Self Love & Self Acceptance Through Body Positivity

As someone who has struggled with body image issues for decades, it has been hard to come to a place where I not only accept my body, but I have learned to love my body.  I have let go of the days of skipping meals, doing grueling workouts and hating what I saw in the mirror for true love and acceptance of my body, as it is right now.

Learning to accept my body as it is has also shifted the way I think about my business and how I can be of service to others. Being in recovery for disordered eating for over decade now, I’ve always thought about how I can use my experiences to help others. I think now, through the coaching services that I offer, I am able to do that. At least, I hope that I can do that.

There is still not a lot of exposure for men with eating disorders or that are in recovery for disordered eating. There is still not a lot of exposure for men in the Body Positive Movement (although I think that is changing). It is my hope that I can be a face and a voice for men dealing with body image issues.

In this video, I share what the Body Positive Movement means to me. How it is helping me to love and accept myself a bit more, and how it is inspiring my business as a Yoga and Pilates teacher and a Wellness Coach.

9 Blocks to Achieving Your Goals

 

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Several times this week, I have heard from clients that they feel stuck or unable to achieve their health and wellness goals. As I begin work on a new project (launching in the Fall), this of course had me thinking about why people get to a point where they feel stuck or that their goals are unattainable.

While thinking about this and researching the main blocks that people hit when striving towards a goal, I found a recent study that shows a shocking 92% of people never achieve their goals. Here are some of the main reasons why.

9 Blocks to Achieving Your Goals:

  • Motivation – You’ve set a goal but lack the motivation to achieve it. If this is an area you struggle in, read my recent blog post on Motivation.
  • Accountability – this seems to be one that a lot of people struggle with. It’s hard to achieve those goals if there isn’t anyone or anything to hold you accountable.
  • Having a vague goal – many people set goals that are just not specific enough. For instance the number one goal most people have is to “lose weight”, but that is too vague. How much weight do you want to lose and by when?
  • Procrastination – In today’s society, “Netflix and chill” is totally a thing. The problem with this is that it is easier to binge watch the new season of Orange is the New Black, than it is to workout. If you keep putting off your goals, you will never achieve them. Remember, a little progress each day adds up to big results. #progressnotperfection
  • Lack of support – I like to think of this one in the line of what I call “enablers”. You know, those friends or family members that are like “Enjoy life, eat the cake!” or “One night out for drinks won’t kill you”.  Not having a person or a group of people that share your goal and will help you to achieve it can set you up for failure.
  • Distractions – “Squirrel!!” Do you suffer from “ohhh look something shiny” syndrome? We are constantly being bombarded with things trying to grab our attention, and that makes it easy to get distracted. Trying to multi-task and be a jack of all trades falls in this category too. Pick one thing and give it your 100%!
  • Not having a plan/knowing where to start – It’s a great thing to have goals! It feels wonderful to say “I’m going to achieve XYZ”. However, when it comes time to put your goal in motion, you get stuck. Whats the first step? And then what? What if my goals change? Set a clearly defined plan of how you are going to achieve your goals from the very beginning.
  • Not having a deadline – See “having a vague goal”. I hate to refer back to SMART goals but they totally work! Your goal must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Sensitive. Meaning if you do not have a dead line set, it’s much easier to let Distractions and Procrastination take the drivers wheel.
  • Negative mindset – you MUST believe in yourself and your goals. If you have always struggled with losing weight and keep saying to yourself “I’ll never lose weight. I’ve tried losing weight before and it never works” then guess what? You’re going to fail. Keep a positive mind set towards yourself and your goals in order to achieve them and be successful. Stop the negative self talk RIGHT NOW!

I plan on going into greater detail on each of these points in future blog posts. What are your personal roadblocks to achieving your goals? Sound off in the comments and let me know. Also, what tools have you found to overcoming these roadblocks?

Boston Voyager Magazine – Inspiring Story

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I was super excited when I was approached by Boston Voyager magazine to be featured in their section of “Inspiring Stories” in the Boston and surrounding areas. I think we all have unique life experiences that we should share, and I was more than happy to do so for Boston Voyager.

In the article, I share how and why I became a Yoga and Pilates teacher. In my years of teaching in the Boston and Central MA areas I have met some wonderful people that I have been able to share my love and passion for Yoga and Pilates with. It is my hope that I have been able to touch lives in a positive way through my teaching. That is why I do what I do.

You can read the article here, on the Boston Voyager website.

Workout Motivation Tips

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I just sent an email out to my “Stronger in 17” Pilates Challenge participants in which I talked about motivation. I was inspired to write about motivation because one of the participants told me she is struggling with just motivating herself to do her Pilates practice, or even finding the time to do it. I thought I’d share the tips that I offered the challenge group here on the blog in hopes that someone else will benefit.

So let’s talk about motivation. Committing to practicing Pilates, or any workout really, is just a stepping stone to a greater reward and that is making a stronger feeling YOU. The only person who can make the change is you. Don’t be upset by the result you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do.

This past week I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book:

  • “I’m too tired from work when I get home to do a workout”
  • “I forgot to set time aside to practice”
  • “I had a bad day and just didn’t feel like working out”
However, what I hear from these excuses is really “I’m not a priority”. One of my favorite quotes is from RuPaul and I think it really sums it up.
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Let’s take that even one step further to say “If you are not taking care of yourself, how can you properly take care of others?” We need to set aside some time to practice self care, even if that is only ten minutes a day. Taking just ten minutes a day to focus on YOU will have greater benefits in the end. It will lead you to find a practice of self care and self love.

I know we all have things that go on in our lives, and sometimes life just gets in the way. However, you must take care of yourself first before you are fully able to take care of others. Take this time now to really commit to this practice and  start engaging in some self care and radical self love.

Remember, the only bad workout is the one that you didn’t do.

 

Here’s some tips to help motivate you to hit your mat this week:

  1. Reward Yourself – Set a goal such as “I will do _____ amount of workouts for _____ amount of time”. For instance “I will do three workouts a week, every week for the next three months” Then think of a way to reward yourself at the end of your goal. Maybe you treat yourself to a massage or maybe you buy those shoes you’ve been eyeing. Having a reward at the end will give you a goal to work towards and help keep you on track
  2. Keep a Journal – after every workout, write down in a journal how you felt. When you are low on motivation you can read back over the last time you worked out and how great you felt afterwards. It will motivate you to hit your mat.
  3. Remember Why You Started – Think about why you want to work out or make these health changes. What was your aim in doing so? Keep that in mind and let it be a motivating factor to working out
  4. Set Up Yourself Up for Success – literally set out everything you need to get in your Pilates practice or workout. Keep your mat out in a spot that when you walk by and have time you can just get down and do your practice.
  5. Find an Accountability Buddy – find a partner to do your practice or workout with. Show them the moves and what you have learned so far in the challenge. Motivate and cheer each other on. Also, ain’t nothing wrong with a little healthy competition am I right?
  6. Time for You – set a time each day that is your time to practice self care and get your practice in. Even if you have to get up an extra 15 minutes to do so. Set an alarm on your phone to wake you up early so you can get in your workout. Think of how great you will feel starting your day with a quick and energizing practice.
  7. Check In – Check in with me or someone else daily to let me know you did your practice. It will keep you accountable to finishing strong towards your  goal.
Make the commitment to some self care this week and I hope these tips motivate you to become #strongerin17

8 Tips to Get Up Early and Workout

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Good morning Peeps! Isn’t it a beautiful day? The sun is shining, the air is cool, and the birds are chirping. It is a great day to be alive and up early, no? I have to admit that I’m such a morning person. Every morning when I wake up I feel ready to embrace the day. I wake up feeling energized and focused. You can usually find me running around the house singing, dancing, cleaning and just getting ready to take on the day. But lets be honest, that’s usually after a cup of coffee.

But you, like most of the people in this world, may struggle to roll out of bed every morning. Maybe you hit the snooze button a few times? Hope that the dog doesn’t have to go out RIGHT now? You may lie in bed and think “Just a few more minutes please!” Sound familiar?

Then when you finally roll out of bed, you walk like one of the Walking Dead to the coffee pot and click it on. You sit on the couch or in your  favorite comfy chair and sip your morning brew while strolling through Facebook. You shake your head at your friend Susie who checked into the gym at 6AM. Maybe you think “How does she get up early and go to the gym?”

Then you head into work, the whole day thinking “Maybe Ill squeeze in a workout after work today”. But then what happens? You’re too tired after work to make it to the gym. You return home and flop into your comfy chair again. Another day you skipped the gym. Damn Susie! What is her secret?

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Susie’s secret is simple: it’s all in preparation. What if I told you there are some great ways that you too could be like Susie? With a few simple steps you could be up and out the door, ready to greet the day and get in a good workout all before you head into work. And it begins the night before.

  1. Lay out your workout clothes – Before bed, lay out everything you’ll need for your morning workout, run, etc. Lay out your favorite workout outfit, including socks and sneakers. This will keep you from hunting in the dark for what you need in the morning while everyone else in the house is still asleep.
  2. Pack your gym bag – The night before put everything you need for the gym into your gym bag: armband, water bottle, iPod and headphones, etc. Place the bag by the front door so you can just grab it as you run out the door. No need to be running around in the morning trying to pull everything you need together.
  3. Make Coffee – Yep, make coffee before bed. Well at least get it ready. Make sure the coffee pot is filled with water, coffee etc. Even better if your coffee maker has a timer set that to start brewing before you wake up. Waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee is enough to get you energized in the morning.
  4. Make sleep a ritual – Go to bed at the same time every night and avoid caffeine in the afternoon/evening so you can hop into bed and fall asleep easily. Before bed, write out a To-Do list for the next day. This allows you to get things out of your head and onto paper. Most people find sleep alludes them because they can’t turn their brains off. Spritz your room, sheets, pillows, etc with a calming essential oil like Lavender that helps induce calm and sleep. Maybe even have a white noise machine or fan going during the night.
  5. Move your alarm clock – Get a good alarm clock, preferably one separate from your phone. Set the alarm to get up at the same time EVERYDAY, even if you are not going to work out that day. Get used to getting up at the same time everyday, it will help to get rid of that early morning brain fog and get you ready to take on the day. Place your alarm clock across the room or even in a different room (but so you can still hear it). Then you can’t hit snooze, you’ll have to get up to turn it off. Once you are out of bed, its often hard to climb back in and fall back asleep. I know someone who has a alarm clock that has wheels. When it goes off it starts moving around the room, rolling under the bed or tables, so you HAVE to get up and find it to turn it off. Genius!
  6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – No, your morning brew is not what I’m talking about here. As soon as you rise, down a glass of warm water and lemon. The benefits of this practice include: flushing out toxins, energizes you, freshens your breath and fires up your metabolism.
  7. Make it a date – Schedule your workouts like you would any other important appointment (dentist or doctor appointment). This let’s your brain know that this is important and you have to get up and do it. Better yet, invite a friend along to your workout. It’s hard to sleep in and skip a workout when you know someone is counting on you to be there. Accountability buddies (accountablibuddy?) are such a great way to keep you motivated not only to get up and workout but to help you have a great workout. Pick someone who has the same goals as you, someone you can count out and someone who will push and motivate you.
  8. Prepay – This is probably my best tip and one I personally use all the time. If you are taking fitness classes that you pay separately for (yoga, spin, pilates, etc) then prepay for the class. No one likes losing money. It will be easy to get out of bed knowing you already paid that class fee. Otherwise, you might as well just open the window and throw the money out.

I hope these tips help you to become a person who wakes early and attacks your day with enthusiasm. Set yourself up for success with these tips to become a morning person and get that workout in before the rest of your day even begins. Then all your friends will be shaking their heads and wonder how you got up and checked in at the gym at 6AM. Yep, you are now THAT person! Own it!

 

 

You Are More Than A Number On The Scale

You Are More Than A Number On The Scale
You Are More Than A Number On The Scale

I see and hear, more often than I can count, people frustrated that they are working hard to lose weight but the number on the scale just does not reflect how hard they feel they have been working. Weight is usually the number one marker that people use to measure their health and fitness. And let’s be honest, we all have that “goal weight” that we’ve been trying to achieve for the past oh I don’t know…10 years!

Well, I’m here to tell you that it is all a crock! That number on the scale does not really measure how healthy or fit you are. It really doesn’t. AND that number that you see on the scale does not define who you are as a person. YOU ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER ON THE SCALE!

Yes, you do need to focus on eating right and working out to be healthy for your body. But not to see a certain number on the scale or fit into a certain clothing size. Even people at the perfect body weight (whatever the hell that is) could be mostly eating junk food and doing damage to their body that they are not aware of. Even some forms of exercise are doing damage to your body that you wont see for years to come (but that’s a whole other blog post). Your body is more than what you see on the outside. Healthy, and I mean REAL health, comes in all shapes and sizes.

Trust me as someone who has dealt with body image issues, and sometimes in unhealthy ways, you can not let that number on the scale define you. That number does not say what a loving, compassionate, thoughtful, strong, beautiful, intelligent, amazing person you really are. I used to obsess over my body weight, to the point that I would hardly eat anything just to see the number I wanted on the scale. It took me many years to get here, but I’ve learned to love the amazing body I have. Just as it is!

Sure I may be a little “soft” in the middle and not have six pack abs. But my body is strong, flexible and allows me to do the things I love like Yoga, Pilates, walking my dog, spending time doing things outdoors with my friends and family, etc. I’m grateful for the body I have that lets me do all these wonderful things. And my body can do some of the things that a guy with a six pack can’t do.

Learn to eat the right foods to have a healthy body inside and to prevent illness and disease in the body. Workout to gain flexibility, strength and more energy. As I like to tell my clients, think about it this way…when you are in your 80s or even hopefully in your 90s, you won’t care about how your body looks. You won’t care if you have a flat stomach or not. What you will care about is that you can still move, you can still walk, that you have the flexibility you need to reach down and tie a shoe or pull up your support hose.

I challenge you to not weigh yourself for the rest of this month. Instead focus on eating healthy foods, do exercise for fun and pay attention to how you feel. How well do your clothes start to fit? Are you gaining more energy? Do you feel stronger? Is your skin clearer? And remember YOU ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER ON THE SCALE!