Quote of the Day

Today, I want to introduce a new series to the blog, which will host specific quotes that inspire me and that I hope will have the same effect on you. My entire life I have loved reading and am incredibly moved by the power of words. Morning quiet time spent with my Bible brings about feelings of calm throughout my day, where as motivational fitness quotes I find on Instagram get me fired up to hit the gym and push through a grueling workout. I recently began reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is a book all about utilizing our innate creativity; and do you know what this book has taught me…. that I am not very creative!!

But, even still, the words of the book itself have moved me to realize that while I will never the be one to write the great American novel, I can bring the words that so inspire me to those who choose to read my blog. Each week, I will pick a quote that has effected me in some way, written by someone far more talented than I, in hopes that I will encourage others go to a library, get on your Nook, borrow books from your grandma and let the words run through you and encourage you to make your life as beautiful as the sentences that you read.

QOTD (Quote of the Day)

“People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under.” -Charles R. Swindoll

Wow, how can anyone read these words and not me moved to do something epic with their life? I chose this because I have recently been dealing with the topic of entitlement and I feel as though our society has grown up to believe we are entitled to everything, and that working hard for anything is beneath us. Heaven forbid we have to put in time, energy, money, sacrifice or initiative.

I encourage you, and even more myself, to refuse to give up, to take these words and apply them to your goals, dreams and passions. If you want to be an athlete, is the reward not worth the effort? If you want to be an engaged parent, if the result not worth the struggle? Even if everything we even wanted could be laid at our feet, would it be as sweet if we did nothing to work for it?

I posted previously that I have a dream of opening a non-profit gym which helps to train at risk youth for a career in the health and fitness industry. I am currently a social worker who just enjoys working out and training other people. I have no experience running a business and a non-profit at that. But knowing all of this, does not mean that I should not pursue this dream. I think of all the non-profits that are out there now that serve the most amazing purpose and I have to believe that not every one was created and run by a business major or someone who has a degree in non-profits. I have to believe that not everyone who every helped others waited around for the perfect opportunity to fall in their laps, but that they refused to settle and push through circumstances that are not in your favor. So I will follow the words of Charles Swindoll and I will visualize what I want to achieve and continue to strive to soar.

If you wish to read the book of which this quote was derived from, I personally read it in Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure, which is not the original source, but it was a wonderful book that I have read multiple times through. Candace is a devout Christian and this book a a faith based book on her journey to health and advice to the readers on getting healthy, the Biblical perspective of health living and personal antidotes.

Please let me know if this quote speaks to you or if there are any dreams that you wish to pursue, but maybe haven’t yet.

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Comparison

Ok, today I want to address a topic that I am sure is being discussed ad nauseam, but regardless, I feel the need to talk about it, if for no other reason than the fact that I need to acknowledge this struggle in my own life. The issue of comparison and the “comparison trap” is more prevalent than ever in our society. I often read the quote “comparison is the thief of joy” and I fear that this is the case for many of us and I believe that there has to be a way for us to escape this self induced trap. But first, let me give you some back story as to why this has become such an issue in the forefront of my life right now.

I am confident that many people out there can relate to this, but I have a friend, who happens to be the kindest, sweetest, happiest, purest and most outgoing soul I have ever met. I enjoy her presence more than I can describe and I always leave our conversations with a new found light in my soul! However, a few moments after that, I am left with a sad feeling, which I can most accurately describe as envy. I find myself wishing that I possessed these characteristics myself and feeling less than. I begin analyzing my interactions with other people and wondering if they leave our conversations feeling the same way, or if it was just another interaction that will soon be forgotten in the chaos of everyday life. I feel as though I am lacking traits that I so admire and that maybe the Lord isn’t shining through me the way He is through her. And on top of all that, I then feel guilty that I envy a person that I care so deeply for. Can you imagine all these feelings running through your head each day, how exhausting!

I have done a good share of soul searching, prayer, quiet time and brainstorms to try to figure out how I can resolve this issue. What can I do to be more like her? But then, I read a Bible verse one morning while doing my quiet time. One verse, on one morning, on one day and it shook me in its simplicity.

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” Matthew 5:16.

I am not meant to be like her, and if I am being completely honest, it isn’t some personality trait that she owns, or that I lack, that I was in envy of. I see the Lord through her and I am drawn to that. I do not need to look like her, talk like her or be like her, I need to be more like our Father. It is Him that I see through her and that is what my focus should be. I possess all the personality traits that I need because He gave them to me when He created me.

I realize that a lot of the comparison that is in this world is over aesthetics, money, belongings, lifestyles or other physical things, but I urge you to dig deeper to discover that you shouldn’t take your envy at face value all the time. Maybe you envy the super thin girl in the bikini, not because of her physical body, but because of the confidence she exudes. Maybe you envy the family member that makes a lot of money, not because of their possessions, but because of the calm and comfort they appear to have. Maybe you are not actually envious of the vacations your friend is taking, but of the sense of adventure that they have.

I do not believe we need to envy anyone, because we are equipped with exactly what we need to be exactly the person we are meant to be. Take those pangs of comparison and use them for your benefit. Sometimes the things you envy in others, might just be an eye opener for something you have inside you already, but you are failing to prioritize.

If comparison is the thief of joy, then surely self love is the definition of success. Love yourself, love others, remain humble and never settle for less than you were created to be!

Thank you for listening to the deeply personal musings of my mind, and I hope this leads you to learn what comparison you might be letting weigh you down!  IMG_2447

Workout Wednesday (Being the Fit One)

With summer time here and bikini season well under way, I wanted to talk about something that I have struggled with for the past several summers. In my group of friends and family, I am considered the fit one. Everyone knows I workout all the time, eat healthy and train others and my body is a continuous topic of conversation. I’m always getting asked questions about diet, workout programs and weight loss. I’m also constantly being told how great I look, healthy, skinny or sometimes told that I’m the biggest they have seen in a long time (which is a real punch in the gut). Holding this role within my tribe feels amazing! I feel successful as an athlete and a wellness advocate and hold the title with pride…. 90% of the time.

But now its summer, where everyone is in bikinis, tank tops and short shorts and my body is put on display. In addition to that, we are attending numerous cookouts, pool parties and ball games where I am out of my routine. While these events should be exciting to me, I have a sense of dread in my heart and my brain because I have to mentally prepare myself to be evaluated, quizzed and judged.

Now, I don’t believe that people do this intentionally or with ill intent, and I obviously give it more thought than they do, but it is a stressful situation none the less. I wear some shorts and people comment on my legs and I wear a bikini and assume everyone is focusing on my stomach. And worse, I eat something that is not the norm for me, and everyone gasps in shock and asks questions about why I’m eating that, and if I have given up on eating healthy. Even though it is my body, I feel an obligation to maintain a specific body image, to line up with everyones perception of me and I feel an obligation to eat a certain way all the time, because that is what people have come to expect.

But the truth is, that no one pays as much attention to me as I do to myself, and even when they are looking at my body or food choices, they are fleeting thoughts for them, even if they stay in my head all day. So, in order to protect myself from these traumatic events, I have come up with some defenses that keep the anxiety slightly more at bay. Now, I feel the need to emphasis again, that others are not the problem; the problem is in my own head, so when I call these events traumatic, it is not because others are causing me harm, but that I have created this situation for myself, so please don’t fear other peoples judgement. Please take these tips are ways to be kinder to yourself.

Photo Credit by: Lance O’Neal Photography 

1. Prepare a comment for when people ask you about your health/fitness/diet. For instance, if I decide to have a glass of wine or eat a cookie, and I am asked repeatedly, “oh, I thought you only ate clean foods” or “are you not on your healthy diet anymore,” I have prepared statements that make me feel safe and not have to explain something about my eating that people probably don’t care about anyways. I tend to respond with things such as “I still enjoy eating healthy, but i also indulge from time to time” or “I’m not on a diet, I just choose to eat health when I can and splurge when I choose”.

2. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Don’t dress in clothes that you think other people expect you to wear but rather, wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident and you will automatically be more attractive. Confidence is beautiful. And besides, you don’t want clothes that are too tight, too baggy or don’t fit right, because then you will focus on that the whole time and be distracted from the people and events around you.

3. Focus on building memories and engaging with others. I used to plan what I would eat before, during and after an event and I would be thinking about food or not drinking alcohol the whole time the event was taking place. By the time I left, I would not remember a single conversation that was had and I would feel awful about myself for being so consumed with thoughts of body image and food. Now, I make it my mission to make memories. I listen to what my body wants and don’t over plan. I make conversation with people I care about and choose topics that make my heart happy. Before I do something, like drink alcohol, make my plate or talk to someone, I ask myself if doing this will make me happy or make me a good memory, and if the answer is yes, than I do it with no guilt associated.

4. And most importantly, make decisions for yourself and don’t worry what other people are thinking. Most of the time, your assumptions of what others are thinking is way worse than it really is. Also, even if they are thinking something about you, who the heck cares.

These sound like fairly easy steps, but for anyone who has struggled with this issue realizes how difficult these really are. Choose one step at a time if you would like or just dive in head first, but whatever you decide, give yourself grace.

Workout Wednesday (Goal Digger)

Ok, the title of this post might throw you off a little bit, because I am not going to give you tips such as making SMART goals, about how to make goals realistic, or how to set time frames. I think our society has become very goal driven, which I am a firm believer in, but we are setting our sights on the wrong things, which in turn, makes our goals inadequate.

When I had my youngest son and had arrived at the decision that I wanted to get into the best shape of my life, I set goals for myself to give me something to work towards. I knew that without something to look forward to, I would never stick to my plan. So, at 155 pounds, I decided that if I got to 135, I would have reached my goal and kicked some serious butt. I made slow changes in my eating habits and scheduled workouts to keep myself accountable. I inched down to 140 and thought that I could probably get even lower than 135, so I changed my goal to 125. This pattern continued to encompass a smaller pant size and a lower and lower weight. If you have read my previous post (), you will know that I was never satisfied in terms of my weight until I stopped caring about my weight. I kept altering my goal because the goal should never have been a number on the scale.

Now, I am not so self righteous and preachy that I am going to tell you that the weight on the scale doesn’t matter. Being too over weight can have serious consequences on your life, ranging from physical health issues and illness to personal and relational issues. But, I believe that in regards to your fitness journey, the weight is of least importance.

So now, I continue to set goals for myself because I know the type of person that I am and without something to work towards, I get aimless and lack drive. Currently, my goal is to achieve scorpion pose in my yoga practice and it is definitely challenging me. Other goals I have set for myself are to complete a half marathon, squat my body weight, do handstand push ups, join and be successful on a coed soccer team and to do a full day of excursions on a vacation without struggling. Some food related goals have been to give up dairy for a month, switching to one cup of coffee a day and cutting out processed carbs. These are real life goals, that are achievable through dedication and leave you feeling great about yourself, without the guilt and shame associated with weight.

Scorpion

I am fully in support of goal diggers, as long as you are digging for the right goals! What are some of your current goals?

Week of Fearless Workouts

Happy Sunday.  I don’t usually upload blogs on Sundays, however, I am making an exception because I want to bring you guys a week of free beginner 10 minute workouts.  I have several people tell me that they want to work out but they just can’t seem to start.  Well, this week, I am challenging everyone, including myself, to incorporate these 10 minute workouts not your day.  You can do it right when you wake up, before bed or before your shower. If you want to challenge yourself or you are a experienced in fitness, you can add these workouts to the end of your own workout routine, add weights or do it a few times through instead of just once.  These workouts require no equipment, minimal time and can be adapted to any skill level.  I will post demo videos on my Instagram account (@fearlesswellness), so feel free to check in each morning for the workout of the day, or you can just look at the list below and do the workouts.  Let me know that you have done the  workouts by using the #weekoffearless and we can all hold each other accountable.  Good luck on your week of fearless workouts.

Monday: AMRAP 5 minutes

Circuit 1
7 – 3 Quarter Squats
7 – Knee Push ups
7 – Back Extensions
Circuit 2
7 – Sumo Squats
7- Tricep Dips
7 – Sit ups

Tuesday: One minute each, twice through

1. Reverse Lunges
2. Arm Circles
3. Scissor Kicks
4. Left Leg Dead Lift
5. Right Leg Deadlift Wednesday: One minute each, twice through

Wednesday: One minute each, twice through

1. Plank Toe taps
2. Reverse Hyperextensions
3. Left Side Leg Lift
4. Right Side Leg Lift
5. Dolphins

Thursday: AMRAP 5 Minutes

Circuit 1
7- Cursty lunges
7- Tricep Push ups
7- Elbow Plank Twists
Circuit 2
7- Glute Bridges
7- Superwoman Push ups
7-Plank Walk Outs

Friday: One Minute each, twice through

1. .Front Kicks
2. Right Side Plank
3. Left Side Plank
4. Side Lunges
5. Plank Shoulder Taps

Foodie Friday (Tips for Healthy Vacation)

Today, I want to share my tips to enjoy your vacation to the fullest, which is equal parts physical health as mental health.

To start with, keep some part of your normal routine. If you are anything like me you are very set in your routine and it helps you keep your sanity. When I am on vacation and nothing is my normal routine it often causes me to eat in ways I normally would not. For me, when I’m on vacation I like to keep my mornings the same as it is when I’m at home. I wake up, work out, drink coffee, do you my morning Bible study and eat breakfast. While on vacation, things can become pretty chaotic, so to combat the feelings of unfamiliarity, which may lead you to make decisions you normally would not, I add in elements of my typical routine.

Coffee at the Lakehouse

 

Manage your fluids. First of all, when you travel, you are 100% more likely to be dehydrated. Partially from being out of your routine, but also due to changes in elevation sometimes. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day, at least half your body weight in ounces. On the other end of the spectrum, try to limit your alcohol to one to two drinks per day. Now normally I subscribe to the one to two drinks per week mentality, however, while on vacation, I allow myself more alcohol, but I still choose not to over due it. Drinking too much can lead to dehydration, poor eating habits and to hangovers, which take away from your experiences and time on your vacation. I come from a family who indulges in a lot of alcohol while traveling, and if that’s your preference, then by all means, but I prefer to be clear headed and enjoy the destination.

Wine

Finally, I make sure that I move intentionally every day. This does not mean that I workout every day, go for a run or go find a gym, but I am intentional about moving my body in whatever way sounds good to me that day. When I am home, I schedule workouts to hold myself accountable, but on vacation, I am more intuitive about my fitness. Sometimes that means finding a yoga or spin class near me, sometimes it’s just walking around downtown and shopping and sometimes hiking or biking in the mountains. I workout if I want to but I never force myself to workout, but I make a promise to myself to be active in some capacity every day.

Lake Yoga

I don’t make a lot of rules for myself or set high expectations for my health and fitness when I’m on vacation. I don’t count calories, track macros or monitor my heart rate. I make three promises to myself, that I will move my body, manage my fluids and keep some part of my routine, and I forget about the rest. And at the end of my day, if I can say that I did these three things, then nothing else that I chose to do matters and I have no guilt. Vacations are meant for feeling free and creating memories, please don’t ruin them by obsessing about your weight and your workouts! Let them instead motivate as to why you choose to be healthy, so that you can enjoy all the activities associated with traveling!

Let me know of any vacation plans you have coming up or the best vacation you have been on so far!

Workout Wednesday (Anti-Workouts for Vacation)

Hello all. I have missed this blog since I have taken a minor break to enjoy my family vacation in New Mexico for the last 10 days, but I appreciate your patience. I plan to type up an entire blog regarding the details of my trip, but for this entry, I wanted to walk through a few of the activities I did while on vacation for a workout. One of the best parts about vacation to me is that there are hundreds of opportunities to be active and physical.  You can get in great workouts without actually working out and your body gets a break from the routine it is used to.

To start with, one of my all time favorite activities that we did plenty of is hiking. Hiking is great because you can do it pretty much anywhere, but it is especially challenging in the mountains. Hiking was easy enough that my kids could come as well, but challenging enough that my calves and quads got a good burn and I definitely worked up a sweat. I added a little difficulty by carrying a back pack full of water and snacks for the family. The best part is that hiking is free!

Kayaking is another activity that I really enjoy and can be done at most vacation destinations, for a decently inexpensive price. I prefer the kayaking, which really works the arms, shoulders and back. My husband, however, chose to do the paddle boats with the kids and they loved it, as they got to help steer, but didn’t actually have to do the work of paddling. My husband reports that the paddle boats were a great workout, and that his only complaint was that you need to be with a partner that is of a similar weight, otherwise one person does a lot more work and the boat is difficult to steer.

Kayaking

Walking, shopping and touring historical parts of the town is another great form of activity, which anyone can do. I know it doesn’t sound like the heart pumping workout you may prefer, but you would be amazed how many steps you can get in during a day of sight seeing. This is also an easier activity for the whole family to do, as it doesn’t require extensive level of fitness to be able to do.

Some other things that we did while in New Mexico that can be done on most vacations are horseback riding, biking, swimming and of course rock climbing.

Horseback Riding

Mountain vacations will forever have my heart and be my preference. My sweet husband prefers beach vacations, but is kind enough to plan vacations around my preference most of the time. I love working with my whole heart and soul, but while on vacation, I use my surroundings and adventures to care for and move my body and focus less on the routines that I can do from home. Do you prefer mountain vacations or beach vacations?