Finding Love in My Reflection

It seriously blows my mind that self love is so hard to attain in this day and age. Like how did we get to the point where it feels more natural to tear ourselves down than to lift ourselves up? I don’t just mean women either because it happens to everyone in some form or another. I spent my entire life up until a few months ago absolutely hating my body. I look back and cringe at the way that I talked to that middle school girl in the mirror and how I starved that high schooler for days on end and how I cut that college girl open because I believed she was worthless. In our culture today, it is so dang hard not to fall into the trap of self-deprecation, but trust me it is not a cliche when they say the most important relationship you will ever have in life is with yourself.

I still have those voices in the back of my mind telling me all of the ways that my body is not enough when I look into the mirror. The voices telling me that my legs are way too big for a woman’s or that my waist needs to stay covered until it hits at least 25 inches. There will never be a time when I look into the mirror when I do not see some imperfections, but the difference is that I do not let those voices consume me anymore. They are not the voices that I listen to. It is an active choice that I make. Instead, I listen to the voice saying be thankful for those legs because they carry you through every single step of your day. Be proud of that waist and the strength that it holds in allowing you to do all of the activities that you love. Most importantly, I listen to the voice that says no matter what my body does not define me, my heart and my mind do. The way that I treat strangers as well as friends says way more about me than the size of my nose. My passion for learning and adventures displays my character way more than the curvature of my hips.

I am no expert at self-love. It is a journey that I take every day to get a little bit closer to accepting and loving every aspect of myself. I will always be fighting those insecurities and negative voices telling me that I am not enough, but it is my choice whether I decide to listen or not. Some days are still better than others but little every day changes have helped me gain more confidence than I have ever had before. Disclaimer: I am not the skinniest or fittest I have ever been. I think so many of us, my former self included, think that self-love will magically happen as soon as we get the body we want. We think that people with the bodies we admire practice self-love easily because they look amazing. That is simply not true because everyone has insecurities. You can start your journey to self-love no matter what stage of your life you are at because self-love always comes from within.

Always remember that compassion is beautiful, kindness is stunning, and your heart will always say more about you than your body ever will. So please, beautiful friends, stop punishing yourselves because you don’t look a certain way. Being kind to your body will do you way more wonders than punishing yourself ever will (trust me, I have been there). Even if in the beginning you don’t believe it, fake it until you make it because one day you’ll wake up and you will realize you don’t have to fake it as much as you used to because you are truly starting to believe it.

You are all so uniquely beautiful. There is no one in the world like you and that is one of the most amazing gifts we could ever be given. I challenge you to give yourself one compliment today because you deserve all of the encouragement in the world.

Love always and forever,

The Traveling Brunette

How to Get Into a Workout Routine

By this point, I sadly think it’s safe to say most people have abandoned their fitness goals of 2018. I get it. It took me a long time to get to a place where I genuinely love working out and I wish someone had been there to guide me at the beginning of my journey. Everyone is different so everyone’s fitness path will vary slightly but I want to give you some tips that may guide you and help you reach your goals a little bit faster.

1. Find workouts that you enjoy- I cannot tell you how long I wasted hating exercise because I was forcing myself to do exercises I hated. I do not like cardio, but for years I forced myself on extremely long runs because I thought it would slim me down fast. Not only was I wrong but I got into a mindset where I hated exercising. Thankfully now, I have discovered what kinds of workouts I love and thrive off of but everyone is different. I looove HIIT and strength training. They are my jam and I would do them all of the time if I could. However, it’s important that I incorporate other types of exercising into my routine to keep my body guessing and to keep me from getting bored. So, if you are forcing yourself to do some kind of workout that you do not enjoy just because that’s what you’ve been told would give you results STOP RIGHT NOW. The most effective workout is the one that you will actually do. So if that is HIIT then awesome. If that’s going on a long walk with your dog then fantastic. Maybe it’s pumping weights at the gym or playing a sport with friends or hiking… whatever it is find what gets you excited to work out. Constantly try new things to discover what you love. Fall in love with moving, in whatever form that may be.

2. A short workout is better than no workout- just because you don’t have an hour in your day to workout does not mean you don’t have time. Honestly with my schedule, my workouts last around 30-45 minutes and I’ve never had better results. You do not need hours in a gym to see results. The important thing is being smart with the time that you do have and to make the most out of it. Find little ways throughout your day to be more active because it all adds up. Put down your phone more often and I promise you’ll have so much more time than you thought you did.

3. Expand your goals- I know most people get into fitness for aesthetic or physical goals. They want a bigger butt, a smaller butt, a slimmer waist, leaner legs, bigger arms, etc. etc. etc. Not only does obsessing over these goals put you in a bad headspace for fitness but they also can discourage you when you don’t see results as quickly as you expect. Physical results take a long time but you WILL get there. But in the meantime, it’s important to focus on other goals that will motivate you long term and transform your body long term. Maybe you want to be stronger, or to be able to take a flight of stairs without getting winded, or to be able to run faster, or to touch your toes. Whatever it is focus on that more than the physical stuff because when you do, I promise the physical stuff will follow and they’ll be so much more rewarding.

4. Put yourself first- when life gets busy, fitness is usually the first thing to go, which is so sad because you should always make time for your health and happiness. That is why it’s so important to make fitness a habit so that you’re always finding time to take care of yourself no matter how busy you are. Believe me, I could have a million excuses as to why I’m too busy to workout but I don’t. Fitness is my “me time”. It’s time devoted solely to me to help me better myself, to take care of my body, and to make myself a priority even if only for 30 minutes. So that sometimes means I have to wake up an hour earlier in the morning to fit my workout in. Or maybe it means not watching Netflix in the evening because I would rather move my body and make progress towards my goals. Making time for fitness isn’t always easy, and until you discipline yourself and make it a priority, you’re always going to find reasons why you can’t. You deserve to be healthy and happy and to reach the goals you’ve always wanted to. So focus on that end goal of being stronger or faster or whatever it may be and stick to it. You’re going to mess up sometimes, we’re all human but everyday is a new day and a completely new start. Start believing that you deserve all of this and make the time to care for yourself and give yourself a better future.

I really hope you found some encouragement in these pieces of advice today. Remember that you are so beautiful and worthy no matter where you are in life or what you look like. You are strong and capable. I believe in you and your ability to make your dreams a reality.

Carry on, warrior.

An Attitude of Gratitude

 

mckenzie-10

I do not know what it was about this subject, but it just hit me really hard today to write a short post about cherishing the relationships in your life (and I do NOT just mean the romantic ones). Sadly, I feel like relationships are the first thing to slip our mind when we think about what we are thankful for in life. We get in a habit of relying on those relationships because they are constant, so we forget what a blessing they are because in an instant, they can be gone. How crazy is that? You may think that nothing will ever ruin your friendship, your mentorship, etc. but we never know what the future holds. Life happens, people grow up and grow apart, things change and that’s okay! So, I want to be in a constant state of gratitude for the relationships in my life.

I think we take so many relationships for granted, especially family ones, because they seem to always be there and everyone has them, right? No. If you have healthy familial relationships, be so thankful! Some people never get to experience that whether it be because of death, addiction, adoption, etc. Sometimes I start to throw myself a little pity party when I look at some of the relationships my friends have with their siblings and they do not even realize what a blessing it is. I am completely estranged from my brother and while I do not see that changing, I would give anything to be able to have a healthy relationship with my sibling. I mean, when you think about it, it is so cool! You can never create a sibling, no matter how close you are to a friend. It’s a kind of relationship that is so unique and genuine.

When I start feeling pitiful though, I turn it around and think about all of the amazing relationships in my life that maybe others have not had the privilege to enjoy. I have found true, genuine friends who truly support me and build me up in ways I never thought possible. I have formed relationships with teachers who have mentored and encouraged me to be the hardest worker I can be. I have the most loving, hilarious, and passionate fiancĂ© I could ever hope for. I have built up the most incredible support system around me, but sometimes, I take them for granted. I rant to friends knowing they’ll encourage me or I am grumpy towards my fiancĂ© because I know he will love me through it.

I want to make a constant effort to be grateful for each of these relationships. Rather than relying on my friends to be supportive because that’s how friends should be, I want to be in a constant state of gratitude for finding such amazing individuals that treat me way better than I treat myself. I want to be thankful for the “family” I have built rather than focusing on the family I do not have. I just wanted to write this post today in case you’ve fallen into the same rut. There’s no shame in falling into an ungrateful period, we all do it sometimes. The important thing is realizing where you are at and taking action to be thankful for all of the wonderful blessings in your life, especially the people who make every day brighter!

Thanks for taking the time to read today,

-GT