Everything in life is an opportunity, even when it doesn’t seem like it. I learned this phrase the other week and it really made my ears perk up. What an unusual concept right? How can everything be an opportunity? Especially when shitty things happen in life? How on earth can that be an opportunity?
Shockingly it can, it’s just all about how you reframe your thoughts.
Reframing is concept that I absolutely love. We can reframe our thoughts to look at situations in a different light. Let’s say someone stole my purse. I would instantly have a negative thought on this situation because my purse is gone which was maybe carrying my phone and wallet. Now I have to cancel all of my cards and buy a new phone – there goes a couple hundred dollars! Now let’s try reframing that. Yea I got mugged and that’s shitty, but at least I’m safe and alive! All of those things that got stolen are replaceable. You can buy a new purse, you can order new credit cards and you can buy a new phone. After this reframe, I can turn this crappy situation into an opportunity in many ways. I can use this experience as an opportunity to enroll myself in self-defense classes. Or maybe I can use it to get more involved and talk to high school and colleges about how women can protect themselves. Or maybe I can think of a way to volunteer my time to make myself feel more empowered after this shitty situation. Be creative!
Or let’s say you can’t stand your boss. Take that thought and reframe it. Yea my boss may drive me crazy, but this is an opportunity for me to test my patience and how I handle difficult situations. How’s that for an opportunity huh!?
Reframing situations can turn almost anything into an opportunity. So when crappy things happen to you, remember that everything is an opportunity. It may be hard to see in that moment, but it’s important that we don’t let crappy things beat us down. Go ahead and take your time to be upset about something shitty when it happens. That’s 100% normal and it’s something that we all need to do. But don’t let things fester. Whether it’s something small and simple, to huge and drastic, dwelling on stuff is not good. Those negative thoughts will just fester in your head. Have you every noticed when one shitty thing happens that a lot of negative stuff happens at the same time? Negativity attracts to us when we have a negative outlook. But if we can reframe our train of thought, we can get past shitty situations and move forward.
I want to be clear, I’m not saying that we can’t be upset about things that happen – that is NOT the point I’m trying to make. We should always feel the emotions we need to feel. Do you ever feel like you just need a good cry? I do. Instead of holding in my tears I go ahead and just cry. And after that cry, I feel 10 times better. I needed to feel that emotion in that moment. After that moment passes, that’s where I usually reframe my thoughts. It can be as simple as, today was crappy and I didn’t feel good, but tomorrow is a new day for me. That reframe helps me get out of my head and into a better place.
So next time something crappy happens, try reframing your thought and turn that situation into an opportunity.
I briefly discussed intuitive eating in my past blog, Intuitive Self-Care, but today I want to take a closer look and address common questions and concerns people have about eating intuitively.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is the practice of listening to your body and letting it guide you in choosing what, when and how much to eat. It’s about learning to listen to your body’s signals to tell you what your body needs and trusting yourself to make the right decisions that will nourish your body. When you intuitively eat, you get rid of external messages that tell you that certain foods are “good” or “bad” and instead you ask yourself what your body needs in that moment. You then do your best to feed your body what it’s asking for, regardless of what it’s labeled by others. When you eat intuitively, it enhances your eating experience; you appreciate the smell, texture, and taste of your food rather than focusing on if it’s healthy or unhealthy. Noticing how you feel after you eat certain foods it’s also a great way to connect with your body. You start to develop a more balanced and healthy relationship with food, where you learn to eat food in moderation and let go of bingeing and deprivation.
How will I know if I’m hungry or full?
It’s also important to remember that everyone is different; you have to learn your own body’s cues for hunger and fullness. For some, hunger can mean your stomach may grumble. Some people get headaches or feel weak or dizzy. Sometimes you may even get hangry (hungry + angry). Fullness can mean you have a heaviness in your stomach. The food you are eating may start to lose its flavor. It’s possible you may have a hard time recognizing these signs and that’s 100% normal! We’ve gotten into the habit of suppressing our body’s signals. To help fight this, it may be a good idea to eat on a regular schedule, about every three to four hours until your hunger is recovered.
What if I overeat or don’t eat enough?
No one said intuitive eating is easy. In fact, it’s not easy at all! It’s a continual learning experience and isn’t something that just happens overnight. Every day is a learning experience for me, sometimes I overeat but instead of beating myself up about it, I learn from that experience and move on. You can use those learning times to become more aware of what your body needs. How do you want to feel when you’re done eating? How do certain types of foods in different amounts make you feel? When we understand how we feel about these important questions, we develop the ability to make more balanced food choices more easily in the future. Beating yourself up for making a mistake will hurt you, not help you. That guilt doesn’t allow you to learn from the experience and it will be easier to repeat that perceived “mistake” in the future. This may sound impossible but it does get easier. Over time you will start to discover what foods make you feel good and which ones make you feel bad. You’ll learn how much food leaves you feeling nourish and satisfied. It’s important to note these states won’t always be the same – every day is different!
Am I even hungry for food?
Are you really hungry for food? It’s important to take a moment and ask yourself if it’s really food you’re hungry for, or is it something else? Are you bored? Stressed? Lonely? Anxious? Is eating really going to satisfy what you’re really hungry for? We won’t always be perfect but there will be times when you eat even if you aren’t physically hungry. But it’s important to be aware of how you’re feeling when you turn to food. Asking yourself, am I really hungry right now? or am I really hungry for this?
Will I lose or gain weight if I eat intuitively?
This is probably the most common concern people have with intuitive eating. Listening to your body and eating intuitively may cause you to lose weight, gain weight or not change weight at all. But regardless of what happens to your weight, eating intuitively will lead to sustainable self-care. Did you know we all have a set point weight? It’s a weight that your body likes to be and stay at with very little effort. Practicing intuitive eating helps you get to a stable set point weight. This will reduce your diet cycle of constantly losing or gaining weight. Your set point weight is based on a few things including: your particular body, your genetics and your past history with weight loss or gain cycling. You know you hit your set point weight when your clothes fit basically the same every day. Some days we will fluctuate more than others depending on your menstrual cycle, stress, or even the seasons.
If you do lose weight, don’t look at intuitive eating as a “good” diet. This will keep you in that diet mentality and you will focus on your weight rather than self-care. Weight doesn’t define your worth and success isn’t determined by the number on the scale. intuitive eating allows you to nourish your body and be well and happy. Remember it’s a process; be patient and kind to yourself.
When trying to become healthier and more fit, self-sabotage is a common theme that appears along the way. Whether we recognize it or not, it’s a common issue many people face when they are trying to achieve their goals. So how can we fix this? Well, we can’t FIX it per se, but if we are aware of the sabotage, it makes it easier for us to get back on track.
Self-sabotage can come from two places: the behavior of your family, friends and colleagues, or from your own inner rebellion. First let’s talk about sabotage from people in your life. When others watch us venture into this healthy lifestyle, some make negative comments about it. You may notice that people can feel threatened that you are embarking on this change and they may try to tempt you with food or activities that might not be in aligned with your goals. This type of sabotage can be very difficult because we desire to be accepted. We can feel guilty and threatened so we end up sabotaging ourselves in order to fit in. Many of us have a fear of not being loved. If we choose to be different from the crowd, we stand out. For the most part, people don’t like to stand out. Especially if it’s in a “negative” way.
When we take that step to better ourselves, relationships often are forced to shift. It’s important that you surround yourself with people who encourage you during your journey. Check out my most recent blog, Surround Yourself Around People Who Lift You Up for more on this topic. Like I discuss in that blog, it’s something I’ve really learned this past year. It’s SO important to make sure you surround yourself around positive people who support you. If you want to progress at all, I would even say it’s vital. So try and reflect on your current relationships, remember energies are contagious.
Now let’s talk about self-sabotage. When we take our lives into our own hands we tend to fear the unknown. We fear the change; we fear what might happen in 2 months time. What if you don’t lose those the weight you’ve been trying to lose for years? What if you fail? When we fail, we often make excuses for why we failed. That’s another form of self-sabotage. Because when you make excuses, you’re not taking responsibility for your actions.
Remember, make this about YOU, your health and how you want your life to turn out. Focus on feeling better and getting healthier. Try not to focus on a specific number. Don’t let the number on your scale define your worth and instead base success off of how you feel. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? Are you happier? Those are the important things!
If you find yourself sabotaging yourself or letting other peoples opinions sabotage you, don’t get discouraged! It’s 100% normal and it happens to just about everybody. Take a step back and remember you are doing this for you. This is your life, your body and your mind. Make yourself a priority; I promise you will thank yourself later.
In life, it’s important to surround yourself around people who support and understand you. We should be surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up, not bring us down.
I’ve talked on this topic a bit before with my blog Energies are Contagious, but I want to dive in a bit deeper and emphasize its importance. Over this past year, I’ve really started to understand how important it is to surround yourself with people who support you. This means family and friends. Hopefully you already have that relationship with your family; family is family and there is no replacing that. Friends are a bit different; friends can come and go whenever. You can always make new friends and you can always part ways with friends that are not supportive.
The best kinds of friends are ones that you consider family. Ones that if you were in trouble you know you could call on immediately to come help you. Even if that meant they had to take a plane ride to get there. This is something I’ve experienced myself. When I was in my car accident, I had the support of some amazing friends, friends that I consider family at this point in my life. The amount of love and support I got from these friends, during one of the hardest moments of my life is something I will never forget. These friends understand me. They encourage me to keep working towards my goals. They understand my life decisions and my change in careers. They are girls I would call family.
Now not everything has been perfect for me in friendships. I’ve had friends come and go over the years. The friendships that don’t last end for certain reasons. And you know what? It’s FINE! Sure it sucks when you realize a friend may not be someone you keep in your life forever, but it’s important to accept it and move on. Relationships should never be one sided; friendships are a two way street. It’s important that if you are invested in your friends life, that they should be invested in yours. Not a game of you constantly asking how they are doing, or asking if they want to hang out and you don’t get the same respect in return. Friends we want to keep around are friends that stand by us when we are having a hard time, or support us if we have a goal we want to achieve. We need friends who encourage us when we need them the most, better yet when we don’t need them at all. Friends should ALWAYS be encouraging. Even if they don’t fully understand where we are coming from, a good friend will always be there to listen.
And not every friend needs to be someone you consider family. It’s also important to have friends that have similar interests as you. Friends that understand your day-to-day decisions. For me, I’ve learned that the people I connect with the most are people that enjoy being healthy (at least somewhat) or enjoy being active. These are two things I’m very passionate about. I find that I connect with these friends the most because they have similar interests. I feel the most comfortable with these friends because I can talk about these things and I feel understood.
I thought this topic was important to touch on because I’ve had numerous conversations about friendship this past month. Be open to change, even if that means in your friendship circle. Make sure you are surrounding yourself around people who love, care and support you. Those positive relationships will benefit you greatly and get you much further in life.
This past weekend, Iattended Wanderlust in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe. It was an amazing weekend that left me reflecting on a lot of different aspects about life.
Self-love and self-care were two things that came up multiple times over the weekend. Whether it was a conversation with a friend or one of the instructors mentioning the importance of both, it seemed to be the biggest theme that resonated with me this weekend.
I thought this would be a great topic to discuss because I think self-care and self-love can get a bad rep, and people don’t focus on it as much as they should.
I want to start off by saying showing up for ourselves should be our first priority. Often, people think that self-love and self-care are “selfish” terms and that showing up for yourself would be a “radical” thing to do. But I want to throw out an idea, just take a minute and let it sink in. If you don’t take care of yourself and show yourself self-love, you are doing the people you care about a disservice. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by putting others before yourself all the time; you’re actually doing the opposite.
Let me give you an example so you can try and understand what I mean. Let’s look at mothers. Mothers tend to have a hard time practicing self-care and self-love because they are always so worried about taking care of everyone else. What does that end up doing to mothers? More often then not, moms find themselves feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with how much they have to do. This can lead to grumpiness, unhappiness or even being a bit short tempered.
These feelings can be prevented or even dialed down. How? By putting yourself first and showing up for yourself. I’m here to tell you that practicing self-love and self-care is NOT selfish. It is essential. It is something we have never been taught, but something that is vital to our well-being.
Don’t you want to be the best version of yourself? Don’t you want your friends and loved ones to experience the best version of you? The happiest, healthiest you? Without practicing self-love and self-care, you’re letting people experience a different version of you.
So what can we do to change this? Start putting yourself first. Try to be mindful about how often you put others before yourself. Recognize how often it happens on a daily basis. It can even be simple things. For example, if someone asks me to attend an event, and I already have a lot on my plate, I should decline. That’s practicing self-care. If I say yes because I don’t want to disappoint my friend, I’m putting their feelings first. But what I really should be doing is declining, and spend that time instead to take care of everything that’s already on my plate. That is practicing self-care. So simple, but these things happen to us on a daily basis. Some bigger than others but it’s all about finding that balance.
So take a minute and ask yourself, do you want to be the best version of yourself?
Stress is something we all experience often. Some of us experience stress more often than others, but regardless it can be damaging to your body. Most of us don’t realize how stress affects our body, but it’s important to be aware of it. Who knows, maybe this blog will motivate you to find good ways to de-stress when you are feeling like things are becoming too much.
I just want to start off by saying that our body CANNOT differentiate between real and imagined stress. So for example, a person is chasing you, you are stressed and adrenaline and cortisol push through your blood. Let’s say someone isn’t chasing you but you’re imagining it. Your body will have the SAME exact response as it would if you were actually being chased. Your body can’t distinguish the difference! Pretty crazy right?
It’s also important to know that we experience stress in four different ways.
Increased cortisol production
It may seem overwhelming but we have the ability to control our stress. How do we start? My advice is first finding the core stressor in your life. Is it work? Finances? Body image? Finding the core root of the problem and admitting it is the only way you can move forward.
Stay tuned for a blog about ways you can de-stress.
Why do we not treat ourselves with the same respect and love we give others?
Generally speaking, we tend to be very hard on ourselves. Letting our critical voice come out on a daily basis, putting ourselves down for how we look, what we say or what we do.
Is that the way you treat your friends and family? Probably not! But hey, it’s totally normal and we all do it! I’m guilty of it too from time to time, but it’s something I’ve been working on these past few months. I’ve found that the kinder I am to myself, the happier I am overall.
Self-loathing more often than not is based on physical appearance. As I mentioned in my previous blog, We Can All Use a Bit of Self-Love, we live in a world with a distorted image of beauty. We’re constantly being fed images of celebrity women, giving us an unrealistic image of what beauty is. Immediately we start to judge ourselves if we don’t fit that profile of beauty. But as I’ve said, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and the comparison becomes detrimental to our self-confidence.
First things first, we need to stop the self-judgment. Judgment keeps you stuck. Let me give you an example. If you really want to lose weight, but you can’t accept the current weight you’re holding onto, you will continue to judge yourself. Then if you do lose weight, you still won’t be happy. Why? Because, you didn’t stop the judgment to begin with. If you lose a few pounds that’s great, but that critical voice will still be there in your head, ready to knock down any progress you have made. Try working on stopping the self-judgment, it won’t get you anywhere!
It’s also important to work on being mindful. Mindful of your thoughts and when that critical voice comes out. A lot of times we don’t even notice we are putting ourselves down. It has become a habit to pick ourselves apart when we look at a mirror. So try and be mindful of your thoughts. If you start critiquing yourself, stop it! Take a breathe and tell yourself to stop putting yourself down. Try giving yourself a compliment for once!A good habit to start is every morning when you wake up is to say three positive things about yourself. They don’t have to be physical, they can be personality traits as well.
Here’s an example: (note these are ones I did for myself so they may not apply to everyone)
Lastly, we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. This one is super difficult, but it’s something we are ALL guilty of doing. We compare ourselves to an unrealistic expectation of what beauty is, as defined by the media. But bottom line is, if you don’t have the strength to accept yourself, you don’t have the strength to change. The comparisons are just destroying your self-esteem. Stop comparing and start embracing yourself for who you are. We are all unique in our own way, so embody who you are.
I’ve been a quick eater all my life. I even remember my dad telling me to slow down and chew my food when I was younger. Unfortunately, it didn’t stick with me at the time, although I wish it had. Too bad I was just a kid and anything my parents said went in one ear and out the other. Fifteen plus years later, and I’ve finally started to slow down and take my time eating my meals. (Thanks Dad!)
But why is it so important to take your time when you eat? You’d be surprised at the numerous benefits of taking your time while eating. Let’s go through a few.
When You Eat Slowly, You Eat Less
It takes about 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. This is where I always struggled. I would rush through a plate of food and immediately go grab seconds before letting my stomach settle. I found myself 30 minutes later so full I was uncomfortable. Recently, I have started to take my time eating and I’ve actually been eating less. Leisurely eating allows enough time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full.
So if you eat slowly, you will eat less.
When You Breathe More, You Burn More
Crazy right? This is something that I recently learned. Oxygen is a key-nutrient that helps speed up our metabolism. So in order to boost that metabolism, you need to slow down and breath in between bites.
But how does this work? The intestinal villi is in your small intestine, and its primary job is to absorb nutrients. The villi also extracts large quantities of oxygen to help breakdown food. When our blood lacks oxygen it means that the nutrient absorption by the villi decreases. However, when our blood has plenty of oxygen, the nutrient absorption increases and so does our metabolism.
So take a breathe in-between bites.
Mindful Eating is Key
How do you eat your meals? Do you eat sitting at a table? Sitting on the couch watching TV? While running to work? We tend to zone out when we eat our meals, which can be a slippery slope. When we are more aware and present while eating, we actually eat LESS. But when we mindlessly eat, we eat more than we need to. Awareness allows us to listen to our body, figure out when we feel satisfied, and then if we hit the point of feeling full.
A good rule of thumb is to not eat past 80% of feeling full. We don’t want to eat past that point because it will weigh us down and we will feel heavier. When we eat to where we feel satisfied, we feel energized and ready to go. Eating past that point can lead to discomfort.
Tips to Slow Down Your Eating
Here are a few tips that may help you slow down while eating:
Do you practice intuitive self-care? It’s a topic that I love because it’s all about trusting yourself, but living intuitively is not easy by any means. The idea of putting trust into your body’s wisdom of when to eat, what to eat, how to exercise and when to rest is not an easy task. But it’s important to practice as often as we can because our body knows best.
Let’s take a look at intuitive self-care a bit closer and how you can start practicing yourself!
Eating intuitively can be hard. For me, I find this aspect the most difficult. In the past, I’ve let food control my thoughts. I would constantly stress about what my next meal would be, or if a restaurant had something healthy enough for me. I rarely found myself ordering something on a menu that I actually wanted. I would just pick the healthiest option. But this backfired because I wasn’t feeding my body what it wanted. I found myself snacking a lot. I’m already an avid snacker but it only heightened when I didn’t listen to my body. I would snack on healthy foods but in ridiculously large quantities. Eating half a bag of cashews or a tub of almond butter in two days was my norm, and honestly I still do it from time to time. But I realized I do it when I try to eat as healthy as possible.
Lately I’ve tried to practice intuitive eating. Today is a perfect example. This morning I had kefir with trail mix and fruit because that’s what I wanted. And you know what? I had a pretty big bowl of it too (something I would never normally do). About 5 hours later I got an almond milk latte because I was craving one. Then for lunch instead of opting for the salad, I went with a chorizo and potato omelet. Something I would NEVER order a few months ago. It’s been about 4 hours and I haven’t even thought about food. And guess what? I feel great! I ate what my body wanted and I didn’t overeat. My body feels nourished and my stomach is satisfied.
How to Eat Intuitively
Intuitive eating means knowing when you’re hungry and what you want to eat. Try to listen to your five physical senses (taste, smell, sight, touch, sound). Do you want something bright in color? Something that has a bit of bite and crunch? Sweet? Savory? But intuitive eating doesn’t stop there. You may find what you want to eat, but the next step is to know when to stop eating. Listening to your body and knowing when you’ve reached fullness and stopping there.
This takes practice. You will make “mistakes” when trying to eat intuitively. You may find a meal where you overeat or at the end of the day feel like you didn’t eat enough. It takes time but you will get the hang of it and start to learn from your “mistakes”. The most important thing though is to not beat yourself up if you do make a “mistake”. Just learn from it and you know what to work on in the future.
It’s also important to get rid of the idea of “good” foods and “bad” foods when eating intuitively. Your body will have days when it craves healthy foods and some days you will crave foods that aren’t as healthy. But you can’t let that stop you. As I mentioned above, I always went with healthy options, but found myself binging on almond butter and cashews. Yes, both of those foods are good for you but only in moderation. If the idea of eating “bad” foods stresses you out, try compromising a bit. Let’s say you are really craving a burger but can’t fathom ordering one. Maybe order the burger with no bun and a side salad. Or instead of ordering fries maybe try ordering sweet potato fries instead.
The one thing I’ve noticed since I started to eat intuitively is that if I’m craving something not as healthy, I actually don’t feel terrible after eating it. I find that I don’t overeat because I’m eating more substantial foods.
Intuitive Exercise / Rest
Intuitive exercise is another difficult one to grasp. Most of us are in the habit of saying things like, “I should workout” or “I have to do something active today”. Exercise should be enjoyable and not about how many calories you burn. Any form of movement is great for your body. It can help release mental and physical stress. When we intuitively exercise it actually increases our physical activity. You learn to do exercises that you enjoy rather than what you think you should be doing.
Intuitive rest is the last aspect of intuitive self-care and it’s my favorite. Just as it’s important to listen to your body and do activities that you find enjoyable and workout because you want to, it’s also important to listen to your body and rest when needed. If you wake up one morning and really feel like you just have no energy to workout that day, then rest! Trying to push through is probably hurting you rather than helping you. If you push yourself too much and don’t give your body the proper rest days, you put yourself at risk of injury. Just think about how long an injury will take you out of the game! If you can’t fathom taking a full rest day, try doing something low impact like going on a walk or doing a yoga session. (Yoga Studio is a great app you can use at home)
As I mentioned, practicing intuitive self-care takes practice. It will be hard at first and you will have a few slip ups, but that’s fine! It will only help you learn more about yourself and what your body needs. So try giving intuitive self-care a go this week, even just one aspect of it. Let me know if you have any questions and I would love to hear how it goes!
I want to start off by saying that everyone is different. What works for me may not necessarily work for you and vice versa. This goes along with so many different aspects in life including fitness, diets, time of day working out, amount of sleep needed, morning routines, night routines and the list goes on!
But today I want to talk about stress.
When I was struggling with anxiety about 7 months ago, I tried finding ways to help calm my stress. I tried meditation because I had a few friends recommend it. Unfortunately meditation did not work for me. At the time, I didn’t know how to control my anxious thoughts. I had just started therapy and my anxiety was all over the place. To me meditation felt intimating, because it was me alone with my thoughts. I tried yoga as well, which gave me the same feelings I felt during meditation. I quickly looked for other options.
I decided to turn to the one thing I know best which is staying active. Going to the gym or going for a run were the best ways for me to deal with my stress. After a long run or a tough workout, I felt unstoppable. I think that feeling of finishing a run or finishing my workout gave me a sense of strength. If I could push through that I could fight my stress and anxious thoughts. I continued to get really into working out as a way to help with my stress and anxiety. It was my outlet.
Fast-forward to today and my outlook on activities such as meditation and yoga are completely different. I don’t meditate often, but when I do, I feel much calmer than I did before. I don’t have those anxious or stressful thoughts running through my head. Most of the time I feel so calm I even fall asleep! (Not sure if that’s a good thing or not but I will take it as an improvement!) I also try and practice yoga every day or at least every other day. Now I enjoy it, which is great because I struggled with it 7 months ago. I find it’s my new way for me to find that feeling of strength. I’m not very flexible, but practicing yoga reminds me how strong our body and mind are and how much we are able to do.
I still workout as much as I did before, but I’m finding if I am stressed at all, I’m starting to use yoga as my outlet. I guess this shows me that I’m growing. My mind is becoming stronger and I’m learning that for me, there isn’t just one way to deal with stress. I would have never thought 7 months ago I would be practicing yoga, but I’m happy I’ve gotten to that point.
What are ways you like to handle your stress? I always love to hear new ideas!
Just a girl writing down her thoughts on life post-trauma, body acceptance and wellness.