Girls who (don't) lift : Three health tips from me to you
Funny story- my husband told me after he took this picture that I could just edit some more muscles on (*insert all grumpy face emojis here*). Truth be told, I dismissed all hope for building upper body strength a long time ago, kissing goodbye the body that I always wanted. If you will allow me to be judgmental on myself for a second, I've always been skinny- but not the good kind. I never full out hated my body, but I've never really loved it either. I have been an excessive dieter since I was a kid. Determined to get the body that I wanted (with no idea how to do that), my story of dieting included periods of disorder like thinking and a whole lot of discouragement. I worked out, yes, but my workouts were always high cardio, followed by a binge of carbs, because I earned it, right?! As a result, I stayed either too skinny, or a combination of skinny and un-toned. I kept feeding the dragon, thinking that I would just wake up tomorrow and "eat healthy" & "start lifting".
It wasn't hard, it was just discipline.
By the time 2017 rolled around, I was flat out done. Done with the counting of calories, done with the shame, done with the guilt eating and the bored eating and the binge eating. I wanted to take a journey towards what was healthy, not a 7 (or 30) day fix. And what I found out is there is no magic fix (okay, okay, I really knew this all along, but just didn't want to accept it). There is no one solution. It's days and days and weeks and years of healthy choice after healthy choice (with a few unhealthy ones sprinkled in every one in awhile 😉).
It's not about "good" or "bad". It's about fueling and replenishing and digging the good stuff, otherwise known as nutrients.
It's okay to have a few bad weeks and then get back on track. It's okay to gain a few pounds from carbs before you decide that your body is craving green goodness. It's about giving your body what it needs, and not about the calories gained vs. the calories lost.
Maybe some of you are rolling your eyes, thinking this is old news! You're right, but hot dang if it didn't take me forever to truly agree with that. So I hope my voice is another drop in a puddle that someday expands into knowing that healthy is not about a number, it's about the way that you feel.
I'm not health professional, and I will never claim to be a guru. But I can share with you three tools that have greatly helped me in my slow (but steady!) walk towards freedom in health.
Mindset2Muscles: I met Jen, from Burpees for Breakfast, at a blogger meet up in Indianapolis a few months ago. I kept in contact with her, and when I noticed that she was offering an early release beta program for her new strength training program, I jumped right on board (despite my mind whispering lies that I was wasting my time building upper body strength). You guys. I am a girl who doesn't lift. I feel out of place and, more importantly, out of shape when I even try. It didn't matter. Jen created a program that is truly one size fits all: one where you can customize work outs based on the weight you feel comfortable lifting and go at your own pace. She includes daily check ins, nutritional facts, a six week work out plan, tips for meal prep, help with obtaining the nutrition you need, and so, so much more. Her work outs change weekly, and target legs, upper body, and back, with two HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. They take 30-45 minutes, and are incredible. I'm not being paid in any way, shape, or form by endorsing this program- this is simply me raving about something that helped me become more confident in who I am, and stronger on top of it. Jen is amazing, this program is amazing, and lifting weights is (actually) amazing. You will thank me later.
Hold the diet: A friend of mine, Kylee from Rendezfood, reached out to me a week or two ago, and sent me a copy of her new program, Hold the Diet, to look over and try if I wanted to. I explained to her that I don't generally do promotions on my blog, but she assured me that she just wanted to see what I thought of the new program, looking for my feedback, and asking only to share if I absolutely loved what I saw. I looked it over, and dang I did. She hit the nail on the head. Hold the Diet is all about providing space to explore why we diet and the reasoning behind the meals we choose to eat. She provides recipes every week, as well as a path forward to healthy living, for the sake of healthy living.
What a thought!
This program will cause you to dig deep and tear down altars that were built years ago. I truly believe that sustained healthy living can only come when self exploration happens first, and this is the perfect program to learn how to love yourself- not just figuratively, but literally. Bonus: you also get consultations with Kylee. I know her personally from college, and she is one of the most authentic and big-hearted people you'll ever meet.
A Couple Cooks: Alex and Sonja are dear friends of mine who live in Indianapolis and run a vegetarian healthy and + whole food blog. I could rave about their recipes all day. Seriously. They are incredibly easy, yet unique AND delicious. Alex and Sonja are as down to earth as they come, and are genuinely excited to provide recipes for cooks who are not yet cooks (AND cooks who are already cooks). Their mission is for others to fall in love with cooking in a healthy way, and anyone could make their recipes. I joke that when Cal helps me meal plan, he goes straight to A Couple Cooks because even he can make those recipes taste good 😉
Let me know what you try, and which tip (s) is (are) most helpful for where you are right now! I would also love to hear how you nurture a healthy environment for yourself, without getting caught up in the rat race of body image.
Journeying towards health,
*None of the above was paid promotion, and all opinions are my own.