A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

Hi friends,

Today’s post is short on words and big on pictures! Here are some quotes and pictures that have been inspiring me lately –  enjoy!

Shebelievedshecould

stayhumble

Flower

Crosstheocean

letyourfaithbebiggerthanyourfear

Maketime

Whowehave

Have a happy Easter, and enjoy your time with family and friends!

Sam

Source (for all pictures): Pinterest

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7 Tips to Successfully Change Your Lifestyle

The other night I was sitting down eating a salad with homemade dressing before I went to the gym and it hit me just how much my life has changed over the past few months. I have always enjoyed cooking and had an interest in nutrition and health, but I have also had my fair share of hiccups and a couple of months ago, the idea of even making my own salad dressing seemed overwhelming to me.

Thinking of all of these changes that I have made recently made me realize that despite being overwhelmed initially, the transition has felt relatively smooth and sustainable, so I thought I would write a post on some things to keep in mind when making a big lifestyle change. If you find yourself in a similar situation as I was, I recommend the following things to keep in mind to try and make the transition to your new lifestyle as smooth as possible.

Do your research. Before I made any concrete plans of what my diet and lifestyle would look like, I did a lot of research. I read about different approaches to healing my body and my relationship with food; I read about the timelines associated with each approach; I read about other people’s experiences; cooking prep-time etc. The point here is that I read a lot and it gave me a fairly good idea of what to expect when I took the plunge. This really helped me feel mentally prepared to commit to making the changes.

Read!

Make a plan. I am not just talking about an overarching plan (although you need that too); I am talking about a plan for each week. I use an agenda and plan out my workouts and most of my meals for the week and it helps keep me on track.

Planner

Be flexible. I know this seems kind of counterintuitive since I just told you to make a plan, but even with a plan, things will change and you will have to go with the flow in order to be successful and fulfilled with your new lifestyle, which brings me to my next point…

Have a back up. Plan for your pitfalls. If you’ve tried to make a lifestyle change in the past and you didn’t maintain it, what happened? For me, one of my pitfalls is if I let myself get too hungry I will eat anything (embarrassing, but true), so my backup is a quick meal that I know can be done in no time (like a jam-packed salad).

Salad

Keep your fridge stocked. This is sort-of implied in the tip above, but it deserves it’s own paragraph. Trust me, being hungry and finding that there’s nothing in your pantry or fridge that will satisfy you is a HUGE bummer and can limit your chances of sustaining your new lifestyle.

Be willing to try new things and take baby steps. As part of my healing journey, I decided to eliminate processed foods, and this has meant that even something as simple as salad dressing, or granola bars, have to be made from scratch. Two months ago I felt so overwhelmed by the idea of making things from scratch, but it’s not nearly as hard as I thought. In fact, it’s been fun coming up with my own recipes.

Homemade Larabars

Show yourself some compassion. I already talked a lot about learning to love yourself, and self-compassion goes hand-in-hand. When you decide to make a lifestyle change, it’s important to recognize the extent of the change you are making. It is a journey, and you need to be patient. When I decided to make all of these changes, I knew it would be drastic, and I decided that I would start with my relationship with food, and once I felt strong enough I would reintroduce fitness back into my routine. I was patient with myself, and took my time adjusting to my new routines, and as a result, I now feel completely at-home in my lifestyle.

If you are facing some big lifestyle changes, I hope you can learn from some of my lessons and make lasting, fulfilling changes in your life. And, if you find yourself needing a little bit of extra support, you can always find it here.

Until next time,
Sam

3 Strategies to Love Your Authentic Self

3 Strategiesto love yourAuthentic Self

In my last post, I talked about the importance of self-love, and how much it helped me make some important life changes. Every day is a wonderful gift, and to spend any part of your day putting yourself down is just not productive or necessary. Especially when you are so AMAZING – yes, you, whoever you are, I guarantee you are amazing.

In my last post, I also told you that getting to a place where I could actually say that I love and accept myself has been a long journey. And it has; it has taken a lot of work and self-reflection, but it has been so worth it. Not all that long ago whenever I thought about making changes in my life, it was often a response to something that I didn’t like about myself – an effort to change what I didn’t like, or to ‘compensate’ for it (as though I somehow needed to apologize for being ME). I had thoughts about not being smart enough, or tall enough, or thin enough, or tanned enough, etc. etc. It all came down to my misinformed belief that in one way or another, I was not good enough. But I was wrong, and after a lot of work and reflection I started to realize just how wrong I was. Now that I can appreciate my own uniqueness and love myself for who I am I want to help you get there too, so I put together a small list of strategies to help you on your own journey to self-love.

  1. Learn to distinguish between negative and positive self-talk, and then build up the positive and dismiss the negative. I like to call the negative voice, the ‘nattering parrot on your shoulder’, and whenever I feel the negativity creeping in, I picture that parrot on my shoulder and I acknowledge that it is there and then ask it to leave and take it’s negativity with it. It sounds very silly, I know, but give it a try – it just might help! Once you learn to dismiss the negative self-talk you can focus on that positive self-talk – that is the voice you need to listen to! For more help on this strategy I recommend you visit http://adashofmeg.com/2015/03/11/the-first-step-to-bringing-freedom-into-your-life/ and watch Meg’s vlog – she totally gets it and perfectly describes this strategy.
  1. Make time for yourself to do something you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be long, and it can be simple. For me, it’s a cup of tea. I make time every day to sit and enjoy a cup of tea. Even though this is so simple, it helps in two ways: 1) It acknowledges that I am worthy of doing something that I love every single day, and 2) It gives me time to sit, relax, and refresh.
  1. Start doing positive affirmations every day. There are two kinds of affirmations that I recommend:
  • Every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and repeat your positive affirmation three times and then smile. Your affirmation can be anything you like, but I will give some ideas (below) to get you started in case you have trouble thinking of one at first.
  • The second type of affirmation doesn’t require a mirror. At various points in your day simply repeat your affirmation to yourself. You can do this at any point in your day as a reminder, but I find this technique is also really good if there’s an event or anything coming up that makes you a little bit nervous. For example, if I’m nervous for a meeting or presentation I will give myself a quiet moment to say my affirmations to myself and build myself up.

In case you aren’t sure where to start with your affirmations, here are some examples of affirmations you can use (but feel free to get creative and make up your own!):

“My mind is brilliant, my body is healthy, my soul is tranquil.”

“I love and accept myself exactly as I am.”

“All is well in my world.”

“I am enough.”

“I am amazing, and bring many gifts to this world.”

I will openly admit that when I first started doing positive affirmations I felt very awkward! The idea of saying something so self-appreciating felt unnatural and arrogant, but, with time, I have come to love my positive affirmations and I never go a day without them. I truly believe that this has made a huge difference in my journey to self-love. You might not believe the affirmations at first when you say them, and you may even feel a little bit uncomfortable like I did, but I have found that the more I say them, the more I whole-heartedly believe in the affirmation, so try to get past feeling silly or awkward!

I hope that these strategies will help you! They’re pretty simple, but they’ve made a world of difference for me.

Is self-love an area you struggle with? What other strategies have you tried? Share them in the comments below!

Until the next time,

Sam

Back to the Gym and Feeling Awesome – a Mishmash Post!

Well friends, I am so happy to tell you that I am finally feeling well enough to get back to the gym. No, scratch that, I am feeling amazing! Between the treatment that my doctor gave me, and the complete change-up of my diet, I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER. And that is exciting! So, this post is going to be a bit of a mishmash of things. One, I want to tell you about some of the things that are making me feel better, because even though I know my situation is somewhat unique, I am so sure that the lessons I am learning can help other people too! And, because it is so exciting to be back at the gym, I am also going to share a lower body workout with you.

Let’s start with what has been making me feel better – I’m not going to talk about the medication side of things because that is pretty self explanatory, but I’m going to talk about some of the other changes that I have been making that have made a HUGE difference in my recovery, but also in my life in general. Remember when I said that sometimes challenges are truly just opportunities? It has already proven so true for me in this situation.

So what are these big changes?

There is the obvious diet overhaul. This has made a huge difference in how I’m feeling. For the past three weeks I have been on an ‘elimination diet’ – for those of you who don’t know, this is just a very basic diet that contains only food that I know doesn’t hurt me (coincidentally, for me, this looks a lot like a modified Paleo approach). After 30 days, I can start adding in foods gradually to determine which foods my body can and cannot tolerate. I honestly do not feel rushed at all to start adding foods back in – I am feeling so strong and nourished right now that I haven’t even been missing other foods.

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Now, this leads me to the other things that I have been changing in my life. This is not the first time that I have made changes to my diet, or tried to change my lifestyle. But, this is the first time it has felt easy, and balanced. The reason it seems so different this time is because all of the changes I am making have come from a place of self-love. This has been a long journey for me. In the past I would try to make changes that were motivated by something I didn’t like or accept about myself, and this time, I decided to make changes because I love myself as I am, and want to help myself feel even better. I know this is not the first time I’ve talked about it, but I cannot express just how important self-love and self-compassion truly are. When you decide to make a change in your life, doing it out of self-love makes it so much easier, and it helps make sure that you are making the changes for the right reasons! I could talk about this all day, but I did promise you a workout, so I will continue this rant in a future post!

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

As promised, here is the workout:

  • 3 x 10-12 squats
  • 3 x 10-12 deadlifts
  • 3 x 10-12 walking lunges with hand weights
  • 3 x 10-12 standing calf raises
  • 3 x 20 sumo touches (sit into sumo squat with a hand weight in each hand and alternate touching the floor behind each heel with your weights)
  • 3 x 10-12 seated leg extensions

I felt like Bambi learning to walk after this workout – it’s a good one! Give it a try!

Until next time,
Sam