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Gettin’ Naked: I May Lose Friends Over This One

Sitting with a friend of mine, I was roughly 6 months pregnant with my 4th baby. I was sharing with him that I was really struggling trying to teach my fitness classes because of an injury caused by a car accident months earlier that was being amplified by loose ligaments in pregnancy. He said, “Maybe you should stop teaching and just rest.” Frowning my eyebrows, it sounded like a terrible idea to me. “I don’t want to just stop exercising. I don’t want to be a whale.” His response was hilarious (not intentionally), but it was also insightful later. He said, “You were meant to be a whale.” Put that on a maternity shirt and see if it sells. Eyebrows raised, my chin tucked down and before he could pull his foot out of his mouth I said, “I know what you meant. Pregnant moms get bigger and that’s ok.” Of course, I made fun of him for weeks, but later, when we were going over the conversation again, he said to me, “Why are you worried about it?” I had to stop and think for a minute to formulate my answer. My answer was simple, but deep and I really didn’t want to “go there.” “I guess I have a fear of being fat.”

That insight was not a new revelation to me, but it was one that I excused myself from because I work in the fitness industry. I have wrongly believed it was appropriate for me to hold myself to higher standards for the sake of being a role model. The fitness industry and the media support this sort of thinking. How motivating would it be to have a “fat” trainer? I thought I’d fail my clients and disappoint them if I gained too much weight. And really, I thought they might discredit by ability to do my job well. Fear. That’s the easiest way to summarize my reasoning. Fear.

You’re thinking, “Why would she lose friends for sharing this personal thought?” It’s because I think many of you reading this are motivated more by fear than by love…love for life, love for your body, love for your uniqueness, love for God. I think many of you and so many others on Facebook, the internet and in our community are driven to eat healthy, detox, eat organic, avoid chemicals, exercise, avoid vaccines because of fear. When fear, anxiety, worry or the need to control is the motivation for making healthy choices, it’s wrong….even if the action itself is “good.” There will be very little lasting long-term benefits from those “healthy choices” if the motivation and drive behind them is out of fear. In fact, I am wagering to say that depression, discouragement, disillusionment and defeat will reign when life is lived with the need to control as the platform.

anxiety comes from wanting to control the future

Before you get your panties in a knot, I am not saying that ALL of you are driven by fear or maybe not ALL of your choices, but if you take a second to think about why you have chosen to eat one way or another you might find fear is hiding behind a great facade of a “desire to be healthy.” Hear this…I am not saying that eating organically, eating Paleo, avoiding chemicals or detoxing is not healthy or that the research behind may support good reason for it. But did you come about the decision based on your desire to take care of you because you’re worth it or because you are afraid of getting cancer from eating GMO’s? Do you eat healthy because you know that you will have more energy to live out your purpose in life or because you feel fat and ugly and are insecure every time you leave the house in shorts (that’s fear of what others think)?

I’ve been in the fitness industry for 16 years and never have I been so agitated by all of the information out there for “healthy living”, exercise and “nutrition.” I’ve been through the “fat free” years, the Atikins years, and the Weight Watchers (point banking) theories. I’ve seen crazy trends and read silly articles, but I’ve been so bothered by the rampant spreading of information about detoxing, eating organically, the chemicals in our foods and all of the “how to” articles that suggest how it will save your life and your kids’ lives too if you change. Again, those things in isolation are not bad things and will probably give you GREAT benefits. I think I figured out the reason for my agitation. It’s because BEHIND those articles is an undertone of fear, anxiety, worry. There is a belief that we have some form of control. “Control” is an illusion. We cannot determine the course of the wind, but we can adjust the sails. We have a responsibility to steward or take care of what is given to us so yes, we SHOULD be looking for ways we can take care of our body, but it should be out of honor, respect and appreciation for your life and life itself NOT because of a fear of the toxicity in your body and environment or because of the diseases you may get if you keep drinking milk that came from cows given growth hormones.

I hope I am making my point clear. We are not in control. We do not decide when we die. We do not decide how we die. We CAN decide to take care of our bodies for however long we get to have them, but it’s JUST as important to not let the fear, lack of control, worry, or anxiety drive us. I believe these factors are more toxic than a pesticide on your apple could ever be.

I am betting some of you have read this much and thought to yourself, “Huh, that sound like my sister” or “That’s not me, good thing.” I would’ve said that about a year ago. I would’ve been honest enough to admit that there have been times in my life when it was very clear that fear or the need to control lead me to all kinds of anxiety, worry and discouragement, but I thought I was over that. No, it just hides itself in different ways. We’ve excused ourselves by hiding behind a seemingly good principle. For example, it seems like a good principle that a trainer should be a good example or role model of health. Yes, this is true. But does health come in a specific package that looks a certain way? No, it does not. Does pregnancy affect every body the same and can you decide if I’ve been healthy by how much weight I’ve gained? Not necessarily. Is it more healthy for me to not exercise to allow my injuries to heal and keep my baby safe? In this case, yes, it was. My fear was driving me to believe differently and I’m asking you to sort through your beliefs. What is driving your choices? Do you read articles and get a sense of dread about all of the things you’re not doing? Do you feel pressure to change something because of all of the negative press?

So, what’s the right way to look at this? I am still learning. I am still discovering. I am thankful that God is gentle in revealing all of the little hidden ways in which I have still not grasped truth. But what’s awesome about that is that He is more concerned about the process of learning and becoming than He is about the end result. Otherwise, He’d fast forward us to where we should be in the first place. It’s a journey…the destination is not the point. It takes faith to admit that you don’t have control, but it brings freedom. Instead of seeing our life like car where we fill it with gas, we step on the pedals and we steer it in the direction we want to go, it is much more like that sailboat. We make sure the boat is water ready and the sails are ready to catch the wind. Then, we wait for the wind. Sometimes, it’s still. Sometimes, it’s a light breeze. Sometimes, it’s a storm. We don’t control the kind of wind that comes our way, we just adjust the sails and take it as it comes.
faith in absence of control

god is in control

Commit to this with me: be open to how you are letting fear or a need to control persuade your choices. Be humble and willing to let go. Be ok with feeling vulnerable and a little out of control, but rest assured that because God is in control, you don’t have to act crazy…you can rest in that. Admit that fear is toxic…to your mind and to your soul which affects your body! The reverse is true. Faith and hope are healing for the body. Acceptance is satisfying. Put things in right order. Love yourself and understand how much you are loved. Then, let that drive your choices for better health.


Dear Scale,

This is a beautifully written note from the heart that every girl can intimately relate to. Thank you Mercy Peck for allowing me to share this.

Dear Scale,
You and I have never been friends
and I suspect we never will be.
You rarely show me
what I want to see
even though I fight and plead.
Now I can’t recall
who is was that told me to
ask you to confirm my value?
The only truth you tell me about myself
is of the compact weight of the fluid, bones,
flesh, vessels and organs
that sustain my soul on earth.
Why then, do I keep crawling back asking
you my worth?
You’ve never told me the weight of my thoughts
or the crushing burden on my heart.
No, your abilities are only concrete.
You measure the heaviness that only eyes can see.
You are tipped and swayed by the silliest of things…
most consisting of what I drink or eat.
I’ve decided I’m done with this game
and NO, I never wanted to play.
So now, with some hesitation,
I must bid you farewell.
If we ever meet again,
I will never take your number
and use it to measure the beauty of a soul again.




Gettin’ Naked Series: That’s What Makes You Beautiful

Confession: I am over 30 and I like One Direction. Go ahead. Judge. I like Justin Bieber too. I’m a pop music fan what can I say? Don’t worry, I don’t have posters of them hanging in my room, but oh man, I would have back in the day.

On to what this post is really about: cue the lyrics.

You’re insecure,
Don’t know what for,
You’re turning heads when you walk through the door,
Don’t need make-up,
To cover up,
Being the way that you are is enough,

Everyone else in the room can see it,
Everyone else but you,

Baby you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,
But when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell,
You don’t know,
Oh, oh,
You don’t know you’re beautiful,
If only you saw what I can see,
You’d understand why I want you so desperately,
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe,
You don’t know,
Oh, oh,
You don’t know you’re beautiful

True Beauty

These are some of the lyrics to One Directions‘ song called “Beautiful.” They are singing about every young girl I know and even the majority of grown women! We don’t know we’re beautiful. Is it arrogant to say and believe that you’re beautiful? I don’t think so, but most would hesitate to call themselves beautiful, at least out loud. Could you put on your swim suit, look in the mirror and say “I’m beautiful?” Not sure I’m completely there, but I’m learning to embrace what our culture would call flaws on my body and instead, seek a healthy lifestyle for more than erasing imperfections. A beautiful person would define beauty in such a different way than much of the world defines it. A beautiful person radiates joy, love, compassion, and lights up a room when they walk through the door. When I think of women that I think are really beautiful, here are the things that stand out to me when I picture them in my head. Big, genuine smiles. A hearty and contagious belly laugh. Incredible listeners and ears of compassion.  Eyes that twinkle and really see you. Lovers…they love life, they love you, they love little things and they love big things. Peace, they exude peace. They aren’t full of worry or complaint, but are sincerely grateful every day. They are real and down to earth and their humility does not look like meekness, but more like gentleness and kindness that comes from being selfless. There are some beautiful women that seem to have glowing skin and hair, but it’s almost as if their hair and skin are just shining with what’s coming from within. When I think of the beautiful women in my life, not many of them are super lean, bikini wearing, body baring girls. In fact, most women I know who fit that description are quite selfish and insecure. So rather than seeking exercise and good nutrition to chase down beauty, maybe we find healthy by embracing the beauty that’s all ready present. Being healthy means healthy from heart, soul, mind to body.

This video was shared with me and I think this young woman has a “beautiful” message.

Later this week, I’ll show you my body again. Bare all. (Well, not TOO much.) I’ll show you all of it’s imperfections and flaws, but also show you how I am viewing it right now. My “trouble zones” are more about the flaws of how I see myself than about the cellulite on my thighs. I’m hoping by sharing and baring, you will be challenged to redefine beauty and your own “trouble zones.”


Gettin’ Naked Series: The Shedding Has Begun

The shedding has begun and I’m not referring to my weight. I wish I was shedding weight as fast as I’m shedding hair. I very much dislike shedding hair. You know that feeling don’t you? You can feel it on your arm, but you look and it’s not there so you change the angle of your view to see if you can find that loose hair that’s about to drive you bonkers! Or the feeling when you get out of the shower and comb through your hair and it.just.keeps.coming.out.

12 weeks post-partum must mark some new changes. Hormones are shifting AGAIN, hair is coming out and face is breaking out. Awesome! (Gotta sing that word for the right effect.) Oh, well. Part of the “getting my body back” process. As I briefly mentioned, I wish my weight was shedding as much as my hair. In 6 weeks of focused exercise and healthy eating, I have lost 6 pounds. I wanted it to be 12. But, I can’t say I’m too disappointed because for the last 3 weeks, I’ve been so focused on eating non-dairy, finding new non-dairy alternatives and TRYING new non-dairy alternatives, I’m just happy I didn’t GAIN weight. I haven’t logged for 3 weeks either because finding new recipes, searching for a good non-dairy coffee creamer and trying new goodness was taking up too much time. I didn’t get around to taking a 12 week post partum picture, but it’s my plan for 13 weeks. I plan on putting it next to the pic 1 week after giving birth just to see what happens in 12 weeks.

Sometimes, I just want my body back now. I’m really tired of my in between clothes and I’m tired of feeling the “extra”. I’m in some of my pre-pregnancy jeans, but they definitely don’t fit as comfortably. I actually avoid them because I don’t like feeling a muffin top hangover. As much as I like muffins, that doesn’t make me feel beautiful. I would really like to get new shoes because all of my workout shoes are flat and have lost their oomph, but I’m wondering if my spread out feet will shrink back. I’ve heard some women keep their larger feet after pregnancy. Mine always shrunk back, but who knows this time around. I should really be focusing on the “change” that’s happening instead of the things that haven’t yet changed. I am getting much stronger and my cardiovascular endurance is increasing. I’m able to push without the feeling of death warmed over. Those are all good things.

I think the thing I am most proud of is the shedding of the self loathing. Yes, I still get thoughts in my brain every now and again that say “ew…my legs have cellulite in place I’ve not seen before”, but at least that thought doesn’t spill over into my day where I dwell on the unwelcome new discovery. In past days, it would’ve irritated me so much that I’d get grumpy, get frustrated and set out with determined drive to “fix that” only to discover that maybe my self hate was more demotivating in the long run than I thought. Maybe it’s because I’m not currently in front of a crowd as often. I do think I let the opinion and judgments of others have way too much weight. I’ll have to see how I deal when I’m back on stage, but one issue at a time please. I think I’ve come to a place where I am valuing my heart, my soul, my purpose much more than my physical appearance. While I don’t think we’ll (all of us women) ever lose the desire to be beautiful (I actually think we were created with that desire…the princess desire), I do think that my definition of beautiful is much more encompassing than just my mirror image. Be patient, princess. Change is on the horizon.

new me

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