On being comfortable in your own skin

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What would happen if you actually believed you were:

Lovely

Enough

Talented

Worthy

What would your life look like? How would you spend your time differently? Less time in front of the mirror, on Facebook, or calculating calories? Would you worry as much? Would you spend as much on clothes, makeup, shoes, or salon visits?

Let me ask a few more questions- would you feel more free to get crazy and dance in the rain if someone asked you to? Play in the pool with your kids on a whim? Go on a last minute run with your husband? Leave the house on a whim without makeup? Go several days “unplugged” from all social media? Spend less time comparing, criticizing, or complaining? Would you wish more or less? Would contentment come easier?

I am not really asking you. See, this is a letter to myself. I struggle with these heart-issues. I confess, I am more shallow and lacking in trust in God than I wish to say. I doubt, worry, and stress over things that really hold no eternal weight.

Psalm 139:14 tells us, “For you are beautiful, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” 1 Peter 3:4 says, “Your beauty should be that of the inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”. We are lovely because God made us. It is as simple as that. We are each made unique, from the number of hairs on our head to the sound of our voice to our thoughts and talents. I cannot morph into being another person, nor should I. I was made to live as me. I wear my skin the best. God clothed me as he found suitable and good. How could I choose better than God? Also, I often forget that looks are not simply what is outside. There are dimensions to all of us, levels of beauty that permeate much deeper than skin. Have you ever been around someone much older than you who was simply beautiful, but not only because they were pretty or dressed nice? Perhaps they had a youthful, vibrant soul or fire in their eyes or so much joy that you couldn’t resist being around them? Beauty is SO much more than what our society tells us. Beauty is unfading, content, and comfort.

I often wonder if I am enough? I feel inadequate compared to many friends with high achievements. Some have become doctors, some talented musicians or artists, and some high-powered women in the corporate world. And here I am, 5’1 me, “just” staying at home and trying to keep up a blog. (I put “just” in quotes because of how many times I hear that used, by even myself at times). Can you almost hear the sound of a whine? Yet, I have a beautiful and incredible daughter who fills my days with stories and songs and more giggles than I will ever be able to contain in my memories. I am blessed with a husband who roots me on in my efforts to be at home with my daughter, and loves me for where I have chosen to be. This is the job God has appointed to me. It may be humble and low on the totem pole, little to no room for advancement, and super long hours- but it is ever changing and certainly never boring. In fact, if I must confess, I love it. How dare I complain about my chosen occupation to stay at home with my kiddo. It is not a burden and I am not a victim. I love it and I love what I can do for my family. Am I enough? No. In fact, I am a big hot mess of hormones and indecisiveness most of the time. Is God enough? Yes. And when I come to this conclusion I can rest and count it all as a joy. I can depend on him, which takes the burden of depending on myself off my shoulders.

There are so many bible verses that tell me of God’s rich mercies towards us and his lavish love. Ephesians 2:4-9, Matthew 6:25-34, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 10:31, and MANY MORE. Yet, almost every day, I forget. Here is the thing I am learning: it is so much less about me and so much more about God. When I step back and look at things in light of eternity, my day to day makes so much more sense. My priorities align in a much more simple fashion. I wonder less and less if I am lovely, enough, talented, or worthy- because I find all those things in Christ and my identity is in Him. My heart is turned to other issues and other people; not myself. And I can rest and smile.

Moms: what we do counts

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My heart ached as a good friend (and a great mama) confided in me: “I just feel like a horrible mom”. She has a three year old and a one year old, and her days are filled to the brim with playdates and meal prep and naps and changing diapers. She shared with me how certain days she wants to just escape from all the chaos. She longs for her husband to notice how hard she tries to keep her family together and make their house a home. She often envies his long days out with colleagues that include meetings at trendy coffee shops and late night happy hour networking at five star restaurants. She waits for him at home, sometimes with a cold tray of pasta, wondering if anything she is doing really matters.

Have you been there too? I know I have.

I tried to tell her she is not alone. I have felt the same feelings. Many of my friends have shared with me their frustration with how difficult motherhood truly is and how often they feel like they are barely hanging on by a thread. She is an incredible mother. She takes the time to sit down and color with her children. She takes them to storytimes and parks and museums. She does all she can to ensure they grow up healthy and happy. They adore her, completely and fully. I see their little eyes so full of love and adoration for their mommy. No one can replace her. I’ve tried to console her daughters, and they look right through me. When she runs to them, they melt in her arms. I wish I could put into words that she is doing an amazing job. She matters, and her sacrifices do also.

Sure, there are the good days. The days that fly by and leave you feeling proud and accomplished. The days the house stays clean, your kiddo actually listens (or really does her timeout), and things just get done. Then, there are those bad days. The days when the house is a TOTAL wreck, your car breaks down at the worst time, your kid pees their pants at the playground (and you forgot a change of clothes), and your kid wins the battle and you completely lose your crap on a three year old. Ever been there? I sure have!

I just don’t know how much I can stress this. What we are doing does matter. In a world where motherhood is so often looked at as a season to just make it through, it is important to tell other women that what they are doing matters so much, even if no one is around to tell them that it is okay to have a terrible day here and then. I cringe when I am told, “someday you’ll have your life back to yourself.” I will never have my life back to myself. My daughter is now in-grafted into my life in a way that cannot be changed. She is, and always be, a part of my life. It isn’t easy. Love is never easy. It hurts, it disappoints, it has it’s good and bad seasons. But love is always, always, worth it.

If you are having a rough day today, please know that you are not alone. We share this beautiful and difficult task to give our lives to these children that have no idea what we are sacrificing. They demand and take and ask. But one day they will see and remember. They love us through all of our grossness. Through the angry moments and the crazy eyes, they do know that we love them. They run to us when they fall hard. They cry for us when they are sick. They need us. The real, honest, authentic us that gets tired, cries…but keeps on- through the mundane, the good days, and the bad days. Just because you don’t make a paycheck for being with your babies doesn’t mean what you do isn’t worth measuring in value. Working moms trying to hold it all together and feeling burned out: what you do is incredible. If only everyone saw your most tiresome and emotional work of all starts when you get home. Some days I just need to write this down into words to program it into my thick and often flaky brain. ALL moms: what we do does matter.

My plan to get fit in 60 days

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PowerInProtein #CollectiveBias

As many of you know, I recently participated in BODYPUMP initial training to become a BODYMPUMP class instructor. I passed! I could not be more excited! I am also kind of freaking out, because I officially feel as though I need to “walk the talk” if I am going to start encouraging people to live a healthier life and work out.

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In my late teens and early twenties I really struggled with yo-yo dieting. I would gain weight, then lose it by dieting. I now hate the word dieting. Dieting really has no lasting effects. Over the years, I have had to learn to love my body and curves and understand that the only way to maintain a healthy weight and feel good is by making lifestyle changes. There really is no cutting corners.

What this has meant for me is eating good, whole, and healthy foods. I have also had to learn to workout and find exercises that I love to do and will continue doing. Running, hiking, biking, yoga, and fitness classes are a few activities that I love.

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I have also really had to jump over the mental hurdle that “weight lifting makes you bulky”. What a silly myth! Since I started BODYPUMP and resistance training I have noticed that I have gotten leaner and my metabolism works faster. My husband and I really work hard to keep our food pantry stocked with healthy choices for my family. We indulge here and there, but really try to eat food that makes us feel good.

For really intense training and workouts, I really try to be mindful of taking in extra protein and fueling up on supplements that will help me to train effectively. I am pretty picky when it comes to supplements, and am not a fan of anything that makes my heart race. I incorporate protein shakes into mornings when I know I will be doing an intense workout later in the day, and I really love these new EAS AdvantEdge CarbControl Ready-to-Drink. I will take these with me when I don’t have time to blend up a traditional protein shake. Post-workout, these drinks are great for me to ensure that my body is getting the proper nutrients it needs to promote healthy muscle gain. These drinks are perfect after an intense lifting session, or even a long hike. I love that they have a great source of protein and help me manage my hunger when I am ravenous.

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Along with working out, I am trying to be much more mindful of consuming less sugar and processed carbohydrates and making my meals out of whole grains, lean proteins, and vegetables. I have cut my caffeine intake, cut out dairy (boo), and am choosing to snack on nuts, fruit, and lean protein instead of carbohydrates (and I am a TOTAL cracker girl). My biggest struggles is sugar (I love flavored iced lattes). I am hoping I can kick my habit and choose better choices.

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I would love to be ready for my final assessment in about six weeks, living a healthier lifestyle and feeling more in control of what I put into my mouth. My goal is to run about 4 days a week, do BODYPUMP or resistance training 3 days a week, and stay active with my family by hiking or biking. I also really want to keep up healthy eating and fueling my muscles with lean protein. I am really excited to see my progress!

Here are my goals I am pledging to:

1. No eating processed foods.

2. No sugary snacks, except for whole fruit.

3. Making sure I have enough lean protein in my diet.

4. Drinking plenty of water!

5. Doing resistance training 3 times a week, at least, and cardio 4 times a week.

6. No adult beverages or flavored lattes.

7. Getting plenty of sleep.

8. Eating lots of veggies, whole grains, nuts, and protein.

9. Going on outdoor adventures with my family- biking, hiking, and running!

10. Having fun while getting fit!

What healthy snacks do you keep on hand to stay healthy? Do you have a favorite workout, activity, or fitness class?