I have been avoiding this article for a few weeks now! I knew it was coming, I knew this was going to be our topic for over a month, I knew that Jena Christiansen ( who you will meet in a minute) was going to help with this months topic and I still put it off........
I know why I have been putting it off. BECAUSE I AM STUCK. I have been in a rut for almost a year now and I knew that if I was going to post this article then I was going to HAVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH! I never want to post something that I don't believe in, that I am not implementing it into my own life.....I walk what I talk....but I was not and AM NOT ready to walk this talk.....but maybe that is how I know it is FREAKING TIME!!!
Ok! I know, I know. We don't want to hear about the NEXT big thing in weight loss, or the new wrap thing or hearing that "there is an oil for that" ...I am not talking supplements or work out programs, I am not talking exercise apps or nutrition specialists....
I am here to share with you the importance of becoming a HEALTHIER you, LOVING yourself through the process and doing it for the RIGHT reasons!!!
I love this quote by Jena Christiansen. I have been thinking about this little saying for the past few weeks, it has been playing over and over in my head. I have been looking back over my life, all the experiences that I have had and all the times that I said " I CAN'T" and then something happens, little by little, small change after small change, time and commitment and then all of a sudden I was looking back, looking at how far I had come....and then with another foot forward I was saying " I CAN."
This journey will look different to EVERYONE. Living a "healthy" lifestyle means something different to EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.
For me, the journey for a healthier life, has not been a priority. It has not been something that I have really cared about or honestly something that I have had to really worry about. I have great genetic make-up, even in my "unhealthy" phases of my life I have been relatively healthy looking. My body holds decent strength, I am naturally strong and I have always had the energy to just "power through" if I needed to.
WELL THAT HAS ALL CHANGED. In the past 5 years of my life ( after I turned 30 ) things started to shift in my body. My metabolism decided to go on vacation, my energy levels bottomed out, my body didn't bounce back after babies, the chronic back pain cripples me, and my hormones have had an upheaval, and depression and mental health is getting harder and harder to control.
SIDE NOTE: There has been some awesome changes to my body since I turned 30, like my sex drive and it will continue to rise. (ladies its coming for you if you haven't hit there yet!) I also LOVE this stage with my kids and my husband and the security and routine that has become my life in my 30's.
Over these past 5 years my body has decided to change and shift and break down and quit. I can no longer have children, I am showing signs of aging, AND with 2 very active littles finding TIME and energy to stay healthy and take care of my body is NOT always a luxury that I have.
MY BODY DID NOT ASK ME IF I WAS OK WITH ALL THESE CHANGES....it just happens, it is just a part of this crazy life that we will all experience in some form or another!
In a WomensHealthMagazine article it talked about some of these very issues that were tied to our FATE as we age as women. (READ FULL ARTICLE HERE) These were a few that I could really relate to with my body......
Fate Says: Zero Time, Zapped Motivation
When researchers at Toronto General Hospital asked women in their 30s why they didn't exercise, 40 percent said they didn't have the time. Another 40 percent said they didn't have the willpower. Sound familiar?
Cheat Fate: Step On It
If you strap on a pedometer and start tracking your daily steps—and taking a few more of them—you'll begin to see results. University of Tennessee researchers found that women who took at least 10,000 steps per day had 9 percent less body fat by the time they were 50 than those who took between 6,000 and 9,999 steps. If you go for regular walks, try to add more steps in the same amount of time; you'll automatically improve your fitness level without increasing your exercise time.
If you're coming up short of 10,000 steps, start making small changes: Next time you go to the grocery store, carry only one bag inside the house at a time. (And try not to unpack the Baked Lays between the car and the kitchen.)
Fate Says: Your Back Is A Royal Pain
About 70 percent of women will report lower back pain at some point in their lives, and it often starts at age 30. During pregnancy, as many as 80 percent of women experience back pain.
The key to preventing it is not just muscular strength but endurance, too. "Your back muscles don't need to be overly strong to support your spine; they need to be able to support it for long periods of time," says Lori Incledon, author of Strength Training for Women. In other words, it's about how much force those muscles can exert as well as how long they can go before pooping out.
That’s doubly important when you’re expecting because your abdominal muscles stretch to make room for your growing uterus and can’t support you the way they usually do, which forces your lower back to bear the brunt. Not to mention your levels of the hormone relaxin are on the rise, loosening not only your pelvic ligaments (get that baby outta there!) but also the joints of your spine.
Cheat Fate: Shore Up Your Core
Do the side plank three times per week. Lie on your left side with knees straight and upper body propped on your left elbow and forearm. Place your right hand on your right hip and slowly raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds, breathing deeply. That's one rep. Repeat four times, then switch to your right side. Do one to two sets for each side.
If that's too hard, bend your knees 90 degrees so that they rest on the floor. If you're pregnant, do the exercise with your back against a wall for support.
I am LEARNING TO EMBRACE THE CHANGE. Now it is time to take control of these things! It is now time to love my body through the later years of my life...love my body that I neglected for so many years. Love my body for the TRUE MIRACLE THAT IT REALLY IS.
I don't want this journey to a healthier life be all about the physical aspect. I truly believe that the only way to achieve a truly healthy and happy life comes from a deep connection between body, mind and soul. This journey is not just about working through and breaking down the bad physical habits and barriers but those in my mind and spirit as well.
I am so excited to introduce you to my VERY dear friend that is co-hosting this month with me! Jena Christiansen and I met several years ago through the Adoption Community. We are both Birth Mothers but formed a friendship that went beyond that! We discovered that we had so much more in common. She has been on AN AMAZING journey this past year in creating a healthier life for her and her family.
Jena has found incredible motivation through her children. Becoming a better Mother and setting a better example for them. Being a BETTER HER is being better for EVERYONE in her life!
I asked Jena to share a few thoughts from her journey:
I wrote down, “I am super awesome” in my daughters little pink journal. I then asked her to write that sentence on each line until the page was full. The anger disappeared from her face, and complete brokenness surfaced. My first thought, “what have I done to her?!” And then she spoke, with the biggest crocodile tears, “Mom, I can’t say that, I am not super awesome.” In that moment I realized that how I treated myself, after all these years, had finally come crashing down, and the one who needed to know of her worth, was far from knowing it.
That was the moment I sat down and changed. I sat down and realized that THIS WAS IT, it was enough of the self-loathing, depressed, failing person I felt I was. That was the moment that I realized that loving myself was just as important as loving my children.
I have been through some really ridiculous things; some were a result of poor choices, others were out of my control but affected me greatly. In a downward spiral I always ended up a few steps higher than where I fell. But, in the end, I tripped and fell further. The water was starting to fill up that stairwell, and in a moment, even keeping my mouth clear of water was nearly impossible.
Today, I have been able to experience a happiness that I question if I ever knew, or felt, before. Then I wonder if I did feel it, had it been so long that I forgot what true happiness is? It took years to see my worth. It took months to admit that I was ok the way I am. But through commitment, desire, faith, and with a lot of support, I have achieved things I never thought possible! And I can’t wait to share my experiences with you this month!
THIS MONTH WE ARE SO EXCITED TO JOIN JENA IN A FACEBOOK GROUP FOR WOMEN ONLY!!!! She is providing this space to not only encourage and support you, but to give you some simple and healthy tips that you can apply to your life...We all need each other through this struggle! START THE JOURNEY WITH US!
Becoming a Healthier You,
Loving Yourself Through the Journey.
This group is here to show us how we can become happier with ourselves. We all have moments that have shaped us for better and worse. I hope by sharing some of my experiences, that you will be able to look into your own stories, and heal and grow.
You will be expected to do something physical every day. Because our physical activity is directly connected to our mental activity/ability. You will have days that make you mad, hurt, or surprised. But I hope we will be able to work together to change ourselves for the better!
You can also find JENA CHRISTIANSEN HERE:
I have been terrified of taking this journey. I have wanted it in my mind but NOT ENOUGH to make it a priority. The more I put it off the more I dread getting started!! The more I avoid it the crappier I feel. The longer I wait the more pain I am in. I am scared to start, scared of failing, scared of the pain and scared that it will actually work and that I will be so angry that I wasted so much time!!
I want to be healthy. I want my husband to be healthy. I want my kids to be healthy. I want to be RICH in love, health and happiness!
We asked our Big Tough Girl™ Community about their thoughts on Becoming a Healthier You. They poured their hearts out about the struggles they face with getting started, following through and loving themselves through the long and hard process.
Some of the things that were discussed:
- finding the motivation to get started
- I don't have the time or energy in my day to work on myself.
- balance is bullshit! Understanding priorities
- being realistic when creating my workout/healthy eating goals
- being patient enough with results
- feeling guilty about taking the time for me.
- it hurts too much, it is too hard.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO??
We are sharing 4 tips to help you in your jouerny to a healthier life and to embrace your inner
Big Tough Girl™
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Guys if you are not going to do the "couch-to-5K program" take it off your list! I know that when we get the MOTIVATION bug we want to run with it...we feel like we can take on the world and we have been waiting to feel excited about this for a long time.....but I PROMISE you that you will fail if you can't be realistic with your time, energy, physical abilities and willingness to commit.
If you can only do a 15 minute 3 days a week THEN THAT IS EVERYTHING. Yes we want to push ourselves and yes we want to work up to bigger and more challenging things but if you don't ever get started because you are already overwhelmed you will fail every single time.
Remember that you know yourself better than anyone else. Listen and trust your body. If it is important it will become a priority but it will take some time. Focus your goals, be specific with what you want, make them measurable, be accountable, and have a time frame so you have an end you are working toward, .
ALSO....remember who you are NOW. The 5 pairs of jeans in your closet that you are keeping just in case you get back to pre-3 babies body is not realistic and you will always feel like you are failing.
If I am being realistic I know that at my height and age and condition of my body I may never be less than 160lbs. That number has always sounded SO big to me but I also know that if I am healthy and strong then I make 160lbs LOOK GOOD!!!!
Right now I am at 177lbs. I don't want to make it all about the numbers, I want to make it all about how I feel but I like having something I am working toward.
Ladies! I know that we live in a world of instant gratification but think about how long it has taken you to get to where you are.....why would you think that you could bounce back over night? In a week? In a month?
THERE IS NO QUICK FIX for long term healthy living. It is a decision that you have to make EVERY DAY for the rest of your life.
They say it can take about 21 days of commitment for a habit to stick. That is for it to become a part of your routine....NOT FOR RESULTS that you want. Will you see changes in your life after 21 days? Of course you will, if it is a positive change in your life, cleansing, eating healthy, getting spiritually fed....after 21 days straight of something positive you will feel better naturally!
Will it be what you want long term....probably not but it is a great jumping off point.
I have some seriously bad habits that need to be replaced. I have very unhealthy relationships with food and other stimulants that I need to break free from, that I need to mentally detach from and start replacing them with healthy habits.....ways of dealing with stress and worry etc.
You have to stick with it! You have to fight to overcome your battles! Learning to control our minds will play a HUGE + VITAL role in overcoming our bad physical habits!!
HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM
I don't really have to dive that deeply into this because you all know that THIS IS BIG TOUGH GIRL. We believe that community heals, we believe that you can't and shouldn't go through this journey alone and we KNOW that we are deeply inspired and motivated by the stories of others....so find your support group during this time, find the app that you can track everything, post publicly so that people know you are doing it, text a friend daily to check in..whatever your system get it in place with your very specific goals so that you are all on the same page moving forward!
AGAIN we are SO BLESSED to have Jena join us this month and we are so excited for the WOMEN ONLY FB GROUP that she is providing for FREE during the month of September.
ENJOY YOUR LIFE BABY!
We are truly blessed to live during such an amazing time in history and we truly have the power to create a life that we can fall madly in love with over and over again!! Create a healthy life with healthy habits that are going to bring you closer to your family, that are going to bring you closer to God and that will bring you closer to yourself!
IT IS ABOUT LOVE + HAPPINESS
There are so many excuses, so many reasons NOT to do something, so many things that can take away from our stepping into our healthiest possible life....but WHY would we give that kind of power away...why would we want anything less than pure bliss?! WE REALLY ARE CAPABLE OF SO MUCH MORE THAN WE GIVE OURSELVES CREDIT FOR.
Step into it....now is the time!
WOMEN OF THE WORLD. We love you, we honor you and we respect you. We want you to love yourself and love the body you are living in. We want to encourage you to live a happy and healthy life! We only get one.
Take care of it, be proud of it and please please please be kind to yourself and to others.
We are all learning and we are all trying to discover the Big Tough Girl™ within!
Ashley Mitchell, Owner Big Tough Girl™