From Sunset to Sunset

We’ve lived in our new apartment for just about five months now and the views from our window never cease to amaze me.  Especially around sunset.  We are on the West side of our building and up on the 8th floor so we get some great sunsets.  I know that most people can see a sunset from just about anywhere, but our last apartment was on the interior of the building for the past three years I stared into my neighbor’s window.

I wasn’t creepy.  No one lived there.  But still.  Not the greatest of views. From Sunset to Sunset | Life Healthfully Lived Continue reading

Self-Affirmations & Feeling Silly

We have all probably heard at some point in our life that we should think positively, especially about ourselves.  Browse around on Pinterest and you will see thousands of pins that have sayings like “BeYOUtiful” and “You are your harshest critic” and “Hey, stop being mean to yourself”.  Ok, maybe not the last one but you get the idea.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

The thing is we know we should be kind to ourselves, we just have a really hard time doing it.  It’s easy to critique our own body’s, habits, and personalities.  We’re used to being kind to others but don’t really know what to do when it comes to us.

That’s why self-affirmations were made.

Ok, that’s also probably not true but someone along the way that in order to be kinder to ourselves we should actually talk positively to ourselves.  Like actually out loud say nice things about us.  Stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom and say things like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”  By doing this every day, you’ll learn to love yourself and be kinder to your body.  Those of you rolling your eyes at me right now, don’t worry I’m with you.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

Or, at least, I was.

Self-affirmations sounded like a load of self-help hogwash.  Something that sounds good on paper and in books but doesn’t really work.  How is standing in front of the mirror every day (something I already don’t like doing) and talking out loud like a lunatic going to really help me like myself more?  But I also thought what have I got to lose?  If it doesn’t work no skin off my nose.  It’s not like I had to make these affirmations out loud in front of a crowd so I started talking nice to myself.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

I didn’t choose hokey phrases that meant nothing to me, but rather I would look at myself and make a conscious effort to say something I truly liked about my body/life/personality.

“Good morning Katie, your eyes look really green and bright today.  Lots of people would really like to have your green eyes.”

“Hey there Kate, you just squatted more weight than you have before and I can tell your legs are stronger than ever. Nice work!”

“That dinner you made from scratch last night really hit the spot and it’s awesome that you can come up with flavor combinations like that all on your own now.  Keep up the good work!”

Sure, I felt silly at first but then a funny thing started happening.  I started to believe my affirmations.  I was getting stronger, my recipes were coming to me easier, there are certain features of my face and body that are absolutely beautiful.  And these feelings started to flow into other parts of my life.  I felt more confident and believed I could do anything I wanted.  I started complimenting other people because I knew just like me they were awesome.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

Moral of the story?  Sometimes things that sound silly and hokey can really help you out.  If you’ve never tried self-affirmations, give it a go.  Will it feel awkward and weird?  You bet.  Especially if your husband knocks on the bathroom door and asks if you’re talking to one of the cats and you tell him no, just yourself…. but as time goes on it will fell less and less weird and more natural.  It will start to show that you think highly of yourself and you should always think highly of yourself.

Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!

 

Motivation Isn’t Constant

On the surface, motivation seems to be a simple concept.  It is a drive that pushes us towards our goals.  It’s good to have motivation.  People want it and look for it in many places.  There are motivational speakers, videos, books, podcasts, sayings, and workshops.  Some blame the lack of motivation for not achieving what they want and some have such an overabundance of it that they want to spread it around to others.

I think motivation is a little more complicated than a simple drive that propels us to what we want.

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There are many different kinds of motivation.  There is the motivation to get started, to keep going, and even the motivation to stop when we need to.  I think this is what can frustrate people when they want to become healthier.  They think that all motivation is the same and they look at others who seem to have an endless supply and don’t realize that those people have to work just as hard to be motivated towards their goals.

I can tell you from personal experience that the reasons I am motivated to stay healthy today are vastly different than the reasons I was motivated to start years ago.  It’s also a lot of work (and yes, even after all this time it’s still work) for me to stay motivated to keep pushing towards my goals.  There are days where I don’t want to workout at all.  I think about the run I have planned or the weights I have to lift, and I feel like staying in bed or watching TV instead.  There are times when I just want to eat a whole cake by myself instead of the healthy meal that I have planned.  I used to worry that those feelings and lack of motivation were a bad thing.  I thought that I was giving up or failing and I felt guilty.  I tried to shove those feelings aside and convince myself that I was constantly motivated and constantly being healthy.

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Over the years I’ve learned that those feelings are just fine and in fact they’re normal.

I’m a human being and I am going to lack motivation at some points in my life.  Motivation isn’t in an endless supply for anyone.  Even those people who seem to have it day in and day out struggle to keep it going.  There are going to be days when being healthy is the last thing on your mind, where working out is going to be at the bottom of your list, and getting whatever food you may find in your belly will be the top priority.

Don’t feel guilty like I did about that.

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Motivation is meant to be renewed every day.  It is meant to be strengthened as you go along.  It’s normal for it to fade every once in awhile and it’s ok for you to have to work to get it back.  That’s what makes you a human.  I used to feel like everyone in my life would judge me if they knew how I felt on those days that I had zero motivation to do anything healthy.  I was suppose to be an example of good health.  I put myself on display through this blog and my actions and I didn’t want to let anyone down.  I’ve learned that pretending to be perfect is a bigger let down to people than showing them I’m just like everyone else.

I have my good and bad days just like you have your good and bad days.  The fact that I pick myself back up and get back at it is what defines me more than my occasional lack of motivation.

If you’re feeling like you’re a failure because you haven’t been as motivated lately, or haven’t had any motivation at all, stop.  You’re a human and you are doing the best you can.  You get start fresh every single day, so start today and strengthen your motivation for you and your health.

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Body Image

Body image.  I’ve written about it before and I will probably write about it again.  It is something that I know many people out there struggle with.  It is something that I struggle with daily.  If my own struggles and experience can help even one person, then I count that worth it.  That being said, if you don’t feel like reading another post about this topic that is totally fine.  Check back Wednesday and Friday for more healthy recipes and tips.  Otherwise, read on.

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I had done it.  I had made the decision to get healthier and I had stuck with it this time.  Things just clicked and I ate better, found exercise that I loved, and I lost weight.  Clothes started to fit better, I felt healthier and had more energy than I had before.  It was like a Cinderella story, if Cinderella was overweight and ate junk food and then magically changed.  I thought that because all of these things were happening, I would be happy.  I would finally feel like I looked like I should.  I would be self confident, I wouldn’t talk negatively about my body, and I would finally have a good body image.   I was wrong.  The magic Cinderella story didn’t happen like I thought it would.

I was shocked to realize that even though I had lost weight, I still had problems with my body image.  At the beginning, I had trouble matching the image in the mirror with what I saw in my head.  I was still the bigger girl in my mind and I just couldn’t see the new girl who had finally lost the weight.  Over time, I was able to finally see what was really there.  Through the help and support of friends and family, I realized that I looked different than I thought I did.  It also helped that I could wear smaller sizes and do things physically that I couldn’t before, like run a 5k race.  I started to feel better about the way I looked, and I was relieved that it felt like my body image issues were starting to get better.

Imagine my surprise now where I find myself struggling again.  It’s been about three years since I dealt with those first weight loss body image issues, but those challenges are starting to creep back into my life.  This time though it isn’t problems with matching my mirror image to my mental image.  I find myself playing the comparison game and I really hate that I’m doing that.  I tell others never to compare themselves to anyone else because they are their own unique selves.  No one is like you or can ever be like you so you should celebrate your awesome self.  And all the while I can say those things to others, I can’t seem to get myself to believe those sentiments.

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The thoughts and questions that run through my mind are so hypocritical of what I want others to think.  Shouldn’t I have six-pack abs with all the core exercises I do?  Why can that person eat more than me and still have muscles?  Am I eating too much?  Am I eating too little?  Am I not eating the right things?  Why can’t I do a full push-up without struggling the whole time?  Shouldn’t 5 miles feel like a breeze to me by now?  And on and on and on….  I feel like that insecure, high school girl, worried that everyone is staring at me and judging me, all over again.  Why am I doing this to myself?  Why do I have to go through this AGAIN?

Rather than sit here and wallow in my returning body image issues, I’m going to tackle them head on.  There are things that I can do to stop the comparing game and start being proud of myself.  I need to stop looking at all the Pinterest images and health magazine models with bodies that aren’t attainable to the majority of the population.  Nothing good ever comes from trying to compare myself to them and wonder why I can’t look like them.  I’m not them, I’m me and that is just fine.  I don’t have a six pack, but I can hold a plank for seven minutes and I know that my core is strong.  That’s good enough.  I can stop worrying about all the things I might not be doing perfectly for my health.  I am a human being and I will never be perfect.  That is good enough.  I won’t compare the way I eat or how much I eat to other people’s diets.  My body needs to be nourished in it’s own way and as long as I feel healthy and am getting adequate nutrition, I shouldn’t worry.  That is good enough.  I should be proud of all that I can do physically.  So what if I can’t clean and jerk an 85 pound barbell or run a marathon in 3 hours?  I can do a whole heck of a lot.  I should be grateful that I have a body that can do so much.  That is good enough.

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My overall message for this post is that I, and you, are good enough.  Yes, it’s tiring and a little frustrating that I still have to deal with body image issues.  I wish that I didn’t have to deal with them and that like the weight I lost, they would just go away.  But that’s not the reality of the situation.  The reality is I will continue to work on my self image and I will continue to try and help others do the same.  One day I know that I can get to the place of feeling totally comfortable in my beautiful skin.  Until I reach that point, I will continue being positive and working hard.  And that is good enough.

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