TO MY MISFITS OUT THERE – THE ONES WHO FEEL THEY DON’T “BELONG” – I GET YOU

“Free Your Inner Misfit.”

Sometimes on the road to self-growth, enlightenment and success … we have to walk alone. However, there’s a difference between walking alone toward something and feeling alone.

I wanna ask you. Have you ever felt that you were someone “outside looking in?”

For me, this has been an on-again, off-again sentiment throughout my life. Although it never stays for good, it does stays long enough to feel misplaced, which ultimately influences me to go inward and evaluate.

Lately, this feeling has been on again. And last week, I took a time out to reflect and journal. During this time, I ended up researching this idea of “outside looking in” to see if there’s anyone else out there feeling the same way.

And you guessed it … I’m NOT alone. Which means if you’ve ever felt this way, you are not either.

I’m not going to lie. This is one of the strangest feelings I’ve ever experienced. And it’s just recently that I have really started trying to understand it.  It’s knowing that you’re doing well but still feeling out of place. It’s feeling that you belong yet you don’t – it’s knowing that your presence is there and people are surrounding you, yet you feel as though you’re a “misfit” and “outsider” just passing through…

No matter what you do to “get rid of it”, the feeling will stay for however long it pleases. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can just push out, you don’t know how to really get rid of it, and it’s not something you can just shake off.

I bet you’ve probably been told plenty of times that you’re “just fine,” to “just think positive” that “people love you” all while the person providing this advice just regurgitates a bunch of cliché life quotes that will magically make you feel better.

Don’t worry, I won’t do that to you.

Sure, it’s important to think positively overall in life, however, we must feel the uncomfortable emotions to learn, grow and evolve.

As mentioned before, the good news is that this feeling doesn’t stay forever. But when it does come from time to time … it’s just so bothersome. Makes you questions yourself and bring about self-doubt.

Therefore, I want to help provide you some insights to my recent research and self-reflection on this “on again” experience with this odd outsider feeling.

The Four Categories of Misfits

Misfits are usually individuals who have a sense of detachment from the world because of their emotional, spiritual and mental makeup. They generally have an increased awareness and sensitivity, usually have different priorities and a way of thinking, while pursuing goals that are different from the masses.

They go agains’t the grain in a good way. Therefore, don’t be despaired! There’s a bright side to being a misfit! And they are highlighted in the four categories below.

  1. Old Souls

    Many people associate with being an “old soul” are thought to have the habits of an older person or those individuals who would rather be in bed by 9 p.m. than go out and party. Although this is sometimes the case, actually being an old soul shows a level of maturity much higher than expected for their age and are classified as people who excel in intelligence and/or sensitivity. Old souls often feel like they don’t belong here, especially when growing up because being passionate about unpopular things may make others pick up on your differences. And this can be painful in your awkward childhood and teenage years, making you feel like a misfit who doesn’t have a place in this world.

  2. Deep Thinkers

    Deep thinkers pause from the fast-moving, automated and technologically centered world to ponder what truly matters in life. They ask the big philosophical and spiritual questions like the meaning and purpose of life. Many deep thinkers are reserved, quiet and introverted. They prefer to slow down, take the time to reflect … and consider their actions, the world, and their place in it. Sadly, the society we live in is giving more and more importance to superficial, material and instant gratification. That’s why seeing people chasing transient goals and being interested in meaningless things can be so disappointing. And often times makes you wonder what you are doing here, among these people … basically feeling like you come from another world all together.

  3. Empaths

    The trademark of an empath is feeling and absorbing other people’s emotions and/or physical symptoms because of their high sensitivities. They filter the world through their intuition and have a difficult time intellectualizing their feelings. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If empaths are around peace and love, their bodies assimilate these and flourish. However, on the flip side, any negativity – through direct or indirect experiences (think news or 3rd parties) can be so internalized that it often feels assaultive and exhausting, provoking bouts of depression and/or a sense detachment.

  4. The Enlightened – or those on the path

    There is so much varying opinion on what being spiritually enlightened or awakened really means. However, based on what I have learned so far along with my own personal experiences, for me it comes down to trying to attain as much balance as we can between our mind, body and soul. It’s using our third eye for guidance, leaning into God daily, and shining our own inner light. Keep in mind, there are varying degrees in enlightenment, however, it’s about a daily intention. Usually people who are enlightened share these characteristics: ability to live in the moment, have an integrated personality, sense of oneness with life, sense of oneness/connection with God, and omit a calm, loving and radiant energy. So as one becomes is working within on attaining these characteristics or practices … they can start becoming more alienated from those who are not.

To close out my thoughts, I’ll get vulnerable and share with you the poem I wrote last week. Here goes (gulp).

And in the meantime, I would love to hear if you’ve ever felt like you didn’t belong? If you’ve ever felt like the person outside looking in? And if you have, you can see you’re not alone and you have many beautiful gifts to help you carry out your life purpose!

 

REFLECTIONS OF THE GIRL OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

Sitting here, all I hear is indistinctive chatter.

With the occasional burst of laughter piercing through.

But all I hear is nothing new.

 

I hear my thoughts compete with the crowd.

I hear myself talking me out of the ugly cry.

Asking myself why oh why.

 

Is it me?

Do I repel?

Or deep inside am I not well?

 

So much to be thankful for.

Yet from time to time,

I wonder if I’m destined for more?

 

But what is more?

It’s not riches or fame,

But to know the reason I’m made!

 

My purpose.

My drive.

The reason I’m alive!

 

Since being just a little girl,

My thoughts have always been,

The foreign girl “outside looking in.”

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5 Surprising Benefits of Walking Barefoot on Grass

A few months back I was talking to Little Socrates (aka my dad) about feeling a bit more anxious than usual, cloudy in thought and having lousy concentration.

With his cute accent, he told me, “Vanessa you live in a society and era that’s constantly surrounded by technology and artificial surfaces. You even exercise indoors most of the time. You need to walk on grass daily … barefoot.”

This conversation with my father had obviously not only encouraged me to walk barefoot more often, but also sparked me to do some “earthly digging” for more information.

Walking barefoot, is also known as “earthing,” which means walking on soil, grass or sand. Basically any natural surface.

Early studies have shown that there are health benefits from the relationship between the electrons in the earth and our bodies. When you directly connect your body to the earth’s gentle and natural electrical energy, you flood your body/system with free electrons which weaken free radicals by negating their charge and effects.

Throughout history, humans have spent more time outdoors, mostly walking barefoot (or with footwear made of animal skins) and slept on the ground or on skins. Through direct contact or through breathable  animal skin clothing/shoes, the ground’s abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive.

In contrast, now in modern times where we live (and stay) indoors, wear rubber shoes and are exposed to EMFs daily, we unfortuantely don’t often come into direct contact with the ground.

Below are the top 5 benefits of walking barefoot. Hopefully this will inspire you to kick your shoes off during your next walk!

5 Benefits of Walking Barefoot

Benefit #1 | Antioxidants

Antioxidants battle against free radicals, which have been linked to everything from cancer to cardiovascular disease and aging to autoimmune disorders.

This is a big reason why it’s important to fuel your body with antioxidant-rich foods and/or take a daily supplement.

But, aside from food the earth’s surface is a potent source of antioxidants. NO KIDDING?! Yup. In fact, the earth is the biggest antioxidant there is. So I say, we can all do a little more earthing! It’s a powerful {and free} antioxidant that can easily support your wellbeing.

Benefit #2 | Less Stress, Anxiety & Depression 

We all have times of both mental and physical stress and it’s so important we SLOW DOWN and find effective ways to de-stress.

A panel of researchers conducted a pilot study (mixed with people who were grounded and ungrounded) and concluded that earthing has a positive effect on cortisol levels and blood circulation that help to reduce tension and stress.

Benefit #3 | Improved Sleep

Our fast-paced lifestyle and #hustle mentality can leave us with very little time to get the recommended 7-10 hours of sleep daily. As a result, insomnia and other sleep issues are steadily increasing.

According to a Journal of Environmental and Public Health study, grounding the body at night with a conductive mattress pad helps with falling asleep more quickly and waking up fewer times at night. It also appears to positively affect morning fatigue levels, daytime energy, and nighttime pain levels.

Even if you’re not grounded during sleep, making frequent contact with the earth directly – walking barefoot – can help improve your overall system, helping you get better quality sleep.

Benefit #4 | Reduces Inflammation  & Muscle Soreness

The majority of illnesses associated with pain have some underlying inflammation in the affected areas, which is why inflammation is a leading cause of pain. Additionally, stress and overworked muscles are some other common causes of aches and pains. This study clearly documented that pain was reduced in those who participated in grounding. This, along with other studies, illustrate that earthing reduces inflammation, stress, and muscle soreness.

Benefit #5 | Better Cardiovascular Health

Researchers in a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that grounding can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Direct contact with the earth reduces blood viscosity, or in simple terms, acts like a blood thinner to help improve overall blood pressure, circulation and oxygenation around the body.

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Top Benefits of Earthing

So. You ready to kick those shoes off?!

Why not get some exercise and recharge your system at the same time …

One of the easiest ways to soak up the earth’s healing energy is to go for a barefoot walk on the beach or relax on the grass in your backyard. As you can see, research has revealed some amazing positive physiological changes when you start earthing!

Take baby steps, but build up from there. Obviously, the more time you spend regularly with your feet to the ground (literally), the better the results and the higher likelihood of symptom relief.

Please note, that I am not suggesting that earthing is a “treatment” or a “cure” for any disease or disorder. Instead, it can be said without a doubt that the planet has its own natural charge, and it just seems we do better when we’re in contact with it!

Mother nature is indeed amazing.

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5 Awesome Meal Prepping Tips

5 Awesome Meal Prepping Tips 

How many of you have had every intention to meal prep on a Sunday night to then find yourself ordering take-out, or just saying, “eh, I’ll do it Monday, this week was tough and I need to rest.” Monday comes, and nothing. So you recommit for the upcoming Sunday. And the cycle continues…

I feel ya!

As you’re on your journey, you’re probably finding that it’s becoming easier to eat healthy foods. But cooking them is a whole different ball game. That’s the real challenge, right?

But with a few simple meal planning strategies – and the DECISION to stay disciplined and create a habit – you can get your nutritional game on point! Plus, you’ll feel like a hero during the week with all of the time you’re going to save yourself.

Here are five tips to help you get started.

1. Set Your Goals

Before you just start choosing recipes and going shopping you have to stop and consider your personal goals. Are you following a specific program that is suggesting a certain amount of macronutrients? Do you have a target calorie count? What foods are best for you? Are you needing to modify a particular plan to suit your specific needs? What do you need to eat more of? Less of?

Whew…. that was a lot of questions. But they’re important so you evaluate YOUR specific needs and you’re set-up for success.

Not everyone’s body responds to food the same way. So find out what foods are best for yours and meets your body’s fuel requirements that help hunger and cravings disappear. It can be an initial trial-and-error period, but when that happens it makes following a nutrition plan so much easier!

2. Make a Master Recipe Plan

Once you know what you need to eat, gather a master list of recipes that you love. That way when it’s time to cook, it’s easier and quicker instead of taking time to comb through every cookbook or recipe website.

To organize – use whatever system works best for you … Pinterest, meal planning apps, index cards in a recipe box, or printing them out and place in a binder.

I prefer to stick to similar recipes for a period of time (about 1-2 weeks). Those recipes also share similar ingredients that help make it easier to plan and keeps costs and food waste down. If you need more variety keep it to one week. It’s important to have variety in your plan so you don’t get bored – but everyone’s threshold to food boredom is different so listen to what your body (and mind) is saying within reason 😉

3. Shop Strategically

Make your grocery list based on the healthy recipes you’ve just pulled from Tip #2. Make a list of the foods you know are a part of your meal plan you’ve just created, and ensure you stock up on those. It’s important to have a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, along with a few different types of proteins, peanut butter, raw nuts, and lots of seasonings (the recipes you pulled already called for these right 😉 )

This way, no matter what meal you want to make you have the ingredients you need. But also know this … when you’re planning your meals for the week, it’s definitely okay to leave some flexibility. So if you go off plan slightly and you’ve stocked up on healthy staples, it’s okay to go off the menu and prepare something different.

And please don’t force yourself to eat something you HATE because everyone else is saying how healthy it is. If you really don’t like kale, guess what, you’re not going to grab it when you’re hungry. So don’t add it to the list.

4. Bang Out the Prep Work Like a Pro

When you return home from the store, don’t just stuff your groceries in the fridge. Do some time-saving prep work as soon as you get home. Prepping your food is a huge part of success.

Peel your carrots, slice your cucumbers, scrub your sweet potatoes, dice your onions and wash some fruits (that won’t spoil quickly with pre-wash). Not only does it become a one-and-done task rather than a daily chore, but it makes you more likely to grab those healthy foods when you’re hungry.

Also, cook some of your food for the week. I usually cook enough protein to get me through three days and some veggies/sweet potatoes to get me through 3-4 days.  This way, when you’re running out the door, everything is made and you don’t have to think about it. Just grab and go!

5. Don’t Self-Sabotage

You’ve worked so hard upfront to save yourself time in the upcoming week. Easy right?!

Maybe not “easy,” but definitely easier. Because you still have to try to avoid the usual temptations and stumbling blocks. Whether at home or in your place of work. Where you DO have the most control is at home. So avoid the temptation altogether and don’t buy the junk food. Don’t have it staring at you when you’re stomach is growling! Here’s the deal, if you have ice cream in your freezer you may reach for it coming home from a stressful day at work. So just don’t have it in there. Schedule your cheat meals (if it’s according to your plan) and go OUT for ice cream. Believe me, I’ve thought I was strong at times, too!

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All-in-all … as long as you plan ahead, shop for healthy foods, and keep some go-to recipes in your arsenal, healthy eating will become easier and can eventually become a wonderful habit. Not only will your body feel terrific, but your mind will feel awesome because you’re saving yourself time and avoiding hassle during the hectic workweek.

Cheers!

 

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8 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Eating fresh, healthy, organic, local foods sounds great! But if you’re on a budget it can seem impossible. But I promise, it’s not!

But I feel your pain, because I used to think that too. And although boxed foods can (unfortunately) be less expensive, getting healthy food can still fit within your budget and not break the bank!

There are plenty of ways to eat well and actually save money in the process.

1. Do NOT shop hungry!

How many times do you go to the grocery store after work tired, hungry, and possibly grumpy? A Cornell study shows that people who shop while hungry are more inclined to not only purchase more food, but buy more high-calorie foods. Haven’t you noticed that you crave the cookies, breads and chips when you’re starving?

My Tip: keep a piece of fruit or a small bag full of nuts in your bag to help keep your tank on medium, helping you avoid filling your cart with foods you’re craving at the moment, but would avoid getting on a full stomach.

2. Buy Produce in Season 

Whether you’re going to the local farmer’s market or your favorite grocery store, load up on seasonal fruits and vegetables. In-season food isn’t just cheaper, it’s also more flavorful and nutritious. Also, your grocery store is probably stocking a lot of local produce and offering deals on it during peak times. Plus, you can when they’re on sale and freeze them for later.

3. Join a CSA

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to get high-quality, nutritious food at a cheaper price than you’d find at the grocery store. Here’s the way it work … you buy a share of a local farm’s harvest up front (usually $400 to $700 per year), and then pick up a weekly box with fresh, seasonal produce. Every week you get a box of whatever came out of the farmer’s field. Like buying in bulk at warehouse stores, this calls for some time and creativity in the kitchen.

When it comes to CSAs, you’ll only save if you actually use everything in the box. Unfortunately, if you’re cooking for one or are a picky eater, it may not be worth the investment.

 

My tip: if an entire box seems like too much check to see if your CSA offers half-shares. OR split a full share with a neighbor or a friend.

4. Buy Healthy Staples in Bulk.

Stocking up on canned/dry goods, healthy whole grains and frozen produce can help you create inexpensive meals on the fly. Costco, Sam’s Club or Amazon Pantry are some options for buying in bulk or having the convenience of mail delivery.

When buying in bulk at warehouses like Costco, you’re able to find fruits and veggies at ridiculously low prices! Thats ‘s you’re willing to buy, say, 15 pounds of potatoes or 8 pounds of oranges at a time. You’ll be stocked up for a while and are in for some work at home (organizing and finding space), but at those prices, who’s complaining?

5. Buy Store-Brand Organics

Whole Foods is more expensive than your general supermarket, but there are some deals with their store brand, 365 Everyday Value. In fact, this year, they’re launching affordable stores in some urban areas called 365 by Whole Foods, with plans to double them in 2017.

Many other supermarkets now have their own organic brands, like Publix Greenwise, Stop & Shop Nature’s Promise, Aldi Simply Nature, and Kroger Simple Truth.

The other thing to look for are weekly specials being advertised to get consumers in their doors. For example, Fresh Market has $2.99/lb organic chicken each and every Tuesday.

 

6. Buy flash-frozen fruits, vegetables, and fish.

While any processing takes away from a food’s maximum nutritional value, flash freezing is a great way to preserve vitamins and minerals when vegetables and seafood are at their freshest. Plus, the convenience factor can’t be beat – especially when you’re crunched for time.

The price? For seafood, fresh is definitely much more expensive. But that’s even if you can find it at all. If you check at your local grocer’s fish counter, you’ll actually find that much of what is being sold in the case as “fresh” has in fact been previously frozen. Next time, you’re in – ask them 😉 I learned this fact, when I was looking for freshly caught shrimp and salmon.

Produce is bit more tricky. Frozen is sometimes, but not always, cheaper than fresh, in-season, fruits and vegetables.

7. Use Meal-Planning and Grocery Apps

Meal planning is one of the simplest ways to stay on track with your nutrition AND your budget. Win-win!

Many of the major grocery chains offer apps where you can browse weekly ads and even create grocery lists. My suggestion, plan your meals based on what you already have at home ad what’s on sale at your grocery store.

Additionally, there are several meal-planning apps available where you can find recipes and build shopping lists if your local grocery store doesn’t have one (or you don’t like it).

Here are a few worth checking out:

  • MealPlan Meal and Grocery Planner
    Best for: Newbies ($4; iOS)
    This is a great app for first-time meal planners. It’s easy-to-navigate where you can drag and drop recipes into a home screen organized by meal. It’s great for someone who’s trying to get more organized and who need something simple and quick to map out their weekly diet. Once you have your list completed, you can either email or print out the list – even have it sorted out by aisle!).
  • Mealboard
    Best for: Budget-Minded Foodies ($4; iOS)
    This app helps you get your budget and diet under control! The app will aggregate a grocery list that also shows you the price of ingredients if you shop at one of the stores also used in the app.
  • Pepper Plate
    Best for: Multi-course masters (free; iOS, Android)
    Add recipes you’ve collected from the web or manually enter your own creations and this app will generate a grocery list to make shopping easy-peasy.
  • AnyList
    Best for: Busy families (free or $8 upgrade; iOS)
    This is a great app that allows multiple users to add items to a singular shopping list, either manually or with the help Siri. Any updates will automatically sync to everyone’s devices, so the entire family is on the same page.

8. Stick to your list.

Now that we have a way to make our focused grocery list … don’t cave for those cookies while you’re at the grocery store. Remember you have that small piece of fruit or the bag of nuts to get you through 😉

Create your meal plan and shopping list at home – then commit sticking to it!

However, there are sometimes some exceptions. For example, sometimes a gorgeously fresh fruit or vegetable will stand out—one you hadn’t planned on. That’s ok. Or maybe you have to get a substitute brand because your favorite sold out. Build some flexibility into your list to account for these unanticipated situations.

A good rule of thumb is to stick absolutely to your list of pantry items, but give yourself some leeway with fresh, seasonal foods.

 

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Would love to hear them! 🙂

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Dose of Body Love

Have you ever found yourself picking yourself apart in the mirror? From your butt, your stomach, your arms, your legs, your teeth, your laugh lines, your hair … shall I go on?

Do you even do this daily?

What’s sad, but true, is that most of us don’t consciously even realize the frequency of these negative messages we send ourselves daily. Most of us are so used to them, that we don’t even realize they’re subliminally messing with us our confidence.Self Reflections - Self Love

In short, we women see images that – despite recognizing them as unrealistic, unattainable, and often not even real – we often times aspire to meet them and then suffer when we fail to do so. Between our personal past and the pressure from the unrealistic media images we see constantly this can lead to a poor body image that then leads to obsessive self-scrunity in the mirror, having disparaging thoughts about our body, frequently comparing our body shape/size to other people, envying a friend’s or celebrity’s body. Did you know that the current media ideal for women’s bodies and overall appearance is achievable by less than 2% of the female population?!

Our perception of our body plays a HUGE role in our self-esteem. If we are continually being critical of our bodies that often leads to feelings of inadequacy, ultimately making us feel ashamed of our bodies. And if we are being overly critical to ourselves for long periods of time, that can lead to deeply ingrained thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that cannot easily be broken.

In addition to low self-esteem, some of the more severe consequences include eating disorders, doubts of depression, smoking, alcohol abuse, and promiscuity/sex addiction.

Let’s change that and give ourselves a healthy dose of body and self love.

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We can stop this negative, nasty cycle and give ourselves a healthy dose of body and self love! Here are 7 strategies to help:

1 | The Message of Origin.

Before we can truly begin any change, we must face our past. A big chunk of our inner beliefs are from childhood. They are echoes from our past that try to reshape our current reality. Where do yours stem from?

Were you bullied in school? Did your parents divorce? Were you verbally abused and told you weren’t good enough? Were you sexually molested/assaulted? Did you move around a lot and never “fit in.”

This entire blog can end up being a list of all questions … but it’s up to you to identify the reoccurring echoes that are holding you back.

For me, it’s the fact that I came here from Greece as a little girl, my mother dying a year later, and feeling completely displaced in this new country where I felt like a total outcast. I was initially bullied by classmates – even invited to a sleep over just to be picked on. I had a “weird” accent. I had a different sense of humor. I was naive to the culture. Most days, I had mix-matched clothes and greasy hair because, hey, it was just me and my dad. We only had each other. And he wasn’t into fashion by any means.

I was made to feel like I was beneath everyone else because I was so different. I was the target of their entertainment.

I CLEARLY remember looking in the mirror one day. I was maybe 9 or 10. And I was wondering how I would look like when I was 17. (No idea why I chose that age.) But I was wondering if I would be pretty enough. If people would like me. What I would be doing with my life. Would I have friends.

Although my innate character was always really strong, those early years are so tender and those experiences really impacted me. My dad really did a great job raising me – especially with absolutely NO help. He always taught me to never take shit from anyone and that I could do anything I put my heart and mind to. Despite that, I had many things to work through because of the loss of my mother, the sense of belonging and my self-confidence being shattered at such a young age.

Those echoes were telling me I wasn’t “good enough,” or “pretty enough” or “part of the in-crowd.”

I could seriously write a novel on my full experience. But for now, I wanted to give you a glimpse into some of my personal echoes that have taunted me and how they impacted my self-image growing up.

So you can know you’re not alone. And go inward and tap into yours.

2 | Embrace the Facts.

Here’s the deal. 99% of everyone around you is dealing with some type of negative body image issue. Even the ones that seem super confident. And yes, even those who have amazing bodies still can rip themselves apart. Crazy!

It’s a destroying habit we all have. And in a weird twisted way, knowing this is enough to create a more realistic perspective and give ourselves a self-esteem boost by the simple fact that we are all feeling the same way! And we are all being sent the same media messages and fighting the same “invisible” battle.

We are NOT alone.

Even if you believe your particular body issue is worse than most, just look around you more carefully when you’re in a crowded area. I bet you won’t find perfection. Because it doesn’t exist 😉

Oh, and some #FACTS about Photoshop and Victoria Secret. A retoucher shares some truth bombs in this article. You know this doesn’t only happen with Victoria Secret. Do you remember the recent “Me Too” video Photoshopping with Meghan Trainor? Glad she had them add in the original!

So yeah. Remember the facts.

3 | Pledge to Not Compare.

Maybe your friend can slip into a size 4. Or maybe your friend has a flat stomach or those legs you’ve dying to have. Maybe your friend has luscious curly hair that you’ve always wanted (I bet you she wants your straight hair!) We always think it’s greener on the other side.

Besides, I know that what you’re hating about yourself is something that someone else is admiring! Doesn’t that just blow your mind?! 😉 It’s true.

You have to make a conscious choice to stop focusing on this comparison game that jars our reality.

So make a PLEDGE to not compare.

Look in the mirror – naked – and realize that you are truly BEAUTIFUL. That doesn’t mean that you don’t improve or take care of yourself, it just means you ACCEPT yourself throughout your entire journey. There’s no “end.” There’s only a constant journey of growth. So you have to draw a line in the sand, make a decision, a pledge, to LOVE yourself during the process of any change/growth. That’s the challenge, but you can do it!

Besides, it’s so much more than your body. It’s your soul, your spirit, your heart.

You have amazing qualities to offer your friends, family and associates that have nothing to do with how your body looks. When you catch yourself comparing, remember how fleeting and superficial these differences are. And you are so much more than that!

4 | Focus on Health First.

I gave up on “six pack abs,” which will be another blog post fully dedicated on that subject.

This helped me shift my focus from something superficial to something greater and more important: my health. That focus helped me look at the larger picture, which by default gave me the patience to be in the game for the long haul. Instead of “I want hot abs in 6 weeks,” which isn’t realistic, my friends.

Rather than striving to be “physically perfect”, instead commit to being more physically fit. That’s a more attainable goal for everyone that will keep you focused on your DAILY actions, rather than trying to cram 1 year’s worth of no exercise and poor diet into 30 days of results 😉

Focus on your health

Learn what a healthy body weight is for your height, and work toward maintaining or attaining that weight.

Start where you’re at now. Not where you were a year ago or even 2 months ago. Find a fitness program you enjoy, and work towards creating a DAILY fitness habit. Pay attention to everything you put in your mouth, including the seemingly innocent drinks (they have many hidden sugars and carbs). Resist empty calories and junk food that do not FUEL your body. Choose a diet heavy on lean protein, veggies and fresh fruits. Last, but not least, drink PLENTY of water daily and get your beauty sleep, darlings!

By simply focusing on your health, instead of one or two body parts (that you’re obsessing over), this will help take control of unrealistic expectations, quick fixes and yo-yo dieting. As a result you’ll feel better physically, mentally, emotionally … and as a result your self-esteem will soar!

And … by doing this some of those goals you were trying to “quick fix” may actually come into fruition! My abs are finally peaking! 🙂

5 | Change What You Can.

We can still improve ourselves while at the same time accepting ourselves. Loving ourselves will fuel the motivation for change.

If you are overweight, you can definitely take action to lose weight. If you have problems with your teeth, you can go see a dentist or orthodontist. If you feel anxious or down, you can (and should) seek therapy. I recently had a friend see a hair specialist because her hair was thinning. With the doctor’s special hair shampoo, treatment and masks, her hair is thicker and healthier looking.

Maybe there’s something you’ve always felt uncomfortable or embarrassed about, and it requires minor surgery to change. If you feel it will free you from self-consciousness, and it is NOT life-threatening, then go for it!

If you have a body image issue that is severely impacting your self-esteem, and you can do something (within reason of course) to improve the issue … then DO IT!

Just make sure it’s for you and ensure this won’t cause further self-esteem issues by having on-going surgeries to mask deeper issues. Because there’s a diminishing point of return with procedures and surgeries, especially as we get older. At some point, we must gracefully allow nature to takes its course and accept our aging and changing body.

6 | Live OUT LOUD!

Live your life OUT LOUD! The more you do that, the more you own the process of the “get healthy inside out” journey, and the more it keeps you accountable.

The best self-esteem booster is creating a life so full that you’re too happy and focused to worry about your appearance in that way. Instead of obsessing about your body, you’re more consumed with carrying out your life passion and purpose.

Find work you love. Surround yourself with interesting people who LIFT you. Share your beautiful talents with others. Travel to amazing places. Be part of a cause. Go back to school. Help others. Be present and mindful.

Life moves fast. We must make the most of it! So why not create a life by design. A life YOU designed.

This mindset will make you wildly attractive to other people.

7 | Seek Help.

This is so important and near and dear to my heart. I have OCD anxiety and understand the importance of therapy, community, support and understanding when you’re on an inner journey of healing.

But let’s face it. I think EVERY SINGLE PERSON in this world should go to therapy. The world would be a better place. I personally believe it’s important to get both spiritual and psychological help. But at minimum, psychological.

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And guess what. That does NOT mean you’re crazy. It means you have something to work through. Just like every other human being on this planet.

Now that I’ve said everyone should seek therapy, it’s even MORE important for those who have eating disorders, depression, anxiety or any other mental health problem.

Although mental illness is starting to be “accepted” and considered a serious medical condition, research still suggests that there are still major stigmas around it. I believe it’s those stigmas that keep people silent and avoid getting the help and support they need due to fear of acceptance. And when it comes to healthcare, we still have a LONG WAY to go before mental health patients are treated with the respect afforded physical health patients.

Although this article is a few years old, it’s still pretty powerful in showing that mental illness is more prominent than most think.

What is mental illness? Anything that affects our psychological and mental well-being to the extreme. And that has an affect on our physical well-being.

So if you’re experiencing severe depression, anxiety, heavy drinking, eating disorders, etc – those are all a form of a mental/emotional problem. Please seek help. Take care of yourself. Know that you are not alone.

And know everyone should get help for one reason or another. That should take the pressure off 😉

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Always be true to yourself. Remember to fill your heart and spirt before trying to change the physical.

And remember my friends:

↠ Embrace your imperfections.

↠ Embrace your unique beauty.

↠ Embrace your journey.

💕xoxo

 

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