Where did I (and my motivation) go??

Where did I (and my motivation) go??

First off, HI EVERYONE!! It has been a while and I sure have missed you! I hope you all are doing well and life is good! So where did I go and why am I back now you ask? Well, the long and short of it is, I got super uninspired, felt like I was not contributing anything worthwhile to you all, gave up on myself, and stopped writing. That is the most honest way I can say it.

Why am I back? Well because I am not a quitter!!

My site turned 5 years old last week and I got that nice little email from WordPress congratulating me on my anniversary. When I saw that email come in, I took it as a sign. I had been thinking about starting to write again over the last couple of weeks anyway, so I figured the universe was trying to tell me to just do it and as I am a big believer in listening to the universe, here I am again!

In thinking about what I wanted to write about for my first post back, I decided I should explore what happened to make me stop writing in the first place. As I was reminiscing about the last year or so of my life the one thing that really stuck out to me was how unmotivated I had become. This lack of motivation was not specific to writing unfortunately but extended to just about every part of my life including my workouts, my mountain biking, my job, schooling, relationships, etc. You name it, I haven’t been giving it my all in any area. Not even close.

So what happened to make my motivation wane exactly? To be honest, I am not exactly sure. I don’t think it was one thing or event that happened but more of a feeling that built up over months that I just wasn’t getting anywhere despite my best efforts. In essence, I began feeling like I was spinning my wheels and not making any forward progress. I started to doubt myself. Doubt my decisions. Doubt the value I was bringing to the people in my world including you all.

So what has changed recently to make me want to jump back into life? I really just decided that I didn’t want to be the kind of person who quit when things got hard. I have never been someone who doubted my own abilities or worth. I know I am capable. I know I am a hard worker. I know I can accomplish just about anything I set my mind to so basically, it was time to get off my butt and be that person again!

People become unmotivated for a variety of reasons. Like me, sometimes you just get uninspired. Other times maybe a lack of self-esteem plays a role. Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety can absolutely also cause us to become unmotivated. Whatever the reason behind it, there are a few ways I think we can combat it and get back on whatever path we may have stepped off. First and maybe most importantly:

Remember why you started!

I started this blog because I wanted to help people. I wanted to make getting healthier and happier something everyone and anyone could do no matter what their current situation. I wanted to share the pitfalls of my own health and wellness journey so that I might be able to spare someone out there the same trial and error I went through so they could get to the good stuff quicker. I never stopped wanting all those things out of this space, I just started feeling like I wasn’t really accomplishing it with the posts I was offering. I felt like I wasn’t telling you all anything you probably didn’t already know despite all of your kind comments and words of encouragement that I would receive every single time I posted a new blog article. This would be a great time to stop and say thank you, thank you thank you by the way for all of those kind words! They meant and still mean the world to me and they are a big reason I wanted to start writing here again!

So in thinking about starting to write again, other than wanting to reconnect with all of you, my motivation reignited when I realized that no two stories are the same. No one is me and if telling you all about my specific journey as it continues to unfold helps just one person out there feel like they are not alone or helps them to keep going when they may want to quit, then it is all worth it. This same logic can be applied if you start feeling blah about your workouts. Remember why you started. Remember your desire to live a healthier life. Remember the passion you had when you did that first workout after making the decision to do something to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. Hold on to that feeling. Keep it present in your thoughts and carry it with you, especially on those days when you have absolutely no desire to get off the couch and get that workout in. Remember your “why”, no matter what the situation, and hold yourself accountable to the person you were when you made that promise to yourself to go out and get it!

Stop being your own worst enemy!

Chances are you are wayyyyy harder on yourself than anyone else is. I know this is the case for me big time. My motivation waned greatly when I started doubting myself and second-guessing a lot of the decisions I had been making. I began feeling like I was making decisions that were not moving me forward in life but instead of forging ahead and continuing at least to try to make more positive changes, I basically froze and stopped doing anything at all. Recently I started realizing that making no decisions and continuing to stay where I was in life was making me feel worse than at least trying to do something to improve my situation. I started thinking about how I could learn from my mistakes instead of letting them paralyze me.

I also started talking to myself in a more positive and affirming tone instead of beating myself up for feeling like I wasn’t doing enough or the right things. The danger in always talking to yourself critically is oftentimes you translate that talk into behavior. If you start to believe you aren’t good enough or capable enough you may stop even trying. You might miss opportunities that present themselves either because you aren’t out there looking for them or you don’t pursue them when they do arise because you think you won’t be successful. Listen guys, you miss 100% of the chances you don’t take so why not put yourself out there and at least see what happens? I bet more often than not, you are successful and you may even surprise yourself with what you are able to accomplish. My main takeaway here is to go easy on yourself. Life is not always easy. Give yourself some credit, be your own bff and biggest cheerleader, and watch as you start to not only survive but really thrive!

Set some ATTAINABLE goals.

Start off slow when you are getting back into the swing of things. Sit down and really think about where you want to put your energy and how you are going to go about getting to where you want to be. Then write down some goals that have realistic timeframes attached based on what you decided you want to pursue. Keep that list where you can see it on a daily basis and use it to keep yourself on track and focused as you get back into whatever it was you had let fall by the wayside. For me, I have set a goal to write for a least 30 minutes every single day to start off with. I also decided to re-do the very first workout program that got me hooked on lifting weights in the first place, LIIFT 4. I am actually on the final week of the program, Week 6, and that spark that had dwindled a bit about weight training is definitely back! I not only feel stronger but can see my muscles coming back which has reignited that desire to keep lifting on a regular basis and getting those gains.

Goals help us stay focused and give us something to shoot for. They can also build back our confidence and help improve our self-esteem if we find ourselves, like I did, doubting our abilities. I also find that if I consciously decide I am going to do something and then write it down I am much more likely to follow through and complete the task. As silly as it may sound, I absolutely love the feeling of being able to cross something off my to-do/goal list at the end of the day. And like I said, start small. If all you were able to do today was get up and make your bed then celebrate that win for the day and tomorrow maybe try to do one more thing that makes you feel accomplished. The most important thing is you have a plan that is specific and attainable and that you work that plan to its conclusion. Then you can make a bigger and better plan and so on and so forth. Before you know it you are back in the saddle and once again able to conquer the world!

Allow yourself to take a break!

It’s ok to step away for a while if you need to. Sometimes you need that time away to reflect, to recharge, to realign yourself with your goals and aspirations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hitting the pause button. Just be careful that you don’t pause for too long. That is when a break becomes quitting. I was dangerously close to the quilting side of things before I pulled myself back and realized I had worked too hard on both this blog and my health to let anything or anyone permanently derail me. That being said, having taken the time away only reaffirmed for me that I was investing my time in places that were worth it and made me happy. I love writing. I always have. I love interacting with all of you. I love working out. I love lifting weights. I love riding my bike. I just needed to hit the pause button for a short time I guess to realize all of this.

Taking breaks, whether we are taking short breaks during the day, or longer periods of time away from something, helps us destress, refocus, and can even increase our energy and ultimately our productivity. I know another problem I have is going a million miles an hour for as long as I can and then suddenly burning out. I definitely had a case of burnout with some parts of my life over the last year so another important lesson I have learned is that I don’t need to accomplish everything all at once. I can go at a more steady, even pace, take breaks when I need to, and ultimately finish things that I have started in a more timely manner with my mental and physical health still intact. Everything doesn’t need to happen all at once, overnight. Allow yourself grace periods to reset every once and a while and chances are you will return and be even more productive than you were when you stepped away.

Ok ok enough about me! What have you guys been up to over the last couple of months?? Drop some comments below and let’s catch up! Also, if there is anything in particular you would like to see more of on this site I always appreciate your feedback!

xoxoxo – Beth

Stop being afraid to fail!

Stop being afraid to fail!

We all fail. Sometimes we fail big, something we fail small but inevitably we all fail at something at some point in our lives. Off the top of my head, right now, I can think of several things I have failed at over the years. Relationships, friendships, exams, even jobs, just to name a few….

The older I have gotten, though, the more I realize that while the word “failure” tends to have a negative connotation, I have learned so much from each of my own failures that that maybe failing isn’t so bad after all. While usually, at least initially, it kinda well sucks to fail at something, if you really stop to think about your own failures, haven’t you learned something pretty significant from each of those experiences? 

Maybe you just learn not to do that same thing again. Maybe you learn it is worth another shot but maybe not in the same manner you tried before. Maybe you learn what to look for and/or what to avoid the next time a particular situation comes around. Maybe you just learn that something isn’t right for you.  

Whatever it may be, I am hard-pressed to think of a time that I failed at something that I didn’t become a least a little bit wiser and more in tune with myself because of it. So, what else can failure teach us? For starters:

Failure Can Clarify Our Path

I wholeheartedly agree with the old saying, “When one door closes another one opens”. Failing at one thing can signal to us that maybe that thing we thought we wanted so badly wasn’t actually meant for us but perhaps there is something better waiting right around the corner. Sometimes you can put everything single thing you have into something or someone and in the end, it still doesn’t work out like you had hoped it would. Is it a tough pill to swallow? ABSOLUTELY! Do you sometimes feel dejected and even bewildered by the way the situation turned out? OF COURSE! Can you still learn a lot from enduring this kind of failure? SO MUCH!

This is a case where I believe life is telling you to reassess where you are putting your energy. It is saying, “hey great effort over there but look over here now!” Take all that glorious drive, ambition, and desire, and let’s put it somewhere that is better suited for you. This is also a great lesson on how to pivot instead of throwing in the towel. Just because one thing didn’t work out for, you doesn’t mean the next thing won’t. Don’t let one failure stop you from getting out there and finding what truly deserves your time and energy.  

Failure Can Reveal Our Strength

When we fail at something in life and then must deal with the repercussions of that failure, we are often forced to call upon that inner strength we all possess just to sometimes make it through and live to fight another day. But we do just that, don’t we? We fight. And in that fight, if we really stop to think about it, our true strength can sometimes be revealed. Even if we don’t know we are fighting and evolving and getting stronger, that is exactly what is happening behind the scenes.  

That realization very often is the exact thing we need to punch forward and either try, try again, or as I mentioned above, pivot and try something that might be better suited for us. And in those moments when the failure is fresh and the feelings of disappointment are raw, remember one thing, you have survived every single thing life has thrown at you up until this point, including all the really hard, sad, and trying things. You are strong. Probably so much stronger than you even realize so just get back up and continue to fight the good fight no matter how long it takes.

Failure Can Force Us Out of Comfort Zone…

If you really stop to think about it, what is so great about being in your comfort zone? Nothing grows there. Nothing new happens there. And while yes, it is comfortable, would you rather find yourself in the same place, day after day, month after month, year after year, or at least try, maybe fail, but try again to reach for your goals? For me staying stagnant is much worse than facing my fear of failure and at least being able to tell myself I made an attempt to better my situation.  

Real, true growth, can only honestly happen when we get uncomfortable after all. Even just practicing taking a few steps out of your comfort zone can teach you amazingly useful lessons on how to adapt, and deal with change, which is of course inevitable in life. If we fail trying something new, great, there are probably a million other ways to approach that problem or situation. Keep trying until you find the one that works.  

If you keep failing at something because you are doing it the same way over and over again, take a step back, realize what you have been doing isn’t working and force yourself out of that comfort zone and into a new way of thinking. I guarantee that getting out of that rut you might be in will spark new creativity, maybe reenergize your fight, ignite a possibly stalled motivation and maybe even see you accomplishing that goal or achieving that next step in life that you have been striving for.

Failure Makes Us Tough

Let’s face it….life can be hard. While there are so many wonderful and beautiful things all around us that we will experience in a lifetime, we also all go through periods that aren’t all sunshine and roses. One of the most important tools that failure can arm us with is toughness. Mental toughness, emotional toughness, and even physical toughness can all be gained by trying and failing and picking ourselves back up when it really counts. Failure can force us to pick ourselves up from the lowest point, dust ourselves off and get back on that proverbial horse after being bucked off one too many times. It can teach us that while success may not be immediate it will come if you just keep on trying different ways of getting there.  

It can also make us take an honest look at ourselves, take stock of the decisions we have been making, and recognize if we are the ones holding ourselves back. Being brutally honest with ourselves is seldom easy but failing enough times unavoidably leads to having to have those tough conversations where you admit to yourself that what you have been doing isn’t working. Taking responsibility for our own actions and failures isn’t easy but it builds character, resilience and in the end a much more transparent and sincere awareness of who we are and what we are capable of.  

Failing is never fun. In fact, sometimes it is downright painful. Did you ever try to climb a really tall tree when you were a kid and then took an unfortunate tumble when the top branches weren’t as sturdy as you might have thought? Yeah, OW! Have you ever trusted the wrong person and then ended up with a severely bruised if not broken heart? Yeah, that one really hurts! But in both those scenarios hopefully, you learned something which helped you in the future stay a little safer toughened you up for the next go of it. Failing teaches all kinds of really important and useful life lessons if we really stop to think about it. So let’s try to change the narrative a little bit on how we view it. Embrace the suck of it just a bit, keep your head held high, and learn the lesson that life is trying to teach you. I bet you will come out the other side a little happier, more self-aware, and even more bad a$$ than you went in!



Why am I not seeing results??

Why am I not seeing results??

One of the most frustrating parts of any fitness journey is when you feel like you have been busting your butt for a solid length of time but are not seeing the expected results. 

Sometimes this happens a few weeks into a brand-new fitness journey, sometimes it happens a few months or even a few years into it. For the purposes of this post, however, I am going to focus on when this happens soon after you have started or -restarted a new fitness routine.

On average, if you are consistently working out each week, you should start to see meaningful changes happening within 6-8 weeks. Considerable changes, we are talking about an overhaul of your body and fitness levels, take about 3-6 months. There are a couple of main reasons that you may be either slow to see results or are feeling like you aren’t seeing them at all aside from just not having been at it long enough. These reasons can include:

You Haven’t Fixed Your Diet 

The old saying, “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet” is so true and in my opinion probably one of the leading reasons you aren’t seeing results from the hard work you are putting in with your workouts. One of the most beneficial things you can do to start getting your nutrition in line is to cut out processed, packaged foods that are often loaded with extra sugar and salt and focus on eating whole foods as much as possible.  

A piece of advice when it comes to finding and incorporating whole foods into your meal planning is to shop on the outside isles of the grocery store and then cook as many meals as possible at home with those whole, fresh ingredients. Meal prepping for days that you are going to be on the go and need something already made and ready to eat to keep you from reaching for that bag of chips or candy bar is also key!  

Finally, I cannot overstate how important it is to get enough protein when we are talking about meeting and maintaining your fitness goals. Protein is highly important for not only repairing and rebuilding muscles after a workout, but the essential amino acids that protein sources like meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy provide help to build new muscle tissue and at the same time burn stubborn fat. On top of all that, eating protein with every meal helps you feel fuller for longer than just filling up on carbs and fat alone.  

If your nutrition is already in line, keep reading for a few more possibilities that may be holding you back…

Strength Training Isn’t A Priority 

This issue was a huge one for me at the beginning of my own health and fitness journey. I was hitting the gym at least 5-6 days a week, spending the majority of my time on cardio machines like the treadmill and elliptical and wandering into the weight room only when it was empty enough for me not to feel embarrassed for being in there in the first place.

Guess what? That approach did not work at all. While cardio is an important piece of any fitness routine, it shouldn’t be your only focus if you are looking to slim down.  

If you have been around my blog for a little while, you may remember I dedicated a whole post (#MBF) to this very subject….how building muscle through strength training is a great way to burn fat. Basically, the more muscle you are able to build, the more fat you burn, even while at rest! Who doesn’t want to burn fat even while you binging your current Netflix obsession?? Take a look at my #MBF post for more details on exactly how this works, but in the meantime, if you haven’t been hitting the weights or at least doing bodyweight exercises up until this point, start incorporating them into your routine now. If you are a little unsure about how to go about this, I have a few suggestions on this one also!

What ended up working for me was beginning to follow a weight training program I could do from home with just a few selections of dumbbells. I wanted to learn how to lift weights properly, with the correct form, and in an order which would be the most effective use of my time, so I did a little research and ended up diving into the program, LIIFT4 (click here for a FREE sample workout of this awesome program!). I am not exaggerating when I say that one decision changed my life. I fell in love with strength training and by the end of the program, I saw muscles I didn’t even know I had…I was hooked!

Another suggestion is if you are more a gym person, but still unsure how to go about lifting weights properly, just ask someone there for some guidance. I would be willing to bet that person who looks like they know what they are doing in the weight room would be happy to share some knowledge with you to help you get started. After all, they were once a beginner too!

You Aren’t Prioritizing Rest

As counterintuitive as this one might sound, rest is a key component in a successful fitness regime. This is one that became a real issue for me about a year into my own journey because I got to the point where I had found programs that I genuinely enjoyed doing so much and that I was seeing such great results from, that I never wanted to take a day off. 

Really, I am being serious! I wanted to workout 7 days a week because I was having so much fun doing it and oh yeah, those endorphins can be addicting! 

Pushing your body 7 days a week with no rest days, however, is a big no-no and can actually be setting you back on your quest to get fit. So, take my advice and build rest days into your own routine!

Nowadays, I typically build two rest days into my own weekly routine, depending on what program I am following and how much I am doing other workouts like riding my mountain bike and running. One rest day for me is typically a full rest day where I really give my body a break and let everything heal and repair itself and the other is usually an active rest day where I do something like go for a long walk, do some Pilates, or yoga or take my pups for a hike.  

A few good signs your body is in need of a rest day or two are if you waking up feeling sore, you are more tired or moody than normal, or you feel a bit under the weather. You may also feel dehydrated despite drinking enough water or you might even notice that your heart rate is a bit elevated. These are all clear indications you have pushed your body hard enough for the week and it is time to let it rest. Build these down days into your workout routine and I bet it will help jump-start your progress again if it has stalled.  

You Need to Mix Things Up

While I totally understand that most of us find comfort in routine, being comfortable while working out is not going to get you the results you are looking for. If you find yourself doing the same workouts, in the same order, with the same weight selection for an extended period of time this might be a contributing factor to the plateau you will inevitably find yourself in. While I do applaud the fact that you might still be consistently showing up if you don’t also switch things up once in a while your body will get used to the routine and your progress with cease.

It is only really when your body is challenged and forced to adapt to a new move or a higher weight selection or an entirely new workout altogether that meaningful progress can be made. For me, switching things up Is not only really great for my body and progress but also for my dedication to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The more variety I can incorporate into my workouts the more likely I am to continue to want to do them.

I do everything from weight training, to HIIT workouts, to running, Pilates, Yoga, and of course mountain biking, just to name a few. Not only do the different workouts keep things interesting for me but the unique aspects of each of them target different muscles and focus on different but equally important components of a complete fitness routine such as strength, mobility, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Most importantly, just continue to challenge yourself. If you feel like you are stuck in a rut or are just coasting through workouts it is probably time for a change.  

Plus, you might discover a new kind of workout that you really enjoy which is always a bonus! Check out my post “I can become a ballerina at 40 right?” for how I fell in love with Barre workouts after prematurely writing them off as something I would never like or benefit from. Challenge your assumptions people! You never really know until you try!

The reasons I listed above are just a few possibilities as to why you might feel like your progress has stalled during your fitness journey. Another really viable alternative is that you actually are still making progress; it just might not be reflected by the number staring back at you on the dreaded scale. A lot of the time that number might not be going down because you are building muscle at the same time you are burning fat. Remember muscle is dense and you could be shedding inches off your waist while getting stronger at the same time. If this is the case, ask yourself, “do my clothes fit better?”, “do I have more energy?”, “is my stamina increasing?”. If yes to one or more of those things, you are making progress, and congrats! The scale is by no means the end all be all, remember that!

If you are neither losing pounds nor gaining muscle AND all the things I listed above are not to blame, check things like portion sizes of the meals you are eating, have an honest conversation with yourself about your stress and anxiety levels which if high can be causing weight gain, and of course it is always a good idea to get in and see your doctor in a case like this. Several medical conditions like a low-functioning thyroid, to out of whack hormones, to an overgrowth of yeast in your body could all be to blame here as well. Most importantly, just don’t give up on yourself! Chances are with some small tweaks you can get back on track and continue to reach for and knock out all those awesome health and fitness goals you had set your mind to!



SOS! Why is it so hard to ask for help?

SOS! Why is it so hard to ask for help?

We have all been through a lot this past year and a half. There have been a lot of unknowns. A lot of isolation. A lot of wondering what is going to happen next. I think we have all had new challenges to face and obstacles to overcome and in turn days where we have felt like everything is under control and then days where we have felt completely overwhelmed with how much is not in our control. 

I started this blog with every intention of it being a positive, encouraging, and motivating space and I hope for the most part it has been! As it has evolved though, I have realized that what is even more important to me than being positive all the time is being real and transparent. I don’t think I would be doing my journey justice if I only ever talked about my wins and accomplishments because let’s face it, real life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It is comprised of ups and downs, wins and losses and while the wins are fun and exciting to share with you all, I think the struggles and hard times have so much to offer in terms of learning and growing that I would be remiss if I didn’t also share those experiences.

The past couple of months for me have been challenging. I won’t go into specifics mostly because it is nothing crazy or really out of the ordinary. I have just been facing some life changes and tough decisions that honestly most people probably end up face once or twice in a lifetime as well. While I thought I was managing it all pretty well, turns out I wasn’t doing such a great job of it after all. About a month ago life caught up to me, my ulcerative colitis flared up, my anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was forced to take a step back and acknowledge I wasn’t ok after all.

If you have been following my blog for a little bit you know that about three years ago, I decided to change my life, get healthy and take back control. I started doing at-home workouts, eating much healthier than I had been, and being proactive instead of reactive about my mental health. The extra weight that I had gained soon came off, I was able to stop taking the anxiety medication I had been on and off of for years and hadn’t had a UC flare-up in over three years which is the longest time I had gone between flare-ups since I was diagnosed. In short, I was happier and healthier than I had been in years!

Unfortunately, last month, that winning streak ended abruptly. While I haven’t let up on consistently doing the at-home workouts I still love so much and am still eating healthily, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep, the stress that was building up over the past several months overtook even my best efforts to power through and forced me to stop and deal with what was going on in my life and my head.

Y’all, I crashed and burned hard. I have since jumped back on the steroids to help my UC go back into remission and renewed my prescription for anxiety medication to get my mind and body right and through this little rough patch. But even more importantly, I forced myself to open up, admit I was in over my head, and finally asked for help.

As I am starting to come out the other side of this little road bump in my life, I have been thinking about how I let myself get to the point I did and why when I finally did realize I needed some help was I so apprehensive about opening up and asking for it? Here are a few realizations I came to from this recent self-reflection…hope they help!

Why is asking for help sometimes so uncomfortable?

  1. There is a fear of being seen as “less than”. This is a very big and very real fear of mine, no matter how many times I go to the same, very accepting and sympathetic people in my life when I am struggling. I know that it is hard for anyone who doesn’t suffer from anxiety or any other mental health issue for that matter to understand what it is really like. I know because I get the questions, and the raised eyebrows, and the confused looks even from those people who are very open-minded, eager to help, and supportive of me no matter what I tell them. Before, during, and even after the conversations I have with them, no matter how much better I feel there is always a small part of me that wonders and even worries a bit that they won’t be able to help but judge me even just a little. Do they see me as a weaker person? Do they not understand why I just can’t stop worrying? Does me being open and honest about my struggles change how they see me at all? This leads me to the next point about why it is sometimes so hard to open up and ask for help…
  2. It involves letting our guard down. I like to think that I am a strong person. A person who can handle adversity, who has it all figured out. A person who doesn’t need to cry or wallow in self-pity or go to other people to get me through rough patches in my own life. Feeling overwhelmed and like you can’t control what is going on around you and even worse what is going on in your own head is one of the toughest things to deal with, let alone admit to out loud to another person. But real growth and healing starts when we are vulnerable enough to open up and admit we are not ok. For me, this is particularly hard because I sometimes feel like if I keep everything to myself and try to fix it all on my own I can retain some level of control over what is happening. What I have realized over the years, however, is that feeling is really a false sense of control. There is no reason in the world to have to be strong every second of every day. It is ok not to be ok all the time. 
  3. It might feel like we are complaining. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t recognize how lucky I am to have the life I do and feel grateful for all the wonderful people I have been blessed with. So, for me, when things don’t go exactly right or I have obstacles put in front of me, I almost feel ashamed to complain about them or even bring them up because in the grand scheme of the very big universe we all live in my problems really aren’t that serious. The last thing I want to do is feel foolish about struggling with problems that someone else might view as minuscule or unimportant. I tend to also worry that people will think “Why is this even a thing for her? She should just suck it up and deal with it like everyone else has to”. But the truth is, if you are struggling with anything at all, big or small, all that matters is you are struggling. Put aside your preconceived notions about how someone might react or feel about what you have to say and ask for the help you need. 

What can make asking for help easier?

  1. Find the person or people you feel the most comfortable with to go to first. For me, my best friend usually can tell when I need support even before I know it. I am beyond lucky to have someone like this in my life, but I also know there are a handful of other people I feel comfortable opening up to when things get really tough. Oftentimes, it makes a big difference just to finally be able to tell someone that I am not ok and have them reassure me that things will get better and that no matter what they will be there for me through it all. Sometimes just speaking my issues out loud somehow to one of these people diminishes the hold the problems have over me. It is almost as if now that I have acknowledged it, gotten it out in the open and someone else knows what is going on I have a partner in the fight, and the power shifts more in my favor. 
  2. Put your pride aside. Don’t worry so much about what other people think…because believe it or not, everyone struggles at some point in their lives no matter how it may appear from the outside. I know this one is sometimes easier said than done but, in my experience, people are far less judgmental if they are even at all, than I think they will be. Every time I have needed to open up to one of my “safe” people there is still a small part of me that feels ashamed that I even need to do so and cringe a bit right before I make the call or have the conversation. I like to be the person that other people come to for support, not the one needing to reach out for the help myself. It is always hard for me to be vulnerable and admit when I am not feeling as strong on the inside as I am projecting to be on the outside but the feeling of support and reassurance I get after I am open and honest about it is far more important to me than hanging on to the pride that is standing in the way. 
  3. Shift your thinking regarding how people feel about being approached for help. If you put yourself in the place of being on the receiving end of a request for help, how do you honestly feel? I know that every time either a friend or family member had the courage to reach out to me when they have been going through something I have been more than open to doing whatever I could to be there for them. I think all too often we get it in our minds that we will be burdening a friend or loved one if we unload on them. In reality, though, I think most people want to help if they can. I know I never feel burdened or put out when someone I care about asks for a helping hand. To be honest, I feel honored that that person thought enough of me to ask in the first place. I also recognize how hard it probably was to come to me and open up which only makes me want to help in any way and as much as I possibly can. 

Asking for help Is not a sign of weakness, rather a sign that first, you are human, and second you are smart enough to know when relying on someone else’s strength, knowledge and life experience might help you get through something that would otherwise be difficult to go through alone. It is a sure sign of not only strength but also of a high level of self-awareness that should be seen and thought of as courageous and commendable rather than shameful or something to be looked down on. Talking to my loved ones and asking for their advice and help through the difficult time I just went through made all the difference in the world to me. I gained the support system I needed to get myself on track to healing and feeling better. If you are struggling, going through something that is becoming too much to handle on your own, or just feel like someone who isn’t directly involved in your situation might have a more objective idea of how to handle it, put your pride aside, and reach out. You may find you end up not only getting the help you need but also forming even closer, more meaningful relationships with those you chosen to open up to!





This month is all about acceptance. Accepting other people the way they are. Accepting there is no right or wrong way to live your life. Accepting that it is ok to have different opinions, different beliefs, different lifestyles and still all be able to peacefully cohabitate on this big round spinning rock we call home.  

All too often, though, I think we forget to accept ourselves. I know I am especially hard on myself. I am very critical if I don’t live up to my own standards. I set the bar very high for myself time and time again and just the mere thought that I may not achieve one of my goals or I might fail at something I set my mind to is enough to keep me up at night. And forget about it if someone else criticizes me. I tend to dwell on those perceived slights far longer than I should.  

Most recently I had what I can only call a failure in my personal life. This event brought up feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and even a little bit of sadness because I had invested so much time and effort into something that turned out not to be for me. Probably the most painful part of this particular failure though was not the failure itself but the reasons that were pointed out as to why it occurred. Parts of my personality were criticized and while there is always far more to a story than what is spoken on the surface, the experience prompted me to really think about how I can accept who I am today but make changes to be better tomorrow.

That being said, we all have flaws. Some I think we are born with, like my overly active Type A personality and some I think we pick up along the way. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes the things we go through change us. If we are lucky, we go through something and come out the other side a stronger, better version of ourselves. But sometimes we go through things that leave us with scars. These very often are scars other people can’t see. And sometimes they are even scars that we ourselves can’t see or fully understand until much further down the road. These scars can then manifest themselves as personality flaws, especially to others who are looking at us from the outside.

What I realized after this past failure, is you never really know why someone is the way they are. Even sometimes the closest people to you don’t know why you think and act the way you do in certain situations. Even if someone knows your history, your stories, your triumphs and struggles, without having actually walked in your shoes it is oftentimes hard to fully comprehend the ramifications of those events. What to the outside world might seem like a character defect, might actually be a scar that is much more deeply rooted than what just appears to be a shortcoming in one’s personality.  

While I strongly encourage everyone, myself included, to continuously do some type of self-reflection on a regular basis, the first step in my opinion to becoming better human beings is to accept ourselves the way we are right now at this very moment. I am not saying there is no room for growth and meaningful change, but in order to bring about that change, you need to understand and accept where you are currently.  

So how do we begin to unconditionally accept ourselves, move forward, and bring about the change we may be needing to live a happier, healthier life? Here are a few things I think need to happen to get that ball rolling:

Be brutally honest with yourself.

Ask yourself, “What is holding you back from the person you want to be?” “What are the things you are in control of that you can directly influence to take your life in the right direction?” “What may have happened to you in that past that is dictating your current and future path in life?” You cannot lie to yourself about the state you are in now and expect to find yourself in a better one tomorrow. The first step to real self-acceptance is to take an honest inventory of everything that makes you you, the good and the bad alike. As much as sometimes it is easier not to deal with the bad, that stuff isn’t going away without a bit of work. Put the time into exploring all sides of yourself so you have a true understanding of what is working for your currently and where there might be room for improvement.

Be patient and kind to yourself along the way.  

While you are definitely going to encounter people in life that will criticize you and maybe even put you down, I think it is human nature to be your own worst critic. Chances are, when the dust settles, you judge yourself way more harshly than the rest of the world judges you. Keep this in mind and be very thoughtful about the way you speak to yourself. Try changing the verbiage from “I hate this about myself” to “that is something I would like to improve upon”. Just the same way we are told to be kind to others, being kind to ourselves is of utmost importance when on a journey of self-acceptance and ultimate growth.  Also keep in mind that it most likely it took years of life happening to you to make you the way you are today. Be kind and patient with yourself in trying unravel and possibly undo some of that experience and possible hurt. It may not happen quickly or easily but with the right amount of effort it will happen.

Admit when you are wrong.  

This is such a hard one to do sometimes but such a critical step to acceptance and change. Change is usually uncomfortable. We almost always have to through some period of discomfort before we get to the good stuff and there are very few things in life more uncomfortable than admitting when we are wrong. It seems like it is human nature to immediately blame someone or something else first when a failure occurs. After all, it is much easier to be critical of another person than it is of ourselves. Being critical of ourselves requires us to accept we aren’t in fact perfect individuals and that there may be things we need to work on to avoid failing again. But isn’t that the goal? To stop failing? Admit mistakes. Take the time to really think about why they may have happened and then finally learn from them and move on as an improved, better version of yourself. 

Learn forgiveness.  

Learning to forgive others when they hurt you by pointing out your flaws is just as important as is forgiving yourself for having them in the first place. We are all human.  Wonderfully, imperfect humans. Not one of us is without shortcomings or our own unique stories about how those shortcomings came about. In my experience, oftentimes when people point out your flaws it is really as a defense against dealing with their own. Keeping that in mind, forgive those people, focus on your own journey, and if you stumble or fail a few times, forgive yourself enough to get right back up and try again. Carrying around animosity and resentment whether it be directed at others or yourself is a sure-fire way to prevent positive change from occurring.  

Take control of your life.  

It is yours after all. No one else’s. At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your own happiness, growth, and success. Be gentle enough with yourself to accept where you are currently and what may have gotten you there but firm enough with yourself to bring about the change that will get you where you want to be. Nobody is going to do this work for you and if you need to be your own cheerleader along the way, cheer your little heart out. Not everyone will understand the journey you are on or support you as you navigate it and that is ok. Decide what is best for you and your life, make the appropriate changes, and the right people will find you in the end.  

The bottom line here is you cannot hate yourself and become a better version of yourself at the same time. Let me repeat that, you cannot hate yourself and become a better version of yourself at the same time. Things happen. People happen. Life happens. And because we do not live in a bubble all those things affect and shape who we have become today. I truly do not believe that we can punish ourselves into a better place. The same kindness we should extend to other people because we never know what battles they may have fought or are currently fighting is the kindness we need to extend to ourselves before we can make improvements in our own lives. Besides that, I would be willing to bet there is so much good in you that whatever you want to change is only a small fragment of what makes you, you. So, take some time, focus on what you can do to improve the parts of you that you feel might need some work, and then go show the world what an incredible little human being you are because you were willing to put in the effort. 



Be Scared and Do It Anyway….

Be Scared and Do It Anyway….

“Why am I doing this??” 

That is a literal question I ask myself at least once, if not several times, during each ride I set out on. Mountain biking for me is challenging, like really challenging. It pushes my body and mind to extremes that I haven’t experienced in any other sport or endeavor I have taken on before or since. There are points during each ride that I feel like quitting. The route gets tough. My lungs start screaming for air. My legs begin to feel like they are on fire or I am just faced with terrain that challenges all the skills I thought I had picked up along the way.

In addition to all of that, to say I have a healthy fear of falling and really doing damage to myself might be an understatement. But the flip side is, I have become addicted to not only the adrenaline rush that comes with this type of sport but possibly even more to the feeling of continually looking this particular type of fear in the eye and not backing down from the challenge.     

I got into mountain biking almost two decades ago. Back then I was semi-serious about it, but it was more of a hobby than a sport I was trying to master. I rode for a few years and well then life happened. I moved around a bit, left my bike behind, and never really picked it back up. That is until COVID hit.  

At the start of the pandemic last year I was itching, like a lot of folks, to get outside more. A good friend of mine who happened to have held onto my bike for me all these years asked if I wanted to go for a ride on one, particularly beautiful spring day. I immediately jumped at the chance thinking it would just be nice to go on a casual ride and get out of the house for a bit.  

I pulled all my old biking gear out of a storage box that had been long since covered up with a ton of other things I no longer used but of course, couldn’t bear to part with and suited up. We started off just hitting some paved trails right by my house but pretty soon stumbled upon some paths that led off into the woods with much more rugged and challenging terrain and jumped at the chance to really let the bikes loose.

Almost immediately I had a huge smile plastered on my face and was attacking those roots and rocks with a kind of reckless abandon I really only get when I am in the middle of the woods speeding down a steep incline with countless numbers of obstacles trying to buck me off my bike. I had so much fun being “back in the saddle” that day that I knew this was not going to be a one-time thing. I was hooked. I was hooked more than I think I ever was the first time I tried the sport and from that day forward have been borderline obsessed about getting on my bike every chance I get.  See below for some pics from a mountain biking trip we took over the weekend…

So, what is about mountain biking that has me so completely determined to do everything I can to get better and better at the sport? Well for starters, my friend is an absolutely amazing rider. He has been riding for about 30 years and is faster and more agile on his bike than I will probably ever be on mine. That being said, riding with him gives me so much motivation to keep improving my skills because I see how far there is to go. And by the way, I use the phrase “riding with him” loosely because he absolutely smokes me most of the time and it is everything I can do to just keep him somewhat in my sights.  

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, mountain biking is hard for me. It hasn’t been something I have picked up and excelled at right from the start. It is challenging physically of course but probably even more so mentally and even emotionally. During each ride I truly at times think to myself this is crazy, it is too hard, why am I doing this to myself, and usually there is an omg I might die thrown in there as well. Inevitably though, as soon as the ride is over, and I get off my bike I am already looking forward to doing it all again! In really thinking about why all those things go through my mind each time I ride, it dawned on me how many lessons mountain biking can teach me about life in general. Namely,

Patience is a Virtue 

I have a hard time not immediately being good at something. A really hard time. I want right from the start to be the best at everything I try no matter how difficult, complex, or challenging the task ahead of me is. It makes no logical sense that I would pick up my bike after years and years of not riding and be able to attack double black diamond trails with the ease of a seasoned professional, yet to me, that is what I expect of myself. A year into being back on my bike and while I know I have gotten stronger and made a lot of progress in certain areas I am very far from where I still want to be. I need to learn to balance, however, being motivated to keep improving and realizing it won’t happen overnight. Focusing too much on what I have not accomplished yet instead of being proud of myself for being out there, trying and not giving up robs me of fully enjoying everything I love about the sport, to begin with.   

“Comparison is the thief of joy”.

That wise statement attributed to Theodore Roosevelt rings especially true for me when it comes to mountain biking. Riding with someone who is so much better than me in just about every way, while motivational and educational tends to also be frustrating at times. I like to win. I like to come in first place. As bad as this sounds, I like to beat the rest of the pack. When I can’t and I am not the best at something, I am very hard on myself. Always riding with people who are so much better than I am is a truly humbling experience and one that is a bit hard for my ego to take at times. My friend always tells me to stop comparing myself to him or anyone else, be proud of the progress I am making and just enjoy being out on the bike. While of course, he is right, the stubborn, perfectionist part of me has trouble accepting my second-place position. Focusing so much on what someone else is doing whether on a bike or just in life, robs you of energy you could be putting into improving yourself.  Just for the record, this is one is still very hard for me. I am working on it though, I promise!

Progress doesn’t happen in your comfort zone.

A large part of mountain biking, or at least getting better at mountain biking is continually pushing yourself to go bigger. If I never tried harder features or let up off the brakes more going down a steep embankment or forced myself to keep pedaling up a gnarly hill when my legs were screaming for me to quit, I would never get any better. And I so badly want to be better, faster and stronger and honestly less afraid. The only way to accomplish all those things is to face the fear, get uncomfortable and do it all anyway. Whether it is mountain biking, or taking a chance on a new job, or getting the courage to leave a relationship that no longer is working for you, real meaningful change only happens when you get uncomfortable. We are all going to be faced with hills in life, with choices that involve staying where we are or pushing ourselves more than we thought possible because something better might be on the other side of the climb. In my experience, you will only be disappointed if you choose not to tackle that mountain in front of you. The fear will diminish, the pain will subside and what you will be left with is a stronger more confident version of yourself which for me is worth all the struggles.  

Fall 7 times, get back up 8!  

One of the motto’s that mountain bikers say a lot is “if you aren’t falling, you aren’t trying”. Well at the beginning of last year I must have been trying a whole heck of a lot because I took a few good spills right in a row and let me tell you even with pads on it hurts quite a bit! After about my third good fall, I found my confidence to be shaken. I could sense myself pulling back on the trails, taking fewer chances and in turn plateauing because I was afraid of taking another tumble. Pretty soon though, the disappointment of not making any real strides became worse for me than accepting the reality and honestly the fear that I might come off my bike a time or two again. Falling is part of life y’all. Not just in mountain biking but in all aspects of life. What really matters is not how many falls you take or how often you try something that doesn’t work but that you never stop trying. Never stop dedicating yourself to getting better at whatever it is you have set your mind to. Fall, fall, and then fall once more. Just don’t give up on yourself…ever!

Learn from each and every mistake.  

Every time I have fallen off my bike it was because I did something wrong. I either didn’t hit a feature with enough speed or I got a little scared and grabbed too much brake, or my position on the bike was wrong going into a particular section of the trail. Each time I found myself picking my bike up and dusting myself off, I immediately thought ok, why did that happen and how can I avoid it happening in the future because ouch! What mountain biking, in particular, has taught me more than probably any other sport I have ever participated in, is that there is no shame at all in falling down, and in fact, each fall is an opportunity to improve. Mistakes are inevitable in all aspects of life. We will make countless mistakes throughout a lifetime, some over and over again, but framing those mistakes as a learning opportunity is truly how we grow, get better and continue to make progress. While they can be frustrating and sometimes even downright painful, take the opportunity to reflect on the mistakes we all are bound to make and do just a little better the next time!

In mountain biking, I have truly found a worthy opponent. While it sometimes feels like it is me against the mountain, in reality, it is me against me. Like so many other scenarios in life, the only thing that will dictate how much I am able to improve, and progress is how motivated I am to continue to get uncomfortable, face my fears and meet each new challenge head-on. I want nothing more than to prove to myself that even in the face of something so challenging I am able to ignore that inner voice inside my head telling me it is too hard, and I should quit, and accomplish what I have set my mind to doing. After all, what better feeling is there than being able to look in the mirror and be proud of the person staring back at you?!? So my challenge for you today guys, is to go out and do one thing that scares you! And of course, report back and let me know what it was and how you did!!



Getting To Know Thyself…

Getting To Know Thyself…

I have always been interested in human nature. Why people do the things they do. How much our upbringing plays a role in the person we become versus how genetics affect who we end up being. And lately, I have been wondering these very things about myself…more than I usually do anyway. Why have I made the choices I have? Why do I think the way I do? Why am I wired the way I am? While we often don’t have any control over the environment we are raised in and we surely don’t have control over our genetic makeup, I do think the better we understand ourselves the more control we have over directing our lives toward the things that are really going to make us feel happy and fulfilled.    

After making some difficult life choices recently, I found myself sitting back and wondering why I seem to make some of the same mistakes over and over again. I know enough to know there are parts of my personality that have helped me thrive in some aspects of my life and other parts that seem to be almost self-destructive. I figured it was time to explore both these sides of me a little bit more in hopes that I can lessen the self-destructive parts and enhance the parts that have served me well over the years.  

So, I took a test. An Enneagram test to be exact. If you are not familiar with the concept of an Enneagram, it is basically a system of personality typing that describes how people deal with their emotions and interpret the world. Its origins go way back to ancient Egypt and Greece, early Buddhism, writings of the early Christian mystics and can even be found in the Kabbalah in Judaism. The Enneagram system, at its core, seeks to describe the chief features of a person and can help with things like building relationships, career choices, and even personal development. There are nine Enneagram types (I will go into more detail about them below) and the main goal in finding out which Type you is to become the best version of yourself….and that is exactly what I am after!

The 9 Enneagram Types & The Test

It is generally believed you are born as one of the nine types, (Ennea meaning nine in Greek) and that type is referred to as your Dominant Type. No one type is better or worse than the next and they are used universally meaning they apply equally to all genders. Each type is unique and contains characteristics that can be seen as both assets and liabilities.  

 Again, while it is widely believed you are born with a dominant type, you can often see a little of yourself in each of the nine types. In fact, in addition to your dominant type, you also have what are called your “Wing” types. These are a couple of the types closest or adjacent to your dominant type. These wing types can influence your personality, but they never change your dominant type.  

The Test Itself

Now there are a lot of Enneagram tests out there you can take to determine your Type, some are free, some cost a few bucks. The one I chose after doing a bit of research was given by the Enneagram Institute and is called the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI v2.5). 

It consisted of 144 questions that have you choosing between one of two statements that best reflect your general behavior throughout your life. I tried very hard not to over-analyze the two choices and just went with my first initial reaction to each scenario. There is obviously no right or wrong answer but the more honest you are with your choices the more accurate your results will be.  

After about 40 minutes I had completed the test and up popped my results! Turns out that I am a Dominant Type 6, which is The Loyalist, and my two wing types were Type 1, The Reformer, and Type 3, The Achiever.

The particular test I took actually broke down how much I scored on all Nine Types (which you can see below) and also went into a lot more detail about my Dominant Type, how I form and behave in relationships, what other types I am compatible with, and even how I behave under stress.  

For me, these results were pretty spot on! I find myself to be reliable and hard-working, but I can also be very suspicious and anxious. Feeling secure is very important for me and there is no doubt in mind that I am a perfectionist!

While my results validated much of what I already knew about my personality, it was the suggestions about how to improve upon my shortcomings, or what the Enneagram Institute calls “The Personal Grow Recommendations”, that I found really interesting and the most helpful! See below for four Personal Growth Recommendations that really struck me the most….

My Personal Growth Recommendations

  1. Deal with Anxiety – A big part of the Loyalist personality, like I mentioned above, is we tend to be anxious. Oh boy, if you have been around my blog for a little while you know that anxiety has been a big part of my life. One of the most interesting pieces of advice for a Type 6 when it comes to dealing with anxiety is to learn to come to terms with it. Embrace it. Learn to use it as an energizing tool. I never thought about anxiety in this way. It was always something I thought of as purely negative and had to be avoided at all costs. Maybe instead of fighting so hard against it, learning to harness the energy and use it for positive results is something I need to explore more.
  2. Learn to Trust – Another big one for me. I could dedicate a whole separate post to this topic but for the purposes of the here and now let’s just say I have some definite trust issues. I am self-admittedly overly skeptical of people and fear rejection so much so that I would rather push people away to beat them the punch, even if that punch never would have happened. I know, I know…I told you I have self-destructive tendencies! So, part of what I need to work on is allowing myself to trust even if it means rejection in the end. Facing that fear to have more meaningful, longer-lasting relationships is a risk I am willing to start taking!
  3. Learn to Relax – Whew another big one for me. I have a really tough time shutting off. I often feel like if I am not doing something productive every second of the day I am not doing enough. While I know it is not logical or even feasible to be “on” 24/7, this is an area I still need to work on. I need to take more time to read, to think, to meditate even. Rushing around from one activity or assignment to the next, sometimes just for the sake of being busy is not a healthy or even productive way to live. Often, I think I get less done or at least what I get done isn’t as good quality as it could be because I am always in a rush to get to the next things on my to-do list. Reading my Personal Growth Recommendations is a great reminder that the world will not fall apart if I take a break every now and then!
  4. Find Security from Within – This might be the biggest one of all for me. I have a very strong need to feel secure and tend to look outward to find it. Apparently, that is a classic Loyalist trait. In really thinking about it, I feel as if I have been chasing security my whole life. After all, my parents have been happily married for 51 years. Who wouldn’t want that for themselves!? Unfortunately for me, I think I have been placing too much stock in finding a relationship like the ones my parents have in order to fill some insecurity within myself. I do know that I am a strong, capable person and after reading over my test results and all the explanations of my personality type I believe I need to focus more on looking inward for a true sense of security. After all, things change. People come and go. But knowing that I am enough and can deal with anything that might come my way is a priceless gift I can know I can give myself! 

After taking this test and spending some time reading over and absorbing all the information about my Dominant and Wing personality types, I truly feel like I have a more focused idea of some of the areas I need to work on within myself. While I wholeheartedly agree with and immediately recognized a lot of the characteristics explained as part of my Type 6 personality, the deeper dive into how those traits were affecting all parts of my life was extremely interesting and even eye-opening for me. Knowing something about yourself but then seeing it spelled out in black and white with it is positives and negatives turned out to be a very humbling experience. Self-reflection is something I have now vowed to do much more of because, in the end, I want to be the best version of myself to give to the world, but I also want to be the best version of me for me.  



My Relationship With Food

My Relationship With Food

Like most relationships, it is a ridiculously complicated one. Well, it used to be. I saw that a few weeks ago it was National Eating Disorder Week and I went back and forth about posting something about my own experience with the subject. I am not sure exactly why I waivered, other than it is a really sensitive subject for a lot of people, myself included. In sitting here today thinking about what I wanted my next post to be about though, I came back to this topic. I want to be as open, honest, and transparent on here with you all as I possibly can be and my relationship with food is definitely part of my story.

Before I begin, I want to be upfront about the fact that I will be talking about my struggles with eating in the following post so if that is a trigger for anyone this might be a good time to jump off this particular post! I also want to be upfront about the fact I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, nor have I ever sought treatment for one. This is just my story that I thought I would share in case someone out there can relate and might find some hope that things can get better as they have for me!

Back when I was in my mid-twenties, I was, as they say, trying to find myself. I had graduated college, was working a super boring but steady 9-5 job, was in a relationship of 5 years that I knew I wanted out of, and was waking up each morning feeling more and more out of control of my own life. I felt stuck. I knew the life I was living wasn’t the life I wanted but I wasn’t sure exactly what I did want or how to go about getting there without disappointing people, letting people down, or taking big risks that I wasn’t sure would pay off. 

Not knowing the next move to make, I stood still. I convinced myself I was being ridiculous because after all, I was checking all the boxes of what a responsible adult’s life should look like. But man, was I unhappy. Feeling like I couldn’t control the larger things in my life, I turned to “over” controlling the smaller things. It started with joining the gym. Innocent enough. I hired a personal trainer. Ok, not unusual. Then I started going to the gym two times a day, seven days a week. Problem loading.

I started waking up each morning thinking about when I was going to be getting to the gym. I beat myself up if I missed one workout. And of course, at the gym, I was primarily doing nothing but cardio. My only goal was of course to be as skinny as physically possible. I don’t think the word healthy was even in my vocabulary at the time, just skinny. I even fired my trainer because he kept trying to drag me into the weight section and I wanted nothing to do with it for the fear of getting “bulky”. Oh man, how misguided was I?!   

Naturally, this obsession with working out and being skinny quickly spilled over into what I was eating. No matter that I was working out several hours a day, just about every day of the week, I began to restrict my calories like a crazy person. Back then I would have told you it was all part of my quest for the “perfect” size zero body, but in reality, it was me trying so desperately to be in control of something in my life that I was willing my make myself sick to do it.  

My daily meal plan consisted of something like a handful of plain cheerios for breakfast, fat-free saltine crackers with a dollop of French’s Yellow Mustard and a stick of fat-free processed cheese product for lunch, and usually an energy drink and protein bar for dinner. Sometimes I would allow myself some plain chicken breast and on really special occasions some fat-free fro-yo for dessert.  

What is even crazier, I never bought anything at the store that had over 3 grams of fat per serving in it. I didn’t pay attention to the sugar or calorie count or if there was any nutrition in these products whatsoever. As long as the total fat number came in under 3 grams it was good to go in my book. I know, I know. Utterly ridiculous and so beyond unhealthy. I am literally sitting here cringing that I am even telling you guys that.

But hey, I got myself down to about 90 lbs or so which was all I really cared about. Now I am about 5’4 which means at 90 lbs I was probably about 20 lbs underweight. I was skin and bones. I thought at the time I looked amazing. In reality, I looked sick. I looked sick enough for family and friends to start asking if I actually was sick. Wanna know the crazy part? Them asking that made me feel slightly elated and even accomplished. It actually fueled my desire to not only maintain that very unhealthy weight but maybe even lose more weight!

I “lived” like that for almost two years. Hovering right around 90lbs, feeling so weak most days it was hard to get up once I had sat down, and subconsciously resigning myself to the fact that if I couldn’t control what was going on around me, I would control what was looking back at me in the mirror. Steadily declining health, a near nervous breakdown, and a trip to the emergency room later, I finally snapped back into enough reality that I quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend, and decided to take my life back into my own hands. It wasn’t quite as quick and easy as that, but in general, that’s what ended up happening.  

I also didn’t magically find myself right after I did all those things, but I did find so much happiness in living on my own terms that my obsession with my weight and what I was eating no longer had a place in my life. So what are some things I did to help turn such a negative relationship with food into the much more positive one I have today? Well, the first thing I did was…

It didn’t happen overnight, but the good news is, it did happen. It took work and not every day was perfect and honestly, I still have some days when I look in the mirror and for a brief second, I think I need to start restricting again. You know, just for a few days to drop a few pounds but I am now quickly able to banish those thoughts as unhealthy and unnecessary. My relationship with food today is on solid ground and as healthy as it has ever been. I see food as an ally or a tool I have in my arsenal that I can use every single day to live the healthiest life possible. Being able to shift this relationship into such a positive one has made my life so much better in so many ways and may have even saved it.  

Stay healthy and safe everyone!!