“Love your body…

“Love your body because it is yours. It is unique. It is beautiful in every single way.”

-Nia Shanks, Fitness Expert & Founder of Lift Like a Girl

Like many, I certainly struggle with body image and attaining that “ideal perfection,” however, Nia Shanks believes in loving your body and using that love to fuel your workouts. Choose to workout because you love your body, not because you hate your body. Sometimes simply changing our perspective can make all the difference in attaining our goals.

Be the best YOU can be and stop trying to be the best version of someone else.

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Digging Deeper

Life will throw you curveballs and it is a fact that is inevitable.  The size of those curveballs can be enormous and monumental or trivial and insignificant. Life does not forewarn how fast, how big or small, or when the curveball is coming until it has already unexpectedly flown past.

What do you do when those curveballs create a negative impact on your life? How do you handle those uncomfortable situations that force you to be stretched, whether you are willing or not willing to participate in the  process?

So often we repeatedly attempt to resist change that has occurred, whether by not accepting the circumstance, or trying to run around the situation through avoidance. Either way, you are enabling the curveball to have power over your life and continue to strike you out.

Understand that damaging curveballs do not have to be liked or well appreciated, however they can be moments in life utilized to test your character and reveal areas of weakness that need to be strengthened for the future. A curveball may leave you so disoriented that you continue to strike out many times after, but know that multiple strike outs does not cause you to lose at the game of life because at the end of each strike you are still left standing.

So what do you do?

Dig a little deeper. Dig a little deeper from deep within yourself, step up to the plate of life and get ready to swing.

Allow the curveballs of life to create new opportunities of growth that will unlock new areas of strength to help you to continue shining through life beautifully. 

Digging Deeper

Are You One of The Ten?

Remember the Dove Challenge?

Dove continues to evolve their Dove Challenge by pursuing the root of beautiful from the inside out and conducted a UK survey to gain better insight of how many women believe they are genuinely beautiful. Dove’s 2012 Census revealed disappointing, yet not surprising results.

The MSN article “Are You Attractive? 9 out of 10 Women Say No” by Rich Maloof, revealed just that; only 2% of their surveyed population of women, from a wide age range from 18 to 64, believed they were truly beautiful!  I wish I could express more shock, but I can believe the numbers. Even I have a hard time going through every day thinking, believing and feeling I am beautiful or attractive, not including the opinions of others, but what I really see. The mirror always reveals my imperfections rather than my positive attributes and what I could try to improve.

The biggest finding that the UK survey by Dove discovered was “the highest percentage of survey subjects — one in four — said the biggest pressure to be beautiful comes from within,” whereas societal pressures were second.

What does this mean to our generations of women? WE PUT THE STRAIN ON OURSELVES!

I wish I could tell you to simply stop, stop comparing yourself and stop disliking all that you have been given, but I know how difficult it is to follow through with such a little word as “stop.” Do addicts of typically talked about addictions such as drugs and alcohol simply stop their consumption? No. Those that seek and desire help require a support system, rehabilitation and follow up therapy.

Now, I am not suggesting you are in need of checking into a rehabilitation center or join a local support group, but maybe we are in need of some form of perspective rehabilitation?

Again, are you one in ten that can confidently say “I am Beautiful,” or “I am Attractive?”

I wish with all my heart that you are one in ten women that understand and appreciates all that makes you beautiful, inside and out.

If not, you are by no means alone and I hope you can join me in the journey for discovering the inner and outer beauty that each and every one of us posses. Join me as I seek to unlock all that makes me beautiful and what makes you beautiful and attractive and shine through while smiley confidently. 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/barabeke/4505953529/”>Barabeke</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Are You One of The Ten?

Naked Face

The Naked Face Project was a website that I stumbled across while searching for other blogs in the “Inner Beauty” blog community and was amazed by the initiative two woman have taken to redefine the definition of beautiful.

Molly and Caitlin are women from two different generations but have one common goal: 60 days with no make-up, no shaving and no primping!

The end of the 60 days is almost here for Molly and Caitlin but both women have blogs that honestly reveal their experiences, thoughts, feelings and new opinions on what true beauty is and what it means to be beautiful.

Caitlin made a fantastic point in her blog The Healthy Tipping Point that I wanted to highlight and she explains that in today’s society the outward or physical appearance of an individual has become the only way beauty is acceptably expressed.

So often we look at other people, other women and ourselves in the mirror and make concrete judgements about those other people or ourselves, simply based on what we see outwardly. Yes, people do inherently make snapshot judgments based on how an individual looks or is dressed, so maintaining an overall appearance is important, but unfortunately judging “beauty” beyond that point of the initial snapshot does not happen often.

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and told yourself you are BEAUTIFUL because of the great qualities and characteristics you possess? How much better would woman feel about themselves if they could expand their definition of beautiful?

I encourage you to contemplate and broaden your perspective of beautiful to gain a better understanding of what makes YOU beautiful outwardly and inwardly and to remember that physical appearance not does make you a beautiful person, but your confidence, consideration for others, attitude and overall lifestyle does. Unlock your inner beauty qualities and talents and shine through all day, even if you are feeling a little “naked.”

Happy Wednesday!

Naked Face

Motivational Spark

Tapping into your inner strength is a part of developing your inner beauty and becoming the confident individual that you are striving to be. Being able to use your inner strength can help you move forward in times of adversity. Rather than falling down and staying down, inner strength is the spark that turns life’s disappointments and letdowns into a motivational fire that will help you move forward towards new successes.

Many times our disappointments cause use to go into flight or fight mode, meaning either we run away from our problems or stop pursuing what is causing our discontentment, or we encounter our dissatisfaction immediately to turn them into accomplishments.

When we “flee” our disappointments, we tend to become discouraged and our self-perception decreases because we have a mentality of failure. Adversely, overcoming our setbacks and finding new solutions builds our inner strength and our spark of motivation slowly begins to grow and as we triumph over new challenges that growing spark becomes a fire that no one is able to put out.

 “Doubtful thoughts become the wind that blow out my spark of inspiration and incentive to succeed.”

Many times I get a spark of motivation, but unless I act immediately on that spark and begin to grow the spark into a motivating flame, I lose my desire to surmount my feelings of defeat. Doubtful thoughts become the wind that blow out my spark of inspiration and incentive to succeed.

So how do we tap into our inner strength, light the spark, and build the fire that turns disappointments into motivation to succeed?

1. Make a mental list of all past accomplishments and how you got there

    • More than likely you have had to overcome issues, setbacks and debilitating comments from others in the past and yet you are still able to list your successes. I bet you can do it again! Remember what you have accomplished should help you tap back into your inner strength and relight the motivational spark.

2. Surround yourself with positive people

    • Becoming motivating can be challenging when you alone are trying to encourage yourself. Positive people that you trust can be a great way to boost your enthusiasm and drive because they provide a different perspective of yourself that is probably a lot more positive than how you are feeling about yourself in the current moment.

3. Ask yourself why you cannot overcome the problem or the cause of disappointment

    • Try being completely honest with yourself and eliminate all the emotion you are feeling and ask yourself to give reasons why you cannot do better, be greater, and overcome what is causing disappointment. More than likely you will probably have a hard time finding valid reasons why you cannot strive forward.

4. Excuse yourself from the pity party

    • The sooner you remove yourself from the problem and look at it with a broader perspective, the sooner you will probably find a solution. Make it easy on yourself and take a step back, deep breath in and view the bigger picture. I guarantee the bigger picture is going to be clearer that the small piece you are so intently focused on.

Life will always present challenges and disappointments, but it is how we confront them and overcome them that determines how far in life we go and what we accomplish.  Stop debilitating yourself with doubtful thoughts and disappointments.  Tap into your inner strength and grow your motivational spark to shine through any conflict beautifully. 

Motivational Spark

Dethrone Stress

We all know those indescribable feelings of relief and relaxation that Friday brings us every week. All of a sudden you remember how to take a deep breath, the optimistic attitude reappears, and the events of the week have already been displaced from your mind.  How great would it feel to have the feeling of Friday everyday of the week, despite whatever situations are surrounding you that day?

The strain of stress will never be completely unavoidable in life, but there are proven tips and techniques to help alleviate the stress levels and bring you back into balance. I would love to share with you some simple stress dethroning ideas that you can put into practice for the upcoming week.

Sleep

Take an inventory check of how many hours you have been logging each night. Too few hours will prevent your body from recharging itself during the night, therefore your body lacks energy and the ability to think clearly and take action.

Turn down the noise! Soothing noise that sounds like the ocean and is at a low volume level is okay, but turn off the laptop, the iPhone, and television. Electronics and light act as stimuli and keep your brain from shutting down and releasing a chemical that helps your body fall asleep.

Exercise

If you are not an exercising machine, do not worry. Take a walk or sow jog. Do anything to get your body up and moving around. Exercise causes a release of endorphins that automatically fight your stress levels, bringing you back to a more balanced and relaxed state of mind.

Laugh

It is almost impossible to feel any sort of negative emotion if you are smiling or laughing. What makes your laugh? What makes you smile? It does not matter what your happy trigger is, just as long as you do it!

Eat Good Foods

We have all heard the saying, “You Are What You Eat” so why keep eating processed and fast food? Fill yourself with nutrient rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains rather than driving to the nearest fast food restaurant.

Feelings stressed and want to curb the stress with food? My suggestion is to grab an apple. When I get stressed I want to eat and the last thing my body needs is unhealthy foods that are going to make me feel heavy and sleepy. Apples are a great way to have a healthy snack that is sweet, juicy, and will leave you feeling fuller longer because they are a better source of fiber.

Call a loved one

Pick up the phone and call a family member or friend that you trust. Many times stress causes us to lose focus of the bigger problem and being able to talk through a situation can help clear the way to solving the problem more quickly and appropriately. People who care about you will always have time to listen and help you.

Although stress can never be completely eliminated from our always moving, fast past lives, there are techniques to help bring balance back to reality. Choose a tip that works best for you and allow it to unlock all that makes you beautiful as you dethrone stress and take back control!

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Dethrone Stress

Compare No More

Dr. Seuss has written phenomenal pieces of literature for children that illustrate simple allegories in highly creative ways. Now that I am older and reflect back on the stories that I have read, I realize Dr. Seuss was conveying positive messages and moral concepts that are relatively simple, yet realistically difficult to implement for many people.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You” -Dr. Seuss

By default, we automatically compare ourselves to other people because comparison enables us to create a self gauge of personal perspective. Unfortunately, the results we desire are not always positive and negative results lead to inevitable negative thoughts. Why do we allow ourselves to let others shape and mold the self image that we perceive ourselves to be?

When I was eighteen I began seeking out my first employment opportunity because it was really important to me that I had a summer job after I graduated from high school. One day I walked into a higher end retail store and began shopping for some new outfits for my senior pictures. The stylist (salesperson) that was assisting me at the time was very personable and we got along very well throughout my shopping experience. While at the cash-wrap, purchasing my new pieces, the stylist mentioned that they were in the middle of hiring new stylists and offered me an application. I was ecstatic. I gratefully excepted the application and returned within minutes to turn the application in.

Within a couple days I received a call from the store manager asking me to come back for an interview. Of course I said yes and a week later I was back at Club Monaco at Mall of America for an interview. Please keep mind this was my first interview because I made many mistakes:

The first mistake I made was showing up with a shopping bag from Macy’s because I decided that purchasing new sandals for summer was acceptable before the interview, rather than taking care of personal needs afterwards. Once I arrived within the retail store, I realized I was not the only one being interviewed, but I would be participating in a group interview. Looking at those waiting with me, I realized how underdressed I was for the interview and how much younger I was compared to the three other applicants. After we all sat down together and the interview process began, I became conscious to the gum I was still chewing (which I forced myself to swallow immediately).

The entire process was embarrassing.  Many of the questions asked included prior work experience, where you received your degree or where you are currently attending college, handling conflict in the workplace, etc. I had no prior work experience, I was still in high school, and I had never encountered conflict in the workplace. All I could do was smile, answer questions concisely and carefully and allow my personality to leverage that lack of credibility.

I remember sharing the experience with my parents and notifying them that I am not expecting a call back based on the day’s events.  A week had gone by and I had received no phone call from Club Monaco inviting me back for a second, one on one interview. To my surprise, shortly after accepting that I was probably not going to be asked back, I received a phone call from the store manager for second interview. I was shocked.

I became the youngest employee at Club Monaco that summer and shortly after accepting my employment opportunity I learned that the young stylist that had been helping me the first day I walked into the store was one of the assistant store managers and spoke on my behalf for the job position.  I learned that I had been hired because I was likable, personable, and approachable. How I compared to the other applicants was irrelevant and not a determining factor in how I was perceived by the staff at Club Monaco.

As people, we will always be comparing ourselves to others, but how we interpret the information we gather and what we decide to do with it , accept or reject, determines what we believe ourselves to be. Remain true to who you are and allow yourself to shine through any situation because:

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You” -Dr. Seuss

Compare No More

Enough With The Not-Enough’s

Has anyone ever attempted to persuade you of something long enough that all you wanted to do is scream “ENOUGH!” to get them to stop? Once alleviating all that tension, you have the opportunity to make one of two decisions:

  1. Reject the true or false statement
  2. Accept the true or false statement

Yes, sometimes what other people are telling us has truth and we do need to listen to what they are saying, but there are moments where we are unable to agree because what is being stated does not fit our personal beliefs or morals.

Now, if we are able to put a stop to what other people are telling us that does not align with our own thoughts and actions, then why as women can we not scream “ENOUGH!” to ourselves?

Too often I catch myself saying:

“I am not good enough.”

“I am not smart enough.”

“I am not liked enough by others.”

And the list goes on and on.

All that I am accomplishing by telling myself that I am not enough is creating an unhealthy habit that is debilitating to my opportunity to maximize my full potential. The “not enough” syndrome is a result of the desire to attain perfection. Perfection is a figment of our imagination created by personal and surrounding environmental ideals, but striving for excellence will always yield returns worth calling successes.

So how do we begin to say “enough with the not-enough’s?”

Start with the three R’s:

  1. Realize excellence trumps perfection. You will never be satisfied or content if you are seeking perfection because you will always find something to improve.
  2. Replace the negative enough’s with positive enough’s. You have to begin reminding yourself of all the positive characteristics and attributes you alone possess.
  3. Reach out to people around you. When you are continuously focusing on the things you believe you are lacking, you are unable to see the needs in other people. Setting aside your own insecurities and self doubt could be the difference in making someone else’s life better.

Stop telling yourself you are not enough by accepting the truth and rejecting the lies . Your “not enough” syndrome is what is preventing you from maximizing your full potential and becoming the person you are meant to be.

Enough With The Not-Enough’s