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Exercise Your Mind-set

Progress photo: taken 6/18/2017

Where are you right now on your fitness journey? Accept that, don't beat yourself up and DON'T compare yourself to others. Be honest about why you are in this place and what you need to do to change it - then, take the small steps necessary to start the process. Sometimes it can be something simple like eliminating clutter from your living space. Do you have a lot of things that you don't really need? Clothes you haven't worn for more than a year? This is one of my favorite activities because simplifying your life can be very freeing; I've sold things on, and I've donated many items to help raise money for others in need. I look at what I already have and ask how it benefits my life. If it doesn't, I can do without it. I shop the same way.

It's so easy to get caught up in the moment and become a victim of slick marketing advertisements and believe you will somehow be transformed/fulfilled/happier with each new purchase. Think carefully before you buy anything: what will it really change in your life? I like this exercise because it relates strongly to how we view ourselves. Did you make many of the purchases in your life because you thought it would make you a better person somehow? Has it? Why didn't it? Do you see that the answer is not in the owning of another thing but in developing that which already lies within you? How many times have I looked at a cute outfit and thought "I will lose weight for that! I'll look amazing in that! I'll get the attention I want/deserve/need when I'm wearing that!" Did it ever help me lose the weight? NO. If I did buy it, rarely did I lose the weight and fit into it. It only served as a reminder of what I didn't already have (strength to achieve what I set out to do, the healthy body I wanted, the attention I thought I needed). How is it that as a society we have let things cause us to feel this way about ourselves?! It's all about the marketing and the fact that this has made billions of dollars for others while making us feel worse about who we are, and so disconnected as a society, truly makes me angry. A good place to start is to constantly remind yourself that the next purchase - whether it be a car, a house, an article of clothing - will not magically transform your life and make you a better person. Question what it is you will gain from the purchase and be completely honest. If it includes things like "It will impress other" or "People will see me as beautiful/successful, etc.," think deeply before buying. The answer to what we truly need is most likely already within us - give yourself the chance to discover and develop this. Instead, think about the things you would do if you felt better about yourself. What activities would you do that you don't allow yourself to do now because you lack the confidence? What would happen if you started doing them anyway? Write one of these down and then make it your mission to go do it. Enlist a support group buddy if need be. Maybe there is another person that wants to do the same thing - do it together and then spend some time discussing what happened after you did it and how it made you feel. Write down as many of these activities as you can think of. Start doing them. Coming to life and living, instead of opting to eat as an activity - if this is where you currently are on your journey - is extremely empowering.

As I continue to post my progress towards my first Women's Figure competition (9/09/2017;, I think often of this exercise in simplifying my life. While I admit that my focus is fairly singular right now (eat, sleep, train, work, repeat), there are valuable lessons that will stay with me long after the competition spray tan fades away that carry far more importance than things to be acquired:

  • I have the heart (and soul!) of a champion and I didn't find her on a clothing rack at Bloomingdale's.

  • Changing my diet and becoming focused on eating for health (an ongoing process) has simplified my appearance (lost body fat), while increasing my confidence and happiness-without adding a single possession.

  • I understand the fine balance of making time for health: you either make it a priority or suffer the consequences (at some point). You make time for whatever direction you choose to go - whether it's down the fast-food lane or the Whole Foods aisle, you choose. We always have the choice and the choice is ours, no blaming someone or something else. It is that simple.

Posing Practice from: 6/18/2017

While the opening photo and video above are from last weekend, I didn't have anyone to shoot me this weekend but that doesn't mean I wasn't hard at work! It also means that by the time I do the photos/video next weekend, I should be twice as good as what's shown here! No pressure though, LOL...

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