More Than My Butt

“Hey! You have a nice butt!”

I was walking to the store on a Friday afternoon, not really paying attention to the people around me.

“You in the purple shirt!  Nice butt!”

That caught my attention.  I was wearing a purple shirt.  I turned towards the voice, expecting some guy to be standing there and was shocked to see a boy.  A boy that couldn’t have been more than 12 maybe 13 or 14 if we’re pushing it.  He was surrounded by 3 or 4 of his friends and they were all snickering as he gave me a thumbs up and then raced off to do something else.

I didn’t think much of it because sadly, this isn’t the first time that someone, usually a male, has felt the need to audibly comment on some part of my body.  But as I walked on I started thinking, “Why is a boy that young talking about my butt?”

Probably a million reasons.  His friends were egging him on, he sees it in the media all the time, he’s watched other boys/men do it in real life, he really like butts, he has no filter from his brain to his mouth… The list could go on and on.  And it’s a sad list.  It’s sad that this is what both women and men have been reduced to.

Body parts.More Than My Butt | Life Healthfully Lived

Think about it.  Everything is aimed at certain aspects of a person but never the whole person.  Magazines tout the latest workout for sexy abs or the newest diet for lean thighs or what you need to do to get bulging biceps.  We look at celebrities and covet certain body parts.  I wish I had Jennifer Lopez’s butt or Taylor Swifts abs or Heidi Klum’s legs.  If I was as ripped as Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds, all the ladies would want me.More Than My Butt | Life Healthfully Lived

We, me included, always pick and nag at our “worst” attributes.  I want my stomach to be flatter.  Everything I do needs to be working towards getting a flatter stomach.  We never take the time to look at a body as a whole machine.  Something that works together with all the parts to be one awesome mechanism.  It’s always about the one part that doesn’t work or look the way we want it to.

Enough.More Than My Butt | Life Healthfully Lived

I am not my butt.  I am not my abs.  I am not my arms, thighs, or chin.  I am Katie, a human person that is so much more than any one part of me.  And so are you.  Everyone is more than just a body part and all of us need to start seeing that.  To look at people as a whole.  To drop the nitpicking over our one flaw.

That woman walking down the street is not a giant pair of legs.

That man sitting next to you isn’t a huge abdominal.

They are whole humans and they deserve to be treated that way.  So start by treating your own body as a whole being and then spread that idea to the other people you meet.  Maybe, we can start making a difference.More Than My Butt | Life Healthfully Lived

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!

 

What You Shouldn’t Stress About

If you’re human, you probably stress out about things.  A big project due at work, giving a speech in class, or dealing with an illness can all be stressful things.  If you’re anything like me, you stress about stupid things.  Like wondering if the people walking behind you just saw you stumble over your own two feet.  Hint: probably, but they don’t really care.

It can feel like stress is a normal part of life and it really doesn’t have to be.  There are certain things that a lot of us worry about that we don’t really need to, especially when it comes to your health.  If you read health articles or magazines or watch the news, it feels like there is a new health claim every day that we have to worry about.  And more than likely over the years, I have worried about it.

But as I’ve gotten older and learned more about my personal health, I have been able to let go of some of the “health” stress and do what works for me.  I haven’t died or gained a billion pounds or detrimentally destroyed some part of my health.  I’ve figured out what I like and what works best.

So here is a list of a few things that you DON’T need to worry about when it comes to your health:

#1- Eating superfoodsWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

Kale, acai berries, and quinoa are all delicious and deemed superfoods.  But you know what else is a superfood?  An apple.  Some broccoli.  Even the humble clove of garlic is a superfood.  Focus on eating real food that you actually enjoy and I promise you’ll be just fine.

#2- Sitting downWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

Yes, I have actually worried about this.  There have been reports and research lately that say sitting too much has a negative effect on our health.  Even if you workout, if you spend the majority of your day sitting it’s like you haven’t worked out at all.  Cue Katie standing constantly for fear of ruining my metabolism and undoing all the hard work I put into my exercises.  Sure, if you sit all day you should probably get up and move more.  But you shouldn’t stress about sitting down if you’re tired or need a rest.  Find a good balance of sitting and standing throughout your day that works for your body and your schedule.

#3- Making sure your body looks the same at all timesWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

I think because we are constantly bombarded with images of perfect bodies and rippling muscles, we feel like we have to look like that too at all times.  I know I would get frustrated when I would look in the mirror in the morning and at night and I would be looking at two different bodies.  Your body shape changes throughout the day due to things like hydration, the foods you eat, and if you’re a woman, your period.  The way your body looks doesn’t determine your worth or even how healthy you are.  You’re long-term habits do.  And remember those pictures of models are just a snapshot of a moment.  They don’t look like that all the time.

#4- Eating at the right timeWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

Eat right when you wake up.  Fast for 18 hours.  Don’t eat after 7 pm.  Eat constantly for 6 hours and then don’t eat again for 12 hours.  Who thought when you eat could be so confusing?  Each one of these options has plenty of studies and research that supports their claims and probably, even more disputing them.  You know what you should do?  Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re not.  As long as you’re getting adequate fuel throughout the day and can go about your daily tasks with enough energy, it doesn’t really matter when you eat.  Do what works best for you.

#5- Thinking only one form of exercise can get you resultsWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

This is one that I’m currently working on.  If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’m taking a little break from running.  It’s mostly because it wasn’t bringing me the same joy that it used too.  I was dreading my run instead of being excited.  The other part of me taking a break?  I had convinced myself that running was the only way I was going to keep weight off.  I had it in my mind that if I stopped running I would start gaining weight.  My rational brain knew that was silly and wrong, but when do I listen to my rational brain?  There are so many ways to move and exercise, no one way is perfect and no one way will get you results.  Try new things and do what you love and don’t be afraid if those things change over time.

These are just a few of the things I have stressed about over the years and I’ve learned that they weren’t as big a deal as I was making them out to be.  You’re not going to do everything perfectly and that’s ok.  The mistakes let you learn what works for you and create habits and a routine that will keep you healthy for the long haul.

I hope you have an awesome Monday and I will see you back here on Wednesday for an all new recipe!

What are some silly health things you have stressed about over the years?

Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki

Happy November and Happy Health Feature Day!  I’m slightly late with October’s feature, but I was a little busy celebrating my birthday.  Which, by the way, was an awesome day!  I’ll be sure to share it with you next week. 🙂  Now onto the health feature!

Last month, we met Jamika and heard about her amazing story.  This month, I would like to introduce you to Meghan Siwecki.  Meghan and I actually went to high school together and were in the same section in marching band.  She was a year older than me and she really welcomed me into the section and made me feel comfortable.  We became fast friends and some of my best memories in band include her.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

After she graduated, she went to college at Southern Illinois and we drifted apart.  Through facebook, I was able to see what she was up to and in the past few months I noticed a big transformation in her health.  She made some awesome changes and she told me that she really wanted to help inspire others to turn their health around.  When you read her story and see all the hard work she has put in, I’m sure she’ll inspire a lot of you!Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

Name and Age: Meghan Siwecki, 28

What did you weigh before and how much weight have you lost?

When I started my weight loss journey, I weighed around 180-185 pounds.  Honestly, I do not like stepping on a scale which is why I don’t know the exact beginning weight.  Currently, I weigh around 135 pounds.  

What made you want to turn your health around?

I decided to change my lifestyle because of how I truly felt about myself- the outside didn’t match the inside. I wasn’t confident in myself at all and that needed to change. I chose to change my weight to help with my confidence.  I hated going to the store and looking all the way at the bottom for a shirt size or not being able to go to certain stores because they didn’t carry my size.  When I started this transformation, I was a size 14 and in my head that wasn’t bad considering I was a size 18 when I graduated high school.  I was the “fat friend” and struggled to do things that should be easy for a woman in her 20’s.  It was hard for me to walk more than a mile without being out of breath or sweating like a pig.  Also, being a teacher it was hard to hear what middle school students would say every day and it made me flashback to being in school myself and getting bullied because of my weight.  I decided to not be sad about it all the time but do something to make myself feel better about who I am.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

What did a typical day (food/exercise-wise) look like before you changed?

Before I went on my health journey, there was little to no exercise.  Sometimes my friend and I would go walking but that would be less than a mile and it was a slow speed walk.  I would eat whatever I wanted to eat! Fast food, tons of chocolate, ice cream, greasy food.. basically anything I wanted to eat.  I will say I always drank milk and ate fruit, even before the health journey. Whenever I would be bored at home, I would eat something just because I didn’t have anything else to do at the time.  

What was your goal when you first started?

My goal when I first started was to honestly lose about 10 pounds and just be healthy.  I knew I wasn’t a healthy eater so I wanted to work on that too.  By no means did I anticipate to lose the amount of weight I did.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

What did you do to change your diet and lifestyle?

I went through a lot of different ways to help me lose weight and become healthier.  At first my friends and I at school all wanted to lose weight so we started The Biggest Loser competition. At that time, I started watching what I ate but didn’t truly try to lose weight.  Then my friend told me about the Couch to 5K program and after looking at it I decided to give it a try especially since school was out and I had summer to work on it.  I completed the program and it was not easy by any means! There were some days I was crying while running, and I might have only been running for 2 minutes! But it was so difficult because I was that out of shape.  However, I didn’t give up.  Also, at this time someone I knew started talking about these protein shakes, which helped with weight management.  They aren’t weight loss shakes because I know what that does to your body.  I decided to give the shakes a try and drank one for breakfast every day, since I was never a breakfast eater anyway.  The combination of working out and those protein shakes made me realize that I could do this! I need to get my life back and this was going to be hard work, but it would happen.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

After I completed the Couch to 5K program, I ran my first 5K and it sucked! It was in Chicago which was great and my dad ran it with me.  At one point, I remember my dad telling me, “Meghan, why don’t you just stop running.  You can walk along with these people.” I thought about walking it, but I’m not a quitter.  I continued to run and I won’t lie, I walked some of it, but I ran across that finish line! My goal was to finish in less than 45 minutes and I finished within 43 minutes.  Looking back, that was a long time to run 3 miles.  That was the starting point to my journey.

After that, I decided that I need to do something besides run because it was going to be winter and I didn’t want to go to the gym.  I bought a workout DVD from the store, “The Biggest Loser”, and started doing that at home. I worked on that DVD for about a year or so, and I also had another DVD I threw in there at the time. While I was being conscious about my workout regime, I was also careful about what I ate.  I continued to drink my protein shakes, eat healthy lunches, healthy snacks,  and a well-planned dinner.  I didn’t go out to dinner anymore unless it was for Subway.  Soon, I felt the need to change my workout routine because I was getting bored and felt like the workout wasn’t doing anything for me.  I heard about the program T-25, which, fortunately my sister had and gave that a whirl.  Man! I thought I was somewhat in shape after running and my other DVD, but nothing compared to what T-25 had in store.  My first day trying it I remember turning it off after 10 minutes because I didn’t think I could do it anymore.  I tried it again the next day and took a lot of breaks but got through it.  I did T-25 five days a week.  I did this program for about a year and a couple months.  Then again like before, I got bored and needed something new! I knew I wanted to keep my workout somewhat short and so I found Insanity Max 30.  I was so pumped for that and knew it was going to be the true test to see how much I had improved over time.  Again, just like T-25 I was dying after the first 10 minutes.  I did not turn it off, though… I fought through! That was a 60-day program, but I continued and still workout with Insanity Max 30 because it truly tests every muscle in your body.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

My lifestyle changed throughout this time because I wasn’t always thinking about food.  I occupied myself with other things in life and thought about what my workout was going to be like instead of where I was going to get dinner that night.  I slowly became a happier person and once I saw that, I knew I couldn’t stop the journey.  My whole outlook on life changed after I lost some weight that was noticeable.  

What does a typical day (food/exercise-wise) look like now?

For me now, I still drink my protein shake for breakfast.  I’m weird when it comes to food and food in the morning makes me feel sick.  I eat a lot of fruits, protein, salads, and I do throw in the occasional sweet treat.  I have a huge sweet tooth so that’s something I couldn’t give up.  I just had to change what I ate and how much.  I still workout to Insanity Max 30 every day and recently got a new DVD, Cize and have been trying that 3 days a week as well.  Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

Who has been your biggest support?

My biggest supporters have been my family, hands down.  They have been there for me the whole journey and have been supportive in both words and making better food choices at home for when I visit them.   

What was the hardest thing to change?

The hardest thing for me to change were my eating habits.  Food was always a comfort for me when I was frustrated, upset, bored, happy… any emotion really.  I still struggle with what I eat some days, but it’s a work in progress.  Nothing is ever perfect.  

Who or what is your motivation?

My motivation is myself.  I look at pictures of myself 5 years ago or even in high school.  I realize that I don’t want to go back to who I was then both emotionally and physically.

How do you stay motivated every day?

I stay motivated by thinking about my next fitness goal.  I know that I have to work hard to achieve that goal and if I don’t keep with my workout and eating routine then I could fall back into what I used to be.  I also think about others who have told me they want to change their lifestyle after looking at my pictures.  Life motivates me! Being happy motivates me!

What is your biggest struggle now?

My biggest struggle is what I eat and making sure I keep on track.  There are days where I eat cereal for dinner because I don’t want to cook anything.  Or when I’m at school I eat chocolate because I’m stressed, but this struggle isn’t going to stop me from achieving my goal.

What are your goals now?

My main goal now is to tighten my body and gain more muscle.  I honestly don’t want to lose any more weight because I’m at a stage where I’m comfortable.  I just need to work even harder to make my body what I envision it to look like.

What is one thing you can do now that you never thought you would be able to do?

One thing physically I can do now that I never thought I could do is a burpee and lots of them! I know that sounds silly but I remember having to do them in high school and I just pretended because I couldn’t do it.  Not only can I do a burpee but I can do a one-legged burpee and a one-armed burpee.  When I did my first real burpee I had tears in my eyes because I knew that I was finally getting to where I need to be physically.  Even though burpees suck sometimes, there is nothing like the feeling of actually doing 10 in a row when 10 years ago I couldn’t even kick my feet back and hold myself up.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

Emotionally I can walk with my head held high and be proud of who I am and who I have become.  When people look at me and say you’re beautiful I actually believe them now because I feel beautiful.  It has taken me years to get to this point, but it is something that’s worth waiting for.

What is your advice to those who are just starting to lose weight?

If you are just starting your journey, don’t give up! There are days when you are going to want to sit and eat your food of guilty pleasure; whether it’s ice cream, a cheeseburger, or chocolate, but don’t give up! Each day is its own adventure, take it one day at a time.  Encourage yourself by rewarding yourself with certain things you have wanted when you reach milestones.  Be proud of making the change and altering your lifestyle.  It doesn’t matter if you only did 5 jumping jacks or ran 2 blocks; at least you aren’t sitting on the couch eating chips.  This is about YOUR body and well being.  Always believe in yourself.  Have faith.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

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I love that Meghan kept at her health and fitness even when she wanted to give up.  She knew it was hard, but still worth it.  I also like how she kept changing things when she got bored.  That helped her stick with her fitness routine and keep up her good eating habits.  Thank you so much, Meghan, for sharing your story and keep up the amazing work!

If you or someone you know wants to be featured in one of my transformation posts, let me know!  You can contact me on my Facebook page, Twitter, or email me at lifehealthfullylived@gmail.com!