Being Healthy is a Way of Life: Is Your Soul Happy?

There’s so much more to being healthy than just eating whole foods and working out. Being healthy ultimately stems from our mindset.

BeingHealthyBeing healthy is about more than what you feed your body. Sure, it’s important to eat healthy. It’s important to work out on a regular basis for cardiovascular purposes. Let’s say you have both of these things in check, but you still aren’t seeing the results you want — you look the same, feel the same and start getting discouraged. Because you’re discouraged, you turn to your vice for comfort, whatever that may be (for me it’s food). I’ve been stuck in that cycle… it’s frustrating. But there was one IMPORTANT question — perhaps the most important of all — that I was forgetting to ask myself:

Is my soul happy? 

Happiness does not stem from the time spent in the gym. Sure, you get momentary satisfaction after a good sweat sesh or after you weigh in a few pounds lighter. You feel great at the end of the day after sticking to your diet. But this happiness is fleeting. Oh so fleeting, my friends.

Is your soul happy? Really. Ask yourself that question right now.

Take a good hard look at the relationships in your life. Are they thriving? Are you doing everything you can to make the lives of the people you love a little easier?

Are you living your life? 

What do you do in your free time? Are you sitting around on the couch, wondering why you don’t have friends, relying on social media as your crutch for social interaction?

If only I had asked myself those questions while I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself, wondering why nothing in my life was getting any better. Why am I gaining weight? Why do I binge? Why am I so depressed? What happened to all the friends I used to have? These are questions I’d ask myself on a daily basis instead of the ones above. Do you see why I wasn’t getting anywhere?

Being healthy is a way of life. It stems from your mindset — the way you think, feel and interact with others. If you’re a positive person who strives to find joy and happiness in the simple things, chances are your time in the gym, eating habits and results will reflect that. To the contrary, if you’re sitting around eating junk, not doing anything besides going to work and going home (and wondering why you lost friends like I did), your results will also reflect that.

Our journey to be fit starts with the effort to change our mindset.

When you change the way your mind works and make a decision (you have to make the decision, it doesn’t just come naturally) to be happy, you’ll reap the benefits of this happiness in your physique, self confidence and relationships.

I challenge you today to dig deep down and ask yourself: Is my soul really happy? If so, keep on keepin’ on my beautiful friend! If not, make a decision to change it.

HUGS AND KISSES and all the love in the world to you beautiful friends of mine! xo

The Root of Emotions and a Shoulder Workout

RootOfEmotions

“No one has direct power over your emotions except for you.”

I’ve been told this many, many times, but it’s not exactly comforting to me. What if someone is rude to me? What if I’m criticized? What if everything seems to be going wrong and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to control it?

These are all outside factors that have the power to affect us internally. But here’s the key: only if we left it. 

We have no power or control over what happens to us; what others say about us; the words that come out of another person’s mouth, with or without malicious intent. All we have control over is how we react to it. Ultimately, we’re responsible for our own emotions. No one has the power to make us feel sad, happy, guilty, worthless, inadequate, etc. Those emotions are rooted within.

Think of your emotions as a tree. The fruits of the tree are the emotions that you outwardly produce. These emotions stem from deep down in the root of the tree — your heart, your soul, your values. That’s why we’re more likely to talk bad about others if we feel bad about ourselves. Alternatively, we’re more likely to give others compliments and fill them with joy if we’re internally happy.

This is why it’s so important to spend time on self care — giving ourselves love and nurturing ourselves. We can’t take care of anyone else if we’re feeling down about ourselves.

Sometimes (actually most of the time) as I’m writing these posts, it’s like I’m speaking directly to myself. There have been a lot of things going on in my life lately that I’ve let steal my joy and happiness and who I am at the root of my being. I’m producing some rotten fruit because I’ve let outside factors affect the deep-seated roots I’ve worked so hard to build over time.

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with our lives, we need to focus on what’s right with our lives. Negate any negative emotion by replacing it with a positive:

“Joe said I don’t produce good work.” –> “I’m well able to create great work. I am talented in what I do.

“I look fat today.” –> “My self worth is not defined by my appearance. I’m going to focus on the way I love others, my passion and ways I can contribute to make others’ lives better.

“I’m spinning my wheels because I’m taking on too much.” –> “I’m blessed by all the opportunities in my life. Is there anything I can get rid of or spend less time doing so I can have more time to care for myself?

These are easy to say, but you actually have to believe these positive reinforcements in order for change to happen within. And the more you repeat these, the more you will start to believe them. It may take time, but eventually the truth will seep down into the roots of your soul and you’ll begin to produce healthy, beautiful fruit on your branches. 🙂

PHEW!!! That was a deep one.

Do you feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders? Not for long ;-)… Physically, at least. Day 5 will leave your shoulders burning and looking sculpted in no time!

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I hope you take some time for yourself today. In the end, you must love and take care of yourself in order to do the same for others.

Love you guys. MEAN IT!

One-Word Survey + Leg Workout

Happy hump daaaaay!

Can you believe it’s already Wednesday? This week is flying by. Before I know it, I’ll be all moved out of my house and into my condo with my friend Bailey!

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My plans to stay in Orlando have officially been extended. I always pictured myself living elsewhere and even planned to look for work out-of-state when I graduated in December, but God has me here at this time in my life. Don’t know exactly why yet, but I’m going to trust His plan. Can’t argue with the Big Man Upstairs, can I?

Speaking of Florida, shorts season is upon us! (It’s coming soon enough for you too, northerners.) Either way, it’s time to shape and sculpt the booty and the legs with day 3 of the 12-week fat loss challenge! What better time to work our lovely lady (or male) humps than hump day ;-)?

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Annnnd for some Wednesday trivia… Here’s a little survey I found! I used to love surveys back in the day and I still do. The rules for this one? Answer everything in one word. Ready…. GO!

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk

2. Your hair? Natural

3. Your mother? Amazing

4. Your father? Wise

5. Your favorite food? Mexican

6. Your dream last night? Weird

7. Your favorite drink? Water

8. Your dream/goal? Happiness/Joy

9. What room are you in? Office

10. Your hobby? Fitness

11. Your fear? Moving

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy

13. Where were you last night? Gym

14. Something you aren’t? Energized

15. Muffins? Nope

16. Wish list item? Heart rate monitor (oops… three words, one item)

17. Where did you grow up? Orlando

18. Last thing you did? Meeting

19. What are you wearing? Jeans

20. Your TV? Untouched

21. Your pets? Adorable

22. Your friends? Awesome

23. Your life? Changing

24. Your mood? Sleepy

25. Missing someone? Family

26. Vehicle? Toyota

27. Something you’re not wearing? Necklace

28. Your favorite store? Grocery!

29. Your favorite color? Mint

30. When was the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Lastweek (lol sorry for cheating!)

32. Your best friend? Far

33. One place that I go over and over? Gym

34. One person who emails me regularly? Grandma

35. Favorite place to eat? Season’s 52

Now it’s your turn! Answer 1-2 of the questions below, or if you’re a blogger, take the whole survey! Do we have any similar answers? Any completely different?

Love you guys!!!

Making Decisions + Chest and Abs Workout

Hi friends!

I have a great chest and abs work out on the books today, but before I get into that, I wanted to share a little conversation my dad and I had last night.

He diagnosed me with “paralysis by analysis.” In other words, I think about things WAY. TOO. MUCH. And he’s right. I sit there and weigh the pros of cons of literally EVERYTHING and it almost paralyzes me from making decisions. I always knew I was indecisive, but didn’t really know why. I think it was sort of an “AHA” moment for me — sometimes I need to just stop thinking and start doing. If not now, when?

Speaking of doing, here’s the work out that I have on the agenda for today! It’s day 2 of my 12-week fat loss plan and I’m super excited for today’s workout. I must admit, ladies, there are lots of “perks” that come along with training the chest, if you know what I’m saying 😉

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One thing I love about this plan is that I have my workouts planned out before I head into the gym, so all I have to do is show up and do it. NO THINKING REQUIRED. Yay!

I’d also like to share some things that are making me super happy lately: my girlfriends :-)! We had an absolute blast at the Winter Park Art Festival this past weekend. I tell ya, I appreciate art SO much more now that I’m older. Drag me to any art show between the ages of 5-18 and you can guarantee I was either napping, “too cool,” or pretending to be disinterested. Not anymore! Here are some highlights:

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New Workout Plan

I’ve had many ups and downs throughout my fitness journey.

From the first day I started working out, nearly four years ago:

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Going from dancing in high school to doing nothing at all my freshman year of college but still eating ALL. THE. FOOD.

To becoming way too skinny from being disordered and having a binge/deprive mentality:

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I remember I wore a loose dress on purpose to this wedding because I felt “fat.” And yes, I’m doing the robot.

The hardest part for me has been finding a balance. I’m either eating all the food, or no food at all. There was a point where I was literally starving myself and had no idea.

As I mentioned before, I’ve toyed with the idea of competing. I’m still unsure as to whether or not I’m actually going to participate in a competition, but I decided I wanted to challenge myself nonetheless and finally find a balance in my life… FOR GOOD.

*As of 4/1– I’ve been praying about it and have decided not to compete at this time. I’ll be posting about the thoughts behind my decision soon! 

Recently, I’ve been in the “eat all the things” mode I mentioned before, so I’m definitely not where I want to be in terms of the way my body looks and especially how my body feels.

Starting today, for 12 weeks, I’m going to be eating WAY cleaner than I have been (I’m talking to you, peanut butter and Cheez-its). This means finding a balance between eating too much, and not eating enough — fueling my body enough to handle tough workouts, but still being cognizant of what I’m putting in my mouth.

For me… the biggest issue comes with eating. I can work out alllll day, but I know darn well that I won’t see the results I want unless I’m eating to fuel my workouts.

If you’d like to join along….

I’m going to schedule my workouts ahead of time and write them out for all of you to see on this blog!

These workouts are going to focus on strength training with supplemental cardio (mostly HIIT), working different body parts each day. I’ll post the workouts early in the a.m. so you can perform each workout at whatever time works best for you.

If you’re a newbie to the weight room, hopefully this will give you the start you need. As always, consult a physician before performing any new-to-you exercise routine! I’m not a personal trainer yet, but I will be soon :-)!

Ask yourself, just as I’m asking myself:
Where would I be in twelve weeks if I started TODAY? 

To get started, let’s complete a boot camp circuit workout to kick off the fat loss in the best possible way!

To Compete or Not to Compete… That is the Question

A bunch of fitness goals have been swimming around in my head lately. Should I go back to school to become a registered dietitian? Where should I start training after I get my personal training certification?  Should I compete in a body competition?

Before I go into further detail, I’d like to point out that there are different types of female body competitions, ranging from bodybuilding to fitness, physique to figure and the “lowest” level — bikini. Here’s some insight into the bikini competition, which interests me the most:

Today, bikini competitions are growing faster in popularity than any other format. While bodybuilders are typically blessed with the ability to bulk up more than the average person, bikini competitors have a look that’s attainable for a wider range of women. In essence, judges look for the girl who can rock a two-piece swimsuit better than anyone else on stage. These women typically aren’t very muscular, and the winners aren’t necessarily the skinniest competitors. As a matter of fact, it’s important to have a bit of body fat so muscles aren’t too defined.

I’d also like to start out by saying that the aesthetic and cosmetic aspects of this have always made me think, “How self-centered do you have to be to get in a bikini, strut yourself on stage and flaunt your goodies for the world to see?” (OK, it’s not that dramatic but still). I wasn’t into the whole,”HEY EVERYONE! LOOK AT ME AND TELL ME HOW GOOD I LOOK!” aspect of it. And I’m still not.

Hear me out for a second here.

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the gym — what else is new? — surrounded by a lot of men who compete. Fitness competitors are a whole other breed, I tell ya. They eat out of Tupperware containers (every three hours on the dot, mind you), drink protein shakes like it’s their job, can spout any realm of bro-science off the top of their heads and spend more time creating a social life beneath an iron bar than at an actual bar.

I already eat healthy on a consistent basis and work out almost every day during the week.  So, what would change?

I would have to go through a 12-week preparation process, where I’d slowly reduce my body fat down to 8-13%. Obviously this stage weight isn’t maintainable and it typically isn’t healthy for a female to stay in this body fat range (women athletes are generally between 14-21% body fat and the average American is 25-31% according to the American Council on Exercise.) I’m at 19.1% right now, just to give you an idea.

Why I’d want to do it:

  • To prove that you don’t need to resort to extreme measure to achieve great results
  • To prove to myself that I’m able to achieve something that’s very challenging, both mentally and physically
  • To see what my body is capable of and see the fruits of my consistency and hard work
  • To show that it’s possible to prep in a healthy way, and not become one of the horror stories (restricting too much, avoiding social interaction or developing disordered thoughts)
  • I’m becoming a personal trainer soon, so I want to show my clients that it’s possible to achieve what we each believe to be impossible — that there are certain mental and physical barriers that we must push through in order to showcase our best selves. Not everyone will want to compete. In fact, most of my clients won’t. But if they’re my client, it’s probably because they want to feel their best and I want to show them that I was able to achieve that and get results for myself, so I can for them, too.
  • To rebound in a healthy way after my competition, and not rapidly gain all the weight back by binging on everything that I wasn’t “allowed” to have in the 12 weeks
  • Those would be great pictures to show my kids some day! (Look — mommy was a hottie! hahahaha kidding… mostly)
  • And most importantly, to honor the body that God has given me by treating it with the utmost respect and supplying it with whole foods, adequate fuel and lots of self-love

My hesitations:

  • #1-99: No pizza or ice cream. 😛
  • Contest prep can be lonely. Since it’s very strict, there will be times where I’ll have to eat designated meals while all my friends are going to dinner. I’d have to ensure my family and friends are also on board and supportive so I’m not tempted to go off plan. To be honest, I don’t mind bringing my own food to a restaurant. (I’m talking Chipotle or something, here… not a real restaurant haha) I actually do this for lunch quite often at work, or I’ll eat before and then just go to lunch for the social interaction. And to be honest once more, it’s not like my social life is totally RAGING at the moment anyway so what better time than now? haha
  • Since I’ve had body image issues and disordered eating tendencies in the past, I don’t want to become SUPER obsessed with the way my body looks or go into a deep dark depression when I can’t maintain my 8-13% body fat forever.
  • If I’m going to be 100% honest here, perhaps my biggest hesitation is the voice inside my head that doubts my abilities and says, “You can’t do it. You don’t have what it takes to look like those models. Who do you think you are stepping onto the stage next to those women who have been training for this for YEARS? Do you really think you can stand there with the same confidence after all you’ve been through?” — But the good thing is, I recognize these negative voices. And wouldn’t it be that much sweeter to silence them by competing and maybe even placing?

Ultimately, I have to ask myself — does competing align with my core values? Can I muster up the confidence and FULLY commit myself to living a “fit girl’s” life? I’ve been torn between fully committing to becoming part of the fitness industry (meaning working in the fitness industry as a trainer, competing, etc.) and trying to just live “under the radar” when it comes to fitness, although deep down in my heart I know that’s where I belong. It’s almost like I’ve been living two separate lives — one saying, “I just do this for fun. It’s just a hobby” and the other saying, “You can really make a life out of this, Julie. Do it.”

So for now, I’m going to pray about it… see what the Good Lord thinks I should do. It’s my plan to do what’s pleasing to Him and to showcase his glory. Who knows, maybe this will become a platform for me to voice the truth and build up the self confidence in other women? That’s what I’d really love to happen — for anyone, not just those who want to compete, see a girl who’s struggled with disordered eating, body image issues and self-doubt, rise above the negative voices that we all hear and make her dreams come true.

Life isn’t meant to be spent in our comfort zones, after all.

Of Possible Interest:

Bikini Competitor Success Secret The attitude of a champion (LOVE THIS): The event is not the sport.  The sport is the the hundreds of hours spent at practice and training.  I challenge you to look up any PRO athlete in any sport of interest and I can guarantee you that they struggled and worked hard to get to where they are today.  And it didn’t happen overnight.  They’ve lost and they’ve won but what remains is their constant patience and discipline to keep coming back and improving.  That is why the highest level athletes are not always the most naturally gifted in their particular sport.  They are the ones who understand hard work and patience will always persevere over natural or genetic talent.

Short and Speedy Shoulder Workout

As you all know, I’m a HUGE fan of strength training. Today I discovered the gym I go to has a location near my work and needless to say, I had to try it out! And it’s a fancier version of my home club, complete with a juice bar and all. Ooh la la 😉

Side note: I bought Beats by Dre this past weekend!

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One word: unbelievable — as in you’d never believe that such amazing sound was capable of coming out of headphones! Yes, I wear them at work, too. 🙂 

After borrowing Beats from one of my friends while he was away in the Keys this past weekend, I was finally able to understand why everyone RAVES about them. They cost a pretty penny but I swear to you, they are motivation in themselves to go to the gym. I completely zone out and focus on nothing but my workout and the music.

Although it’s a rather superficial motivator, sometimes I think we need new workout gear (clothes, accessories, iPods, etc.) to pump us up! Treat yoself, right? Needless to say, the Beats were my driving factor for trying out the new gym today and completing this short and speedy shoulder workout. 

This shoulder workout was nice and short — proof that you can still get a great workout in a short period of time! With a warm up and a few light stretches following my work out, I clocked in at just over 30 minutes at the gym.

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I adapted this workout from Jamie Eason’s Live Fit 12-week strength training program, which is a great tool for beginners starting their weightlifting journey.

To be honest, I would’ve been LOST in the weight room without bodybuilding.com when I first started out. And really…. I was still lost in the beginning. Word of advice: watch instructional videos before going to the gym and trying something new! My friend and I laughed so hard one day because we printed out the workout, wrote down the weights we were able to do and we were SO proud because it seemed like a lot. Come to find out we did the WRONG exercise because we didn’t watch the instructional videos. Lesson learned! 

What’s your favorite body part to train? Least favorite? 

Ironically, my least favorite body part to train is shoulders because they are my weakest body part. I LOVE training legs! [See two of my favorite leg workouts here and here!]