Oh the Vanity!

I have struggled with this post for weeks now….so I figure throwing it out just before I step on a plane is the best thing to do :)

I have a confession to make: I work in a vain industry. That can be hard to adjust to, but it is inherently, the truth. I have defended the fitness industry for nearly a decade now, but have recently come to realize what it is all about.

This is NOT to say that I don’t believe in what I do. Health is comprised of nutrition and fitness, along with spiritual health (first place!) and mental health. Here is the issues I face though: vanity tends to be the #1 reason most people seek out fitness. Nutrition? That is the most treasured, yet least sought after. We want the quick fix. We want the weight that has been hanging on for 4 years (or more) to fall off in time for Summer. I do believe in the power of the mind, but some take it too far.

Why is it bothering me now?

Well, I have seen the faces of the truly needy. I have held hands with those who have been beaten and tortured. I have talked with people who feel they are unworthy to be loved. The problem is that during my “day job” I also talk to people who don’t like the way their butt jiggles. I have spoken with those who are blithely unaware of real starvation, yet willing to starve their own body into submission. I have held the hand of those in tears…because they haven’t lost the baby weight.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to mesh these 2 worlds. I believe fitness can be extremely empowering and I believe a base knowledge of nutrition can help us avoid disease. I love what I do! Yet it feels like a daily parade of never-ending “I wants” drowning out the true needs.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bring you down…I do think a change in perspective is in order though.

I have a personal story about that and it has unfolded just over the past few months. You see, I was into the vanity part of fitness (admitting you have a problem is the first step!). I paid undo attention to my clothing size and how the muscles of my body were shaped. And I truly hated jiggle. So, I spent hours in the gym and pumped my body with protein to grow tight and lean….and it was all going according to plan, until it didn’t. I began having joint issues, then all of the sudden my strength just gave out. Poof, done. I wouldn’t stop though and simply adjusted over the years. Finally, over the last 6 weeks, I have been living out a promise I made to myself at the beginning of the Summer. It’s working. I had told myself I wouldn’t worry about weight or size, I would do yoga, walk and whatever truly felt good. And that is precisely what I have done. I discovered that I had developed an intolerance to gluten, yeast, eggs and whey….so my diet has none of that (or as little as possible). I eat for energy and to feel good. I move daily, but never push myself too hard (no pain, all gain).

This is a different approach for me. I have been in a “weight loss” phase since I was 9 years old people! I have always struggled to keep my weight down. I’ll admit I was quite fearful embarking on this feel good approach, but guess what? My weight hasn’t been an issue. I don’t weight, but my clothes have gotten much looser and my belly doesn’t struggle with the pooch anymore. It’s like my body finally got happy because it was allowed to be happy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If I was needing to lose 50 pounds (I’ve been at that doctor appointment love), this relaxed approach probably wouldn’t work. My thought is this though: stop trying to beat yourself up about it. It really is a lifestyle and honestly, yours should look different from everybody else. You can’t punish your body into changing 30 years of damage in 2 weeks, no matter what the infomercial says. If you want to try that hard new workout, do it because you want the challenge…not because you think you’re past all hope.

I challenge you to peel back the corners of your world and think bigger. Take a deep breath and take in the bigger picture because the world is a whole lot bigger than your butt! Once your mind can get focused on something other than your own perceived failures, you’re more free to make the needed changes.

Michelle

The Nike Foundation, The Girl Effect, and YOU

I have recently partnered with The Nike Foundation and The Girl Effect to spur a movement. This movement has the potential to change lives, therefore affecting change across our entire globe.

 

The Girl Effect believes that our future lies in the young women across the globe. These are the same young women from our neighborhoods to our neighboring countries and beyond. These are women whose rights are bled, who suffer daily and who need hope.

 

I am a Safe Spaces Ambassador for the Nike Foundation and am on a mission to provide Safe Spaces for girls to grow, learn and find their passion and power. My first project is set to launch in Chisinau, Moldova…but we need YOUR help. Funding for these projects is a necessity. You can be a driving force of change and have a hand in abolishing modern-day slavery….if you are willing.

 

Learn more about how YOU can get involved in Safe Spaces HERE. Your donation can mean a brand new life for a young girl who just may be the next world changer.

Workout Wednesday: An Invitation to Color in Motion!

Today I have a guest post from my good friend Morgan, from Color in Motion 5K. This fun run is coming to Houston February 2nd and benefits the Girls on the Run Foundation. My kids and I are planning on getting our run on and I would LOVE to see you there as well. Color in Motion is giving my readers a 10% discount on registration if you use the codde # MICHELLECFITNESS when you sign up. Let me know when you get all signed up and I’ll look for you at the run!

COLOR IN MOTION 5K RUN TO BENEFIT GIRLS ON THE RUN

Hey guys! This is Morgan from Color in Motion 5k. I am so excited to be blogging to tell you about one of the most fun events of the year, the Color in Motion 5k race, which will also help you get in shape. I also want to offer Michelle’s readers an awesome deal for the Color in Motion 5k fun run on February 2 in Houston at Reliant Park. This race also benefits the local Houston charity, Girls on the Run.

**Use the discount code- MICHELLECFITNESS to register and get 10% off race registration at colorinmotion5k.com/event/Houston.**

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So what is Color in Motion 5k? Let me tell you, Color in Motion 5k is the most fun 5k race you will ever participate in. This is is not a timed race so run, walk, jog, whatever your prefer. If you are trying to find a motivation to get in better shape or complete your first 5k, this is an awesome opportunity to do so, as it is not as much about being competitive but more about just having fun.

If you are not familiar with Color in Motion 5k, here’s how it works.

Come in white clothes and start moving. Whatever your pace is fine as long as you are moving.

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At every kilometer of the race there is a color pit where our wonderful volunteers throw color on you as you go by, helping make the experience more fun and turning your white clothes into a pallette of color. Like these Color Chasers-

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What also makes Color in Motion 5k different than your average 5k race is the after party. Afterwards there is a big party with music, dancing, vendors and a color throw.

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Doesn’t that look fun? I would not want to miss out on that if I were you.

So what do you have to do to join in on this fun? Go to colorinmotion5k.com/event/Houston and sign up using MICHELLECFITNESS to get 10% off, bring your friends and get ready to have a great time and support a great cause while doing it. Hope to see you covered in color on February 2!

Morgan

END OF YEAR GIVING: can I get a TAX break?

Most of us don’t really think about end of year giving until taxes roll around right? The thing is, tax deductible donations are tallied up based on the total from the previous year. If you’re looking for a tax break (um, hello? aren’t we all???) then I have just the opportunity for you.

Children’s Hope Chest is a non profit organization that helps children all over the world.

As many of you know (or even if you don’t), I felt called to do a mission trip to Moldova at the end of January. In Moldova, kids are basically kicked out of the orphanages at age 14; because of this, alcoholism among teenagers is very high and many of the girls turn to the sex trade as their last resort. Others are lured in and trafficked against their will. Children’s HopeChest has a program that helps teach them skills so that they can earn a decent living and stay out of trouble. That is what I am  going over there to do. I’ll be teaching self defense.  Here’s a little info on what they are doing. http://www.hopechest.org/support-moldova/

Before I give to any charity I always check them out with Charity Navigator. Children’s HopeChest has a very high 3, almost 4 out of 4 star rating. I try to stick with charities that use at least 80% of their finances for program expenses. You can check them out here http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=8290.

Now, you totally have the option to give to this particular trip OR you can checkout all the other options Hopechest offers for any giving. Any and all contributions count towards saving lives and YOU can be a part of something BIG. PLUS, most companies will match your donation to 501/503 C, non profit organizations. Most of these young adults simply want the basics: toiletries. Seriously, it doesn’t get much more basic than that. If you’re at all interested in donating to THIS specific trip keep reading. If your heart pulls in a different direction, simply check out http://www.hopechest.org for info on all they have to offer :)

The total cost for the trip is roughly $2500.00. Any donations would be greatly appreciated. If anyone needs year end charitable donations, this is a good one. In order to contribute to THIS trip, go tohttp://www.hopechest.org and click on the “Give” tab. Select “Trip Payments” and enter the amount of your donation, any amount is helpful. Use the Reference Number “MV130101T”and put “Michelle Carlson” in the “Notes Field.”

All of this is private and confidential so I will not know who does or does not give or any of the amounts other than the total. In light of that I will just take this time to say Thank You!

In God’s Love,

Michelle