most grateful for today.

I am a work in progress.  I hope to always be a work in progress.

in-progress

*How much better a world would this be for our children if we ALL vowed to work on ourselves EVERY DAY?    

I’ve Been Waiting For You

life-is-what-you

Life Is What You Make It

I know you’ve heard it.  We’ve all heard it.

I had heard it fifty gazillion times.  I had read The Secret, I had read the scriptures about the power of the tongue.  I knew about speaking things that weren’t as if they were.  I was (still am) a quote junkie.  I had quotes taped all over our house.

Yet, even with all that knowledge floating around, even with inspirational quote overdose… for years my life remained a collection of trials, pain, suffering and lack.

I was barely keeping my head above water.

Until one day I couldn’t.  I just couldn’t tread water anymore….

drowning

I began to sink.  I sank and sank.  Deeper and deeper.

I felt like I was living in a hole.  My life consisted of going to work, then coming home to sleep. That was it.  That was my life.  I occasionally returned a text or call from a close friend, just so they wouldn’t send out a search party.  Other than that, I was a hermit.  I didn’t leave the house.  That would take too much energy.  On the rare occasion that I did find the energy, my anxiety was too fierce to allow me to leave the safety of my hermit shell.  I became so sad. And tired. I quit going to the gym.  My yoga mat, stored carefully in the corner of my bedroom, grew dusty from disuse.  I stopped drawing, I stopped journaling, I stopped painting.

I stopped living.

Life was passing me by.  With each day spent in my self-imposed prison, I grew more desperate.  I cried.  A lot.  I sat in the dark in my closet, one of the only places I could silence the anxiety.  I slept.  And slept.  Although no amount of rest or sleep was enough to combat my lack of energy.

I began to have scary thoughts.  Thoughts that said if this was all that life had to offer, I wasn’t sure I wanted it.  Thoughts that told me to just accept the fact that I was going to ride these repeated ups and downs forever.  I was worried about finances, I was worried about what I thought my career should look like, I was worried and guilted constantly by all my many failures.

Since checking out was just not an option (I have a basketball team of kids to think about!), checking into the nearest mental health facility seemed to be where I was headed.  I was at my breaking point.  I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I couldn’t stand my own self.

I am thankful that I had that though because, if I can’t stand myself…who is “I”?  This question would be posed (and answered) in a book I happened upon…

Perspective Shift

One day while mindlessly scrolling through the internet I discovered a video of Eckhart Tolle.  I can’t even tell you where I found it, or what he was saying, but I was intrigued.  Of course, Google was the first place I headed.  I read a tiny blurb about this book that Eckhart Tolle had written called Power of Now.  Typically, not one to make impulse buys, I did just that.  I ordered the book right then and there.

My life will never be the same.  I cannot tell you what that one little action has done for my life.  Eckhart Tolle led me to realize that I am not my mind.  That I can control my thoughts.  That I don’t have to be held prisoner.  That I can be free, that I can be awake.

Do I think that one book has all the answers?  No.  Do I think I have it all figured out now? No.

I am still working on me…I am nowhere near where I should be, where I want to be…I do NOT have it all figured out.

But for the first time in my life I am finally seeing the power of positivity first hand.  The change that comes when focus goes from the bad to the good.  The awesomeness that happens when I choose to be the watcher of my thoughts and emotions.

Since this tiny revelation, of being the “watcher”, BIG changes are happening.  EXCITING changes.  POSITIVE changes.  The grass seems greener, the sky bluer…I am able to let more just roll right off my back.  I am better able to just accept what is.  To lean into the discomfort and just breathe (sound familiar yogis?).

Big Dreams

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I worried that I would never find a way to be a mom, and a nurse, a student and still work on pursuing my passion (building my own company).  I didn’t know if that was even possible.  Was I being unrealistic?

As I began to shift my perspective.  I realized that everything was going to work out.  I realized that my dreams are big, but could be even bigger.  There are no limits on life except the ones we give ourselves!  I realized that I was going to take charge of my life.  I want to be limitless!  I decided I would take steps every day to get me closer to my goals.

One way or the other, I was going to keep pressing forward.  Being positive, being relentless in my pursuit of my purpose, watching my thoughts and emotions.

It’s Happening

Guess what guys?  It’s happening!!!! Positive vibes are coming at me from everywhere!  In fact, an opportunity landed in my lap just today that will bring much needed balance.   An opportunity that will allow me to continue my career, my education and pursue my passion.  In fact, I am sitting here, smiling like an idiot, in shock about it to be honest.

I cannot WAIT to receive more awesomeness into my life this year!!!!!!

The more I refuse to dwell on the negative, the more positive influences I welcome to my life, the more I am amazed!

My life has ALREADY changed in ways I never thought possible.  Doors are opening everywhere!

It’s like the Universe is saying, “I’ve been waiting for you”.  

sign

 

 

I Will Be A Failure

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“The single best thing you can do is EMBRACE FAILURE. Fail fast and hard and move on! You learn 10 times more from failure than from success.”

-Corey Townsend

This is the scariest, yet most freeing advice I have ever gotten.

First Step Is Admitting, Right?

Hello, my name is Kristal, and I am afraid of failure.

I shared my fitness journey and how I spent A LOT of time hiding in the corner of the gym, on the treadmill.  I had NO clue what I was doing, and I WAS AFRAID.  Afraid that if I lifted a weight I wouldn’t do it right.  Afraid I would look like an idiot.  I KNEW that I could never be comfortable in a gym.  All those skinny girls in spandex with perky booties, all those muscled-up men, all those health nuts.  They were intimidating!

I was AFRAID.  Afraid to try, afraid to fail.

It took someone holding my hand through the process, cheering me on, showing me that those “intimidating” people at the gym could care less if I looked like an idiot.  Showing me that even if they did care, it didn’t matter.  Showing me that this was about MY life, about making ME healthy.

Fast forward…. I now feel more at home in the gym than most other places.  It’s my retreat.  My therapy. My happy place.  I didn’t fail!  I worked hard, I listened, I read…I made it work for me!!  I took charge of my health.  I took charge of my body.

I found success in the health/fitness arena.  What I didn’t do was conquer my fear of failure.

Debilitated By Fear

My entire life I have dreamed of becoming a writer.  I have dreamed of owning my own business.  I have dreamed of traveling the world.  I have dreamed of making an impact by doing something that I am PASSIONATE about.

I am a chronic dreamer.  I have SO many ideas ALL the time.  What I lack is follow through.

Why is that?

Why have I not written the 101 novels that I have ideas for?  Why have I not written the 99 children’s books that I’ve dreamed up?  Why have I not started 3 companies?  Why have I not traveled?

I’ve been too afraid.

Afraid that this small-town girl who grew up in poor, rural, South Carolina would never have what it takes.  Afraid I was not “good enough” to be successful.  Afraid I was kidding myself with my crazy ideas and dreams.

I spent my life thinking that if I could just “get by” (have a steady job, a family, a decent car, a house instead of a trailer, some semblance of peace, etc.) that would be my life. That would mean I had “arrived”.

That was a lie.  A lie that I told myself.  A lie that I believed.  A lie that grew and grew until it became debilitating. I lie that I began to identify with. For years, I have let this lie destroy my life.

I have made many HUGE mistakes in my life.   I’ve felt like a failure as a person.  No matter how many successes I’ve had, no matter how many “good” things I’ve done, I could never view myself as “enough”.

Guess what?  I am realizing now, that I am NOT my past, I am NOT my depression, I am NOT my failures.

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I am WHOEVER and WHATEVER I decide to become.  All I have is NOW.  I can’t change the past.  I can’t change who I am.  What I can change is how I think and where I go from here.

I am determined to change my “stinkin thinkin”.  I am determined to chase my dreams RELENTLESSLY. I am determined to fail.

I realize now, that I am going to have to fail. More than once!  But guess what that means? It means…

I am going to TRY.  I am going to START. 

I am going to face my fears, and kick them in the teeth.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

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I will never be an author if I don’t WRITE.  I will never be my own boss if I don’t start TAKING ACTION to get me there.  I will never travel if I keep telling myself it’s not a possibility for me.

Guess what?? The hand-holding I needed to get off the corner treadmill….I still need it. We all do.  So I have started working on my circle.  Working on my average.  Working on surrounding myself with people who encourage me to chase my dreams.

I’ve realized that there is NO aspect of my life that should be passive.  I have to take charge of the energies I surround myself with.  I have to take charge of my goals by breaking them down into ACTIONS.  I have to take charge of my writing by…well, WRITING.

I am going to fail (over and over)…..and that is ok.  I will fail fast, and hard.  I will also be just as fast to get up, straighten my crown, and MOVE ON!!!

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Go ahead, get out there! FAIL hard and FAST, then MOVE ON!

Fail your way to greatness! 

What’s Your Average?

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“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

-Scott Dinsmore

 

Bam!  Truth bomb!

When I read this quote I had TONS of thoughts.  Thought I’d share a few:

Thought #1 –

There are not currently 5 people that I spend a lot of time with.  I’ve become quite the hermit lately.  I’ve battled depression and anxiety for the past couple months and when those dark times come, instead of doing what I know I should… reach out for support, I withdraw into myself and make as little connection with ANYONE as humanly possible.  There I stay, captured by thought and a feeling of continual angst.  Sounds fun right?!? Ugh.

I’ve got to get out more!

Thought #2-

My relationships with my loved ones are less than healthy. My relationship with my parents is strained, my relationship with my in-laws is distant (although they melt my heart and I would be lost without them), my relationship with Brent is a roller-coaster of emotion (he and I are opposites in MUCH, and while it is exciting, it is also a lot of work).  I’m not very close to anyone else in my family (in any sense, location included).

In fact, as I thought about this quote I realized that I am quite the loner.  Don’t get me wrong I love my alone time, but I think that is one reason I get trapped in my own head a lot.  This may seem like a negative discovery, but I am thankful for awareness.  I am thankful that I am discovering negative patterns in my life.  I am becoming aware!

Awareness is not always comfortable, but it is awesome!!

Thought #3 –

My favorite people in the whole world are such a random collective:

  • My “mom” – a Wiccan who lives in Florida. Haven’t been able to give her a real life hug in YEARS (I need to make that happen sooooooon), but she has been one constant in my crazy, crazy life.  She is my rock.
  • My spicy Puerto Rican – I can share the very deepest, darkest parts of my heart with her, and she loves me just the same.  Never any judgement.
  • My Boo – One of the first people to reach out to this struggling, hot mess of a pregnant chick (cough, cough…ME) that felt utterly alone after having recently moved. We’ve laughed and cried together. She makes my heart happy.
  • My BIG – A tattooed, wild-haired, vegan, earth loving, GIANT-hearted friend. No matter how long between contact our connection never fades. Love shines out of her!

The best people are the weird ones!

The ones who laugh BIG, who dream BIG, who love BIG.  The square pegs that REFUSE to fit in round holes.  The freethinkers.  The mavericks.

I am SOOOOO glad that my friends are all such strange folks!!!!!!

I wouldn’t have it ANY other way!

Thought #4 –

I am super blessed in the friend department.

There are so many more people who I hold dear.  So many people who have changed my life in positive ways.  As I contemplated my “average”, I caught myself thinking about how many people AMAZING people I have in my life.  Some I talk to regularly, most I don’t.  Some I haven’t talked to in years, yet they remain dear to my heart.  So many smiles as I think about these people.  So many amazing people I have the privilege to call friend.

I am reminded of the cheesy Girl Scout song that said, “Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”

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I’ve collected so much silver and gold  over the years.

Thank you to everyone I call friend!

Thank you for making me smile, even as I type this!

Thought #5 –

I don’t want my “average” to be average.

I’m done with thinking small.  I’m done with petty.  I’m done with people who don’t love big.  I’m done with drama.  I’m done with settlers.

This year I vow to find and surround myself with people that I want to be like when I grow up (still haven’t decided if I EVER will).  People who are making a difference.  People who are spreading love and light.  People who not only dream BIG, but are accomplishing BIG things.

I had a convo tonight with another freethinker.  We talked about settling.  We decided we have done too much of that in our lives.  I just kept saying, “There has to be more.”

I believe that with my whole heart.  There is more.  There is life with purpose.  There is life full of happiness.  There is a true North for each of us to follow.

Here’s to finding purpose in 2017!

Here’s to a new year full of dreaming and achieving GINORMOUS things!!!!

Here’s to my friends both silver and gold!

I love you all!!!!

the-best-people

 

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

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The Power of Now

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Live Your Legend

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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

 

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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food 101: Start a Food Journal

Food journals work!

When changing your eating habits you need stability, accountability, motivation, record of what works, etc.  Food journals give you all of that and more!

I personally use a food journal when I have a fitness/weight loss goal in mind.  When  my pants fit a little too snug, when my body feels “off” (and I’m feeling sick, or sluggish, or even depressed), when I OD on sugar…habitually… (I’m human…and I have a problem…first step is admitting right?), after one too many nights of dining out.  These are times that I reach for the trusty food journal.  My food journal hasn’t failed me yet!  (Although, I must admit I have failed my food journal…)

Q:What the heck is a food journal?

A:  Whatever you want it to be!

Do you keep a journal?  Have you ever?  Is your journal the same as it was when you were 12? Is your journal/diary the same as your siblings (come on, you know you have taken a peak at someone else’s diary…)?

Food journals are like any other kind of journal or diary = Unique to the individual using them.  They can be uber detailed, or scribbled onto a legal pad.  No matter the level of detail, a food journal is serves as a record of everything that your put in your mouth.  Scary thought? Maybe…but…

Are you a facts & figures type of person?  My husband is.  When he keeps a food journal he figures everything out…all the way down to percentages of food groups consumed each day!

Or are you like me?  You like the idea of organization but ALL those numbers are just TOO much to keep up with!

Doesn’t matter!  Either way you CAN BE SUCCESSFUL with a food journal!

Q:  What information should I include?

A.  Record of EVERY food item that crosses those beautiful lips of yours!

The most detailed food journal is USELESS, unless you are TRUTHFUL!  Be truthful with yourself.  There is a reason you are thinking about starting a food journal right?  Always remember your goals.

Do you want to lose weight?  Eat more protein?  Drink more water?  Stick to a vegan or vegetarian menu?  Do you need balance in your eating habits?

Don’t lose sight of why you are doing this.  With those goals in mind be sure that you include these facts for every entry:

  • Time of meal
  • Number of Portions
  • Food Item
  • Beverage

Those are the basics.   You can begin that simply.  You can also become more detailed, like my husband, by adding these facts to your entry:

  • Number of calories
  • Grams of proteins
  • Grams of carbohydrates
  • Grams of fat
  • Grams of sugar
  • Ounces of water

Q:  How will a food journal benefit me?

A: Three words:  Accountability, Reality Check, Motivation*

*(ok, so that was 4 words…three ideas?!? You get the point!)

Accountability:

As a personal trainer, I have seen the importance of accountability.  I know you’ve done it…we all have…

You get ready for the gym.  Suddenly the phone rings.  You get tied up on a phone call.  Well, it was a nice thought, but since my routine was interrupted by that phone call I will just skip the gym today….I will get back into the swing of things tomorrow…

If you are anything like me, tomorrow may come.  Or it may come a couple months from now.  Or it may never come.  Who cares?

Now take that same scenario and add accountability…

You get ready to meet your workout partner at the gym for your 8:30am, regularly scheduled, workout.  Suddenly the phone rings.  You explain to the person on the line that you are on your way to an appointment and you will have to return their call in an hour when you finish up…You head out the door, make it to the gym on time, hit the gym hard and leave feeling accomplished.

Accountability can make all the difference. Food journals are like workout partners.  Not only are you putting that food in your mouth, you are now responsible to write it down.  This simple act can make a huge difference in the way that we perceive food.

Reality Check:

My reality is….I eat bad shit.  Not all the time, not tons of it, but I still eat bad…on the reg.  Keeping a food journal is like someone standing beside me saying, “You really gonna eat that piece of chocolate cake?  Did you see how crappy you ate yesterday??”

“Knowing” what we have eaten, and seeing it written down in black and white are TWO totally different things!!!

There’s power in documenting your diet!  Power and control, but first there’s reality… IN YO FACE…saying THIS is what you are putting in your body.  This is the fuel that you have chosen.

Motivation:

One good choice leads to another.  If you make your workout, chances are you will eat healthier that day.  If you eat healthier, chances are you will make your workout.  When I make it to my yoga mat, I find time to meditate.  When I meditate, I find time for yoga.  Good things….good vibes…good foods…good brings more good….makes sense right?

Food journals can keep you motivated.  Along with my food journal entries I keep track of my progress.  What progress am I making towards my goal?  (Always keep those goals in sight…there is a reason you picked up your food journal) If my goal is weight loss, I record my daily weights.  If my goal is water consumption I record my intake with each entry as well as each day.  If my goal is balance, I go all in…I will then keep up with all the details and numbers that my husband utilizes on his food journal worksheet.  Use your goals to help you decide what information you will keep record of.

Questions? Comments?  I want to hear from you!  

Here’s a FREE (detailed) FOOD JOURNAL TEMPLATE for Excel:

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