Lessons from an Old Picture

A friend recently shared with me a picture she found when looking through old boxes. It was a picture of us in high school, getting ready to go to a party or something. We were all dressed up in skirts and halter tops with a tiny sliver of midriff showing. Haha, it was quite the early 2000s throwback!

I was immediately taken back to that night. I actually remember it very clearly. I was frustrated with my mom because she wouldn’t let me wear skirts as short as my friends did, and I was frustrated with my body because I wanted it to be smaller.

Hindsight is 20/20...while I don’t want to invalidate my very real teenage emotions, I definitely feel differently today. There was no need for my skirt to be any shorter than it was (and it was really only an inch or two longer than my friends’ anyway, ha!)

AND that body was so tiny...at least compared to what it looks like today.

Thinking back to that moment made me feel angry; angry at a society that values smaller bodies and more skin showed as the feminine ideal. Angry that I was soooo heavily influenced by those ideals I couldn’t fully enjoy a fun moment with friends that should’ve been nothing but carefree and FUN!

And it made me sad. I feel sad for that girl who so early on received the message that she wasn’t good enough. That she needed to fit into a certain mold to be liked or valued. And I feel sad for the millions of young women who feel that way right now.

If I could tell them one thing, it would be this: If you want the shortcut to real happiness, spend more time getting to know yourself and what YOU value than worrying about the values and priorities of others, or whether you “fit in.”

 
 

You’re going to be a lot more fun an interesting if you stop trying to fit in, and live unabashedly in line with your own personality and values! As long as your body physically feels good, then it IS good, and you don’t need to shrink it or tone it or manipulate it … doing that WILL NOT make you happier.

I’m SO thankful for where I am today in realizing these things, and there’s no point in living in the past and feeling angry/sad about what I felt then. BUT these reminders are SUPER helpful - to remind us of how far we’ve come and to re-focus us on what really matters going forward.

So I’m thankful to that friend who triggered me with that picture.

Sometimes it’s good to be triggered, because acknowledging uncomfortable emotions can lead to so much insight and improvement.

Is there a time in your life you look back to and it immediately makes you notice how far you’ve come? That reminds you of the values you’ve developed and the fears/worries you’d never want to return to? I’d love to hear!

One Critical Shift for More Happiness

 
 

We’ve spent our whole lives being trained to focus on outcomes. You study so you can get a good grade on the test. You train so you can run the marathon. You cook so you can eat. You save so you can spend. You lose weight so you can feel confident.

The message we’re taking in, internalizing, and teaching ourselves is this: It’s all worth it because of the outcome.

So no wonder it’s hard to re-program our brains when we decide we want to start enjoying life, which is lived amidst the process, rather than waiting for our reward once we’ve reached the destination.

It’s great to have goals. I love feeling inspired to work toward something. But a lesson I’ve learned about myself is that my innate tendency to feel fulfillment from the result leads to a lot of dissatisfaction, longing, and living for the future, rather than in the present.

My wellness journey has helped me in so many ways, but one of the most critical is in teaching me that life is lived in the present. In each distinct moment of time. In the journey. 

I don’t know the secret to ultimate happiness, and I don’t “have it all together," but I’m pretty sure a biiiiiiiggg key is to strive for appreciation of the journey, of each little imperfect moment, and to de-emphasize the destination we seek. Because if we get there, we may (or may not) feel the elation we’re chasing in that one moment, but if we can find joy along the journey, we’ll have a lottttttt longer to live in that joy.

How can you re-frame a goal you’re working on right now or an aspect of your life to LIVE IN IT now, rather than longing for the final destination? Let me know in the comments. This is a shift I hope to help the women who join my Find Your Summer Joy group program with, because there’s no better time to truly be presence than in the Summer! If you’re wondering what else we’ll do in that group, contact me, and I’ll be happy to share!

Looking for "something more"?

 
 

One of my favorite areas of primary foods to talk about is the area of spirituality because so often it’s what’s missing form our busy lives. Now before you close this post thinking “I’m not religious,” or “I’m settled in my faith and don’t need to read about this,” what I’m talking about is different. What I’m talking about is a practice that can enrich any life whether or not that life is built on or around the tenants of a particular faith. Please keep reading! :)

I really like the definition of spirituality that pops up when you google it: “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.” As a health coach, my goal is not to provide teaching or guidance on a specific faith or religion. My goal IS to help you find what you’re looking for when you just feel like there should be “something more.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Christian. A Lutheran to be exact, and that faith and the religious practices that come along with it have enriched my life immensely and continue to do so. If you’d like to chat with me more about that, I’d be happy to!

However, I also cultivate spiritual practices, if you define that term as google does, that have nothing to do with my religion, at least in a formal sense. And while I would never tell someone they need to find a religion to subscribe to, or tell them that they need to adhere to the same religious beliefs I do to lead a fulfilling life, I have become a big believer that spirituality in this sense IS essential to our happiness.

When my health coach training included spirituality as one of the four areas of primary food that are core to our wellbeing, I thought “well that’s controversial...I don’t want to tell my clients they need to be spiritual!” Then I learned more and began developing my own spirituality, and my perspective shifted. Now, assuming spirituality means focusing on the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things, I’m happy to shout from the rooftops: HECK YES YOU NEED A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE!

All this means is that we need to tune in from time to time. I am at a place where I try to tune in multiple times a day, but as with any life change, it’s best to start slowly. What are you tuning into? That’s up to you - your intuition, your soul, the universe, God, your life source - spend some time thinking about what resonates with you. What I’d like for you to do is spend some time focused not on the physical world around you, but inside of yourself, tapping into that innate wisdom, that gut instinct, that we all have. This focus can be achieved through meditation, prayer, spending time in nature, sitting quietly and reflecting on your day without distractions, practicing gentle forms of movement like yoga, even more intense exercise like running if that helps you feel a sense of clarity and introspection. What it doesn’t involve is looking outward - to the opinions of others or the external demands on your time. If we’re honest, we probably all spend the majority of our days responding to external stimuli: the structures and objects we see around us, the people who we care for or work for, various forms of media that tell us how the world is and what we should be doing in it. My hope for you is that you can find a resonant spiritual practice that will help to balance out those inputs - spending some time tuning IN to your inner guide that whispers your needs and desires when you’re listening and acting on that, in addition to all the other times we spend zoning OUT and responding to the external pressures that can keep us on a conveyor belt of sorts.

What are your favorite spiritual practices? What questions do you have about spiritual practices? Send me a message, I’d LOVE to chat!

A Little Birthday Wisdom at 33

As we celebrated this birthday and made this big life decision within about 48 hours, I couldn’t help but notice how (beautifully) different my life feels right now than at any time in the past. I wanted to share a couple of those ways with you, in case it resonates or sparks any inspiration for you!

Is #bodypositive Healthy?

Being body positive and believing in health at every size isn't a mindset that justifies being "unhealthy" or eating dessert all day every day or ignoring health markers. Instead, it's about aligning your WHY for how you eat, sleep, drink, move, and otherwise care for yourself with what you believe to be true at your core. And for me, that has nothing to do with the number on the scale, and everything to do with how much energy and vitality I have to pursue my God-given passions.

I Gained 20lbs...And Here's What I'm Doing About It

Ok guys, get ready for a long, vulnerable, honest post about weight gain. It’s not easy to put this out there, but I know there are people out there who can benefit from a message of self love and compassion around our bodies, so here I am, sharing it today. The fact that I can write this and put it on the internet and send it to people’s inboxes for all to read is huge for me. After years of feeling that the number on the scale measured my worth, my commitment, my discipline, my success, my value, etc., I’m SO thankful that working with my health coach helped me to reach a place where I can make this statement without shame, self-loathing, or panic.