Why am I showing you these pictures? Never, in the past, would I have put a picture on the internet, for everyone to see, where I looked somewhat “fluffy”. But I’m over it!! I’m so over this skinny bullshit! Most of you who know me, know that I am a huge fan of Rachel Hollis. Recently, she’s been preaching about being healthy and loving your body for it’s strength and not it’s weight. I believe this to the core of my being. But sometimes I stumble. Sometimes, I think “girl, why isn’t your stomach flat anymore?” “girl, where did your six pack go?” You wanna know where it went? It went to my 8 pregnancies!!! It went to my two baby boys, one of them being 10.2 pounds!!! I know. I know. No one wants to hear about a girl who was a size two that went to a size 4. Woe is me, right? But that’s not the point here. The point is, we, as women and a society, put way too much value on weight and fitting into a certain idea of what we are “supposed” to look like.
Here’s the thing. I’ve always been skinny. I’m not saying this to be arrogant, it wasn’t anything that I did, it was just in my genes. And because I was so skinny, much of my identity was based around how I looked and how skinny I was. When I was in high school, I remember a friend saying to me “you’re in the under 100 pound club”. What the fuck is that? Apparently, it was a group of girls who identified themselves based on their weight. What?!! Gosh, I wonder why I’ve based so much of my identity on my weight!? (palm to face). In college, I specifically remember my friend and I saying that if we ever got older and had pooches, we would just die. Guess what? I have a pooch now. And I’m pretty sure it isn’t going away. But you know what? Who the fuck cares?!! When I was in high school and college, I wasn’t healthy. Let me say that again for those that may have started dozing off. I WASN’T HEALTHY!!!! I had a Crossfit coach joke with me that I was “skinny fat”. Yes, I was skinny, but I wasn’t healthy. I ate Taco Bell AT LEAST once a day, sometimes twice. After track practice, I would go home and eat TWO rows of Oreos! (I wanted to make sure to leave a row for other family members. Cause I’m nice like that). The point is, I wasn’t healthy. I was skinny, but that meant nothing about my health. For years, ok, decades, I’ve had this idea of what healthy looked like and how my body should look. I knew I could have a six pack. I knew I could fit into a size 0. Until I had children. My body has warriored through 6 miscarriages and 2 full term pregnancies, one of which, I gained 60 pounds!! But my perception of my body has had to change. I now have to look at the amazing things that it has done, and not judge it based on it’s weight. You guys, a few weeks ago, I ran a ridiculous Ragnar Race. My body was able to run 16 miles over 32 hours on no sleep and peanut butter sandwiches. I was surrounded by seriously, amazingly strong women. Women who run marathons, 50k’s, 100k,s Boston Marathon qualifiers, trail runners, you name it. And no one had the same body type. Every person was built differently. Some probably had 6 packs, but most of us did not. Most of us did not have “runner’s bodies”. But every one of us were crazy strong and ran for a reason. When I started training for this race, I immediately started gaining weight. I was pissed!! How the hell could I be training for a race, be running two a days and be gaining weight?! Well, my body was trying to compensate and was very confused, so I ate non-stop for a month. Seriously, a month. But, it did what it was supposed to do and got me through an incredible weekend. Our bodies are built to do what they are supposed to do.
I just wish that, we, as women, would stop judging other women, and our own bodies, based on how skinny we are. I wish we would stop comparing our post children bodies to our pre children bodies. I wish we would look at each other, at ourselves, and realize how much we have done and how strong we are. How beautiful we are. Instead, lets look at other women and see how brave they are. Let’s look at ourselves and see our bodies for what they are, warriors. Our bodies are incredible! Let’s look at our bodies and see the strength. Let’s look at our pooched stomachs and see a house where our babies grew. Let’s look at our arms and see the hugs they have given. Let's look at our saggy ass boobs and see the nourishment we gave our babies. Let’s look at our legs and see the gymnasium our children see or the races they have carried us through. Another one of my idols, Brendon Burchard, states that our bodies are like power plants. We do not just have energy, we need to create energy and in order to do that we need to move our bodies. Working out gives me the energy I need to accomplish everything I want to accomplish through the day. It gives me the energy to chase after my kids after a long day of work. It give me the energy to focus on my dreams after putting my kids to bed. And it gives me the energy to spend quality time with my husband to continue to create an exceptional relationship. It focuses my mind and gives me that time to myself that I crave so badly. Working out should not be about looking a certain way or to be "skinny". It should be about health and creating a body that supports you and everything you need to do. Will I continue to work out and run? Yes, but not for the intention to be skinny. Instead, for the intention to be healthy and full of energy. Working out has a different intent now, and it isn’t to be a size zero or to be in the “under 100 pounds club”.
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver” Dr. Maya Angelou
We all have that person in our lives. You know the one. The one that infiltrates your happiness. The one that can knock you down, no matter how good or positive you’re feeling. Maybe it’s a colleague. Maybe it’s your boss. Maybe it’s a family member. Maybe it’s an ex. Over the last couple of years, I’ve had my fair share of these people. It seemed that, without fail, every time I was getting my groove back on and feeling amazing, that person would somehow come back into my life and challenge my happiness. A few months ago I was explaining this phenomenon with my life coach (yes, I had a life coach. Thank God!). I told him that it seemed like every time I was feeling good, someone was ready to knock me down. In this case it was a specific person that kept creeping back. I could have literally been dancing around my house, feeling energized and ready to take on the world and then, BAM!!, I’d get a text message and would be brought down immediately. My coach explained that he thought it was the universe’s way of teaching me how to face these situations head on, and that if I didn’t conquer them, they’d keep coming back until I learned how to deal with them. He then asked the question that changed my whole outlook, “What can you do when these situations arise? When this person tries to knock you down?” The first thought that entered my mind was “Give more love.” I know!!! This sounds so whoooy and new agey. And maybe it is, but let me explain what I meant. I truly believe that you can counteract hate and anger with love. That when someone puts negative energy out into the world, we need to put more love into the world in order to balance out the universe. Stick with me here. Think about it. How do you feel when you help someone? How do you feel when you volunteer? As Dr. Maya Angelou states, “giving liberates the soul”. So my thought was that every time this person added negativity into my life, I was going to do something good, something positive, whether it was going home and giving an extra hug to my kids, or helping Joe by taking the garbage out. And when something really bad happened, I would go out and volunteer.
Did you know that there is clinical research showing that when you volunteer and help others, it puts you into a better mood? Don’t believe me? Try it. It helps the mood so much, that doctors even prescribe it to those that are suffering from mild depression. I’m not saying that volunteering will help cure depression, I truly do believe that if you are clinically depressed, you should try meds. But I do believe that if you are in a funk and not feeling yourself, sometimes you need to step outside of yourself and give back to the community. So here’s what happened when I started implementing this into my life. First of all, I noticed that instead of focusing on the negative situation and the person, I would immediately start thinking of what I could do to help someone else. So instead of spiraling into that negativity and letting that anger take over, I would immediately start feeling better, because I knew someone else would benefit from this situation. Everyone benefited. My kids got extra lovin, my husband didn’t have to do as many chores and the house was cleaner. It got to the point that when Joe would come home and I was doing the chores he normally did, he would respond with “uh oh, what did she do this time?” Hahaha!!! But you know what? It worked! I felt better because I was helping others. And when a lot of negativity infiltrated my life in one week, I would gather up the kids and we would go volunteer. Other people were benefitting and more love was being put into the universe. My children and I now volunteer on a regular basis and are seeing how they can help others. On top of that, I started using this in my daily interactions. Whenever someone would frustrate me, I would think to myself “how can I counteract this negativity?” The longer I did this, the easier it became. And honestly, I don’t think the negative situation and that negative person has decreased in my life but my attitude towards is has changed. Negative situations and negative people are always going to be around but how we choose to respond to those situations can change. I’m not saying we all need to be Polly Anna, but it does feel so much better to respond in a positive way than to respond in a negative way.
I'm an average girl who has discovered her passion for self-development after warrioring (yes, it's a word) through 6 miscarriages. I took that passion and applied it to helping others find their passions through High Performance Coaching. Boy mom to two "energetic boys" and navigating the art of being a step mom to a teenage girl, all while working daily on maintaining an authentic relationship with the best husband around. Sometimes mindful. Sometimes a runner. Always a little crazy!