The Struggle

Hey folks!

Welcome to near the end of the week (for most of us at least). Today I have one thing that I am truly trying to accomplish: BE REAL.

It has come to my attention that there truly isn’t enough real in the world today, especially the world of fitness. I’m attempting to change that and in the spirit of Ghandi….I’ll be the change I wish to see in the world :)

As many of you may know, I have a BRAND NEW project launching in just DAYS! Stress is becoming a daily part of my life and if I’m being real then you must be told that I don’t deal well with stress. This is real life people.

commercial prep

In the midst of filming for the launch of the new membership site (full deets next week…and it’s SUPER awesome), getting all the content done and trying to keep up with training clients, I had a few other things on my plate as well.

I am the mother of a 15-year-old driver. He is an excellent driver, but if I were to tell you that my heart doesn’t skip a beat thinking about all that is to come, I wouldn’t be very real. I celebrated my 16 year anniversary with the best gift God ever gave me, my sweet and supportive husband. School ended for my kids, which any mom can tell you means that the activities have only just begun. There was also a mission trip and ongoing missions in between all of that. Compiled with all of that, I began having major health issues that rendered me bed-ridden and about 15 pounds heavier than I was in May.

sick days

Why do you need to know any of this? Well, I think we can ALL fall into the false lie that people actually have it all together. I spent a lot of my sick time scrolling through Instagram (as Facebook just tends to upset me) and comparing my couch potato existence to the active lives of seemingly perfect and awesome people. One incredibly important note here is that I have overworked my body into a state of chronic inflammation (which I talk about often) and stress compiled through my overwhelming thoughts and feelings simply makes it worse.

So, what has been happening that has me down? I’ve been listening intently to the wrong voices in my head. I sat yesterday to create a cool little promo video for the new site and I automatically regretted that decision. I looked up pictures of myself just a few months ago and almost felt shame that I wasn’t “as good” as I was then. It’s a slippery slope to get caught up in, and I dove in like a cool pool of water on a hot Summer’s day! By now you would think I know better. I mean, I work in health and have counseled many people off the edge, but I still have very little patience with myself. I keep thinking my body should just comply….is that just too much to ask?

I started to lose who I was, as I think many of us do. I began to think “IF ONLY”. You know the thoughts I’m talking about:

  • If only I had more control over my body.
  • If only I could just get over it.
  • If only I could bring myself to work harder.
  • If only I could go back to where I was then.

The list can go on and on, but you get the point. It’s a pity party without any favors. While the inflammation makes its happy home in the nooks and crannies of my 36-year-old body, I feel swollen, fatigued, and flat-out washed out. So, I decided to take a break…. Now, I have taken breaks before, sometimes up to 3 days! Shocking. You see, I fall into the same assumptions many of you can be prey to as well. I think I have to do it all…or suffer the dire consequences. I have vowed that this break will be different. For starters, it will last MUCH longer. I’m kind of thinking all Summer long really. I want to drop all overbearing expectations of my body (I mean, I’m not competing and my 15-year-old son would be MORTIFIED if I wore a bikini anyways, so no time like the present!) and focus more on the ENJOYMENT factor of life. Who cares if I don’t have cellulite if I’m still NOT happy with what I do have people?????

So, what will this break look like?

  1. YOGA. Yep, every single day. Sometimes it will bust a sweat, sometimes I’ll just put my legs up a wall and breathe….either way, it works.
  2. Taking the time to thank my body for WHAT it does, not HOW it looks.
  3. Nourishing my body: no potions, powders or pills for the next few months…just whole foods and plenty of water.
  4. Weekly date nights. We can stay in our room or go out on the town, just so long as I reconnect him weekly away from work and future plans.
  5. New fitness adventures (but staying pretty safe). I want to face some fears (my bestie wants me to try roller derby…I’m thinking there is no time like the present!) and try some things I’ve put off (HOT YOGA) due to my social issues.
  6. Daily journaling. I still have quiet time everyday, but I want to take the time to journal and get some thoughts OUT of my head before they can take root and cause problems.
  7. PLAY. Whether it be in the kitchen with my kids or on the rink with my bestie, I need to bring an element of play back into my life.

date night

One great thing of being couch ridden is that you can take the needed to evaluate what it is you truly WANT to do (I fully encourage you to do this same thing, sans the sickness) and it has led to some changes for me. I have 2 things I not only love to do, but also fully and completely believe in: FOOD and YOGA. These 2 things can change a life. So, I’m going to be doing more of them during this off time.

What’s my challenge to you then?

  • Take a little time to re-evaluate your own life. Yes, it can be scary to think about, but it can also be very rewarding in the end.
  • Instead of adding more to your plate to try to make life better, try taking some away.
  • Sit in silence with just yourself for a little while and imagine the life you want to live and leave behind.
  • Try breathing deeply for 3-5 FULL minutes.
  • Let go of expectation and live in the now.
  • PLAY.

Life only comes around once. Some get a second chance through life altering circumstances such as illness or even the death of a loved one…the good news is you need not wait for a grand life-altering occasion; you can change your life for the better starting today.

Until next week,

Michelle

yoga glow

 

Thirsty Thursday Energy and Beauty Boosting Smoothie

Happy Thirsty Thursday!!!!

This simple smoothie recipe tastes great and offers up 3 of your veggie servings for the whole day! Drink it in the morning for a great big energy boost and you’re already ahead of the nutrition game :)

Ingredients:

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6 oz water

splash of OJ (if you like it sweet use up to 3 oz)

splash of unsweetened almond milk (this makes it creamy)

2 handfuls of baby spinach

1/2 frozen banana

1 kiwi, skin off

1/3 cucumber

small handful blueberries

splash of coconut water (optional)

1/8 avocado

1 scoop Protein Powder (I use Shakeology Greenberry in this shake BUT you can probably use any protein powder)

L-Glutamine (optional)

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ALWAYS place liquids into blender first, then dump everything else in, puree for a few seconds and then either pulse or set to the smoothie setting.

I know this looks like a lot of ingredients, but it literally only took me 2.5 minutes from start to finish! Why? Because I spend a little time prepping my foods when I get home from the grocery store :) It pays off!

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The coconut water help[s to replenish lost electrolytes and is great for those who workout on a regular basis or who literally work out in the heat all day.

L-Glutamine is a must in all of my shakes as it helps to feed the joints and keeps my arthritis at bay and under control so I can enjoy life a little bit better.

Check in with me again to hear more about nutritional supplements, exercise tips and all things health!

Here’s to you! Have a healthy day,

Michelle

 

 

 

The Powerful Things Within

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So, I am sitting in a gorgeous sunroom at the end of quite a physically challenging day and I thought it would be very beneficial to share some thoughts with you :-)

I learned a few new things after branching out (pun intended) and taking up some serious mountain hiking. My family is on vacation in Nashville, TN until tomorrow and we opted for a bit of adventure seeking. Early this morning we set out on what seemed like just a pretty walk. Somebody (guilty!) chose not once, but twice, to take the difficult road. After ending our 3 hour adventure, this is what I noticed:
1. Time really does go by much quicker when you are engaged in the task at hand.
2. God is gracious and gives hikers shade and plenty of breezes!
3. Deer on hiking trails could care less if you see them and do not scare so easily.
4. Water is awesome!
5. Going downhill can be just as hard as going uphill, but you don’t REALLY feel it until you get out of the car upon arriving home.

The sixth thing I learned is in regards to the picture above. Do you know what that is? Well, yes it is a tree smarty pants! But do you know what is wrong with this tree? The large bulge is actually a disease that trees get, similar to cancer.

You see, a bug can burrow into the trunk of the tree and through a series of unfortunate events, the tree is left with a disease. This mass is evidence of the disease. Eventually the tree trunk can weaken and break since the tree is being killed from the inside out. All because something as small as perhaps a hornet wedged its way into the tree.

As I was learning about the plight of this tree, I began to think of my own “trunk”. How many times have I allowed tiny things such as opinions or words penetrate and cause a disease in my soul? Have I allowed guilt or anger to fester and grow into a disease of the heart? Have poor thoughts eaten away at my infrastructure until I am left a shell of what I was supposed to be?

Sadly, these things have happened. I have good news for you though! We are NOT trees! We can be healed and restructured to the people we were born to be. Just as this disease weakens the structure of this tree, the negative thoughts that pierce our minds weakens us. It is all about choosing the thoughts you hang on to and letting go of the ones that do not serve a higher purpose.

If you find yourself feeling unworthy, change those thoughts by discovering your true worth. I’ll even give you a hint: Somebody cared enough to DIE for YOU (John 3:16). If you’re unhappy in your marriage, look into your own thoughts and mind. It is not your spouses job description to make you happy, they are to love you. There is a difference. Feelings of guilt, anxiety, stress, depression; all of these are deep seeded in fear and NOT fostering a stronger trunk for your life to grow.

Make the choice today to begin confronting these thoughts. Dark thoughts cannot grow in the light, but if you hide them they will cause disease.

Learning these things were not all I was blessed with this morning. God also granted me another book idea and I am faithful it will grow, strong as an oak :-)

Word to the wise: after hiking for 3 hours through the mountains, don’t hike for 2 more through gardens and tree houses!

Have a healthy day, in every way.
Michelle

When Letting Go is Necessary

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Funny thoughts and conversations have been taking place in my head recently. There seems to be an overwhelming majority of people who commit to the all or nothing principle.

All or nothing is simply the belief that we must be doing our absolute ALL to get what we desire, no matter the cost. I have seen many athletes give up good health for the sake of a particular physique.

Why is there such an obsession with all or nothing? Well, take a look at what is downloaded into our psyche each day. Posters that berate quitters and praise those that bring the pain are plastered all over Facebook. I have been guilty of some of the plastering in my past :-) Trainers and gym enthusiasts remind those who have not yet achieved a perfect physique (btw, has anybody ever actually seen one of those?) that they are simply not committed enough. It becomes a cycle that can eat you alive, literally.

I fell victim years ago, and most know my story. I also told you about doing nothing but yoga recently and how my health and my physique changed drastically. The funny thing is old habits die hard. After 1 month of nothing but yoga I felt awesome! But I had a nagging feeling that it wasn’t “enough”. Did you get that? My health improved, I went down 1 size, but I was unsure as to how it would actually “work”. Weird how the mind works….

So, in an effort to fix what I thought was broken, I popped in some tae Bo and finished that with a Tracy Anderson muscle routine. Um, yeah. I ended up with a serious inflammation backlash and was bed ridden for 3 days :-( .

Now, I’m not advising everybody to stop what they’re doing and take up nothing but yoga as we all have preferences to our fitness regimes. The point I am trying to get across is that we go through seasons in life and we must learn to adapt to the seasons rather than fight to stay in the old ones. We are not all blessed with the ability to perform the way we did in high school or stay the same size ( for some of us, we’re in much better shape than high school!) and yet there is an influx of people desperately hanging on. It’s ok to let go.

Life tends to open up a lot more for those who learn to let go of things. Certain things such as the pain of the past and the unrealistic expectations of the future can be set aside to make room for the joys of today. We must simply learn to loosen our grip and accept the freedom offered us.

So, what will tomorrow hold for you? A new day to experience the season of life you are in now, or just another day of trying to fix what you perceive as broken? Living is a choice we make. Actively engage in your life and make the choice to live!

Be healthy, inside and out :-)
Michelle

Workout Wednesday! Total Body Toning in 30 Minutes

If you have 30 minutes, you can tighten and tone all your problem areas!

Do the entire circuit 3 times through, aiming for 12-15 repetitions of each exercise.

If you have more time, add on 30 minutes of intense cardio OR add cardio bursts of 30 seconds to 1 minute (HITTS), such as jumping jacks, jump rope, mountain climbers, jump squats, etc. between each move.

Have fun!

Michelle

How to put the SHUSH on negative thoughts

This may seem like an odd post coming from somebody who has made a living in the body alteration field. That’s kind of a fancy word for trainer :)

I feel that this post could not be more timely. As I wander into Summer, I am enlightened to the way people behave. My mom was a serious people watcher, so I guess it just trickled down. Anyways, what I have noticed is that we women have developed carefully strategized habits of degradation that have been part of our make up for generations. My goal is to put a stop to the madness. Seriously…

Now, buckle up because this is going to take more than one post, I assure you. So, why am I so impassioned about breaking the cycle? I was raised by a beautiful woman who never knew her worth and believed the lies of society. I am now raising a young woman of my own and I want this to end with her generation. As of right now, there are scores of women not living up to their full life purpose because they believe a lie. It’s time to step into our own and be the women this up and coming generation can really look up to.

Body image is attacked daily. Although America is not the only place, I believe it is most rampant here (though I may be biased!). We constantly look at pencil thin models (no fault to those who are naturally thin! God made you that way, so love it), supremely etched athletes and glowing movie stars with bodacious booties. There is nothing wrong with these images in and of themselves now, it’s the emotion they can tend to prod. As women, we make a few body image mistakes that must first be realized and then corrected. Please, do it for you and our future…

  1. We compare. There, I said it! Women compare ourselves to other women and often we compare other women with other women. We can quickly size somebody up or down, depending on our mood. We not only compare our bodies, but also our hair, nails, facial structure, mothering, homes, cleaning, husbands, careers, children, cars, etc. Do you get the point here? And all the men say “I KNEW IT!”. Duh! That’s how we know when you’re looking at another women (even by accident). It’s because we already sized her up.
  2. We decide that we are not as good as… You may fill in the blank here. I have found that no matter how much a woman has, or if she seemingly can juggle it all, we all face insecurities and allow them to whittle away at who we are.
  3. We degrade ourselves…in public. Oh, I am a guilty party, but I must admit I am getting better. One thing I always try to teach my life coaching clients is how to take a compliment. That is by far the hardest lesson! We usually end up with this scenario: “What a lovely dress”. “This old thing? I just threw it on and it’s all wrinkled because I haven’t had time to do the laundry much less get my hair done or get a good night’s sleep. Do you see the bags under my eyes?!?!?” Have you been there? Rather it’s that we really feel so poorly about ourselves or that we don’t wish to hurt another (um, they paid the compliment), we deny our beauty.
  4. We are convinced that we must live up to a standard of perfection that DOES NOT EXIST. There are no perfect bodies. There are no perfect lives. There are those that strive for perfection, sure. And there are those can fake perfect pretty good (give me some spray tanner and glitter oil and I’ll show you abs! LOL), but perfect does not exist in this world. Heaven is the only place where perfection truly resides, and the last time I checked I wasn’t there yet :) .
  5. We hold on too tight. Just as we can hold grudges (oh, you know you do) we can also hold on to the way we think we should be/act/look with a vengeance. We have a hard time letting go of a certain number on the scale (because life was perfect when I was THAT weight), or a number on our jeans. We have unrelenting commitment to being “there” again.

Now, I’m not suggesting we all put our flannel pj’s on, stop shaving (eewww, no) and watch I Love Lucy reruns while eating oreos all day. Healthy is good. Obsession and self degradation is bad.

One thing to realize is that when we say we hate our bodies or certain parts of our bodies, our children burn that into their psyche. Our negative self-image becomes their genetic makeup. Scary thought? It is to me! A study was done years ago that followed young ladies from their tween years to adulthood, studying family dynamics. While the study meant to focus on family meal times and involvement linked to self-esteem, they stumbled upon even more eye-opening discoveries. The young ladies whose mother’s had poor body image grew up with eating disorders. These were normal, working class families. As it turns out, the girls where either scared of getting their moms thighs (or gut, or butt, you choose), OR they already felt as though their body was sub-par. Your words count!

So, what do we do now? There is hope. There is hope for each of us, no matter the age. The first thing to realize is that there is no perfect. I mean, none of us has seen perfect so who’s to say your body isn’t it right? Start today by taking small steps towards a better body image. Workout because it makes you feel good, NOT to get a tighter butt or flatter abs. If you, like me, struggle with your midsection, remember that it housed a life (or 2-3 or more!) for 9 months! Sheesh, cut yourself a break. Embrace your stretch marks. My stretch marks are my war wounds for giving birth to a nearly 10 pound baby. WonderWoman? You bet!

When you feel as though negative thoughts are invading your mind, remember that you were made for a specific purpose. There is nobody else on Earth that can do what God sent you here to do. It may be HUGE or it may seem small, but it is yours. Let go of those negative conversations. Just stop giving your energy to it. For some of us, these thoughts are so deep seeded it will take time and faith to purge them, but take note from a survivor: it is worth the effort.

You are beautiful, never accept anything less in your mind :)

Michelle

How to Use the Ultimate Reset Day 8!

By the way…..

Forgot to mention, but my energy has been non-existent for the past 3 days! Plus, I’ve felt like I’ve gained weight, though I never get on the scale. I’ll keep you posted on all that!