Feeling Your Best Inside & Out | My Health & Wellness Journey
Starting something new can be intimidating, unfamiliar and frankly uncomfortable. Especially, if we allow ourselves to get wrapped up in the perfect and unattainable images that we are constantly being fed through social media! Theodore Roosevelt once said that "comparison is the thief of joy" and I think he was definitely on to something. While a little healthy competition is great for motivating and elevating one another, constant comparison of ourselves to others creates a state of ingratitude and negative self perception. While investing our time and money on natural beauty products and organic foods are crucial to feeling our best on the inside and out, it's only part of the equation. Moving our bodies, sweating and challenging our minds is another important key to truly feeling our most bad-ass and loved selves! Do you need to have 10 memberships, workout for two hours everyday and starve yourself? Absolutely, not! I have been on this health and wellness journey for many years now, but it did not start out easily or naturally for me whatsoever. I am constantly learning, failing, evolving, growing and getting better with each new day. Feel like you want to start somewhere, but have no clue where to begin? Keep reading for a little inspiration.
Most of my students assume I have some kind of athletic background, which is the reason for my strength and flexibility. I often hear, "I can't touch my toes" or "I could never do that pose" as reasons for why someone can't do ___________ (fill in the blank with yoga, barre, etc). I'm happy (and unhappy) to tell you that I never played a sport or danced or cheered! I was a worker bee in High School, usually having 2-3 jobs at one time. I couldn't touch my toes, I wasn't strong and I never worked out. In fact, my eating habits consisted of Hot Fritos on the daily (if someone could make a healthy version, that'd be great), lots of processed foods, fast foods and ice cream. Fast forward to present day, I now teach Pure Barre and yoga and I genuinely love, yes love, working out. When I finally started working out, I had (in my mind) a real disadvantage. I was inflexible and had never worked out in my life and was 22 years old. Get into the splits? Yeah, right! But, I fell in love with moving my body through yoga asana and that was the beginning of my health and wellness journey.
Make the decision to start! That really is the first step, committing to yourself. Avoid using words like "try" because that doesn't tell your brain that you have made the decision to do it no matter what occurs (and believe me, something will occur to give you every excuse not to do it). Don't let your negative inner thoughts stop you from trying something new either. Know that we ALL have them; those insecurities that make us feel like we aren't good enough, fit enough, again you fill in the blank here. Start noticing how you speak to yourself and what some of your story lines are that you've ingrained in your mind to be true. Allow yourself to be a beginner, we all are at multiple points throughout our journey.
Start small. You don't have to change your entire life over night. In fact, if you want it to be a lasting change, you shouldn't (unless you're super woman, then by all means). Find one form of exercise that you love to do! Something that motivates you to go, even when you have every urge not to. If you force yourself to do something you dislike, those excuses not to do it are going to appear every time and you'll most likely take it as your way out. This applies to your eating habits as well! I used to be a Sweet'N Low addict; I always carried it in my purse and had a never-ending supply at home. One day, I transitioned to Splenda (not much better, but a baby step in the right direction). Over time, I eventually traded it out for Stevia, the more natural and healthier sugar substitute. Ultimately, these small changes led me to giving up sweetener all together! I never thought in a million years that I would take my iced tea and coffee without sugar. I made it more and more possible with every baby step I took and I've never looked back!
Find your tribe. Getting connected to other like-minded individuals is a huge helping hand in this journey; finding a friend or two to hold you accountable and encourage you to show up will get you there more times than you know. You won't want to let yourself down, but you also won't want to let your friend down! Plus, working out with a friend always make the work out more fun (sorry to those teachers who have had my best friend and I in class, whoops).
Get honest with yourself. Be real with yourself and figure out what works and what doesn't work. For me, the gym is a no go. I don't love it, it doesn't push me to get out of my comfort zone and I will use any excuse to skip a machine (like if there is a line for example, c'ya). I won't wake up in the morning to make a 6 am class, I just won't. I find that my best workouts are either on my lunch break, early evening classes before my husband gets home from work and early-ish weekend mornings. Figure out what is feasible for you to do successfully so that you don't set yourself up for failure.
Plan out your week ahead of time. Have a game plan set in stone, so the week doesn't go by and you are left with only having worked out once! Remember, there are 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week and one day of moving your body and sweating just isn't going to cut it. There are a few ways to hold yourself accountable by planning your work out schedule ahead of time. First, put it in writing; whether thats on a printed calendar or in your phone's calendar. Setting that intention and actually putting it down somewhere you will see it is key. Second, sign up ahead of time for the classes you plan to take if this is an option (pretty much every studio now has this feature along with a cancellation fee to increase the incentive to show up). Finally, plan to do certain classes with a friend so you have that extra little motivating factor to not bail.
Do it because you want to be healthy! Six packs and thigh gaps are nice, I get it. If thats a result of moving your body, creating body awareness and strengthening your will power, then awesome, but don't let that be the only reason you work out. Taking the 45, 60 or 90 minutes for yourself to better your body and your mind is so much more important than the six pack abs. It helps relieve stress, quiet the mind, remove us from technology, create a mind body connection, and so much more. Do it for those reasons; do it because you love yourself and deserve that time in the day for yourself.
Taking these steps can lead you to somewhere you've never imagined possible. Even though I have goals that I would still like to meet, I am proud of myself for taking that first step and walking into a yoga class all those years ago. I am proud of myself every time I try something new, even when I fail. I am proud of the progress I have made, not the perfection I once used to seek. I enjoy spending my time in Pure Barre studio, yoga studios, spin studios, pilates studios and the list goes on and on. Being a member to all of those studios is not necessary, but don't be surprised if moving your body in different, challenging ways becomes a passion of yours as well!
I hope you found this to be helpful and inspiring. Please leave your health & wellness story below in the comments, no matter what part of the journey you are currently in! I would love to chat more and uplift one another!