“Confidence is knowing who you are and not changing it a bit because someone’s version of reality is not yours.”
Hello Bright Souls. Happy Tuesday!
I pray that your week is treating you well so far and I hope that you are trying to find the good in everything. It seems as if life is just flying by… I mean, it is already October 9th! Can you believe it?! Soon enough we will be decorating Christmas cookies and singing Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer. However… Before we can take on all of the festivities that bring so much joy into our lives, I think it is important that we step back. I think it is important that we stop, think, and truly listen to what our bodies are telling us. I know for myself, the holidays have previously been filled with anxiety and worry instead of contentment and joy. Instead of enjoying the tradition of baking Christmas cookies with my grandma, eating a little brownie batter, and enjoying the process, it was a time of shaming myself for wanting to eat a cookie or worrying that I went “overboard” with how many pieces of pie I had. Let’s face it, the holidays aren’t all they’re cracked up to be in our generation. Instead of living in the moment of the Apple Orchard Festivities, we are worried about getting the most “instagram-worthy” picture. Instead of baking cookies, decorating them horrendously, and throwing sprinkles at each other, we are worried about “getting fat” from the holidays. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are all valid things to worry about. You don’t want to eat so many cookies you feel like you are going to explode, and you should want to take cute pictures with your boyfriend to look back on in 5, 10, 15 years. However, it is the “approach” that is wrong. It is the fact that we are restricting ourselves to NO cookies, instead of having one. It is the fact that we are TRYING SO HARD in our pictures, instead of just capturing a moment. And this holiday season, I am changing my mindset. Maybe I have always been stuck on these things in the past but I am done. I am done either eating too many cookies or none at all, and I am done worrying about if I look like the “perfect couple” on Instagram. I am done trying to prove myself. I am going to live a happy and healthy life this year, mentally and physically. <3
All in all, what I am trying to say is that, health is important. It is important to workout, it is important to enjoy those special holiday moments, and it is important to truly live your life. But how can you truly live your life when you are restricting? How can your truly live your life if you are only going to the Apple Orchard for a cute picture? How can you truly live your life when you are setting parameters instead of going with the flow?
Many of you know I have been on quite the journey this past year of blogging. From wanting to lose weight, to wanting to live balanced, to overindulging, I have been through it all. You want to know something, though… Those moments, when I was completely in the moment, not deciding if I should say “yes” or “no” to the donut, or the workout, or the festive activity, but actually just going with my first instinct, were the best moments of my life. And even though they may just be very small moments, like the last minute decision to go Up North with my boyfriend for the weekend, or the decision to go for a hike outside instead of going to the gym, were worthwhile. Sometimes, it is the little triumphs that end up having the most rewarding feeling. And that is why I want to tell you that health is SO much more than a number on a scale. Health is SO much more than eating broccoli. And most of all, health is SO much more than how others view you. It is how you view yourself. It is if you feel comfortable in your jeans. It is if you feel happy with your decisions. It is if you are enjoying life or not. It is if you are completely living in the moment, having no regrets, and not going overboard. Because trust me, you can go overboard with the whole “enjoying life and living in the moment”. You don’t want to fall so far off track that you end up feeling less confident than when you were restricting yourself. And that is why I want to share with you my mental tips and physical tricks on how to stay confident and still live your life.
Find Something You Like And Do More Of It
Whether that be finding a new type of exercise, or a new study spot. Chances are, you dread doing that workout or going to do that homework because you are not fond of the place, the set-up, the atmosphere, etc. Challenge yourself to find your passion, and do it full heartedly. For example, I tried boxing classes last summer and I absolutely loved it. It was the first workout in a long time that did not feel like a “workout”. And 1.5 years later, I am still boxing 4-5 times a week. FIND SOMETHING YOU THOROUGHLY ENJOY and do it often. You don’t have to be perfect at your hobby or your workout or your activity to enjoy it. You have to love it to enjoy it.
Question Your “Inner Critic”
Sometimes, the worst compliments we get come from ourselves. Therefore, the next time you have a negative thought in your mind, or hear something saying “I can’t” or “I am not good enough” or “Why would I be able to” ask yourself, what evidence do I have? Do I have evidence that I am not smart enough for this class or am I just doubting myself? Why do I believe to be a failure and what evidence do I have? If you notice yourself struggling to come up with reasons as to why you are doubting yourself, it is not true. You are worthy, and you are capable, start believing it. Challenge those negative thoughts, and start affirming yourself with the truth.
Quit Restricting To Stop The Binging
I used to be so hard on my diet that I would only eat about 10-15 different foods. Chicken, eggs, carrots, broccoli… If it didn’t fall into my list I wasn’t eating it. And I would do SO good for 3-4 weeks, but usually… After having, what I called, “success” for several weeks, I would crack and eat dozens of cookies, packs of granola bars, and essentially, eat way more junk food than I would have if I would have just listened to my cravings. Now don’t get me wrong, listening to your cravings can be difficult. It is hard to stop after 1 cookie when you have not had one in forever, but then again, it is really difficult to make any progress if you don’t ever reward yourself for your hard work. Therefore, start practicing “intuitive” eating. What this means is you listen to your body. No tracking, no calorie counting, not restricting, no standards. The only rule is that you eat whole and healthy, yet satisfy your cravings when they do come. I call this the 80-20 rule. Attempt to eat healthy 80% of the time so 20% of the time you find yourself carefree and enjoying yourself. For example, if a fun girls night is coming up, don’t over-do it that day with cravings, so you can fully ENJOY that girls night. You get the point. Don’t limit yourself.
Find The Workout That Makes You Love Yourself More, Not Shame Yourself More
Sometimes, workouts can either be motivating or discouraging. You can either leave feeling on top of the world, or like you did not accomplish one single thing. Granted, you are not always going to feel 100% after a workout, and you are not always going to feel the same drive or excitement. But you can always love yourself. You can always understand that you did enough for the day. And you can always leave feeling thankful. Thankful for the journey of health, thankful for the opportunity to clear your mind, and thankful for yet another experience of “learning to love yourself more”. Therefore, listen to your body. If yoga sounds great, than go clear your mind and find your inner self. If you had a rough day, than go lift heavy weights. And if you just want to sweat, go get that cardio in. NO workout is the wrong workout. Find what is going to boost your confidence for that moment, week, or month, and tackle it.
Focus On Eating Small Amounts Throughout The Day
Eating small increments, periodically throughout the day will not only boost your metabolism, but help you to not over-indulge. Sometimes, we try not to eat too much, but then we cannot take it anymore, and we resort to binging, or eating just once a day (guilty as charged). But not only will this leave you feeling WAY too full, it stops your metabolism, which makes it so your food cannot process as well, and you aren’t burning as many calories. Try eating 5-6 times throughout the day, having each meal be a little smaller than you normally would eat with a few random snacks thrown in there!
Don’t Change Your Routine Just For The Holiday’s (Or A Specific Event)
With speaking heavily on the holiday’s in the beginning of this blog, I want to emphasize the 80-20 rule, and the “overboard” rule. Don’t over-exert yourself for the holiday’s and don’t think you need to run 10 miles because you are eating a piece of pie. You will end up feeling more stressed out and not enjoying the moment. Instead, simply keep your normal routine. Do your normal workouts, but maybe this time, with a family member. Follow your typical daily intake of food, but switch out a lunch-time snack of almonds, for a cookie later. I promise you that eating “bad” for the holidays will not halt your progress, as long as you don’t go overboard. Learn to live by consistency, not by changing your lifestyle daily.
Don’t Stick To The Same Cardio, You’ll Hate Yourself
It sucks because cardio is so important. I hate it. I am sure you hate it. Not many people can actually say they find joy ALL OF THE TIME in cardio. But I can tell you one thing, changing what type of cardio you do will not make you hate yourself as much for doing it. I like to do interval training, because for me, I cannot just “run two miles” or “bike 10 miles” because I get bored. I hate being at the same, constant pace. I like to do interval training where I will sprint for 2 minutes, and then walk for 1, and the sprint for 30 seconds super fast, and then walk for 3. I try to change it. On some days, I bike. Other days, I just box. Many days, I work on my agility and box jumps. It really just depends. But, it keeps me doing cardio, and it keeps me coming back to it.
Know Your Principles And Live By Them
What are the principles upon which your life is built? If you don’t know, you will have trouble, because your life will feel directionless. For myself, I try live by the “in a world where you can be anything, be kind” mantra, and “He has made everything beautiful in its time” verse from Ecclesiastes 3:11. I often fail, I often succeed, but I always keep it written on my heart, that way I know my intentions are always good. I promise you when you think about your principles it will reflect where you are at in life… Do you have supportive people in your life? Do they care about you? Do they enhance your journey? Think about your principles … you might have them deep down, but don’t truly live them out, and that is okay. But I challenge you, to find those principles and live them out. You will leave most every situation feeling more confident and successful due to the fact that you truly know where your intentions were set.
Quit The Comparison
Whether you compare yourself due to social media, lack of confidence in your body, or wishing you were someone else. Quit it. You are you for a reason. You were beautifully, fearfully, and wonderfully made in the image of God and His work is always perfect. Start accepting yourself for all that you already are and all that you have yet to become. We are always going to be a work in progress and we are always going to want to be a little more this or a little less that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love yourself right where you are at. Therefore, find the root of the comparison. What makes you compare yourself? What makes your confidence go down? What makes you feel a little less “you”? Find that root of comparison to channel the root of self love. Like I stated in my last blog, I had to quit social media for the summer in order to truly find myself, and love who I was. Discover where it is that you are not truly loving yourself and leave it. Forget the gym you are at, the social media that you are on, or the people you hang out with, if they are the root to comparison and NOT the root to self love, leave it.
Empower Yourself With Knowledge
Empowering yourself, in general, is one of the best strategies for building self-confidence. You can do that in many ways, but one of the surest ways to empower yourself is through knowledge. This is along the same vein as building competence and getting prepared … by becoming more knowledgeable, you’ll be more confident … and you become more knowledgeable by doing research and studying. The Internet is a great tool, of course, but so are the people around you, people who have done what you want, books, magazines, and educational institutions.
Be Proud Of Where You Are At!
We all have to start somewhere, and none of us are not going to have the same results, so be proud of where you are at. We cannot possibly all function the same because our bodies simply to do not answer the same to every food, workout, or lifestyle we try to embrace. The first step to actually starting a “balanced healthy” lifestyle is to just be proud of yourself. If you are not proud, you are not going to push yourself to change. And you already are amazing. So except where you are at, know that you are amazing, and attack your goals.
Work On The Small Things
Trying to take on a huge project, task, or lifestyle change can be overwhelming, intimidating, and full of anxiety, for anyone. Therefore, I challenge you to learn to break off small chunks and work in bursts. Small little achievements are still achievements and they make you feel good. Whether that be working out 1 time a week until you go several times, or learning to satisfy a craving until you know the difference between cravings and restriction, learn to work like this all the time, and soon you’ll be a self-confident enthusiast.
OKAY… Sorry for the rant. I know that was a lot of different tips and it was kind of lengthy, but it is something that I am very passionate about. Self love is huge and it was the game changer to help me start living my life, and stop focusing so much energy on my weight, my body, my image, etc. Now granted, this is going to be different for EVERYONE, trust me I know that. I am just simply trying to share with you what I have learned over these past 4 years of fluctuating weights, emotions, and health. I was at one point less than 100 lbs, and then at another point I was a weight I am not even ready to admit yet. But finally, after loving myself, implementing these *somewhat* easy changes, and enjoying life, I am healthy, happy, and full of radiance! And you can be too! You are beautiful, and you are so worth it! So embrace this life you were given, and attack it wholeheartedly, in hopes of a more balanced and happy “you”. Enjoy this holiday season, do all of the festivities, and do them for the right reasons. <3
With all that I am,