#backatit #fitnessaftersickness

In the past month I have been sick three separate times. Being sick always throws me off my game. I often find it so hard to get back in my healthy routines after spending days laying on the couch struggling to drink water, I often find myself making excuses days after for why I can’t go running or get a good vinyasa in. It’s so important to get right back into your routine directly after being sick, don’t push yourself too hard, however you also have to be very aware of whether you’re being cautious or making excuses. The longer you wait the harder it’s gonna be when you get back, what you did yesterday is a better predictor of what you will do today than what you did a week ago.

I’m in one of those lulls between sickness and health where I’m deciding whether it’s irresponsible to get back to work or if I’m just making excuses out of lack of motivation. Again I encounter that issue of motivation, why is it so much easier to spend our days wasting time than being proactive… but I digress. Not every level of activity is appropriate directly following a bout of the cold or food poisoning, but there is always something you can do.  One of the many amazing things about yoga is that if you are physically capable of moving off the couch, then you can do yoga. I spent last night making great use of my toilet for various bodily functions, so yoga was a little out of the question, but tonight around 7:00 pm I began to feel a little better so I got a quick flow in and it made a world of difference. It’s all about doing what you can when you can and not making excuses to not… if that makes any sense.

#firstlove #selflove #selfworth

I waited until I was 25 to love someone. I hadn’t intended to wait, life didn’t really give me a choice. I didn’t have that high school sweetheart or a college boyfriend. I was a broken girl navigating men and relationships with little regard for myself. A man I thought I loved had broken me, he taught me that my body wasn’t mine, that permission wasn’t needed for this ride. That my body’s purpose was to be given for consumption and that I had little worth outside of that. I was told to be seen but not heard so much that I had forgotten that I had anything to say at all.

I was 25 before a man that wasn’t my father told me I was beautiful. I was 25 before a man that wasn’t my father told me I was smart or funny, or interesting. I was 25 when I had my first relationship where I didn’t use my body as a bargaining chip because it was no longer all I had to offer. Before him I thought I was empowered, I told other women what they did and didn’t deserve in relationships and empowered them to assert their needs and wants. I thought that I was empowered with my sexuality and I thought that I didn’t crave the patriarchal construct of relationships because I was so evolved, I slept with whoever I pleased, whenever I pleased. I truly believed that these short flings and one night stands were what I wanted. In reality, deep down in the depths of my soul, I feared that I could contribute little to a relationship outside of the curves of my hips and perkiness of my breasts. I didn’t think anyone would want me and rejection was absolutely terrifying, so I gave men the part of me that I knew they wanted, and they received it, greedily.

Then one day I met this man who laughed from his belly at my jokes, who I caught staring at me because he thought I was so beautiful, who sometime just wanted to hold me because he slept better with me there. The relationship was far from perfect, but he filled up a part of me that I didn’t even know was empty. As these things often do, that ended abruptly and it broke me a little, but I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. I’ve spent my teens and early 20’s letting men break me, letting them come in and take pieces of me. I never thought I would get those pieces back, but when he told me I was beautiful, I realized that I didn’t need those parts back, I was no longer the person I had been.From then on I wasn’t so fragile anymore. When he left me it cut me, but he didn’t take anything, he left me the way you should leave everything, better than it was before.

I’m not sure if he loved me, he never said he did, but that doesn’t really matter. He cared about me in a way that allowed me to love myself again, that love, love of self, is what got me to where I am today, it allowed me to look at health as a lifestyle and not just a means to an end, not just a way to be skinny as to be appealing to men, outside opinions of me were no longer important. Because of him I will take my own advice and demand more, I know my worth and I will never give myself to another man that doesn’t deserve me. Twenty years from now I will look around at my life and I will thank him for giving me back what they took from me.

#morethanbeautiful

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This is a poem from the book Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur a feminist poet with a great perspective on feminism and our world. The book itself is great, but this poem in particular spoke to me. We are all so quick to question our idea of beauty and the way that it excludes different body types and facial features, but rarely do we question the idea of beauty and validity of it’s importance to us. The body positive movement is great, but what about a brain positive movement. Instead of telling little girls that they are beautiful just the way they are we could tell them that they are smart, or funny, or talented, not because they aren’t pretty, but because we are all so much more than the physicality that we were born with. I write a lot about health and fitness and I fall into that trap of worrying too much about what I look like, however I try to approach health and fitness with actual health and fitness in mind, I work hard not to make it about an aesthetic goal and instead make it about living my best life and encouraging others to do the same. A big part of health and fitness is mental health, your feelings of self-worth and your concept of how you fit into the world, for some reason that has become intrinsically linked to our aesthetic beauty, when that is probably the least important trait we have to contribute. We have been given this great opportunity to interact with our world in a way that betters ourselves, those around us, and in turn our world, but we spend too much time pinching our belly fat and putting pounds of concealer on a tiny pimple to take advantage of all the things this world has to offer. So as women and humans we need to go out there and busy ourselves with being smart and funny and resilient, before we waste our time on something as insignificant as being beautiful.

#motivationmonday

We seem to hail monday as the day of all beginnings, many people seem to believe that it’s the only day you can begin a new lifestyle. While I do see the utility of this, mondays feel clean to us, a whole new week to shape however we want, it should not be hailed as the holy grail of lifestyle change. It’s not about the day of the week as much as the will power of the individual and real motivations behind the change. I struggle a lot with motivating myself to do things that i need to do and it boggles my mind, I cannot understand why I would rather scroll through the instagram posts of complete strangers than get a good vinyasa flow in and drop some pearls of wisdom on my blog. The more I think about it I’ve come to realize that it’s fear. Fear of failure is a strong motivation to not do things, while thinking about the benefits of success can sometimes do very little to motivate us in a positive direction. We need to let go of the idea that not succeeding at a goal is synonymous with failure, failure is the combination of lack of success and the decision not to try again. We only really fail when we give up, but we live in a society where instead of building each other up we break each other down because deep down we’re all a little broken, and we don’t want to be the only ones. Because of this we are always trying to save face and appear put together, often at the expense of achieving goals we really want. Once we start defining success and failure in more realistic ways, and learn to support and love each other, and find true happiness in the success and achievements of others, we will feel more comfortable striving for the same thing in our own lives.

Another aspect of motivation that can hinder oany future success is being motivated by the wrong things. At the beginning of any journey to a healthier lifestyle the main motivation is usually the numbers on a scale, and that can be a great motivation to get started, but it won’t help you sustain that healthy lifestyle. If you want to make any kind of long term change the motivation has to eventually come from within, it can’t be all about fitting into a bikini. It has to also be about loving your body and wanting to nurture and take care of it because when you take care of your body, it will take care of you. If vanity is your only motivator that can often lead to making unhealthy diet and exercise decision on your quest for this aesthetic concept of the perfect body, while in reality the perfect body is a healthy one. In our culture we have this perception that skinny is inherently healthy, and that is far from the truth. Starvation diets, and excessive exercise may give you the look that you want, but often at a great cost.

A third, and perhaps the best predictor for whether the change will stick, is whether you enjoy the journey, because it is often a long journey. If you’re just going through the motions with an extreme goal in mind and hating every second of it, you will almost definitely quit. The key is to find a fitness regiment that works for you and that you genuinely enjoy. I look forward to my yoga every day, a lot of people love lifting and going to the gym, other people do better in group fitness, and others enjoy working out at home. Find what you enjoy and what fits into your lifestyle and do that, it may take trying all kinds of different things, don’t be scared to try new things, and don’t be scared to quit it if you hate it, fitness is individual, not one size fits all. One change that was very hard for me to make was changing my diet, it took a long time to get to the point I’m at now where I genuinely enjoy cooking and eating healthy. Diet is the often forgotten but ultimately most important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. I received a snapchat from a friend the other day and it was a picture of her dinner plate, she had grilled salmon, quinoa, and sauteed kale, the caption read “gross healthy food”, she seemed to be laboring under the delusion that healthy food could not taste good, but in reality healthy and delicious are not mutually exclusive. Very few people genuinely enjoy eating bland food, that’s why there’s so many seasonings and herbs you can add to your food, to take things from bland to BAM!!!! You’ll find that herbs and seasonings are your best friends when eating healthy.