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

Blocked or Empty?

I’m in the midst of what I’d like to call an epic brain fart. My creativity has run dry. My passion for anything involving intellect has dwindled almost completely. I find myself deep in thought, searching for words that usually come naturally to me. It’s unusually hard to make decisions because my mind is crowded with a million different ideas at once. It’s hard to even find the words to write this blog post right now!

I just feel brain dead. I’m forgetful. I’ll be driving somewhere I’ve been millions of times and none of my surroundings will look familiar. Honestly, it’s debilitating and scary.

The problem:

What are two things required of an advertising and public relations major with an advertising copywriting internship? Creativity + writing.

Last week’s agenda included an exam (four chapters, five case studies), quizzes and a seemingly endless amount of essays. Outside of school, I spend a majority of my day reading and writing. If I’m not reading for school, I’m constantly reading psychology or health and fitness related articles. I also read a lot about the art of writing.

That’s what led me to this article, which talks about knowing the difference between having writer’s block and being empty:

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The plan:

Just like the body, and sometimes even more so, the brain needs a rest day. Or two. Last week I wrote about being addicted to exercise and embracing rest days, and why is the brain any different? I need some time to unplug and just be.

It just so happens that I coincidentally (or not) have Tuesday off from my internship. I’m going to spend the day unplugged from the world. This means no social media, reading or writing related to work, TV (which I barely watch anyway), or anything that involves creativity. I’m hoping this will clear my mind and help me find some answers that I’ve been searching for that seem to be so clouded by the million things I have going on in my life.

My brain has worked hard for the past 21 years, I think he (yes, my brain is a male) deserves a day off. As you wish, brain. 🙂

[Of Possible Interest]:

  • 27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer’s Block via Boost Blog Traffic <– ALL blog writers should read. Awesome! I think I’ll name my imaginary friend Mark.
  • Creativity via Psychology Today <– You all know my obsession with PT by now.
  • I recently updated my Adventures page. Go check it out! I’ve learned so much about myself through traveling to new places, trying new things and exploring the unknown. The possibilities are endless the moment you step outside of your comfort zone. 🙂

 

Miami Recap

I know I promised you guys some fun Miami pictures after my “Serious Saturday” post. Side note: You guys are amazing. Thank you so much for all the positive comments. I’m happy to know you all 🙂 

Let’s get to the pictures, shall we? Here are a few of my highlights from the weekend:

First up: food. (Food is always first up in my book) 

ThaiCoconutChickenSoup

I know you’re thinking, “What the heck is that?!” Trust me, I was too. But I was made to try it and cannot say enough great things about the Thai Coconut Chicken Soup. <– I’ve linked a recipe in case you’re interested. I’ll also be making it very soon!

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Let me just say that I love how modern Miami is in a food sense. I get so many strange looks in Orlando when I ask for sushi without rice (hello, it’s wrapped in seaweed anyway, what’s the big deal?) This option was already on the menu and it was delicious! It was a mixture of raw tuna, salmon and white fish.

My friend is a beach club member so we spent Saturday frolicking on the private beach and sipping drinks in the pool. Can I just say that the bathrooms were nicer than my house?

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Yes, I take pictures of bathrooms. And yes, I get excited about little things.

OK. Are you ready to see the most awesome building ever?

Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art

This is the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art. I love the simplicity of the piece. It instantly grabbed our attention as we drove by!

Overall, it was a great weekend with great people. I must say, I always look forward to coming home after a long weekend. Nothing beats sleeping in my own bed.

Do you agree? What did you do this weekend?

I’m Done Doing Things I Don’t Enjoy

I had an epiphany at the gym today. Looking out the window and thinking about how beautiful of a day it was, I thought to myself, “I could really use a tan. I need to go lay out.” If there’s one thing in life I hate (yes, I know. Strong word. Perhaps we can say strongly, strongly, strongly dislike :-)) it’s laying out and baking in the sun. Dripping sweat for no reason just isn’t fun to me. Neither is sun burn. Or skin cancer.

My brother's dog. Clearly we do not have a lot in common.

My brother’s dog. Clearly we do not have a lot in common.

Do I look better with a tan? Probably. But I don’t care enough to sacrifice my health and waste my time laying out if I don’t enjoy it. (Being at the beach is a different story 😉)

This got me thinking, what else do I do on a daily or weekly basis that I don’t enjoy? I do it because I “have to do it” or “should be doing it.” Sure there are things in life I have to do and don’t necessarily feel like doing. School, work, cleaning. Sometimes even working out can feel like a chore after a long day.

But what am I doing in my free time that’s keeping me from happiness? SHOULD I lay out and get a tan? Probably. SHOULD I be reading a Shakespeare novel because it will make me smarter than reading Fifty Shade of Grey? Probably. But I don’t enjoy reading Shakespeare and I don’t enjoy laying out. So why waste my time?

Let me reiterate the point I’m trying to make: don’t waste your time doing something you don’t enjoy. This goes for exercise as well. If you don’t like running, don’t run. If you don’t like lifting weights, do yoga. Everyone is different and there is no “one size fits all” in exercise. Do what you love and you’re more likely to stick with it long term.

Are you doing things you don’t enjoy just because you feel like you SHOULD be doing them? What would the world be like if we did everything with passion and love? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy hump daaaaaaaaaay! (<– best commercial EVER, by the way!)

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My 12 Summer Life Lessons

This summer has truly been one of self-discovery. I’ve learned so much about myself and about others and I’m confident I’m taking steps in the right direction toward a happy, healthy future. I didn’t think it would be so hard to write a “reflection” post, but I’m at a loss for words trying to describe the changes, both physical and mental, I’ve made just in the past three months.

My travels this summer came at the perfect time. It was a transitional time in my life as I embark on my final “first” day of school EVER tomorrow! I feel like I’m a completely different person than I was starting college and I’m constantly growing and changing into the person I hope to become.

Here are a few important things I’ve learned about myself and in general this summer:

Don’t take life too seriously. I’m making it my goal this semester to start looking at school as my “day job.” Yes, it’s important. Yes, it’s a stepping-stone for my future. Yes, I need to get good grades during my last semester. But do my grades define me? Certainly not. I’m a whole lot more than that. I used to find myself getting wrapped up in studying and the little details about school – I always felt like I could be doing “more.” Reading more, studying more. In turn, it gave me major anxiety made me less productive because I wouldn’t even know where to start! Being a student is only a small part of who I am and I shouldn’t let it consume my life.

Always make time for fun. This little detail is perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned in the past few months. For the past three years of college I’ve been so focused on work, working out and school that I almost forgot to live and have fun. Sure, I’ve had the greatest college experiences but I always found myself thinking too much about the future – maybe I shouldn’t go out tonight because I have to study all day tomorrow. I want to work out tomorrow morning so I think I’ll skip going to dinner with my friends. You may call this responsibility, and trust me, it is to an extent. But it’s also a limitation. When you’re constantly planning for the future, you forget to LIVE IN THE PRESENT. This semester, I’m going to be a “yes” man and do all that I can to take advantage of my last few months of college!

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BE YOURSELF (and choose your friends wisely). I’ve always had trouble with identifying myself as an individual. I’ve kept people around in my life simply because I wanted to “fit in.” Of course these weren’t my intentions as I was hanging out with them, but I realize looking back on my life that they served no purpose in my growth or happiness. In fact, they would suck the happiness out of me. I was trying to be someone I was not and in turn I was masking my talents and abilities. My dreams were belittled, I put my ambitions to the wayside. This summer I’ve realized that I’m different and I’m done trying to fit some “mold” just because it’s the “college norm.” I used to beat myself up because I didn’t want to go out and live the typical “college life.” I always said I wasn’t fully living the “college experience.” But what does that even mean? It’s different for everyone! From here on out, I’m embracing that I view things differently than some of my peers. I’m defining my college experience as a time of growth, reflection and self discovery and I’m forever grateful for the experiences I’ve made in college (“college experience” related or not) that have shaped me into the individual I’m becoming.

Take risks. Simply put: where there is no risk, there is no reward. We get so caught up in being comfortable with where we are that we forget how EASY it is to change it up a bit. Life should never be boring and mundane… when it is, that’s a sign you should make a change. Take a risk because I promise you there is way more to gain than there is to lose. If I didn’t take risks this summer, I wouldn’t have traveled up north. I wouldn’t have made all these discoveries for my self. I wouldn’t have cleared my mind and opened up to so many new experiences. Sure, I was scared to death. And trust me, I had my fair share of mental breakdowns. Would I trade the risks I took (good or bad) for anything in the world? Absolutely not. Because I’ve also learned another thing – life always works itself out. It may not be how you expected it, but it’s often BETTER. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you take risks with an open mind and an open heart.

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Explore new places. In a broader sense, this was the epitome of my travels. I saw so many amazing places that have opened my eyes to the beauty of the world (and has given me a serious case of wanderlust.) I know not everyone has the amazing opportunities to travel the country this summer like I have and I realize that I am extremely blessed beyond words. However, exploring doesn’t take traveling throughout America or even the world for that matter. Explore where you are. Right here, right now. Go outside. Take a walk. Some of the best memories I have from this summer were from my walks. I would pray and listen to music and think and reflect and get to know myself. I truly believe that nature connects you to who you are and who you want to be. Make sure to explore and open your eyes to your beautiful surroundings. Exploring has connected me to myself in ways I never thought imaginable.

Be a kid. It’s OK to be immature, no matter how old you are. Laugh! Sing! Dance! Have fun! Sometimes I would forget to actually “be myself” and have fun because I felt uncomfortable, and this goes along with learning to be comfortable with myself. Now I’m pretty much myself around anyone. If you don’t like my weird accents and dancing, that’s perfectly fine with me. Plenty of people do 😉 You may grow old in age, but your heart should never grow old. Keep having fun. Keep making memories. Be silly. I don’t remember the exact context of the situation but I was expressing concern about something to my mom this summer. I repeat this to myself every time I feel like I’m getting too serious now: “Just be your goofy self!” (Thanks, Mom. Bet ya didn’t know your words would become the motto of my life :-))

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Enjoy being single. So many people look at being single as a “curse.” Sure, it may be lonely at times, but that’s what friends are for! Being single should be seen as a time to focus on self-improvement, exploring new things, meeting new people and taking risks. I’m single for this season of my life for this exact reason. It’s given me confidence to make the choices I’ve made and a clear mind without any outside distractions to make these decisions. For me, being single is a personal choice because I want to develop my own self worth and stability before committing to someone else. I’m learning something new about myself pretty much every day and I’m loving it! I have a big heart, and I want to share my dreams, passions and love and all that my life encompasses…. Some day 🙂 I adore this:

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Read. The greatest book I read this summer was Love Does by Bob Goff. That book is absolutely incredible and deserves a blog post of it’s own (I’ll put that on my to-do list! Seriously, it’s too good for anyone to pass up.) Reading has sparked my creativity. It improves my writing, studying, relationships, mind, heart and pretty much every aspect of my life. It allows me to relax, live in someone else’s shoes for a day, and even shows me how blessed I am.

Life is short, be careful how you use your words. I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. I’ve lost people in my life because I didn’t tell them how I felt when I should have. I’m stubborn and relentless and I’ve used my words to hurt people that I care about the most. If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s the importance of doing things for other people. Don’t act out of anger. Take a few deep breaths before you say things you don’t mean. Make sure you remind people in your life each and every day how much you love them. I’ll never forget one time when I was driving with my uncle and he was in the passenger seat. I was supposed to make a right turn and passed it and all he said was, “Did you figure out a new way to go?!” It wasn’t sarcastic. It wasn’t condescending. It was a genuine question and I was seriously in awe that he could be so kind IN THE MOMENT. If that was me, I probably would have said something more along the lines of “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO TURN!” Yeah, I’m working on that 😉

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Be a do-er. One of the most important areas of my life that I always try to improve is how much I “do.” By that, I mean I always strive to make the people in my life feel special by doing things for them. If they need a ride, I’ll be there if I can. I’ll send a letter to a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes it’s as simple as sending an “I love you and I’m grateful for you” text. Words can’t express the love I have for the people in my life, so I strive to make up for that lack of words by my actions. Staying with my uncle this summer opened my eyes to this on a new level. I remember mentioning ONCE that I was getting calluses on my hands from doing deadlifts. Next time we were at Target, he shows up in my aisle with work out gloves. It’s little things like that that make the biggest difference in life. To him, it was nothing. To me, it meant everything. He listened. He paid attention. He CARED. And he literally does things like this all the time without thinking twice about it. I hope I can give to the extent of my uncles to the point where it almost becomes effortless and second nature. I think we can all learn a little from these guys 🙂

Don’t be consumed by the idea of perfection. I’ve learned to realize that I’m not perfect. Well, duh… But I’ve learned to realize that this is OK. I have my faults and weaknesses. I care too much about things I shouldn’t. I worry. I have anxiety. I stress myself out over little things. I sometimes speak out of anger. But these qualities don’t define who I am. Instead of getting down about these things, I just focus on improving the areas that need a little work. I’m a work in progress and I’m becoming stronger every day, imperfections and all!

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Spend time with God. Let’s be real for a minute here. There are times this summer when I would pray about something happening and I thought I never got an answer. Looking back, I did get answers, they just weren’t the answers I expected to get. They were better. When you pray boldly and ask the Lord for things that seem out of your own control, He delivers. I’ve prayed for some pretty crazy stuff, but look at where it has taken me! All across the country, growing and helping people. Learning more about myself in order to love and help others. Now I’m praying for Him to use me in a way that will help others in unimaginable ways. I want to love like Jesus did. I want to give like Jesus did. I want to LIVE it and not just read about it. I’m not one of those people that can sit here and quote scripture and honestly I think it’s about so much more than that. I like to believe my faith is displayed in the ways that I take risks and in the ways that I love people. I want others to know Jesus because of my actions.

Disclaimer: This post was written straight from the heart. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into the making of this post. OK, just kidding. Maybe just tears. I hope you’re able to take some of the things I’ve learned in my journey and apply these principles to your own life. I’m still being molded and shaped by my surroundings each day and I’m looking forward to continuing this journey with you all on board.

Also, while my posts are not always “health and fitness” related, I’d like to think that everything I write ties back to it. Just because it’s not a recipe or a work out doesn’t mean it’s not important. Mental health and spiritual growth are HUGE determinants of how successful you are in the gym and with a healthy lifestyle. A healthy heart and mind make up 90% of your health and fitness journey. Building a strong mind creates more willpower and ultimately a stronger body. The greater the connection between your mind and body, the greater results you will achieve. Simply put: BE HAPPY FOOLS! Keep growing, keep striving to be a better person and keep your eyes on the prize both mentally and physically 🙂 We’re only as strong as our minds perceive we are! 

Appreciate the Journey

Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been so distant from my blog lately…. Although I feel hesitant to apologize because 1. I’m enjoying life and 2. I want to write quality, meaningful material and haven’t had the time to put much effort into it. I can’t wait to share all my adventures and reflections with you all soon! I’ve been road tripping back to Florida and made it all the way down to the Keys, which is where I am currently. It’s raining, so I’m spending some much needed time giving my poor neglected blog some lovin’.

If you know me, you’ve probably heard me say once or twice how much I hate Florida. “I can’t wait to get out of here after graduation,” or “I’m definitely not raising my family in Florida,” have been topics of conversation with anyone who asks what I plan to do in December when I graduate. How closed minded is that?! Also, if I end up getting the job of a lifetime in Florida, would I really pass it up simply because it’s in Florida?

Simply put, no. Never. I’ll go wherever my best opportunity lies. While I would love to move out of Orlando, I shouldn’t discriminate against all of Florida. After all, check out our view from dinner last night.

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Also, has anyone ever frowned on the back of a jet ski? I think not.

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Florida, I love you. I’m sorry I was ever so mean to you 🙂

Moral of the story: Appreciate the journey, not just the destination.

In my case, I’ve been so concerned about “leaving Florida” after I graduate instead of appreciating the beauty that surrounds me. Sure, Orlando isn’t the most glamorous place in the world… to me. But that’s because I probably take it for granted. Many people think that people who live in Orlando go to Disney every day and wake up with Minnie Mouse coffee mugs and Donald Duck slippers… No. Most of us never go to Disney. We would be broke if we did. However, I want to cherish the time I have left here and all that Florida has to offer, positive and negative: the beautiful sunsets, the heat and humidity, the annoying tourists, sunshine, tan skin, the beach. I plan to make the most of my time here in case I do move out of Florida. Have you ever seen the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carey? That will be me. You all will hold me accountable, right? 😉

In health and fitness, we’re often so focused on the end goal that we lose sight of our smaller accomplishments. Do your pants fit a little better than they did last week? Celebrate! Did you resist eating that cheesecake because you knew it would bring you closer your goals? Celebrate! Did you lose 1 lb. out of the 30 you want to lose? Celebrate! No accomplishment is too small. I’ve gotten discouraged because I’m so focused on the bigger picture. Where does it all end? When is enough, enough? When will I be satisfied? It can be RIGHT NOW, but only if you let it. Strive for your goals, but don’t forget to celebrate the journey and all the accomplishments that come along with it!

See you again soon with some great travel recaps and a huuuuge summer reflection post!

You’ll Fail and No One Will Notice

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We’re all scared of failure, whether it’s in the form of rejection, loss of pride or embarrassment. If you’re interested in someone, I’m sure you can relate to staring at a text message for 10 minutes, deciding whether to send it or not. You change what you’ve written 15 times as if the other person will actually notice a difference. Why? You’re scared of being rejected. If you’re in the workforce, I’m sure there are times when something has bothered you or you have a great idea for a new project. Rather than addressing it with your boss, you choose to remain silent. Why? You’re scared that your proposal will get shot down or your problem will be regarded as insignificant and a waste of time. Either way, you’re scared of being embarrassed.

Our brains react the same way to fear whenever it’s presented to us, whether we’re approaching someone we find attractive, sending the first text, asking for a raise or stepping foot in the gym for the first time. We’re scared that we will fail.

Fear is a learned behavior. We learn to be scared of situations based on previous occurrences that have happened in our lives. Perhaps you’re scared of initiating conversation with someone because you were rejected before. You’re scared to start a new diet plan because the last one failed.

We all have the mentality that we have something to lose if we take a chance. In other words, we build up the worst-case scenario in our minds. We’re scared to quit that job that we’re so utterly unhappy with for fear that we’ll run out of money. We’re scared to step foot in the gym or switch up our routines because we will look like idiots if we don’t know how to properly perform an exercise. We’re scared to start eating healthy because surely we will hate it and will revert back to our old ways and gain even more weight.
We would rather avoid failure at all costs than taste success. 

I found this quote in a magazine the other day:
Failure Quote

I laugh in the face of failure… Mwahaha 😛

Think about that for a minute. Everyone is so concerned with their own failures and embarassments; do you really think they’re focused on yours? In the worst case scenario, those who are close to you will learn of your momentary failure, but they will soon forget. Failure should not be seen as a roadblock, but rather a learning process that helps us grow. Ultimately, failure takes our relationships to greater depths and our dreams to new heights. If you didn’t fail, you’d keep doing the same things over and over without seeing results. If you NEVER fail, you don’t learn. And if you don’t learn, you don’t succeed.

Start weighing your risks and their rewards. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. If you fail, so what? At least you’ve tried. And you’ll never have to wonder “what if?”