I have a secret I have been holding out on you. After every holiday I have the most epic detox routine to get myself feeling vibrant and healthy and lose the bloat and detox from the extra holiday treats.
You want to know how?
I have a secret I have been holding out on you. After every holiday I have the most epic detox routine to get myself feeling vibrant and healthy and lose the bloat and detox from the extra holiday treats.
You want to know how?
I didn’t start my fitness journey to lose weight. I’ve never had an eating disorder. I’ve never felt like I had a true voice in the fitness community because of these two factors. That might sound dramatic to you, but if you’re in the fitness industry you know these are commonly the catalyst for change.
So if you’ve come here looking for the perfect body… SPOILER ALERT. It doesn’t exist. Our bodies are amorphous.
My body is pretty freakin’ incredible (SO IS YOURS.) But I’m 28 now, my metabolism ain’t what it used to be, I get hungover from one glass of wine, the nail lady asks me if I want to wax my lip (ummm.. I don’t think I need to?) and here I am owning the shit out of being a millennial 20 something- with an online side hustle, an equal love for fitness and spirituality, a bad case of wanderlust and a not so traditional journey to a healthy life.
I am proud of my body. I have always had a pretty healthy relationship with my body but I definitely went through a phase in college with the thinner the better mentality. I restricted calories and did boat loads of cardio and thought that’s exactly what it meant to be healthy. I felt like I got judged for being “naturally skinny” and I was definitely influenced by the culture of criticism that women that age have regarding their body. I also abused my body with typical college antics, heavy drinking and late night pizza fests. I didn’t have a good sleep routine or really know why my exercise was such an important component of my life.
Today I am proud of who I am. Yes, I can say openly that means I am proud of what I look like but mostly I am proud of what I feel like. This has not been an easy journey. No I didn’t want to lose weight but I did need to rework my relationship with food, exercise, alcohol and drugs and most importantly my mental health. This year I did the hardest 13 week workout program I have ever done and I shared every step of the journey. Afterward I felt a bit of burn-out and started to question why I started this journey and what level of discipline and commitment I felt was the most suitable for my overall health and happiness. I think we should ALL constantly question ourselves in a few ways. Why am I doing this? Is it making me happy? Am I getting results? Am I enjoying my life?
In June I was gifted an incredible secret location branding photoshoot by a fellow entrepreneur I met in an online blogging community. When I did this photoshoot I was not at my leanest and meanest. It was on the tail end of the 4 months I spent in limbo in America waiting for my visa for the U.K. to be approved.I traveled for 6 weeks straight. I celebrated life. I drank cocktails and ate donuts and I definitely had more than my fair share of treat meals. I won’t lie to you, I went from the physical best shape of my life after the 3 month intense program to a serious “YOLO” period (as I lovingly call it.)
When I got the pictures back I started to pick out flaws and “softer bits.” Man..I used to have muscle there! I’ve had better abs. I just look the same I’m not making gains. Even though I love myself. Even though I know that my physical aesthetic has nothing to do with my actual health and strength and happiness. It is deeply ingrained in us to criticize our perception of our appearance and compare it to our former selves, our #bodygoals or just imaginary ideals we have constructed.
But I quickly stopped and I looked at the strength. The confidence. The lack of makeup. The light in my eyes. It is not my goal or desire to be “stage ready” 365 days a year. It’s not my goal to ever be stage ready. These pictures have captured me doing things I love, being free from what I think I “should” look like for a photoshoot. And please don’t get offended, telling me I look great or you don’t see it. The point is we ALL see the flaws in ourselves that no one else would dream of picking out. We may start to pick them out but we also have the power to stop those thoughts dead in their tracks.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! December’s WCW is a special traveling sista. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.
The crazy part is…I met Laura online in a travel group and reached out to her for some advice about New Zealand. Remember when I told you to meet strangers online.. I meant it. She quickly became one of the most helpful online pals I’ve ever met! She was so thorough and genuinely wanted to help me enjoy my time in Auckland. I was and still am very grateful. She ended up being Canadian but she moving to the U.K. so we kept in contact and are still in the process of meeting IRL. She interviewed me for her blog and I feel as if I’ve gotten to know her so well through her blog, her social media presence and bonding over expat struggles. I’m so grateful I met you Laura and I can’t fricken wait to meet up IRL soon!! I’ll let her take it from here– just by her answers it’s clear to see why I like her so much!
Confidence. Someone who knows who she is and really doesn’t give a Sh*t what people think about that (one way or another). I think society makes it hard for women (and men too) to be who they really want to be without the stigma of “is that what the norm is?”. So I have so much respect for women who are so unapologetically themselves in every situation.
I didn’t forget about my WCW series on my travels. I had this beauty waiting on deck for August. So fashionably late due to my blogging sabbatical (I’m just making things up now) … here is my August WCW. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.
I met Julie at WVU. We were in different sororities but at the time we were dating close friends so we became friends through them. Julie is someone who you instantly like when you meet her and although we weren’t close friends in college we had a friendship connection that has flourished since we left WVU due to our shared passion for fitness (I’ll spare you the throw back pictures of us because they are all at Chaser’s or Tabu.)
I am so impressed by Julie because not only is she a fitspo queen and a Monster cycle instructor in NYC –she is a bloody brainiac. She got her PHD in radiation oncology at NYU. She definitely embodies a woman worthy of crushing over: smart, driven, healthy AF, caring and FUN. It has been a pleasure watching you blossom into yourself and I cherish your light in my life– even if it’s from a distance, Julie! Thanks for making time for this interview and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.
If you’ve read my blog for a while you might remember when I first moved to Sydney and took myself out on a solo date for the first time. It’s one thing to eat alone at a quick cafe or food court style restaurant but going out to a proper restaurant with white table cloths and a fancy menu- that’s different.
I promised myself- no matter how long I’m with my boyfriend or married in the future, even when I have a big family of my own- I vow to take myself out to a nice meal on my own at least once a year.
26 flew by and I realized I didn’t keep this promise with myself. But then the Universe stepped in. On the last day of my 26th year and the first one of my 27th, I unintentionally took myself out for a nice brunch. I planned on having a Fluro Friday event here in Auckland but the weather didn’t cooperate. It was pouring rain and I had the cutest Uber driver from India who was a part of an organization called Know Thyself which holds meditation retreats all over the world. We chatted about meditation, eating healthy and how more people need to be connected to the way they are feeling. We had a great chat so I didn’t realize what the weather forecast was until I had already took said (expensive) Uber to the other side of town.
I knew that people probably wouldn’t show but I decided to grab a coffee at the cafe right by the beach and wait for the rain to pass. I walked up in my crazy Fluro get up- flower crown and all. At first I felt a surge of sadness and disappointment. I knew in Australia my One Wave Bondi tribe would have been there rain or shine. I missed my brunch besties, my family and my friends from home all at the same time. But in a split second I reminded myself of my gratitude journal. Five things, Susie. I ordered my coffee and pulled my journal out of my bag and the five things came rushing out so easily.
I smiled because this 27 year old woman wasn’t scared to sit at a posh brunch spot alone in an 80’s bomber jacket and flower crown with tons of business men in suits. Sure, I was disappointed by the rain but we rescheduled for next week and it allowed me to keep my pact of a solo date each year.
I felt deeply grateful for the courage, self worth and confidence I have developed over the years but especially in the past few years. I can’t put into words how important it is to be able to truly and deeply love your own company- just as much as your closest relationships with others. Much like a close friendship or family bond– it doesn’t matter how long you’ve strayed away from the loving relationship with yourself, when you return to it, it feels easy, you pick up just where you left off and your heart instantly swells with love and joy.
As I sit here at this brunch place, I’m still here and writing this on notebook paper since I didn’t bring my laptop. The sun is now shining- of course. But that means I get to do my meditation on the beach and go for a nice long walk along the ocean. After I write this, of course. This is also like returning to an old friend. A comfortable, familiar feeling. Time and time again– I am floored by the power of words in my life and the immense sense of rightness I feel as soon as I’m creating words of my own or reading the words of others.
I won’t sugar coat it, the last couple months in New Zealand have been the most difficult of my life, probably since Corey died in 2006. But life has a funny way of contradicting itself because these struggles have led me to a more gratitude, more self actualization and most importantly more clarity on just how strong of a human I can be.
After brunch I popped in my headphones because I got an email that my favorite podcast, The Melissa Ambrosini Show, released a new episode about relationship goals. As I started listening to this awesome couple talk about love and relationships, I laughed to myself because right now I am #relationshipgoals with my own damn self.
Don’t get me wrong I’m in an incredible relationship with I am so in love with my funny, charming, English gentlman-but luckily that doesn’t exclude having a kickass relationship with myself too.
Starting my 27th year, I am committed to keeping my #relationshipgoals with myself thriving. I implore you to do the same. Loving yourself is not about posting pictures in your undies on social media #selflove. Dude, if you can do that and you feel great doing it, more power to you-but much like beautiful couple photos don’t define what love is actually about, self love is so much deeper than being confident and proud of your body. Let your relationship with yourself evolve and change, give yourself the grace, patience and encouragement you give others and most of all- keep those promises you make to yourself- You’re going going to write that book, start that degree, say that thing, plan that trip, and take yourself on that date. I guarantee you won’t regret it. Now that’s what I call #relationshipgoals.
I can’t let my streak be blown completely by my travels. I’ve spent two glorious weeks in Bali and the best way to describe my feelings are recharged. I have tons of tips, photos, stories, and videos to come in the near future on my blog but tonight I am singing a different tune. Honestly, I’m not sure how this song will play out. My words are such a safe and comfortable place for me. It’s as if I could be anywhere in the world and once I start writing it’s like metaphorically being snuggled on the couch on Stinard Ave with my parent’s favorite blanket. They are safe but they are also intoxicatingly surprising. Kind of like a librarian who also has an affinity for S&M. My truest voice comes when I just let my creative one take over and run the show.
As my trip comes to an end I’m feeling reflective( me, reflective? Never) I think that travel in general is romanticized in photographs, blog posts and movies especially to a place like Bali. I know that as an American Bali sounded so exoctic and far fetched to me when I lived in the Northern Hemisphere. The flights alone were way out of my student loan debt teacher salary price range. But once I moved to the Southern Hemisphere, Bali became a totally accessible and logical vacation spot. And one that I simply had to experience.
The first time I went in 2014 was with three of my American girlfriends who I taught in Thailand with and became extremely close to. We traveled to Bali for just over two weeks, Australia for just over two weeks and ended the trip in Thailand for one final shabang on our favorite island Ko Phi Phi. It was coincidently following my final breakup with my college ex of five and a half years. That trip was one defined by freedom, exploration and healing. I will never forget the spark it lit in my soul. It is what ultimately led me to move to Australia and fall in love with traveling on a whole new level.
Needless to say, this trip has been a tad different coming to Bali with my boyfriend as opposed to four single American girls. I wasn’t exactly nervous about traveling with Harry but I was very curious to see how well we would get along with the stressors of an international trip. If you don’t already know this, you may have very close relationships with people but that does not mean that they are always meant to be your traveling buddy. I think traveling exposes the most vulnerable and messy sides of a person and your travel vibes and desires just have to match in order for it to be enjoyable for everyone. No pressure, Har.
Valentine’s Day seems to be a day we obsess over being in love and more so being lonely. I have friends who hate Valentine’s day whether they are in a relationship or single. But love is so much more than the feeling that people share in a romantic partnership. How can you love yourself a little more today? Are you sick of hearing about self-love? Are you confused by what people even mean by that term? I don’t care if you’re married, divorced, or a baby right out of the womb- we all deserve our own affection, attention and adoration. Self-love is a necessary component to being fulfilled, challenged and whole. Ultimately, you loving yourself shapes a better world for all of us. What should you remember to ensure you’re practicing self-love today and everyday?
It’s not selfish– People are typically hesitant to take time for themselves. “I’m too busy.” We pour ourselves fully into our jobs, families, lovers and hobbies so that at the end of the day what is left over for us? Nada. It’s not selfish to put yourself first in fact, that is the only way to ensure you are the greatest lover, teacher, friend, daughter, mother, or coworker possible. You cannot pour from an empty cup. The first step towards loving yourself fully is realizing it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Do you feel frustrated with yourself? Maybe you already broke your “resolution” for the new year or you “gave in” to Netflix and wine instead of what you thought you should be doing. Maybe you didn’t write down any goals but you still feel “the same” and you can’t figure out why? Or did you go in full force and now you feel like you failed because you’ve already skipped the gym for a couple days? Did you succumb to the persuasive power of Ben and Jerry again? Now is the time most people are quitting when the shiny glow of the new year starts to fade. How do you make yourself part of the group that didn’t give up this time…even if you already did?
STOP RIGHT THERE! Take a deep breath.
The new year is an awesome time to start chasing after new goals but the amazing part is, we get a clean slate everyday. You have the power to rewrite your story, every single day. The question is will you let yourself? Are you hiding behind fear? Let’s get to the bottom of this so you can figure out how not to give up this time.
Celebrate progress– Progress comes in many forms- small and large. Saying no to cookies in the staff room or choosing to take a deep breath instead of lose it on your partner- that’s progress. Even if it’s one time! Find something that you feel like was a success everyday and start building on that.
Acknowledge your power- When we give up on our goals we try to place blame on everything around us. I’m too busy, I’m just not good at eating healthy, I have no willpower. How many times can you feed yourself excuses before you begin to acknowledge that that is exactly what they are. Lying is awful and when you lie to yourself, you’re wasting everyone’s time and energy especially your own. YOU HAVE THE POWER. You always have. Act like it.
Try new things– If the same gym membership and Lean Cuisine diet isn’t doing it for you and it hasn’t for the past five years, why do you keep thinking this time will be different? If you want different results DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Don’t just say, “Yeah, that would be nice.” “Someday.” DO it now, for goodness sake. If you hate it, then at least you tried!
Non-food rewards– You are not a dog. You do a trick, you get a treat? Come on. Even if you LOVE food (trust me- so do I) try rewarding yourself with things other than food. Manicures, facials, massages, a bubble bath, new workout gear, or a Groupon for a fun and active date night. Branch out. Stop saying okay, I ran 3 miles now I shall eat my body weight in pizza. You are not a pet, don’t treat yourself like one.
Allow yourself to quit– What? This sounds silly. No, it’s not. If you sign up for Crossfit and you end up HATING Crossfit, do yourself a favor and find something you do like. Human beings were born to MOVE, so I promise you there is something that will feel good for your body. Don’t see exercise as a punishment but as a gift and blessing.
Find your tribe– MAN. I don’t know how many times I can say this. Find people who motivate you. Find people who don’t sit around on the couch every night. Find people who want to plan the trip, take the class, run the race, start the business. Fire breeds fire. Find people who make you HOT!
Ask for help– You don’t have to do ANYTHING alone. If you are struggling with mental health issues, see a doctor. If you are struggling with your relationship- ask a friend or someone you trust for advice. If you can’t get your diet and exercise under control SEEK HELP! There are experts in every area of your life you want to improve and you’re probably already friends with them. It doesn’t have to be paid advice or programs, just seek out what you need and be open minded!
Be flexible– You should NEVER be so set in your ways that you hinder yourself from finding and creating the life of your dreams. This goes along with trying new things, allowing yourself to quit and asking for help. Be flexible. ALLOW yourself to grow. Don’t feel like you MUST do what you have always done. It’s so incredibly sexy and fulfilling to better yourself. HOP ON BOARD.
Continual Forgiveness– Alright, you messed up? Welcome to the club. Seriously, it will never be an uphill progression. It’s a roller coaster. Be kind to yourself. I don’t like to say be “easy” on yourself because that leaves a lot of room for excuses. Be kind but firm. Alright, beauty you messed up- let’s do better tomorrow. YOU GOT THIS.
“It is not selfish to work on yourself first, it is compulsory. You do not need to be perfect to help other people, I am so far from perfect it’s not even funny. You need to be willing to be both earnest and light hearted about this whole self-improvement business and speak from a place of genuine concern for others.”
“Only you understand your own mind and body and so often we listen to what society thinks, our boss thinks, or what our inner circles think that we stop thinking at all.”
“How can I connect to you if I didn’t have 50 or even 10 pounds to lose? Because I have had hundreds of pounds of internal struggles that I have had to work SO HARD to shed. Those “pounds” affected my world and my mental health just as much as physical pounds. And because I am a compassionate human being, that my friends, has no dress size.”
“ ‘Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.’ Let the light shine on you so you can let your light shine. Self love is not arrogance or cockiness. It is so far from that. Self love is treating YOU how you would your best friend or your lover. Give yourself those positive affirmations and encouragement. Give yourself a break. Look at yourself in the mirror and don’t criticize everything you see, embrace it, compliment it and accept that you are SO MUCH MORE than that vessel. My strength and my self love have so much to do with what I have done with and to my mind. The more we love ourselves, the more we allow others to do the same. When I look in the mirror today I am proud of who I am. Not just the girl I see but the girl I hear in my head. Mind, body and soul. No matter who you are or what you’ve been through in the past, it’s up to you to start today and to love yourself ferociously. Stop living in your own shadow.”
“We need to be women who speak up. We need to be women who champion for others, not just other women, but anyone who is an underdog that will not champion for themselves. We need to be strong and fierce. We need to be vulnerable. We need to teach little girls that it’s not about who has the most Barbie dolls or the prettiest dresses but who shows kindness and compassion to others. We need to stop telling little girls how pretty they are and start asking them what books they are reading…We need to drink beer when we want to and wine when we need to. We need to make other women feel powerful, beautiful and sexy no matter what they wear, what their body looks like or what happened in their past. We need to gain respect by simply living in a manner that demands respect. We need to stop comparing our lives to celebrities or our sorority sister’s instagram account. Her instagram account is not her life, it’s a projection of what she wants you to see of her life.”
“Mental illness is not something that can be detected by the way someone looks, the persona they present in public or the pictures you see of them. Mental illness does not discriminate. It is ruthless and isolating. It is destructive and consuming.”
“Being healthy is about so much more than what we eat, how often we exercise and how many pounds our physical body weighs; being healthy is a choice to treat yourself with the love and respect you would treat your very best friend or your grandma. Tender discipline. Being healthy is looking in the mirror and liking what you see, not because you have muscles and toned arms but because you work hard on yourself day in and day out and you know no matter what life throws your way-you will always be your number one fan. Let me know when you find a scale that can measure that, and I’ll be the first to buy it. Step off the scale and step into freedom. Feel that weight off your shoulders? It’s infinitely more pleasant on the other side.”
I need to get some weight off my shoulders. I feel adamantly about this topic and I verbalize it all the time to friends, family, clients, and even unwilling strangers. It’s time to get this message out to the world in writing. It may be one you have heard before but I feel it is my duty as a health, fitness and overall WELLNESS enthusiast to preach this until I’m blue in the face. I share this not in a critical or condescending manner but from a place of genuine concern and confusion.
Let’s talk about the scale. The scale is like this crazy dictator who is ruling millions of people and doesn’t even know how he got into power. For some people the scale is their worst enemy, yet they continue to hang out with him time and time again. Let’s start with a few questions to get you thinking and being honest with yourself about your relationship with the scale. I want you to answer these in your head or if you’re up for it write the answers down. Dig deeper to find these answers.
How often do you weigh yourself? Why do you choose to weigh yourself? How often does the number you see make you feel good about yourself? How often does your dog, children or loved ones ask you how much you weigh? How many times have you stepped on the scale and felt let down? Embarrassed? Angry? Depressed? Defeated? Upset? Why does it matter the number of pounds you weigh? Who does it matter TO? How do you feel when you don’t know how much you weigh? What does your weight have to do with your overall happiness or satisfaction with your body?
My guess is that your relationship with the scale is not a positive one. What do you know about negative, time-consuming relationships where you give more than they do? You are taught to leave those relationships. You leave people that make you feel unworthy, unloved and inadequate. So, why do you hold onto your negative relationship with the scale?