What’s messy, and why it matters

If you’re a Brené Brown fan like I am, I hope you’ve picked up her newest book, Rising Strong. I’m into it now and can’t help but be inspired by her words and her dedication of the book to the space in between vulnerability and the heroic ending of the stories we are all so excited to get to. She admits that failure is part of life, and says that the journey is messy:

 “We much prefer stories about falling and rising to be inspirational and sanitized. Our culture is rife with those tales. In a thirty-minute speech, there’s normally thirty seconds dedicated to, “And I fought my way back,”…We like recovery stories to move quickly through the dark so we can get to the sweeping redemptive ending.”

I like to think that my blogging here as well as at my old blog was a space for me to share some of my struggles, but I’ll admit that I like to rush to the ending. Sometimes this blog serves as a spot to figure things out, which is great. But as someone who wants to help others to figure their own things out, it’s a disservice to skip to the ending or to leave out the messy parts. So as I’ve been reading Rising Strong, I’ve been thinking about my own mess in the middle.

On a regular basis, there are parts about living my recovered, healthy, life that are not so easy. There are “failures” or stumbles now, and I don’t always want to talk about them. Is it shame? Is it an attempt to inspire and focus on what’s good? Maybe. But talking about where we feel shame, I know, only takes away its power. And being real about the messy parts of life is what is really inspiring to others. Take it from Brené:

“…[T]here’s a vast difference between how we think about the term failure and how we think about the people and organizations brave enough to share their feelings for the purpose of learning and growing. To pretend that we can get to helping, generous, and brave without navigating through tough emotions like desperation, shame, and panic is a profoundly dangerous and misguided assumption.”

She talks about “the beauty in truth and tenacity.” So for the next couple of posts here, I want to share some of the struggles I’ve had and/or have when it comes to living the healthy and happy life I try to stay committed to. I’ll talk about what it’s like to walk around recovered—some of the times where I find myself slipping, or the ways that I have to work on staying true to myself. It’s not always easy, and I hope that this serves to send the message that it’s alright to have to work at recovery or living a healthy life. We sometimes see these images of people who have it all figured out and beat ourselves up for not being as carefree or as put together as them. It’s the whole comparing other peoples’ highlight reels with our behind the scenes footage, and it’s shitty if you’re the kind of person who then beats yourself up for struggling. Talk about kicking yourself when you’re down. I’ve been there, and I hope talking about it both helps me to let go of some of that shame and also to let others know they’re not alone.

 

imperfections

So in the coming posts, I want to talk about what’s tough. Holidays, the scale, comparisons–these are just a couple of the things I want to talk about.

Are there things you struggle with but keep to yourself when it comes to being healthy and happy?
When you tell your story, do you skip to the end? 

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Worth it: Musselman and my half ironman debut

I always seem to procrastinate on post-race write-ups, but I have decided that the longer I wait, the less likely I’ll do the event justice! If you’ve been around me in the last couple weeks, you’ll know I’ve been gearing up for my half ironman debut at Musselman.

usselman

I chose this race because:

  • It has a cute mascot – the zebra mussel!
  • In 2011, my first year in triathlon, a woman at the local pool was raving about her experience at Musselman. She said that if I was ever to do a half, I should do this as my first—it’s very friendly to first-timers.
  • My locker neighbor at the rec centre (who KILLED IT on the weekend!) signed up and peer-pressured me into it. …Just kidding, she asked me politely and encouraged me, though!
  • Instead of doing a 70.3 (aka Ironman-branded) race, I wanted to avoid the tri-hards (and pay a little less to enter as a bonus, though I got my registration gifted to me by the awesome owners of the spin studio I work at!).
  • I could drive there!

As the week went on, I got more and more nervous for the weekend. First there was rain in the forecast, and then I rolled my ankle out for a walk with Brent. I am a really clumsy person, but I had all of these scenarios (and contingency plans) in my head of things that could go wrong: rolling my ankle was not one of them. Luckily a little physio and a visit to the chiropractor (because better safe than sorry) helped me to rest assured that I would be okay to run, even if it hurt, just knowing that I was doing my recovery a disservice if I chose to! I had some encouragement from some of the women I look up to in the sport (like Angela, who I thought of lots during my race for inspiration!). I had some athletic tape packed and I put my mind to it and got myself all ready.

I felt a little frantic running around town buying gels and bars and water bottles I wouldn’t mind tossing, etc. My friend Katie was a life saver along with Angela and all the other people I asked for advice. My coaches (for swim, Balance Point Triathlon with Gabbi and of course my coach Chris Helwig) gave me a lot of encouragement and of course advice. I got a card from the people I swim with and it made me feel so much more excited—such a simple gesture but also greatly appreciated! I finally had my things together and hit the road! I was going to do a quick swim because with the ankle situation I was feeling a bit sluggish, but the pool was closed so I just went for it.

packed

Packing light is not something I know how to do!

Taped up and ready to leave!

Taped up and ready to leave!

I drove down to Geneva on Friday afternoon. It’s about a 4.5 hour drive, plus whatever the border adds, which in my case was just less than an hour! I got there in time to pick up my key to get into the “Athlete’s Village,” where I booked a room for less than 50$/night. It was in an old college there, which meant no air conditioning but my friend advised me to pack a fan and it really wasn’t so bad. I also made it to the grocery store to grab some things and ate my last vegetables before the race (tapers are hard, not eating like normal is hard) along with my first big ol’ dose of pasta! I got a pretty good night’s sleep on Friday and then on Saturday I was up early enough to drive to course and head down to the site of the event to watch the “Mini Mussel,” a sprint triathlon, finish.

athletes village

I got lost a lot on the drive, but the course was beautiful and looked like a pretty moderate ride – not many hills I’d be avoiding if I was at home, but water so I was anticipating some wind. I got more and more excited as the day went on, and my ankle was bugging me less and less. I met up with one of the women from London, Jennifer, and watched her husband cross the finish line of the sprint tri (he’s training for an ironman and is twice as crazy as I am). She did her first half not too long ago and was super encouraging, even though we were both pretty nervous! Her son did the kids’ race on Friday—talk about a family affair!

Here I am with Jennifer after her husband, Mike, crossed the finish line!

Here I am with Jennifer after her husband, Mike, crossed the finish line!

We had a pre-race meeting on Saturday afternoon, but in between I rode my bike a bit (felt slow but good) and jogged around the campus a bit to prove to myself that I would be fine with my ankle. I also made it to the outlet malls about 15 miles from Geneva, which was a welcome distraction and let me get a visor that I was grateful for on Sunday! The meeting gave me butterflies. As I sat with Jenn and Ileana, the friend who roped me into this in the first place (:)!), I could feel us all getting more excited and nervous. I did have lots of my questions answered, though!

A snap from my bike ride on Saturday.

A snap from my bike ride on Saturday.

Ileana and I went to the pre-race pasta dinner, which was small but nice. We made friends with some people from Connecticut and also met up with some more people from London, who we don’t train with but were sure we recognized! Both of these couples were encouraging the day before, at the race in the morning, and post-race, of course! Triathletes are so friendly. We racked our bikes the night before, which was new for me, but nice since it was less to carry on the long trek from parking to the transition area Sunday morning.

Besides a little freak out before bed, which Brent had to put up with but also helped me with, I had a good evening preparing myself mentally and trying to get to sleep early. I probably got about 6 hours of sleep before my 4:25am wake up call. I managed to get some coffee and oatmeal with peanut butter and banana in before heading to the park. I drank Gatorade and chatted as I got ready for the race. There were lots of first timers, which made me feel better.

I did basically 0 warm-up, though I did hop in the water and get myself ready. We went in waves, with the gals 25-39 going second (after the young bucks). My goal was not to get caught by the ladies I was with – Jenn and Ileana and Pam, who is in her 60s but KILLED it and got second in her age category! By the time the national anthem was sung and we were getting shuffled into the water for the start (waist-deep), I felt ready to go!

Looking a little nervous..and trying to find the buoys!

Looking a little nervous..and trying to find the buoys!

pre race

Swim – 1.2 miles – 41:31 (1:59/100m)

The swim course was good for me. The buoys (doritos and cheese balls, in my head) were large and I could see them with the light just fine! I didn’t get too off course, and the waves don’t bother me as much as they do other people. I swam most of the way with one other pink capped gal, who breast stroked a lot for someone keeping up with me while I was swimming along steadily, but whatever! Some of the next wave (or two) caught us, but I ended up with an average pace faster than a lot of my shorter races. I liked starting in the bigger lake and then heading into the canal, where it was harder to swim off course. The swim training must have paid off a little. I think my new wetsuit and going to open water practices with Gabbi made a big impact, too! I was 10/25 in my age category, which makes me feel pretty good too! I peed in my wetsuit, yes, and I hope I left the water smiling because the worst part was over in my head.

Bike – 56 miles, 3:05:30 (29.1km/h average)

I wanted to bike in 3 hours really badly, but I am more of a 29 averager I guess these days. I used to have in my head that anything below 30km/h was not very fast, but I’m happy with this time. I was 5th in my age category for this leg of the race and not that many women passed me. It was windier than I thought it was going to be and I pulled over once to check my tire because I thought it was rubbing. I am NOT good at grabbing water bottles, and I definitely underdrank and did not eat enough – one gel, one pack of shot blocks, and most of a clif bar with two bottles. I felt okay though. There was one gravelly stretch, but I really enjoyed this bike course, which went along two coastlines and was relatively flat. There was one hill, and I passed a lot of people on it! Go me.

Run – 13.1 miles 2:04:43 (5:56/km average)

The run was HAWT, but there were sponges, kids with hoses on their front yards, and aid stations at every mile to help my case. My ankle not hurting kept me happy enough to ignore all the other pain I was in from running up hills and from a blister I got on my other foot. It’s all minor. I walked through each aid station and drank a mix of water, hose water, Gatorade, etc. I ate a few shot blocks but probably could have had more as I was hungry by the end. I was conservative at first and ran just over 6 minute km, which I tried to make shorter as I got further along. I walked up 2 hills but otherwise chugged along just fine. I was so happy to be doing it and realizing that I was going to finish made me feel like I could go a little faster, so I did. I got passed by a few people at the beginning, mostly men, but I passed some myself. I was 11th in my age category on this part. With the walk breaks, I still managed to finish in a respectable time, in my opinion, and I knew a few miles before the finish that I could make it in less than 6 hours (my private goal, with my out-loud goal being to finish between 6 and 6 and a half hours), so I had plenty of reason to kick it up a notch. I almost teared up when I saw the finish line, but I managed to cross the line with what I hope was a smile (or at least a grimace). My only regret? Not putting my hands up for a finishing photo (which you can check out, with the others, here!).

My total time was 5:58:10. I did it! I don’t ever have to do another one, but I probably will. My interwebs history would show that I’ve already researched other races. I was 8th in my age category out of 25, and in the top 50 of over 200 women. That made my ego happy, but I was just feeling proud of myself for achieving my goal, regardless of what other people did! And as for a full Ironman, maybe before I’m 30 seems like a goal that’s far enough away to seem realistic but pressing enough to keep me planning on continuing to train, albeit a little less, for this sport! I’ve got a new gig working as a Personal Trainer / Coach at Hybrid, which I am the most excited about. I know that being in that environment keeps me excited about all the strength sports (weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit, even Strongman) that are out there, and keeps me training for health and well-being, which is so important! I have been putting the two together personally and I know lots of members with triathlon on their bucket list or who have asked me questions about endurance stuff so I’m really glad to be working there now! With teacher’s college in the fall, my schedule obviously has less time for mid-afternoon bike rides or for long workouts on Tuesday (love grad school for that), but I know I can find a balance that will of course look different from these past few years but that will hopefully leave me racing, healthy, and happy!

...happy about something!

…happy about something!

pam winner!

Pam placing second in her age group!

Ileana on the top of the podium for her age group! She won wine and intimidated the third place woman, it seems!

Ileana on the top of the podium for her age group! She won wine and intimidated the third place woman, it seems!

As for the rest of the summer, I don’t have a plan. I am registered for Vulture Bait (a 25km trail run in October) but have decided I’m on the fence about keeping up the long distances. I’m feeling run down, but I know I need to give my body a chance to recuperate before I make any decisions. I’ll be making an appearance at the triathlon in my hometown, Bluewater, in two weeks, and hope to do something else later in the summer! Some bike touring and workouts with friends for fun sound like a good way to use this fitness I’ve got.

Speaking of recuperating, since I did an admittedly bad job of eating and drinking on the bike, I felt like a whole lot of crap on Sunday afternoon. I finally stopped rolling around and feeling sorry for myself late afternoon and drank some water and some Nuun from Ileana. I was able to eat dinner / suffer through (ha!) some ice cream, but I did not eat as much as I would on a normal day, let alone one with 6 hours of exercising! Headaches, nausea, all kinds of GI things you don’t want to hear about…it all sort of has lasted longer than I wish it had. I’m not very sore, but the aftermath of the dehydration has demonstrated the importance I’ll place on figuring out how to drink more during my next go at this kind of race!

post race ice cream

I also called that I’d be having a migraine this week and sure enough, one hit this morning. It was nothing a 3 hour nap couldn’t help me get past. I often get the migraine attacks with weather, post-stressful periods, and with my hormones. All three are coinciding so I’m really not surprised, and I will take feeling a little crappy for having that check off my bucket list! I’m drinking extra water and taking it easy this week—light swim yesterday, mobility at the gym today, working on my bibliography (home stretch!)—and am going to get back to more “training” when I feel like I’m ready, not when my ego says “GO!”

All in all, I am so glad that I signed up for that race (thanks Ileana for encouraging me!). I had great coaching to get to it. I had support from my friends and family and people who listened to me talk about this thing for months. I had wonderful company there (the women I was with ALL ROCK and everyone was SO NICE who I met!). The weather worked out great. I would recommend this race to anyone who is going to do their first half, or someone who wants to travel somewhere and stay a few days. Geneva was beautiful and I would have loved to stick around. I have to go back, mostly because I missed out on the “Wine Slushie” advertised in the region. Darn it, dehydration!

Setting a goal that seemed like it might knock me down along the way—and it certainly tested my resolve—was as cheesy as it might sound, exactly what I needed right now. I know that there are people who would call me out on being a sports evangelist, but all those pinterest quotes about achieving goals/focusing on the journey/sport making you a better person are true to me right now! I sometimes think of myself as a quitter, or as fragile. I’ve seen that I’m pretty darn tough, and I’m also more badass than I let myself feel sometimes. I can run in the snow. I can suck it up on the trainer. I can wake up early when I’d rather sleep in. I can do things I don’t want to or don’t think that I can! Maybe I can resist chocolate after all…nah!

Last month, I did that CrossFit competition and felt so friggin’ strong picking up a heavy barbell and swinging around on the bars and climbing ropes and things. This month, I showed myself that strong doesn’t mean I can’t still have success in triathlon or in doing the other things that I love. This race coinciding with me submitting my thesis has made for a pretty big week, if I say so myself. I may be tired, but I am feeling more accomplished than I have in a heck of a long time! Right now I’m relishing my accomplishments, but soon I’ll be setting some more goals, and with the reassurance that I can do the things I set my mind to!

stronger

worth it jump outta bed

understeim jump outta bed

worth it

Have you done a triathlon?
What’s your favourite distance to race?
Do you write down your goals?
What are you working towards right now?
What’s your proudest athletic moment?

day 3 and recognizing my strength

Hi there!

Today’s post from Molly Galbraith’s Love Your Body Challenge is all about acknowledging where you’re strong:

“We do things on a daily basis that require enormous amounts of physical, mental, and emotional strength, and yet we never slow down to recognize them, and give ourselves the credit we deserve.”

I think of myself as a strong person:

Emotionally, I’ve been through some stuff, which assures me that I’m strong.

stronger than you think

Physically, no problem.

This is my favourite picture. Ever.

This is my favourite picture. Ever.

 

Mentally, I do my best to think strong thoughts.

Strong or miserable

So, for today, my focus is: “I am strong enough to admit when I’m wrong and start over, and I am proud of that.”  x10

I am the person who sometimes acts too impulsively and trusts too much. In combination, this means I’ve spent a lot of time and money and energy on things that, to some people, might look like a “waste.” I, however, refuse to look at them that way. Of all the “mistakes” I’ve taken or the “wrong” roads I’ve found myself down (switching programs in school, for instance or starting and quitting jobs or training programs, perhaps), there are none that I haven’t learned something valuable about myself from. In lots of cases, finding the strength to stop where I’m at once I’ve realized it isn’t serving me was the hardest part.

strength 2

 

How are you strong on a regular basis?
Does reminding yourself of your strengths make you feel more confident in the moment? 

 

sucking at it but doing it any way: what’s the exercise you love the most?

I had a lovely break over Christmas that I spent largely baking cookies, celebrating with friends and family, getting myself organized for a new year, and working out. I told myself heading into the break that I wouldn’t stress over figuring out the perfect workout schedule but that I’d just do the classes, workouts, and exercise that felt the best for me and my schedule.

I ended up dabbling in plenty of Olympic lifting, spinning, yoga, some CrossFit, and a swim here or there.

Know the saying, “Jack (Jill?) of all trades, master of none”? Since I dabble in a bunch of things, I don’t really consider myself “good” or “great” at any of them. On occasion, this leads to me getting into a negative spot that only wine or the gentle words of my oh so patient boyfriend can drag me out of where I’m thinking that I’m “not good enough” instead of valuing how awesome it is to be able to do a whole variety of activities with competence and enjoyment. I sometimes wonder what would happen if I actually poured my heart and soul into being a hardcore cyclist or a die-hard yogi or whatever the flavour of the week is. But the question I usually come back to is “what for?” and the realization I end up with over again–cheese alert–is that I don’t have to be the best, I just have to be my best. 

doing your best

So a helpful question I like to ask myself is: Would I still do _______ if I sucked at it? 

When I get into that comparison trap, reminding myself that I would still do CrossFit, for instance, even if my times were always the slowest or my weights were always the lightest, is a good way to get me out of it and to remind me that the point is not to be the best at it, it’s to enjoy it and the benefits that come along the way. Ditto for cycling or yoga or whatever activity I’m stressing over not being “the best” at. Then, it’s way less important that I feel like I don’t measure up.

compare and despair

It’s also a nice reminder to think about the fact that no matter what, there will be someone better out there. But in so many things–and beyond exercise–there’s no point in deciding that just because someone else is doing the same thing you are but better, you should stop. My gut reaction is to remind myself that what I’m doing is important and to use the fact that there is someone doing a better job out there to do even better. Whether or not we’re the best at something, we have something to offer.

woods

Now that I’m sufficiently off track, I’ll wrap this up by encouraging you to look at the things you do and the things you “love” and to check in: do you love them enough to do them even if you suck? Remember that when you’re feeling unmotivated or need a reminder that you rip…

awesome

What do you suck at but do anyways? 

It’s about time

This post has been coming together in my mind, on napkins and scrap paper, in journals, and all over the place for a while.

It’s about time I put it all together and just got real about what’s up with me…

I think the life coaches and inspirational junkies of the world might be out to inspire me:

  • Monday’s quote from Andrea Owen, in my inbox:

  • Last week’s behappy.me daily quote, also in my inbox:

So I’m going to do it….

So after a whole lot of thinking, blogging, journalling, talking, reflecting, etc. etc. I can say I’ve had a hella summer. It was filled with awesome things–travelling, meeting all kinds of people, making mistakes and learning lessons, having more fun than ever–and it brought me a lot of insight.

This week is the start of that Life By Design Challenge I mentioned earlier in the month. If you’re not familiar with Life By Design yet, puh-leeeeeeze check it out:

I’m telling you — whether it found me or I found it, I think there’s a match made in heaven here. This is my interpretation and what I’ve taken from being exposed to all of this –> Living by design means realizing that we’re MEANT to be strong, fit, healthy, beautiful, powerful, successful, _____________ [insert great adjective here] and then going after it. It’s about living on as awesome a level as you can and being awake and conscious of your life–not just settling for being okay or going through the motions but actually taking responsibility and stepping up!

I think it’s safe to say I’m pretty hooked. I am drawn to these people–and not just because they’re jacked and fun to be around (this stuff works!). There’s something about the energy and the fact that they’re doing something on purpose that’s really refreshing–cuz it’s rare (but it shouldn’t be this way–how great would it be if we all woke up and actually lived?!) and cuz it’s inspiring! Safe to say I feel lucky to have met Dr. K at Starbucks one day and had an impromptu coaching session when I timidly talked about not being sure about becoming a dietitian and mentioned that I have a blog (without any confidence or feelings of deserving–in short, with much lower self esteem than I have now!).

So at the same time that I am really energized, motivated, and excited about all of the changes I’ve made, I feel like there’s a part of me that’s been holding back. Yes, I’ve made serious changes. But I’m frustrated and I feel stuck–and I know it’s up to me to change it!

As far as I’ve come, I still don’t feel like I’ve got it together. And that’s fine and dandy–you have to be okay with where you are to get anywhere better–but I’m not going to hide it: I want to be stronger. I’m sick of feeling soft and pudgy. I’m done pretending that I’m really fit when I realize I’m neglecting a whole lot of what it takes to train properly. That being said, I’m already working on these things, but I haven’t really announced it: I’m eating by design, I’m giving up my old approach to working out and training, I’m getting my power turned on with regular chiro visits, and I’m waking up for all of this. In short, I’m working on living by design.

Starting point:

It is what it is. I weigh 142lbs. I don’t lift weights very much, but I do a lot of body weight stuff. I don’t do 2 hours of cardio like I used to, but I still fall back on cardio workouts and sometimes think I need to do one every day. I like yoga and I do more of it. I play sports every once in a while. I read books, I spend time with friends, and I think I’m pretty conscious of what’s going on in my life. I’m actively working on my values, I’m defining my mission, I’m setting goals. I eat a lot of real food but I also have a lot to learn. I drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of froyo, and I sometimes let my emotions drive my food choices. I look like this:

Again, it is what it is.

So what’s it all mean?

I just made this kind of a bigger deal since I want to get even more conscious about what I’m doing. My posts are going to be more forwardly talking about applying the stuff I’m sure you read about — eating, moving, thinking, brain body connection, by design:

  • Health –> Not waiting for something to be wrong to care. Keeping a clear connection. Sleeping.
  • Eat –> Eating more real foods that are by design. My new idea is “nonfiction” food — real stuff that I can actually say where it came from. Sure “by design” foods from WalMart are better than BigMacs, but I have the resources and time and motivation to seek out stuff from real farms and producers that aren’t so far removed that I lose sight of where my food/nourishment is coming from. Recognizing that froyo and treats are fine–but they’re not “food” or fuel.
  • Move –> Working on that broad definition of fitness. My decision to get crossfit certified + being willing to make a little bit of an ass of myself learning the stuff that I don’t know (mainly: olympic lifts) and to play around with things (finding a balance between the cardio I love and the training I need to be strong and fit and all those good things) = next steps.
  • Think –> Focusing on the good stuff. The motto is “Focus on what’s strong, not on what’s wrong.” Working on my values, my purpose, and then acting on it. Reading more things that lift me up and less that just fill my world with fluff. Spending more time doing the things I like to do with the people who lift me higher.
  • Other –> Using my energy for the things that matter. Freelancing, teaching fitness, and blogging = doing more of what I love. Not signing up for a course this fall just because. Applying the if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no theory. Living out loud. Simplifying. Moving. Learning how to budget. Spending more time outside. Trusting the process.

NOW I feel ready for that 30 day challenge. Might as well start early, might as well go big, and might as well blog the heck out of it. There’s inspiration in seeing someone else’s trials, successes, progress and all that jazz and that’s what I want to do with this and that’s why I’m giving you this novel of a backgrounder. Accountability, motivation, something to reflect back on–those rock too!

Feeling good, on purpose

HAPPY MONDAY! That’s an extra happy Monday, which tends to follow awesome weekends.

Golfing yesterday was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. It was sunny but no too hot, the company was good, and we won’t talk about the score.

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Amanda, Justin and some sweaty crazy girl.

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Sweetest rental clubs EVER.

After golf, I had the quickest/easiest dinner ever because I wanted to go to yoga. The morning class reignited my love for getting my zen on and I was just itching to get back to Yoga Shack, so I figured that anything I was going to do last night could wait until today in favour of going to Dave’s power flow class.

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Turkey jerky, apple, and cheese = quick, easy dinner. MIA: vegetables 😦

When I got home from the class, which was awesome and of course involved my favourite song in savasana (it must have been meant to be–seriously!), I mostly read blogs and my Oprah magazine (which went all the way to and from Virginia unopened) and ate bon bons.

Oprah has a knack for inspiring me, as cheesy as that might be. This issue was filled with quizzes, which I used to prompt some good old journalling. I had been thinking a lot lately about defining my purpose. No big deal, right? Alysha mentioned hers to me on Saturday post-race because she’s been working hard at her life coaching certification and I was so impressed with the confidence that she had. I read some posts about purpose and talked to some pretty inspiring people and realized that I’m lacking that direction and could probably stand to at least attempt at defining what I want. So what came to me yesterday after writing out some of the answers to the quiz in the magazine about what is “fun” for you flowed pretty easily onto my journal page (I’m not good at talking things out but when I get to writing, stuff just flows) and was something like:

I am here to serve as a real life example of living healthy and to use my own personal experience to launch a career and a life of inspiring, enabling, and coaching others to find their own best possible definition of health. 

There are two things I have to explain in there:

  • “real life example” — I have room for real life things like days away from training, like meals that aren’t perfect, like hitting bumps in the road and dealing with them as they come. Sometimes coaches and teachers seem like they’re living in an alternate reality where bad things don’t happen and where everything is easy and then it’s hard to relate to them. Lucky for me, I live in the real world and I like challenges. 🙂
  • “living healthy” — Notice that “living” comes before “healthy” since to me, the only way to be healthy is to live. The only reason to be healthy is to live. Sure, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much. But if you don’t want to live a little while you’re here, why bother being healthy? So you can get to your grave in one happy piece at 15% body fat with a six pack? OK, have fun with that. I’m going to be going on some adventures while you work on your biceps. Keep flexing at yourself in the mirror while I go out and get some real life fulfillment.

More thoughts:

  • My talent for writing is something that I’m working on turning into a skill and using it to communicate all of these things–the principles of healthy living, the lessons I’ve learned, the people who I’ve encountered and their own messages–that’s where I find myself getting into a “zone”. Blogging might be a hobby, but there’s a reason why I keep doing it.
  • Teaching fitness is a nice part time job, but it has never felt like work. Interacting with people is what gives me the sense of connectedness on a daily basis–either personally or as an instructor/trainer. I see myself coaching in some capacity–whether it’s fitness, racing, yoga, nutrition, wellness, life–and being a leader, teacher, etc.
  • I want to work on my public speaking ability because being able to talk about my own experiences is something I hope to do. Having struggled through an eating disorder, I can pinpoint a bunch of people whose speeches have empowered me and inspired me to take another step forward. Jenni Schaefer talked about the step from “in recovery” to “recovered” and my life coach, Jennifer Schramm, talked about her four step recovery and how she got to awesome. Both of these women seriously changed my life in a one hour span–and that’s powerful!
  • Your dream career doesn’t have to exist, you just have to be willing to create it. There’s not really a secure job in this world–you might as well be insecure in a job that you absolutely spring out of bed to do. I have a feeling that if your career serves your highest, it really won’t feel like work. My plan is to work towards this unconventional idea for a while and if I am miserable and bankrupt and in trouble in five years, THEN I’ll settle. Teacher’s college has been appealing to me because it’s something to do and it’s something secure-ish. But it isn’t calling my heart out and I haven’t applied in the last two years even though I could have, so I don’t think I should go now. Doing a masters in kin is somewhat appealing, but ditto. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. If I can turn down Columbia, my dream school, for Journalism because I trust myself and my intuition enough to know that a master’s in journalism isn’t necessary for the 75000 price tag and all that jazz, I can say no to settling for conventional.

  • Creating your own vision for your career is just the first step. What else could you make amazing in your life? I want to go on adventures all the time — travel lots and do active things. I want to have nice things but I want to live simply. I want to use my money on things that I value — experiences and high quality things (food, stuff I need, etc.) and all that good stuff! 🙂
  • Nobody is going to stop you from being awesome, trust me. Most people are too busy living mediocre lives to care. If someone’s in your way, it could be jealousy, but I think what’s far more probably is that if you live on a big scale, you’ll inspire people. Once I interviewed Tina from Carrots n Cake and she said to me, “There’s plenty of room at the top.”–this really stuck with me. Someone who has made it to a high level and is living her passion essentially telling me that I’m allowed to do the same and am entitled to being just as successful? Holy canoli!
  • Stop asking for permission. You’re supposed to be great. Nobody really cares if you DON’T go for it — whether you’re scared or you don’t know how or you aren’t sure you’re allowed to. It’s entirely up to you to care.  At the end of the day and the end of your life, it was ALL up to you!

  • My plan — could I be an endurance coach? a personal trainer? a wellness coach? a nutritionist? a life coach? a yoga instructor? a motivational speaker? a fitness instructor? a professional blogger? an author of books? a guest on the Today Show? A magazine columnist? All of these things? YES, YES, AND YES. Whatever floats my boat. Someone who changes the world? THAT TOO!

I think I’m done–for now! Today’s been a productive day after all and it’s only 10:30! Before this cheese-fest, I tackled that laundry head on, cooked up some food for this week, and made a list of things to get done for the week. It feels good to be organized, nice to be at home, and AMAZING to have defined all that stuff I just shared with you guys.

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Kamut puffs, banana, coconut, walnuts, and soy milk for breakfast.

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Obvs you needed this selfie. New shirt!

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Home sweet home!

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Now I’m going to use all this positive Monday energy to get to work on my freelancing assignments and fitness planning! Bootcamp and spin tonight are something to look forward to and I might make a little pit stop at the mall in between appointments today if I’m feeling it…

Do you ever just explode with inspiration? 
Are you a golfer? 
Do you have a dream career or are you creating your own?

Sunday start

Happy Sunday!

I am up pretty early considering there were in fact patio beers last night and my friend and I had a good old fashioned sleepover complete with snacks (pretzels for me!) and a movie. We watched “Stick It” to the wee hours of the morning but somehow I sprung out of bed today.

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do you love stick it? or do you love stick it?

Realization: I eat really weird things. Bananas at dinner time, alfalfa sprouts at breakfast. Whatever–it makes me happy!

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Anyways, after pouring my heart out yesterday, you’d think I’d be out of stuff to say, huh? Nah. If you missed my post yesterday, I seriously want you to do the homework I suggested. And yes, I just plugged my own blog. Whatever. Read it and then rag on me for promoting it, but only after you do the work ;)!

Today is looking like a good day. I’m meeting up with some friends for a bike ride later this afternoon here in London. I often drive home to go for bike rides, but I am sick of driving and with my 10 hour car ride Wednesday morning, I think sticking around for a day is a good idea. 🙂 And biking with people here and getting used to living in London is a good thing since I’m thinking I’m going to be here for at least a bit

Speaking of my trip, I’m trying to get my life organized and planned out a bit before I head. I said it before and I’ll say it again, I”m excited for my trip but at the same time there is so much awesome happening at home right now that it’s bittersweet to leave! 10 days is a long time, but I’m going to have a great time biking up and down the hills (mountains?) in Virginia, reading my butt off, hopefully sleeping, doing some solo yoga, and sleeping. Big goals, huh? We are staying at a resort so I believe there’s hiking, tennis, and that sort of thing — I’m sure it’s going to be a blast. I have heard the wireless is a bit spotty, so I think I’m going to need a US data plan to stay connected. We’ll see…sometimes the thought of just getting away and not being constantly linked in is a breath of fresh air, no?

Speaking of that, I feel like the last week or two has just been all about fresh air, so to speak. I’m not sure if it’s because summer school is done, because something in me has shifted, or because of all the fun times I’ve been having outside being active, seeing people, etc., but I feel better than I have in a long time. I still can’t give a definitive answer about what I’m doing in the fall, but I know it’s going to be good and right and perfect. There really aren’t mistakes and the nice thing is if I don’t like where I am, I know I can change it. I know I could be at Columbia. I know I could be living anywhere and doing any job. But just because I could doesn’t mean I have to or that I should! It’s empowering to choose to be open to new things, to leave that space for those new things, and to risk being in limbo for a bit instead of just jumping into the next thing. Yes, life is short, but it’s not that short! My anxiety level is going down about all of this and I’m thinking my trip away will help me sort out some of this thinking…amen to that! 😀

Of course I have applicable cheese:

Andddd break!

Have an awesome Sunday. 🙂

Life is too short to be anything but happy

For a while—as in since last week, when I graduated. I’ve felt so out of whack and I know I’m getting back on the right track, but what is that track?

After taking this Food Science course and diving into this Foods and Nutrition Program (my third go at it, really), I know what I don’t want–to finish it. I’ve known that for a few weeks, and I’ve been thinking about my options (but you guys know I’ve been pretty busy).

While nothing is set in stone, I think I’m starting to wrap my head around a rough idea of where I’d like to head and of the kind of future I want to create for myself.

A year ago, I was sure I was going to be in Journalism school in september. Since then, I’ve realized I want to do more than write. I love to write. I will be a writer. I will keep pitching stories, blogging, and writing my heart out. I don’t need a master’s degree to do that.

A month ago, I was pretty certain I was going to be a dietitian. I knew I wanted to help people lead healthier lifestyles and I liked the idea of helping athletes and people working through eating disorders.

Journalist.

Dietitian.

Safe.

Today, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m forming a picture of what it’s going to look like without needing a label. No offence to anyone who has known what they’ve wanted to be since they were 5 and have come out of it with a great professional degree or something like that, but that hasn’t been working for me. I’m done sticking to the conventional just for the sake of feeling secure. At my graduation, the speaker mentioned something about how times have changed. Making money is tough. Finding “a job” is tough. He told us to take every opportunity. Things can seem overwhelming, but when you look at it as a world full of opportunities instead of feeling overwhelmed, you see that there is so much freaking potential that you can’t help but get excited.

I really never thought that I’d be so confused about what I want to do with myself. If you don’t know me or you can’t get vibes from my blog, I’m a stubborn person. I know where I’m headed, or at least I like to pretend I do. So this is a big shift for me, but it’s one that I know is going to lead me to a happier career and life at the end of it all.

I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true: “If you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day of your life.” It’s also true that by deciding that I’m going to work towards a happy holistic life instead of just securing a career, I’m just embracing all the awesome that I’m entitled to in a new way. I did it with my body–I don’t have to force myself to lose weight or to have perfect abs before I can be happy. In the same way, I don’t have to make sure the tI’ve got a set career path and plan that is stable before I can start living. Cuz FYI, life is flying by and I think the point is kind of to enjoy this whole process, right? Thanks for that realization, recovery!

So enough with the big thinking and rambling…what the heck am I going to do next?

I started to figure this out by thinking about my options and by talking it through with a lot of helpful listening ears. I started to look for examples of people living the kinds of lives–active, inspiring, engaging–that I want to and to take notes or to ask questions of what they’re doing. The truth is, they’re just following their bliss. That seems to be the key.

Right now, what’s making my heart sing most is:

  • teaching fitness
  • blogging and writing in general
  • rounding up cheesy quotes
  • yoga
  • reading, especially about nutrition, eating disorder recovery, and self help
  • working with my life coach
Things I considered for the coming year:
  • working as a fitness professional
  • going back to Western and taking some more kin courses and finishing my writing certificate
  • looking for a job somewhere exciting (mountains, anyone?)
  • applying to teacher’s college in the states or australia
  • applying for my masters in kin or in sports nutrition somewhere
  • pursuing the registered holistic nutritionist designation from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition
  • going somewhere to get my 200 hour yoga teacher training
  • going on an NOLS trip – throwing myself into the wilderness, essentially
  • signing up for a program at Rhodes College, where my life coach went
  • taking violin lessons and getting far enough so that I can teach little kiddies how to play – I was pretty close, but my theory could use some work!
And to be totally honest, I want to do them all. Luckily I had a good reminder come my way from my mother:
(at once)
I also came to a big realization: if you’re meant to do something, YOU WILL. It doesn’t matter when. There isn’t that pressure. If you have to force yourself to do something, why are you doing it (career, but also training, etc.)? The things on that list that I really truly want to do will get done. The ones that don’t really matter won’t. It’s as simple as that.
So what’s my next step?
With a disclaimer that I am 100% allowed to change my mind, my plan is to work away at an independent study in sports sociology this fall while I do the registered holistic nutrition program (in London) on a part time basis and work as much as I can in fitness. I want to teach spin and bootcamp and I’d like to keep training with triathlon club. I’m going to think about doing an energy exchange at Yoga Shack, but if I’m too busy, I’ll keep yoga as purely something I do for the sake of doing. I’m going to see how things go and where I can work in fitness and my motto is to take opportunities that call out to me but say no to the ones that just don’t feel right (if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no). I’m going to keep blogging about all of the healthy living I do and I’m going to keep on writing (freelancing, volunteering at the Gazette, etc.). I’m hoping that when I’m done with the RHN program in two years, I can do one of the coaching programs at Rhodes. I know I want to help people and I think the programs would work together to give me the kind of training and experience I need to make positive change. I also think they’ll give me the information I want to write the kinds of articles and blogs that will do the same. I also know that it sounds a little hippie to say that I’m going to be a freelance writer, holistic nutritionist and life coach who also teaches fitness, but that’s what I’m feeling right now.
So if you were hoping I’d have a simple answer in the form of “When I grow up, I’m going to ______________,” no such luck!
I know that giving myself this end vision — I picture that life coach writer nutritionist fitness instructor, I see her as a slightly older, stronger, only more awesome version of myself — and making it as vivid as I can (she lives in a house in the mountains and has two chocolate labs and drives a nissan murano, btw) is motivating. I have a yoga instructor who often says to leave the picture in the mirror out of it and to see where you want to go and then make it happen, and I’m definitely feeling the application here.
When you can see it, you can feel it, and you can connect to it. And when I see that version of me, I feel so full of energy, happy, and all that good stuff. If you think I’m crazy, I’m telling you: you’re missing out. That’s kind of why I want to be some form of a coach–to help people connect to this feeling of being motivated and energized and pulled by the positive things in life. After recovery from my eating disorder, I know how rough things can get. This is like a second shot at life, and I feel like I need to spread the word and shout it from the rooftops even if some people look at me like I’m a new age hippie or something. I swear–I’m not high on anything (my friend summed up how people sometimes look at us pretty well)–except life itself. Yeah, I just said that!
So that was a whole lot of words and a whole lot of cheese, but it needed to be said! You better believe there’s a bucket list coming and a vision board in the works. I’ve been jotting down random things I want to do before I die on napkins and business cards and in random notes on my phone. This is all good. It keeps me thinking about the positive things that I want to do. Think big. Dream big. Be bold. All that good stuff.
For a really long time, my life was about living small and about listening to Ed. It was about food, calories, workouts, and all that stuff. Then it hit me, slowly, but hard: this is all there is. I’m going to die some day. Like that’s pretty morbid, but it’s true. There’s no point in doing something that doesn’t make me happy. There’s no point in not doing what I want to do or in at least trying to figure out what that is. This could be a post in itself, so I’m going to sum things up:
Hence this blog. Hence my whole outlook and approach to life.
Anddddd smile.
Have you ever changed your mind about school or your career?
What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?

If you’re working, are you doing the job you thought you would when you were younger?
Do you ever think of yourself in 10 years? What’s it look like?

Compare and despair

Well, so much for studying this morning. I am considering going back to school in the fall just so that I can have homework to avoid because it seems to generate the most “I need to say this” blog posts. I’m just kidding…

I don’t know where to start with this post, so I think I’m just going to dive right in.

How much time do you spend comparing yourself to other people? Whether it’s in school, in your training/races, versus complete strangers’ appearance, to celebrities, to your siblings…comparison is an easy trap to fall into. I know I’ve struggled with it in a few ways:

  • Seeing other students getting better marks than I do.
  • Seeing classmates with seriously awesome volunteer profiles and wondering how I’ll ever stack up to them.
  • Wishing I had another girl’s body or hair or wardrobe.
  • Comparing my pace times on DailyMile to my friends and wondering why I am not as quick or as strong as them or why my mileage isn’t up to par.
  • etc. etc.
Can you relate? The other day one of my friends sent me a message (and I think since it’s an anonymous thing it’s okay to share this here) expressing some concern over not being in good enough shape for a specific race. To see someone else saying the exact same thing I said to myself earlier this year–because though I was injured and came back conservatively, I didn’t race early in the season largely because I didn’t want to show up and be slower than I thought was “good enough”–put things into perspective.
Nobody gives a shit about how fast I am. They might be impressed if I do a great job. But if I don’t beat last year’s time, do they care? Do they even know? Hells no.
A quote comes to mind:
We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.
So in response to my friend’s message, I told her a couple things and I think I need to elaborate on them and remind myself of them in the process:
  • You are fit enough! … Why do we worry so much when we should just trust our training? What is “enough?” I’m pretty sure if you’re not crawling across the finish line, that’s a win.
  • No one is going to look at your time! … If anyone did look at someone else’s time, it’s because they’re impressed or insecure. And that’s their shit, not ours!
  • People won’t notice if you’re slow, but they’ll notice if you’re not there! … Missing out on being part of something for fear of being judged seems pretty shitty when you step back and look at it. Go with a smile on your face and I bet you people will remember that–not your pace time!
  • You’re exactly where YOU need to be! … So someone is faster than us. Big deal. They might have more time to train. They might be a born runner, swimmer, cyclist, whatever. They might be neglecting other aspects of their life right now, they might be unhappy, they might be perfectly awesome and wonderful. We don’t know. I think when we get down on ourselves in one area of our lives, we need to step back and see if it’s really about that. Do I care that I’m slow? Maybe. The bigger issue isn’t that I’m slow, it’s that I care and that I have that judgemental thought about myself. Where’s that insecurity coming from? How can I reassure myself that I’m already awesome and exactly in the right place for me? Take a bigger lesson and making a bigger gain from this!

News flash: someone will always be faster, prettier, skinnier, more muscular, fitter, taller, happier, richer, more whatever than you. That doesn’t mean you’re not awesome. But if you get hung up on the fact that you’re not more _____, you fail to appreciate all that you are. You miss out on feeling good about yourself for all the good things that you already are and you sell yourself short of the awesome life that you are entitled to. When you decide to stop comparing, you just become the best you can be. It might be cheesy, but there is a reason cheesy advice comes around again and again: be the best you can be. Don’t focus on all those things that you’re not when you could be focusing on all the amazing things that you are!

All of this being said, I don’t think it’s reasonable to eliminate comparison. I also don’t think it’s necessary. In my opinion, comparison is a bit like jealousy. Though it can manifest negatively and hold us back, comparison can serve as a source of motivation to better ourselves. When we see people who have achieved what we want, we can envy them. That’s fine and dandy–it tells us that we want some of what they have and turn it into a positive emotion, we’re golden. If we let it breed our insecurity, we’re in a bad place. Ditto for comparison. When we realize that we are below where someone else is, we can look at that person with the bad jealousy (i.e. why can’t I run as far or as fast as her? why don’t my abs look like that?) or we can use that person as a source of motivation and inspiration. And I’m all for that.

“Compare and despair. Admire and aspire.” 

The shift takes realizing that there is plenty of good to go around. Just because someone is doing something amazing doesn’t mean that you can’t do it too. If you’re confident, secure, and awesome, you want to help others be awesome too. If you’re insecure, selfish, and at the top, you might try to be better than everyone else. I’d argue that people who are really amazing individuals help others get to their level because they know that other people doing well doesn’t come at the expense of their own achievements.

Think about it this way: if you run a race in a certain time and that’s an accomplishment for you, does some girl running it in your time less a minute make your accomplishment less rewarding? Maybe, if you’re insecure. Would that “competition” drive you to negativity towards her? Towards yourself? If we could all find a way to be proud of ourselves regardless of others, we’d be all around nicer and happier people. We wouldn’t miss out on things–races, life experiences, whatever–simply because we don’t think we’re good enough. If you only compare to yourself, then your best is good enough. And that’s the big realization: you are enough, exactly as you are. Wherever you’re at, regardless of where you want to be, give yourself some credit!

In summary, it’s kind of easy. You have to decide for yourself whether you want to protect your ego or live your life. Think about the things you could miss out on if you let comparison scare you from experiencing them for fear of not measuring up. Is it worth not doing something because you’re not going to the best out there? I’d say do it. Nobody cares except you. So start caring about what matters, which is not what others think about you (they’re probably not even thinking about you, remember)–it’s about how you think of yourself. So whatever it is, I’d say do it and do your best and be proud of that. Use any comparison that still comes up as motivation, inspiration, and a positive source of energy in your life.

Do you struggle with comparison?

PS – To my friend who sent the message: THANK YOU. You inspire me, amaze me, and help me figure so much out. I am so grateful to have a likeminded person around to bounce ideas off of and to help me get real with myself! Love. Love. And more love. ❤

Change

Sometimes when I am out and about and daydreaming, I write blog posts on whatever I can get my hands on. Remember my Strong is the new skinny post? I wrote it on random paper on the plane to visit my dad and saved it for a few weeks before posting it. This is just proof that my blog is really my diary and that you should feel privileged to get so into my head. Ha – ha.

Just joking, but in all seriousness, I’ve been writing a bunch of these notes to myself/future blog posts/random musings lately and thinking that they’d make decent blog posts if I could clean them up a bit and if I had a reason for writing them.

It’s funny when that reason smacks you in the face.

Like this quote of the day, which I read before I even got out of bed today.

Not a bad way to start the day, huh?

Anyways, it relates back to one of those notes I wrote where I started thinking about how much I’ve changed in the last year, two years, four years, etc. and about how I’ve really come into my own power and am starting to feel increasingly confident about who I want to be and where I want to go. It is funny that my eating disorder was the wakeup call I needed to make me realize that I’ve been holding myself back.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: eating disorders make your world small. When you let ED bring you down, you can’t fly. It’s really hard to figure out what it is that’s missing, but when you do, things start to click. Until I realized that I was convinced I deserved to be miserable/didn’t deserve to be happy, I was stuck. Sure I was “in recovery” but I wasn’t there. If I didn’t deserve all the good in the world, do you think I thought I deserved recovery?

So after telling myself over and over again (I’ve got reminders posted around my apartment, I’ve got popups on my phone, I’ve got events scheduled on my google calendar): “You deserve all the good in the world,” I am starting to actually believe it. And I’m noticing where else I might be holding myself back:

  • school – going back vs. not going back
  • career – writing, fitness
  • relationships – friends, family, boys
  • training/eating/body
It’s taken a lot of looking in and being really brutally honest with myself to see how I’m bringing myself down and then the next step of it all has been to ask why. Am I scared of making really strong friendships because I think people are going to hurt me? Am I scared of being a really successful writer because I think “how dare you?” While I do think it’s important to do all this, I’ve started to just focus on where I want to go and who I want to be instead and to move towards that, which feels really goal. When I was stuck in my delusional eating disordered ways I would set these huge goals and give myself direction, albeit misguided. For a while, I wasn’t sure if setting goals was healthy for me or not, but now I’ve realized: that same drive and determination that I used to use to fuel my ED can fuel ME on the path to being great.

The other day I was looking for something in my old workout books and I came across a dog-eared page in Jackie Warner’s book where she wrote about goals and discovering what you really want and about visualization. She said, “Voice your goals and passions with as many people as possible. The more you talk about them, the more you imprint and program them into your subconscious mind. Talking the talk will lead to walking the walk.”

So that’s what I’m doing. But what am I saying and who do I want to be?

  • I want to be healthy, fit, and strong. I don’t want to be skinny, I don’t want a six pack at all costs, and I don’t want to be obsessive. But I do love fitness and I am allowed to like my body when it looks fit.
  • I want to eat real food and I want to eat food that makes me feel good without apologies or worrying about what people will say. Like I’ve mentioned before, eating disorder recovery means opening up to fear foods, eating them and seeing that your life goes on, etc. etc. But I’m talking here about finding what makes you feel the best–and that might mean leaving out some foods not because they’re “scary” or because you think they’re going to ruin you, but because they’re not working for you and your body. What I have noticed is this: I feel best on whole, real foods. Imagine that. I feel worse when I eat certain things because I feel like I should (i.e. have a bun with your dinner because if you don’t have starch you’re going back to your ED ways. Hello, still giving power to ED.) I’m in charge of my food choices and I will never forget all the recovery lessons I’ve learned–skipping a bun or choosing not to eat certain foods doesn’t mean ED is back, it means I’m ready to eat for me again!
  • I want to find a career that calls to me and go after it whole heartedly. Right now, I don’t entirely know what that looks like. One thing I do know is this — fitness and health and nutrition call to me. I might be on the right track with going back to school to be a dietitian, but I might be using this as a way to further delay things because I am scared. But fear isn’t a good reason for me to do/not do certain things and I’ll just admit it: for a long time, I thought I was too fat/inexperienced/young to start my career and thinking all of those thoughts also made me see myself as someone who could never really succeed in the fitness/health industry. But you know what? I’ve been thinking more and more about those presenters, leaders, movers/shakers in the fitness world and I think I could be a force. And I don’t think I need to change at all on the outside: I think it all has to do with continuing on this track to confident Cheryl and believing in myself and visualizing myself as that woman!
  • I want to do something unconventional with my life. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. Motivational speaker/adventure race coach/personal trainer/author/blogger/wellness coach/sports nutritionist/writer/athlete/? This is the fun part – I’m only going to be 23 with wide open possibilities once and rather than fear the unknown, I want to take it all as an adventure – that’s why we’re here!
  • I want to be me. I want to wear the weird clothes that I like, not the “cool” ones that everyone else wears. I want to be loud, random, spontaneous and awesome because that’s who I am.

This change, this movement in my life feels GOOD. Even though we resist change sometimes, it’s so important to be open to it. Whereas in the past I’ve been terrified of change, this time it’s different. I chalk it up to knowing I can take it on–that confidence thing again! I also think that a big difference here is that this is coming from my core and is about who I want to be, not how I want to look or present myself to the world. If there was a lot of resistance to these changes, I wouldn’t make them because I’m learning that I am in charge and know what I need and trusting that intuition. And I think that for me to make lasting change and a real shift, it’s got to be something I want with my whole heart and feel good about making. So often we think about change as something we have to force ourselves to do or as a struggle, but that ignores the fact that we are the ones in control.

That’s a news flash: it’s not ED, the media, your parents, your friends, or anyone else that you have to answer to when things are said and done. It’s you and what you think of yourself that matters. Trust yourself, listen to your intuition, and ask yourself who you want to be? Find changes that feel good and lean into those–don’t worry about the changes that make you feel bad (chances are they’re for someone else).

I don’t know a better way to end all of this than to share some of my favourite cheese on the topic of inspiration and of course, you might as well have a little background music to reflect to.


What do you guys think about what I said about change?
How do you see your ideal self?
Do you ever write blog posts on random papers/napkins/your phone for later?