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Let It Go

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I suppose I can admit that I must have been living under a rock for the past year or so, as I have yet to see the Disney movie Frozen. Yes, I know. Shocker. But I’m not so out of the loop that I am at least familiar with / have heard the popular song “Let It Go.” And yes, I love it too.

What does this song have to do with anything on this blog? Well, I think that the central chorus and title have particular importance in my life, and probably yours, right now. So I’d like to explore that idea.

As you have probably noticed in my blog writings to date, whatever I write about tends to deal with something I’m currently experiencing, have been pondering, or have dealt with personally in the past. I believe that unlike reading about studies, conflicting diet and nutrition information, or arguments for or against a specific way of eating, the most impact comes from relating to another person’s reflections and experiences. That is why I share them here today.

Last week, while I was between running high-intensity bursts on the treadmill, I was huffing and puffing my way through an article in O Magazine. It was an outdated issue from before the New Year, but had a good feature on how to live 2014 to the fullest, and increase your happiness. Part of what struck me so in this article was the tip to practice letting go. The author wrote about the practice of mentally and physically letting go of negativity, behaviors, and lines of thinking that keep us paralyzed in self-doubt and loathing.

Huh. Panting and sweating away, I slowed down the pace on the treadmill. I was irritated that just one minute of running 8 mph was seemingly killing me. Wiping sweat from my brow, I decided to give this notion a little practice. Here I was in the middle of pushing my body in a workout, and my mind was obsessing over how inadequate I felt, worrying about how gross I was looking, and that my butt jiggles as I run.

Breathing in, I thought to myself, Let it happen…and as I exhaled I thought, Let it go…

Again, let it happen… let it go.

Let it happen… let it go.

This small shift in my mental energy helped me push through the rest of my workout and focus on being glad for what I was capable of, rather than critiquing what I felt were my inadequacies.

Over the past week, I’ve been trying the implement this little practice. Breathing in, let it happen, as I catch myself in a negative, self-abusive thought, and breathing out, let it go, as I release the thought from my mind. Amazingly, it has helped me to not dwell over the little insecurities I still harbor with my body.

A couple instances in the past few months have me reeling in self-doubt and easily slipping into some derisive and abusive thoughts about my body. Last month, while shopping for my evening gown for the International Pageant in July, I was insulted by a rude sales clerk when he told me that I should “lose some weight in my hips and butt” to help my dress fit better. It has been hard for me to not obsess over this stupid and inconsiderate quip, even though I know better and see his words as a reflection of his own obtuseness and not my health or attractiveness.

With these words ringing in my mind, as a million other more important things demand my attention each day, I have felt trapped back in a pattern of belittling my body and not appreciating all it is capable of, merely from the verbal critique from one stranger. Stupid, right?

As I go forward, attempting to refocus and direct my energy on mental and physical health and happiness, I’m trying to let it go… I see how wasteful this mental energy is to harbor each day, and how counterproductive it is for me physically.

When I mentally abuse or mistreat my body, by way of thinking negative things or saying things about myself like, “My belly is so swollen” or “I wish I had bigger breasts” or “I hate my thighs,” I begin to manifest these statements as my reality, and turn back to my old vices. Like many of you, I have a history of emotionally eating, eating for escape, eating to feel happy, eating to feel nothing, eating as a substitute for dealing with whatever really needs my attention. Being emotional abusive to myself in any way lowers me to the level of one who is verbally rude or abusive to anyone else… because I do it to me.

Looking in the mirror, I’m practicing positive affirmations, acknowledging that my body is a good body, that it is capable of doing so much and affords me a wonderful vessel in which to experience this amazing life. My body gets bloated sometimes, it feels sore oftentimes, it gets tired, it gains weight, it loses weight, it gives me unbelievable pleasure and sometimes inescapable pain. My body protects me from harm, cleanses me from toxins, and keeps me moving and speaking and thinking and breathing every single day.

My body is a good body. And so is yours – in every way.

So when I start feeling those icky, negative thoughts bubble up inside, I will breathe in, let it happen…and breathe out all that yucky stuff, let it go…

Maybe after that I will burst into song, Frozen style. ;)

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITGIRL15 7/24/2014 12:55PM

    In the bathroo this morning I caught a glimpse of thhe stretch mark on my hips.

I looked at them, smiled and said "Ahhh, to be a teenager again!" Funny how age changes your perspective!

Letting go is the key to winning the battle of the mind! Choose what to think about and choose it wisely as the power of the human brain is infinite!

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ALLIEALLIE2 6/16/2014 1:31PM

    emoticon

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BOOTYLISCIOUS3 6/3/2014 10:04AM

    Love it!!!!

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COOKWITHME65 4/1/2014 9:59PM

    Hey Whitney, So excited to see you blogged and a great one at that. I loved it. I'm thinking of eating a little more clean and remembered you had some great recipes and meal plans you blogged about so I thought I would stop by. So glad I did. That salesman was inappropriate in his remarks. Regardless of anyones shape he should be finding a dress to flatter someone rather than telling someone to change their shape. On a side note you are in fantastic shape to begin with.

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MELLYBEANS0919 3/27/2014 12:55PM

    Love this blog so much!

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TWEETIEBIRDIE 3/25/2014 2:36AM

    You are beautiful inside and out! I Liked your Facebook page. I wish you the best with your healthy business to guide others on the path to helping others "Let it Go!" emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 3/24/2014 11:25PM

    emoticon

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WISHFULDREAMING 3/24/2014 10:42AM

    I myself have been working on Letting go! and the song is definitely an inspiration and reminder when it's stuck in my head, to take a step back and let it go. You reflect many of the same thoughts bouncing around my brain! Great blog!

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BOBINVA 3/24/2014 8:30AM

    Excellent blog. I still like the 38 Special song "Hold on Loosely" for many things in my life. I have dreams and aspirations and goals that I want to hold on to but not so tightly that if I falter or don't keep the path of my expectations that I let go of them completely. Holding on tightly to my will often leads to resentments that drive me back toward bad habits. Do let it go, but hold on loosely.

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STRONGMOMMA2014 3/24/2014 7:29AM

    Very well said! It is so much easier said than done, but the reminder always reignites the desire to love myself more.

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TRISTAROSE 3/24/2014 6:29AM

    emoticon emoticon

That sales clerk should be reported ..... so ignore and think positive thoughts.
You are a beautiful person!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 3/24/2014 3:10AM

    hi whitney,it is great to see you bloging on here again.yes that sales person was an idiot to make such a thoughtless remark.good job it hit you imagine how it would be if his tactless remark had hit someone who had an eating disorder.maybe someone should point that out to him for future referance.it is easier to let other peoples thoughtless remarkes get to us than our own common sense.in england we have a saying which i love and have used to say to other people who make uncalled for remarks.
it is whats suits the wearer not the starer
means it what suits you and what you like and feel comfortable in not what other people think about it after all our main reason for wearing clothes should be first and foremost for ourselfs.well done for getting yourself back out of your old rut with your breathing mantras.take care and keep smiling and above all keep on keeping on.miss you love how are you doing?i am resting between operations at the moment got a big one coming up 14th of april and afterwards will have to learn to walk all over again.dr´s said i wont be able or shouldn´t run again even after the operation which is a real bummer that i am having to work on.otherwise nothing new my end. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GINA180847 3/24/2014 3:06AM

    Great blog! That salesman won't be working there too long. Not exactly the king of tact.

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PRAIRIECROCUS 3/24/2014 1:11AM

    emoticon
What a wonderful blog !
emoticon for the emoticon pep talk !

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JANIEWWJD 3/24/2014 12:15AM

    POSITIVITY: that is the one "vitamin" I never forget to take daily!!! If a statement made to you or a lifestyle you are living is not a reflection of YOU, let it go!!!! You are so right; LET IT GO!!!! Have a great week, my friend and continue doing well!!!!!
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KONRAD695 3/23/2014 11:21PM

    I'm glad you put your feelings into words. Sometimes sharing also removes the toxins. Chin up and keep smiling. emoticon

PS- there is a bloated, tires and sore guy in Michigan who's got your back. also, he's strong enough to pick you up if you need it. emoticon

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ELRIDDICK 3/23/2014 10:41PM

  Thanks for sharing

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Greetings & Updates from She Lives Fit

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hey Spark friends,

It's been a while since I've shared a couple updates about what's been UP in my life lately, so I thought I'd swing by and say HI and share!

First of all, this past month I redesigned my website and have been learning so much about the world of web-management -- I feel like I have Conquered All Things, if ya know what I mean! LOL. It's so incredibly satisfying to have a place that I know I've put my time, energy and thoughts into online for all to see.

Also, relating to the website updates, I'm going to start posting regular Vlogs where I answer reader/listener questions about health and nutrition. I'm pretty stoked, and hope that it goes over well. Posted my first one today (and it got a little longer than I planned... about 9 minutes. Whoops. I talk too much!).

In addition to staying busy with my health coaching biz, I started working PT at a local health food store in their supplements department a couple months ago! I'm only doing a few hours per week, but have been learning SO MUCH lately, and I really love answering customer's questions and shopping with them. I'm being consistent with taking a few standard supplements (multi, probiotic, omegas, etc) and have noticed a big difference in my energy. There is so much to learn!! I actually just had a training call this morning with Genesis Today and learned more about superfruits. It's great info to utilize in my coaching, AND at the health store!

I don't think I've shared this little tidbit here on Spark yet, either.... WE ADOPTED A PUPPY! If you follow me on facebook, you have probably already seen pics of her adorable face, but if not, here ya go:


Can I get an AWWWWWW???? She's friggen cute, I tell ya.

We adopted this girl back in February, when she was only 9 weeks. Of course, she's grown a ton, and is almost six months old now. Her name is Elenore (or Nori, as her nickname), and she is a humane society pup... they said she was a border collie mix - we think mixed with a sheepdog or Tibetan terrier. I got her hair cut a few weeks ago, but before then she looked SO SHAGGY and mangy! It was pretty funny.

Other new happenings: I'm running in the COLOR VIBE 5K RACE tomorrow morning with my husband! I've seen plenty of pics from color runs, and they look so fun! I hope it's a great time. I'm thrilled that my husband (begrudgingly) agreed to run with me. Will share a few pictures afterward.

This morning I tried a new exercise class at the yoga studio: Barre Sculpt. It kicked my @ss. Seriously. I'm a hurtin' unit. Hopefully I'll be able to pound out 3 miles tomorrow morning... The class incorporated some yoga-type moves + sculpting/weight lifting and body weight exercise + cardio bursts + barre (ballet/dance) moves at a bar by the wall. Seriously crazy. I was panting and dripping sweat all over like a nasty wet rag. Had to take a few breather breaks to keep from throwing up (the smoothie before class was a bad idea).

Anyway, that's a little sneak peak into my life as of late! I hope you enjoyed, and will continue to swing by to check in occasionally. I don't spend much time on Spark anymore, but am really active on facebook - find me there to keep in contact, or check out my other blog!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FEELINGFITERIN 11/25/2013 5:04AM

    What a CUTE doggie! Congrats on your new little family member. I always joke that my dog Monte is my "best behaved son" (to which my boys roll their eyes, lol).


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NEENSTER1 9/11/2013 8:00AM

    You are truly an encouragment to the sparkworld and in mine especially. Continue to keep your spark! All the best to you and keep up the hard, hard work. Anything worth having is certainly not easy by far. You earned and deserve all that you have accomplished.

emoticon the update. emoticon

P.S.. I absolutely love your doggie Nori... Beautiful emoticon Awwwwww and yesssss a frigggin cutie pie for sure!! Be Encouraged and take good care. emoticon

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KATYMARIA 8/12/2013 10:10PM

    What a cutie! Hope the color run was awesome!

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GOALWTIN7 7/20/2013 11:27AM

  How do I find your other blog?

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JANIEWWJD 7/8/2013 3:10AM

    Sounds like you're enjoying what you're doing now!!! I'm so happy for you, and it is wonderful to hear from you!!!! Keep in touch. God bless you and your family!! The puppy is soooo cute!!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BONOLICIOUS2 6/17/2013 8:54AM

    Awwwww super duper cute puppy! Do you find you're getting outside more, longer walks, etc...? I'm trying to use that as part of my reasoning to get a dog lol.

Glad you're doing well, thanks for checking in!

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KONRAD695 6/15/2013 6:57AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Some may say that "Life is treating you well". I think- you grabbed the bull by the horns, wrestled him down, told him "who's in charge", and now he does exactly as you wish.

Well Done Spark Friend!

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RUNNERRACHEL 6/15/2013 12:35AM

    Cute puppy! emoticon

Excited for your health business and all you're learning. emoticon

Glad you're doing what you're passionate about! emoticon

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ONEBIGDUDE 6/14/2013 7:59PM

    emoticon emoticon

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WISEDUP1 6/14/2013 6:52PM

    Congrats on all! :) So happy for you! :)
Enjoy that pup...even more reason to run around the bock!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 6/14/2013 5:33PM

    shame i am not on facebook love and for some reason i haven´t been getting notification on your new blogs on your website,if you can give me the link again i would be grateful.good luck in the race tomorrow i am sure you will have lots of fun.love the puppy and the name but don´t think my older sister will be too please that is her name,lol.-take care and keep smiling,love karen emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAREN_NY 6/14/2013 4:41PM

    Good to see you lovin' life!

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

What I "really" look like - healthy body in unflattering & flattering photos

Monday, April 15, 2013

I am a beautiful woman.

I say this not to sound arrogant or narcissistic, but to point out a reality that I often struggle to acknowledge and accept with humility. I am beautiful, and so are you.

We as women have such deeply rooted self-esteem battles, that are ever aggravated in the bombarding of daily media we face. We’re constantly measuring ourselves against the woman next to us, the face on the magazine cover, the girl in the commercial, the blogger, the facebook friend whose Instagramed “selfies” are filtered over unrecognizably. There is no shortage of ways to fall short in the measures of beauty we hold ourselves to. It’s obscene, really.

And it’s bull. It’s utterly insane, self-degrading and abusive, and makes no sense at all. How can we live a life of health and happiness if we are constantly beating ourselves down? Constantly comparing ourselves to the appearance and standards of others? There is no safety or self-esteem in a life like this. Only self-hatred and a constant feeling of lack.

I’ve been struggling with this on and off for my whole life – much like you have, I’d guess. When I decided to embark on a journey toward a more fit body and mind, I knew that losing weight wouldn’t solve all my problems. (And it didn’t.) Sure, I felt better in a healthier, smaller and stronger body, but the mental hurdles I faced still kept me cycling in and out of self-abuse and talk. I’d look in the mirror and ONLY see the cellulite. I’d scour magazines for health tips and beauty tips and the best workout to “tone my abs.” It didn’t matter that my weight was healthy, my body strong and capable, or that my husband adores me—only that no matter how hard I tried, I could never get those six-pack abs, that cellulite-free butt or that tiny waist. I could try on a pair of size four jeans in one store—and feel like I was on top of the world!—then go to the next and barely squeeze into a “juniors” (ha!) size 11, and then feel like I was fat and gross.

Admittedly, I sometimes still have these feelings. I have low-self esteem days here and there, and wonder if I’ll ever just be OK and happy in my skin.

But those days are few. And I am proud to say that MOST days, I truly do believe I am beautiful and don’t need to measure up to any of the other women I see. Because I’m me, and I’m healthy and worthy and good as I am.

I’ve had these thoughts on my mind a lot in the past few days since I read this very inspiring blog post by Fit Mama Training. Check it out here: fitmamatraining.com/what-i-really-lo
ok-like-a-perfectly-healthy-body-in-mo
re-and-less-flattering-photos/


She posts a chain of photos of her real, beautiful and healthy body in some unflattering and flattering angles. It was so inspiring to read her words of confidence and truth – I felt the desire to do the same.

So, my friends, today I share with you some real photos of my healthy body, in more and less flattering angles. They’re not filtered or edited, just real unprofessional quick shots from today.

We start this morning… post-shower, wet hair and no makeup. I have a few blemishes, and usually do. I’ve always struggled with feeling ugly whenever I get breakouts (which has been almost always, from about age 12 to 25), and I’m trying to be more gentle with myself and not “attack” my skin at night (since abusing it by picking only makes it angrier and worse!).


Torso shot… not flexing, not slouching… just standing. I don’t have a “perfectly toned core” and no matter how thin I’ve gotten in the past, I can’t get definition or much for a defined waist. It’s just how my body is shaped and that’s okay. I can “pinch an inch” around my hips and tummy. I also have stretch marks on my hips and thighs and butt, and I have tiny breasts. All these things are okay, and don’t make me less beautiful.


Here is a more flattering angle, in my yoga booty-shorts and sports bra. I weighed myself after breakfast and workout today, and I’m around 150 pounds (5’10”). This is on the high side of maintenance for me, but it’s easy to fluctuate between 147-151 without effort. When I try to keep my weight between 143-145, it takes more effort—careful eating and more rigorous exercise. For the few pounds difference, no one notices but me. And I don’t care that much anymore.


Squattin’! Leg muscle definition, strong booty.


More flattering angle. Sucked in, flexed tummy. Not much definition, but lots of muscle!


Less flattering angle. Different lighting, slumping down, pooching out over shorts. Baby-love handles and soft pooch. Still okay.


Less flattering angle. Slumpy slouchy. Intentionally pooching out belly and hunching over. Not so cute? Still okay.


GROSS FACE! Slumpy hunchy. Rippled “belly fat.”


Pulled the shorts waistline down a bit, and I can REALLY stick out the belly. Looks like I could lose a little fat here, doesn’t it? Could make a good “before / after” photo, even just compared to some of the more flattering pics above!


Booty-shot. Not perfectly toned. I have cellulite. That’s okay. This booty can squat, balance in yoga poses and run me far!


More flattering shot, differently lighting. Flexing abs.


Difficult behind-the-head-mirror-back shot. I have muscle back there.


All dressed up and made-up! Normal day look for me. Flattering lighting and angle.


Unflattering face. Double chin!


Big grin! Less cute angle, but real me. I have little wrinkles and blemishes.


Different lighting, different look. Still okay!


Full body shot, all dressed up and accessorized.


That’s me, folks. Lots of angles, lots of realness. And I’m beautiful, and so are you.

My hope in sharing these photos and thoughts is not to give myself an ego-boost. I don’t need that from you, as I’m learning to boost myself in a healthy way each day. I’m hoping to give YOU a shot of confidence, knowing that you are gorgeous and worthy, with or without a filter or photoshop. Don’t compare yourself to me, because you’re NOT me. Ya get what I’m saying?

You are uniquely and perfectly YOU. And that’s enough. Because you’re enough.

Stop all the comparison. Stop trying to make your body like someone else’s. Stop the “fitspiration” pages collecting photos of people with totally different genetic makeup than you. You won’t look like them, even following their workouts and diet plans!

Today, I challenge you to see through the judgment, through the comparison, and the unflattering angles. See that you ARE enough, you ARE beautiful, and you CAN be healthy and happy in your skin.

Be beautiful. Be you!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIFESABREEZE 12/30/2013 11:44AM

    I really enjoyed this blog! Women are so critical of themselves (including me)! Lately when I see myself in photos, I only see the negative! I want to strive to see the positive and accept myself for who I am and know that I am beautiful!
Your photo demos are great, thank you!

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FATALENORA 9/12/2013 6:20PM

    you are an inspiration!!! I have been strugggling so much just accepting myself. I don't know where to start ... Can you give me your advice..what kicked you into high gear to just shed and work out and diet healthy? I get lazy a lot.. almost hopeless lazy. I tell myself I'll do it tomorrow. I never do.

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ADAPTINGANNIE 7/28/2013 8:11AM

    Thanks for posting. Just seeing the picture of you all dressed and ready..say out in public....I would think "perfect" no issues there. Guess we don't know where others are coming from or what issues they have. I'll keep your words in mind.
emoticon

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TINYDBS 7/7/2013 2:16PM

    Yes Yes Yes!!! Thank you so much for posting this. I will take this reminder with me today.

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FALLINTOFLIGHT 6/18/2013 7:20PM

    I love this post. I can say, as someone who runs a fitblr and is a love of the fitblr community, most fitblrs are pro self love, pro be yourself, all those pictures mean something amazing to many of us, something positive, inspirational and motivational. Thinspo takes starvation, fitspo takes determination, a healthy perspective, and a lot of hard work. I loved this blog. keep loving your body, keep loving you because you are amazing! Great read!

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MRS.CARLY 6/18/2013 5:56PM

    I loved the photos and the sharing! You make me laugh! Funny girl!

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WISEDUP1 6/14/2013 6:55PM

    Great points!
Thanks for the raw honesty!
Refreshing!
emoticon

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SHERLYN-WILL 6/14/2013 4:57PM

    ABSOLUTELY AWESOME BLOG!!!!

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AMYE1083 6/10/2013 9:14PM

    Thanks, I needed this reminder today. You are beautiful and so am I. We all are.

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TWEETIEBIRDIE 6/9/2013 1:57PM

    Love the REAL photos! You are a beautiful person!

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BLUEROSE73 5/24/2013 8:45AM

  You look great, in all your shots. I love the idea of really looking at the angles and shots and facing what you consider your problem areas, and seeing they are not really all that bad.

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TERRY0217 5/24/2013 6:42AM

    You look great! keep up the great work!

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TDEMAIO2 5/24/2013 6:09AM

    AWESOME : ) Yes you are beautiful!!!! We are all beautiful WOO HOO

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BOOTYLISCIOUS3 5/23/2013 9:47AM

    Awesome post! thaks for sharing

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EFFRAYECHILDE 5/6/2013 7:44AM

    emoticon Great post.

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MCJULIEO 5/4/2013 5:33AM

    Well expressed and well illustrated... Thank you!

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NEWNANCY2012 5/3/2013 6:39AM

    emoticon great post!

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FITGIRL15 5/2/2013 3:21PM

    emoticon Bravo!!!

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/24/2013 9:49PM

    emoticon

¸¸.•´¸.•*¨) ♥¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ .♥ (¸.•´ .♥ (¸.•*´¨`* ♥☆¸.•*´¨`*♥☆
;¸.•*´¨
`*♥☆ Keep Spreading the Spark!!!

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CAALAN23 4/23/2013 11:24AM

    LOL! You are too cute! Good lesson too! Love to learn from Sparkers because they are so "real".

Tina

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WHITEANGEL4 4/22/2013 11:44PM

    Great blog

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 4/22/2013 1:44PM

    I'm working on it... trying to see the beauty in me despite what the scale says or how the other women in my life look.
Thanks for sharing. You are brave, an inspiration & beautiful!

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GRAMPIAN 4/22/2013 6:02AM

  Well said!

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KAB7801 4/21/2013 10:31PM

    Gettin there
We are beautiful

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FITGRL124 4/21/2013 8:12PM

    Awesome blog! We are all beautiful, inside and out. Thank you for posting a wonderful blog!!

emoticon

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CLCIPS 4/21/2013 9:42AM

    What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing your beauty and for your sincerity in acknowledging the beauty in all of us.

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STRONGDJ 4/20/2013 4:07PM

    You are right, you are a truly beautiful woman. I mean that in the very best way--sure beautiful outside, but also you are beautiful inside. Thanks for sharing this blog, your bravery and your honesty.

It is hard for me to recognize the "flaws" you point out in yourself--but we all have our own perception of ourselves. So thanks for helping me realize that things I may think are terrible may not be so bad after all.



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SWEET_CAROLYN 4/20/2013 12:52PM

    THANK YOU for this. Thank you! This is what I definitely needed, today and always! I have my own body and have to learn to love it just the way it is.

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ANGELN325 4/20/2013 12:03PM

    This is an awesome blog and kudos to you for doing it because I agree. We have too many women picking themselves apart instead of thinking about the amazing things our bodies do...like when I gave birth to my daughter. That's when I realized I was stronger than I could ever imagine! Everyone lets give ourselves a hug and tell ourselves that we love us.

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CJE1956 4/20/2013 11:58AM

    Thank you. You have put into words, thoughts I have had my entire life. I never appreciated what I had when I was younger and a size 10 or 12. I am now 56 and determined to become healthy and appreciate what I have and what I achieve. Thank you for a wonderful post.

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ERIN_POSCH 4/20/2013 9:56AM

    woo hoo! great for you! thanks for the post

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AMBER461 4/19/2013 10:50PM

  Awesome, you are beautiful.

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JORDANIE25 4/19/2013 10:19PM

    Intensely Brave!

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SHANNONY84 4/19/2013 1:12PM

    You are beautiful and should feel it!

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1GROVES2 4/19/2013 10:43AM

    You really are beautiful....I mean all the pictures, post shower and "unflattering" poses!
Thanks for sharing your morning and yourself.
:0)

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STEVIEBEE569 4/19/2013 9:57AM

    Looking Good!

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LANEYTHEGIRL 4/19/2013 2:33AM

    You are so adorable. Great blog!

Comment edited on: 4/19/2013 2:34:38 AM

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JERICHO1991 4/18/2013 10:48PM

    Open, honest, and encouraging. Thanks.

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MRSFANCYLADY 4/18/2013 10:29PM

    Great blog! We must work on ourselves daily! It's only when we fail to work that things fall apart in our lil piece of the earth. I struggle as you.... most days are better (thank God!) than others. Keep up the good work and I will too!

Take care.

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IMAGINYAS 4/18/2013 10:13PM

    WoW!!!! Your blog blew me away. Soooooooo.....what you are sayin is....you are beautiful AND smart!!!! Got it ;).

But seriously, I agree with everyone here....blog was super awesome, you are super cute (and so am i :)), you are even better looking inside, etc, etc.

Wow....good one. For realz. I would totally hang out with you ...and hate you at the same time for being so...beautiful, awesome, damned genius? Ok, so i still have some things to work on...

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LEMON2012 4/18/2013 9:11PM

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MISSXJAY 4/18/2013 8:51PM

    Great Post!

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RUTHDEN1 4/18/2013 7:15PM

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MANILUS 4/18/2013 6:05PM

    Great message, you are right that we are enough, uniquely us and we could never achieve what someone else does because we are genetically different! You are beautiful, great work!!!

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KLMEIRING 4/18/2013 5:55PM

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JULIA1154 4/18/2013 5:17PM

  Thanks for a thoughtful and thought-provoking blog. It's (healthful) food for thought.

You do look great - embrace and enjoy it. You've also got wonderful eyes that express a lot of character and a terrific smile. You do realize this, I hope.

Re: blemishes. Try tea tree oil (i.e., Desert Essence) it really helps and is great for itchy bites, too. I found that when I quit eating nuts (especially peanuts) all my skin problems disappeared. You might want to experiment and see if there's a food trigger for you barely-noticeable breakouts.



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CIRCETWO 4/18/2013 4:02PM

  And it turns out that my favorite photo of you by far is the first one. No makeup, no effort, just you. Beautiful!

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OPTIMIST1948 4/18/2013 4:01PM

    You do an outstanding job of pointing out the difference posture and attitude can make in beauty. Congratulations on a well thought out, planned and above all INSPIRING post!

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EFOX2013 4/18/2013 4:01PM

    This is awesome. Thank you for sharing!!!

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AKA639 4/18/2013 3:28PM

    Love it. You are beautiful :)

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Defining Success - Personal Reflections

Monday, April 01, 2013

What defines your success? How do you find happiness and purpose, and feel like you’ve truly accomplished something of value?

I’m learning a challenging lesson about this in my own life lately.

I have written about my struggles with perfectionism in the past – the ever consuming “all or nothing” mentality that I coach so many of my clients through, assuring them that perfect isn’t possible, and that is okay. Slip-ups happen. That is okay. Mistakes and failures push us toward our great potential.

I say this stuff… and I know this stuff… but I honest to God have a very hard time putting into practice in my own mentality sometimes. Especially when I feel like I’m continually slipping, tripping, and falling flat on my face. Like now.

When I was a student, I got straight A’s. Surprising? Probably not. Unique? Nope. I was your typical oldest child, over-achiever and goodie-two-shoes. I learned that when I worked hard at something and gave it my all, I was rewarded. Rewarded with a good grade. A scholarship. A solo in choir. My art featured in a show. A leadership position. Student of the month. A good tip from a satisfied customer. Positive accolades and praise from my professors and teachers.

I am beginning to see now in these clunky adult years of growth [aka – my 20’s] that I must have really attached my own success and worth to all these outside credits. I have always believed I was only as good as the report card or another person told me I was. This realization is slamming me in the soul lately, as I grapple with my perceptions of failure (be they accurate or not) in my life and attempted ventures.

As an adult, I don’t get graded quarterly. I don’t have superiors praising me, or opportunities to showcase my talents or passions for all to acknowledge and celebrate like I used to. I have had a diverse past few years of work-experience, with some not so great bosses and unhealthy work environments that left me feeling broken and worthless. I am paying off my student loan debt, I pay my taxes, I’m an honest person, and I’m working hard at pursuing a life of passion where I inspire and help other people and live according to my beliefs and virtues… I feel like I’ve done everything right… but yet…

… I struggle over and over with feelings of failure.

Have you read the book The Five Love Languages? It’s a book that I often discuss with my clients when we talk about relationships and easing communications with others. The five “love languages” proposed are: Time, Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Gifts. When my husband and I read the book several years ago, I discovered (not to my surprise) that I am overwhelmingly concerned with Words of Affirmation. It is how I feel loved and valued more than anything else!

Recognizing this as a primary need of mine, I can see how I’ve always tied my self-love to the affirmation of others in my life. Whether it be in school or in the work place, I’ve always sought approval that I’m enough. That I’m good. Worthy.

Successful.

It’s no wonder I’ve been battling feelings of failure and disappointment recently. I’m all too dependent on the approval and recognition by others to validate that I can do this and I am talented and capable and valued. And I haven’t been receiving it. Like, at all. [In fact, I’ve been receiving the opposite of it… criticisms and dismissals.]

I am definitely being tested. My faith is being challenged, and God keeps trying to teach me patience and help me to see that my worth is not in the words of others or the dollars on my paycheck. My worth is in the light of God within me, the love of Christ that gives me hope and strength to carry on.

All these feelings of self-doubt and old mental abuse have been screaming at me these past four days. As you may know, back in the fall I took a part-time job working at a chiropractic office to help supplement my income as I continue to work on building my health coaching practice. (I am a part-time gal, piecing together a collection of jobs to make up a somewhat pitiful and undependable income, while keeping me running all over each day.) I was hired as a Chiropractic Assistant, under the impression I would be primarily working in-office with patients, doing rehabilitation exercises and therapies, and assisting at the front-desk. The job turned into a two-part position – where the majority of my responsibilities were as a Practice Representative, and I was to do networking and sales for the business through lining up speaking engagements at local businesses. While I’m comfortable talking to new people and public speaking, the sales pressure was too much for me, and had me very stressed. I expressed this concern to my superior, and came down with an awful cold. Last week, I departed the office and the job.

This most recent “failure” feels like a validation of my own deep seeded fears of inadequacy: that no matter what I attempt, I seem to fail. I know this fear is illogical, but unfortunately emotions are not dictated by logic. The emotion is real, and the self-doubt has been consuming me.

I don’t really have any sage conclusions about all these feelings and musings, other than I know I’m growing, and growth is sometimes quite uncomfortable. (I have the stretch marks from my youth spurt to prove it.) I have a lot to work on, and many realizations about myself and how I define my worth to keep me turning inward and upward – putting my faith in the journey and my God.

Somehow, I have to believe that even if I can’t see it and no one is telling me outright, I must be doing the homework necessary to earn my “A” in this career venture soon. I am filled with such passion and desire for goodness and revolution – I want so badly to be a beacon of light and change for others, to radiate truth and compassion and health. Even though my entrepreneurial efforts are taking more time than I had hoped, I have faith that all will be well. Bumps in the road help shape the journey, and help me to redefine what success really comes down to in my life. Because it can’t be about dollar signs – or about report cards or accolades.

It has to be about the peace I feel with my place here in this world, and the joy in living, speaking, and acting upon my truth. Blessed be this beautiful life.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FEELINGFITERIN 11/26/2013 3:44PM

    I understand the need for words of affirmation, I am the same love language! Our pastor has preached many messages using the Five Love Languages book, I love it!

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TRUDIP1 6/12/2013 3:19PM

    The joy of the Lord is our strength...please Him and strength will follow and bring happiness along with it. Thanks for sharing.

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FATHINSN 4/18/2013 1:22AM

    I think you should be in next Bobbi Brown's Pretty Powerful series :D

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SIMONEKP 4/16/2013 9:38AM

    Internal affirmations of self-worth is the most important step in learning to truly love the person you sre, not the person you hope to become. You are well on your way on that journey.

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KLONG8 4/15/2013 1:02AM

    I had a feeling I should check in with you and here you are, really writing about something so very important. I believe you are uncovering important things about yourself...and things that so many people feel. I think that in your 20's you are particularly vulnerable to needing the approval of others to feel you are successful, worthy. I can only tell you that with age that settles down a little and you learn (through all your life lessons) that you are the one grading yourself. The cool thing about you, Whitney, is that you set great goals and then you know when you go after them you'll attain them. That's POWER, that's PERSEVERANCE! You'll be successful. A job that isn't a good fit? That's part of life and you learn from each experience. You're a total winner. Best to you on your journey!

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COOKWITHME65 4/14/2013 11:52PM

    You a a strong women Whitney. You have accomplished so much at your young age. Give yourself a pat on the back. The road ahead is not always easy or fun but you are not given up and sitting it out like many your age. Give your self some credit. Your on the right path. I'm proud of you!

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GINA180847 4/10/2013 12:37PM

    Dear Whitney, I hear you on all those points. Face it, it is nice to get recogniton for work well done. But internally we need to be the first and most honest to do the recognizing. There is nothing I hate more than compliments for nothing, just empty crap. So it amounts to being very careful to be kind , honest and doing the best we can. Some jobs are not healthy for us. One job I had when I most desperately needed the money found me eating insanely and I knew after very careful evaluation that I had to face unemployment or go nuts. Life is what it is, not as it should be. I was often reminded that no one promised me a rose garden (no kidding!).

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KELLIGIRL523 4/5/2013 8:11PM

    I've been "following" you for several years, and this is my take on you, Whit:

You are the change you want to see in the world.

That, my dear, is a fabulous thing. I would call that being successful!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 4/2/2013 11:26AM

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JCWATL 4/2/2013 9:27AM

    Perhaps needing outside approval isn't a bad thing...

I work on commission and my income depends on my relative success. Since I like to succeed (and make money) I work hard and am rewarded with praise from above.

I think some people are internally motivated and some people need to hear it from ranother source. Maybe you could set up some kind of reward system in your own business so that you can praise yourself for reaching your goals?

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BONOLICIOUS2 4/2/2013 9:08AM

    I hear ya on all of the above, I was the same in school & younger years. Now it's like - I make one mistake and I'm fighting to keep myself from letting the walls crash down on me.

I also noted something you mentioned here that busts my bubble - student loans. You are smart, you rocked college, you have big dreams that would be totally achievable - if you didn't have student loans to pay back. I struggle alot with my "dream career" and the steps it takes to get there and the fact that I owe $300 a month to basically a vicious beast that will come after me if I don't, and I can't afford to NOT have a more stable, undesirable job or I can't pay those bills. It's a rock and a hard place.

I quit my first job out of college. I graduated with a 4.0, honors, and I felt like I failed. But the truth is that you have to learn the hard way sometimes what is HEALTHY & GOOD for YOU. Those soul crushing jobs are learning experiences, but you have to move on at the same time. Don't feel bad for protecting your heart and soul by moving on. Life is too short! Channel that energy into positive development for the future instead of agonizing over the past, except to reflect on what you gained from the experience (even if it is just "I will not work for a psycho ever again")

Easier said than done, I know, but good luck!

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FITFRANNIEK 4/2/2013 9:05AM

    I read this and all i kept thinking was "yes---this is me too". I'm with you honey and will be praying for you. lets hope all this self-doubt and "failure complex" ends before our 30s!

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BOBINVA 4/2/2013 8:31AM

    When we rely on the approval of others we will ALWAYS be dissapointed. It can never be enough or the way we want it.
The phrase "happiness comes from within" can really get some people boiling. Ultimately, it proves out over the course of time.
If you look at many of the religions around the world they point to the pathway to peace as a constant struggle to get closer to a higher power. A dedication of every action, not for personal glory, but for a greater good.
There are two words to meditate on: gratitude and acceptance.
When you are ready the answers will come.

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ISHIIGIRL 4/2/2013 8:13AM

    I am very much like this myself. When you are used to outside validation and it stops, you think something is wrong. You have to look within yourself for that validation. Look at how successful you have been at your weight loss. Take that and know you can do it. If you can do this, you can do anything. A few things that have helped me are this website.....
www.MarkandAngelhac
klife.com
( not sure it this is right, you can google it) and I am currently reading Uncertainty, turning fear and doubt into fuel for brilliance by Jonathan Fields.
You will find your path if you are open to it. You just have to read the signs God puts in your path correctly. I am living my life with more intention right now and saying yes to things I would typically shy away from. My life is so much more fulfilling. I wish you the best in what you seek.

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DUXGRL1 4/2/2013 6:51AM

    Wow, this is powerful and insightful. You have not only clarified some things for yourself, you have also put your finger on some issues that I share that I have neve been able to understand.

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ANNIEONLI 4/2/2013 6:49AM

    "The 20s are years of growth and discovery...but the 30s are when life really begins."

That is my own quote...and I am 40 now, and it still holds up. I couldn't wait to get to my 30s because that is when I truly felt life began...with career, with family, with me finding "me". They say the 40s are even better...we shall see! lol

Things are always going to be constantly changing - your body, your life your business...the key to it is to be HAPPY in your heart (which you weren't at that job btw, so kudos for leaving it...that takes guts!) and as time goes on, the coping mechanisms to adapt to those changes are what separate the strong from the weak. Blogging it out is therapeautic - as is getting support from your community - again, good job for using those tools!

Learning the phases of life is part of the game... you are in one such phase. Stay true to your dream. That is what someone told me recently on here (because god knows, life will throw you a loop at 40 too!) and it helped to read those words!

Keep up the faith! and keep that chin up!! Go and do some sales work for yourself instead of someone else! Why not?!?! It wouldn't hurt and maybe some of the people you met might just be interested in YOUR stuff instead of the other stuff you were selling emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 4/2/2013 3:03AM

    I believe that seeking approval and affirmation is part of human nature. I can't think of someone I know who wouldn't feel valued and important when met with other people's recognition. And I think we can easily become addicted to this and count on it in order to measure our success. But the truth is that our personal success is defined by our dreams and desires. Are we living the life that we would like to lead? Have we become the persons that we'd like to be with a character that we really admire? Try to forget about your recent "failure" and focus on the things that you would like and the things that you have achieved. Count your blessings and enjoy the things that really matter in your life. Success comes disguised sometimes.
Good luck!

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RUNNERRACHEL 4/2/2013 12:50AM

    You're on a journey that sounds like very important self-discovery! I am impressed with your venture into the health coaching field and have found myself with a very strong desire to help others, whether as a health-coach of some kind, a mentor, a counselor...I am exploring. Your earnest desire to follow God and your strong passion for this field are evident. It may be challenging and a struggle but that is part of the journey. And everything you are learning along the way is important. Keep pursuing your passion and continuing to seek God's direction as you move forward. This is a very important part of the process. I am at the beginning of the changes I want to make (haven't yet made that leap) and am just beginning to take steps. I very much admire where you are. Keep up the great work!

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PRAIRIECROCUS 4/1/2013 11:52PM

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WHOVIANPRINCESS 4/1/2013 11:49PM

    In the past when I have reached maintenance I have found this to be a true issue. No one notices that you're staying the same healthy self, the praise ends and it can be tough to find another motivator.

I truly believe that you will find your success, you are a very inspirational, well spoken individual with so much to give to your clients. Keep your head up!

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GOING-STRONG 4/1/2013 11:34PM

    Your blog made me realize that subconsciously I also seek approval from others... and that isn't always healthy! I am a high achiever and it is hard for me when things don't just fall into place all neat and tidy...so many things in life are outside of our control. But you can control how you react to situations and look for the positive aspects and you are doing that beautifully.

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UMBILICAL 4/1/2013 11:03PM

  You are the only judge of your success.

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Will you be YOUR Valentine this year? Self-love vs. Selfishness

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

During the week of flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, and incessant advertising by jewelry companies, I thought it might be an appropriate time to sit back and consider what this holiday of love means outside of commercial pressures. Sure, it’s a blatant opportunity to remind those in our life that we love and care for them, and a glaring day of loneliness to those who may feel unloved without a romantic partner… but isn’t it more? Can’t it be more?

I think it should be. And is. And so is every day. It’s an opportunity to truly turn inward and show ourselves the love and care we need and deserve.

Have you ever hated yourself? Or, if not hated, perhaps berated? Chastised, verbally or mentally abused, physically abused through harm or guilty, angry eating? I know I have.

I know I’ve done a poor job of actually treating myself with the same love and respect I treat others. I have been a poor friend to me, been abusive and degrading, and really loathed my very existence on occasions. I’ve felt unlovable, beaten down inside, and unworthy of happiness. I thought that if I punished myself enough for my failures and ineptitudes it would somehow motivate me to improve, to suck less, to be a better person.

What I’ve learned over the last several years is that hating myself and dishonoring my body and mind has done no good at all. In fact, it’s only held me back, and made bumps in the road feel like mountains. When I started to honor myself, to love and nurture and pamper the internal and external me, I realized I could be a better person. I felt worthy. I felt like I was competent and resilient, and that I DO deserve happiness.

I have been thinking a lot about these things lately, particularly after I was feeling overwhelmed and overstretched with my to-do list, and posted a facebook status wondering how parents handle it all with children. I immediately got a whole chain of responses by parents saying things similar to “your children become your life” and that it’s all about “putting yourself second to them.” When I expressed my understanding that yes, children do become and ARE a main priority, but I think it’s important to balance the self in a life with children, I felt immediately “mommy-shamed” (and I’m not even a mom yet!), as if my admittance that self-love is still important somehow made me a selfish person and unfit to be a good parent.

Something occurred to me when I was pondering this interaction and social norm – self-sacrifice for the good of others: Loving yourself less does not mean you can therefore love others more. You do not better the world or others around you – be they your children or strangers in another continent – by self-sacrificing, self-deprecating, and self-abusing. Love is not a tangible thing (like money), where you give less to yourself and you have more to give to others. Love is endless, intangible, ever expanding and conceiving. The more you give, the more you have.

And the more you honor and love yourself, the better person you can be to others. You will feel valuable. You’ll feel honored and respected. And when you feel that way, you want others to feel it too. So you share of yourself, your time, your possessions, and love.

Now, I’m not saying that you should love your children less or love others less – I hope that’s clear. And I’m certainly not saying that you should put your “beauty rest” or personal pampering wants before the immediate needs of a baby’s diaper changing or tending to hungry children (i.e. being a responsible and loving parent). But what I am saying is that there is a way to keep self-love in our lives without it being selfishness. These things are not the same at all.

Self-love is about honor and respect of life. It’s about seeing God within you – precious and good – and allowing that light to shine forth to others. It’s about modeling a behavior of treating your SELF the way you want others to treat you, and you want to treat others!

Selfishness is about denying others and seeing no value outside the self. It’s a callous armor of cowardice, a refusal to open and be vulnerable or share with others. It is not love, and it disrespects the value of others in your life.

Can you see how these things are sooooooo not the same thing?

When you make a practice of including time and activities in your life that honor your talents and interests, and nurture both your body and soul, you can truly be a better person/parent/sibling/friend/etc. You earn no medallions and save no lives by disrespecting and belittling your self and your own worth in your life.

So, I ask you this today: Will you be your own Valentine? How can you choose to honor and love yourself in a way that makes you a better parent, and a happier, more conscious person? What gift will you give yourself this week—and next week, and the week after –to renew the love you have for you? For many of my clients, even a simple 30 minutes set aside for a bubble bath or a designated activity they enjoy just for them can be the perfect way to nourish and refresh the body, mind, and soul.

I would love to hear what you’re going to do this week as your act of self-love and care. Please comment below, or share on facebook (/shelivesfit) or in an email. You are worthy of love. Even by you.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOOTYLISCIOUS3 2/27/2013 10:44AM

    love this blog couldnt agree more xxxx

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LINDAJOYWK 2/14/2013 7:15PM

    Beautifully put.

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LRSILVER 2/14/2013 4:55AM

    Even as a mom, you need to love and take care of yourself. It recharges you.

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BOBINVA 2/13/2013 9:22PM

    Remember the metaphor from the airline stewardess, "Put your own oxygen mask on first before you assist another"
This also holds true with our health. We are of no use to others if we ourselves are incapacitated.
We have an obligation to care for ourselves, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is not to be done necessarily to the detriment of others, but to insure we can be our best and give our best.
Keep sparking!

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DUXGRL1 2/13/2013 7:42PM

    GREAT blog, and so very true!

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PINTASUVIDA 2/13/2013 7:40PM

    This is so true. Great blog! I feel that in day to day lie we become so entwined with jobs, families that we forget that, we as an individual cannot participate well without taking care of ourselves first. And like you said, you have to be your best friend! All this time i never realized how crappy i was being to myself. Thanks ! emoticon

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KANSASROSE67 2/13/2013 4:07PM

    I hate the way so many people feel the need to "one-up" others. Parenting is not a competitive sport! I once read an excellent parenting book where the author felt that the current "kid-centered" culture was not healthy for the children, or their parents. I completely agree. Kids do best when they are not treated as pampered princesses, or the the center of the family universe. Of course, they need time, attention and love, but not at expense of their parent's mental and physical well-being. Balance is important in family life, as in everything else. Good blog!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 2/13/2013 2:44PM

    wash my hair,lol.correct that find the time to wash my hair.sometimes such a simple thing to do can seem impossible.it doesn´t mean i love myself any less it just means therte are other things that need doing more.great blog whitney love.how are you?keep on being you.i love you as your are-take care and keep smiling. emoticon

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BALDWINJ_03 2/13/2013 11:44AM

    Love this blog. I have a really hard time w/ self-confidence and self-acceptance a lot, so thanks for the reminders to love myself. Have a very happy Valentines Day!

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WHOVIANPRINCESS 2/13/2013 11:17AM

    I will be working most of Valentine's Day, but I will take time to myself to workout, eat well, and read. These are the things that I need in order to keep myself a positive force for others.

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RANDI_JEAN 2/13/2013 11:04AM

    I have experienced the mommy-shaming and it doesn't really make sense to me. Not only has running been good for me, it is much better for my son too. He likes the mom that comes home from a run, playful and excited to see him Vs. the one that is there before the run, played out and stressed. I take an hour to myself everyday and allow my husband the same and we are both much more balanced and better parents because of it. And neither of us has "lost ourselves" in the experience of new parenthood! Loved your blog.

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KAREN_NY 2/13/2013 10:46AM

    Mommyshamers might also choose to think of it this way: Give your child a healthy, energetic, fabulous mother!

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GOING-STRONG 2/13/2013 10:36AM

    Tough to do but so important... thanks for sharing.

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MYOWNHERO 2/13/2013 10:31AM

    Learning this lesson was they key to my weight loss! It has made me a better friend, wife, mother, daughter and teacher.

I learned how to be my own best friend and my own hero.

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GINA180847 2/13/2013 9:19AM

    I have always felt that if I don't love myself how will others want to love me. This started when I was a young woman and read a book called 'You are not a garbage can'. It was all about not grazing or eating the things left over on the plates of others. It started a thought process about this very thing. How could I have children who cared about themselves if I did not model this behavior.
So I am going to buy myself a kayak that I saw. It is tiny, just for me. Hubby does not want to try this as his balance is not good anymore. But I look forward to paddling along the shore and listening to my mp3. I will wear a life jacket, promise! emoticon

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PUPPYWHISPERS 2/13/2013 9:17AM

    The one thing I know is certain that I will be doing for myself tomorrow is a good run! That's my ME time and I really cherish it.

Thanks for sharing your FB page info. I will look for it tonight.

Great blog; thank you!

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