Perfectionism, like busy, was a badge of honor I used to wear proudly.
Which means, I was often ruled by feelings of anxiety, doubt, and fear of failure.
I thought controlling everything from food to my family was the answer. When life didn’t go as planned, I would to try to control my negative emotions by not feeling them.
Buffering negative emotions with more exercise and more control around food was a mistake I made. Though, at the time I didn’t see I was abusing exercise and my body. I thought I was managing stress and being healthy.
Often times, my default mode is to work harder, hustle more, be more productive. I get tunnel vision when I’ve got a goal in mind, and will grind through at the cost of everything else.
While hard work and hustle is admirable, it can also be damaging when left unchecked.
This kind of thinking leads us to never feeling like we’ve done enough, no matter what goals you’ve accomplished. There is never a stopping point when we work and live from this place of hustle. It’s an empty void that’s never satisfied.
You will never enough time to get everything done when it’s all a priority.
Because I was so anxious trying to control everything in my life, I was overwhelmed. As a way to cope with that overwhelm, I would sabotage myself by drinking too much, watching too much TV or staying up late. Throwing all discipline out the window.
I knew something had to change. I was tired of being tired all the time and never feeling like I was doing enough.
Black and white thinking in any area (including food) never leads to life satisfaction or contentment.
I couldn’t keep burying my negative emotions under booze, TV, or my other self-sabotaging behaviors.
I thought I was ‘resting’ or relaxing, but the reality is, I was trying not to feel the anxiety or self-imposed pressure to be perfect. So I went toward things that made me feel good in the moment even though it wasn’t what I actually wanted for my life.
Here’s the deal: negative emotions aren’t bad, they are normal and as much a part of life as the positive feelings we experience. Often times, it’s more the way we deal with our negative emotions that creates problems in our lives.
Instead of trying not to feel anxiety or fear or any other negative emotion, practice feeling the emotions and not reacting to them.
When you’re tempted to exert more control the next time you feel anxious or stressed, notice the feeling, give it a name, and let it pass.
I wish I could tell you this was easy. It’s not. But neither is continuing to engage in behaviors that sabotage you. Not reacting to urges takes practice, it takes patience, and it takes a willingness to intentionally choose discomfort. Here’s the cool thing, the emotion will pass through your body in 90 seconds or less.
However, the not-so-cool part is we often spend way longer than that reliving the circumstance that just happened which keeps those negative emotions hanging out much longer.
This is a practice, and like any other change will take time.
Don’t be surprised if you slip into old behaviors in the beginning.
We have to be mindful and deliberate about decisions, rather than running on auto-pilot and letting our emotions run the show.
Your negative emotions don’t need fixing, but the way you deal with them might.
The more self-aware you become toward your negative emotions and how you react, the easier it is to recognize them.
It’s easy to spiral down once a negative thought comes into your mind. It’s important to avoid sitting in the negative emotion too long. Give yourself enough time to notice, name it, choose how to respond, and move on.
When you’re not ruled by your emotions, you will go from exhausted and burned out to feeling more in balance and calm. You’ll be able to make choices that honor all aspects of your health–physical, mental, emotional.
When you do the work on your emotional health, you’re able to be more present in your life without sabotaging yourself.
That’s a win-win for sure.
By the way, if you’re looking to create a little more peace in your schedule, sign up below to get your hands on 3 simple ways you can get your time back starting this week!
In early 2018 I had this radical epiphany.. I was dieting, and I was selling a diet lifestyle to my clients.
Up to that point I thought I was just being healthy–always watching what I was eating, monitoring my calories or macros, and exercising daily. I tracked my weight daily for a long time.
My focus was always to be healthy enough to be there for my family.
If you looked out at the health industry, I was doing it all right.
All of this was stressing me out.
And that kind of stress is the same as being chased by a bear or a hungry lion. Your body doesn’t know the difference. Stress is stress. Ironically stress also contributes to all sorts of things…including weight gain, which is the main thing you’re being taught you need to avoid. Wah wah wah.
As you can imagine going from being so obsessed with food, calories, and what my body looks like to not thinking much about my body on any given day beyond what it ‘feels’ like has been a huge mindset shift.
One that has taken time, mindfulness, and so much patience to cultivate.
Will my body change if I stop dieting?
Not being overly worried about my weight or how much weight I “need” to lose has changed the way my body looks no questions asked, but not nearly as much as you might think.
It’s softer now. It’s still strong and muscular, but doesn’t look it at first glance because you can’t “see” the evidence.
I’ve been doing tons of mindset work over the past couple of years. And one of the biggest epiphanies has been: you get to choose what to think about your body.
This kind of thought work is what the Bible talks about when it tells us we should manage our minds. Be mindful of what you let in. Guard your mind from the lies and the toxic thoughts that want to come in.
If that is true, and you can choose what to think of your body regardless of the shape or size or weight, then that means that there is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ body. It’s all relative. It’s all about perspective.
Unlearning body shame
Being steeped in diet culture doesn’t make it easy to let go of those negative thoughts dragging you down. It takes daily work and practice.
There will be days where you feel great in your body, and other days when you might ask yourself if you need to step up the workouts or tighten your diet up a bit.
This will steal your joy. It will put you in a funk. It will make you second guess all your progress, all your effort. And it’s actually more likely to discourage you to keep going. You’ve been down that path, and you know how the story ends.
You will have moments when you are tempted to start pinching or berating yourself for you cellulite or your imperfect body. But if you’ve ever reached your goal weight or got your dream body, you likely did that stuff too.
The reason? You driven by negative feelings about your body. The fuel for the lifestyle changes were thoughts about how much better you’d be when you were a different size. But negative emotions will never create positive results.
It’s not always easy to jump right to positive thinking though is it?
Especially when you’ve hated or have felt so negative about something–like your body for so long.
At first it will feel phony to tell yourself your body is ok as is. Remember, your body isn’t good or bad based on what it looks like. It’s a good body regardless of what it looks like.
You may feel like you’re betraying some belief you’ve always had–that thinner was better, leaner is always healthier, or any other diet minded thought that has floated around in your head.
You get to decide what a good, strong, and healthy body looks like for you
You may be surprised with what your ‘good enough’ body looks like.
For me, it’s been the body that seems to take the least amount of effort to maintain.
This goes back to the minimum dosage effect.
Do enough to get the results you want, but no more.
Save that time and energy for other things–like building your business, going back to school, loving your family, or laughing with your girlfriends.
Take one tiny step toward a more neutral feeling toward your body today.
Appreciate what it allows you to do.
Practice looking at yourself without judgement. And don’t judge when that negative voice comes back. Instead, observe.
Unfollow accounts or media that triggers negative thoughts or feelings about your body.
When you creep back into body shaming
The negative voice comes back from time to time. But it comes less often and is quieter with time and intentional work.
You will see images or messages in your feed that undermine the work you are doing.
You have to remind yourself that you don’t want to go back. Don’t let the magic thinking that it was better then get the best of you.
You will make peace with your non-diet body over time, I promise.
When you do, you will have more time and energy to invest in doing the things that light your soul on fire and allow you to honor your calling.
As long as negative thoughts about your body fill your mind, you will never have the capacity to do what matters most .
Don’t be consumed with negative thoughts, feelings, or the insecurities they stir up. Your time is better spent elsewhere…
Like going for a walk, taking a new workout class, meeting a friend for coffee, or taking the next step toward your dreams.
Go from stressed out, self-obsessed, and insecure to present, calm, and confident.
There’s a weird peace that I had never experienced even at a size 0. I have so much more room to enjoy the holidays or birthdays without thinking about how I’ll have to pay for it later.
That, my friend alone is worth following your heart right out of the diet mindset.
You don’t need permission to be yourself, but so often that is how it might feel like you’re living your life. Waiting for the signs and the sense that you are somehow doing it ‘right’. You look for those signs in affirmations from others. In the praise you get for a job well done. Or in how much you’re the envy of your friends.
Often times though, that praise is short lived. Being the envy of others isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, and waiting for others to affirm you can be flat out disheartening when the affirmations don’t come.
If you’re chasing those things, you are likely doing things you don’t want to be doing, to impress people you don’t care about impressing. Being someone you know you’re not meant to be.
Have you ever stopped to wonder if there was something wrong with you because you didn’t want to do it the way it’s always been done? I used to think there was something wrong with me. Well, ok, I have thought that more than I would ever like to admit and on many more occasions than one.
I used to think I was broken as a mom because..
I didn’t want to homeschool.
I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom.
I didn’t want to do all the Pinterest crafts or be the room mom, head of the PTA, or anything else like that.
Full disclaimer, if that is you, I’m glad. And I am sure you are rocking it. That was never my jam no matter how hard I tried.
And I used to feel so guilty. So bad about myself as a mom because I was comparing myself to other moms who were doing those things and seemed happy. Not to mention those were subtle messages I received growing up.
I wanted to have it both ways–I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. Have my own thing and be a stellar mom. But for some reason, I thought it was either or. Not ever both and..
You’ve felt that tension too. Not in the exact same way as me I’m sure, but it’s there. Subtly holding you back.
Living with the belief that being a good mom meant I had to give up the desire to have something of my own outside of motherhood broke my heart and stressed me out.
I was afraid I’d never measure up to what was expected of me
As long as I had my own thing going outside of motherhood and being a wife, and it seemed like if I wanted to be successful in work, I’d have to sacrifice my family and my marriage.
It felt like I was trying to cram myself into some other woman’s mold for her life. It never fit quite right, ya know?!
I wondered what the other moms thought of me for being career oriented and ambitious.
The problem with trying to hide bits of who you are or trying to manipulate them to be what you think they should be instead of who you really are is that you will never truly be happy or fulfilled. That, my friend will bleed into all the other areas of your life.
There will always be a hole, something missing.
You, like me, will feel like you’re simply going through the motions. Like you’re living someone else’s life swallowing the discontentment and unrest you feel deep in your gut.
But it won’t ever feel quite right. It won’t ever feel like you’re actually being true to the truest version of yourself…the one you were created to be.
There is more than just one right way for you to be a good ___________
It never really occurred to me that so much of what I thought made me a good mom, was conditioned..from society, from my own family, from other well-meaning people..but that none (or very little) was actually true.
In fact, your very reality right now isn’t real at all. It’s a version of reality that you’ve created through experiences, beliefs, and messaging that you’ve been taught your whole life.
Talk about mind blowing.
Has #momguilt ever gotten the best of you? Is shame about who you believe you are in your gut an old friend?
Have you ever considered where those feelings or thoughts were coming from?
If you’ve just sort of been going through the motions, and never really feeling like it’s a fit, it might be time to take a break from the race you’ve been running and examine what truly makes you tick.
Does that spark joy? -Marie Kondo
What brings you joy?
What feels like it is missing from your life right now?
Where do the thoughts and feelings of guilt or shame come from for you?
Mindfulness is such an underutilized skill, yet holds so many answers we are searching for.
By taking a step back, and asking yourself some simple, yet thought provoking questions, you will truly gain insight into how you’re wired. This is one of the best gifts I believe you can give yourself.
After you’ve gotten some answers, you must be willing to take the next, little, and super scary step. Step out of the mold you’ve been trying to make yourself ‘fit’, and into the bold, audacious, and ambitious woman you were always meant to be.
Nasty thoughts of comparison will creep in as you begin to forge your own way, so guard your mind.
I used to wonder all the time (and still do on occasion) whether I was going to ruin my kids if I didn’t do everything by the book? If instead of doing it the way it’s always been done, I created a new path.
I doubted myself a lot. In fact, I still do. But you know what?
Living in a more aligned, authentic, and intuitive way has only ever increased the joy, happiness, and contentment in my life. It will do the same for you too.
Why? Because even if you’re not doing it right, there is no one else to compare it to, because you’re following your own path. You’re running your own race, and in that, there can ever only be one winner. You.
When you’re the one writing the rules and setting the standards for what your life should like and not society. Not your mom (as well intended as she might be) or your ‘friends’ on social media, you become the most powerful version of yourself.
Tune out the noise, the guilt, the shame, and tune into the unique and beautiful purpose God has for your life.
Happy New Year! I realize at the time I am writing this, we are actually already one FULL week into January. Some of you may be happily humming along with your plan working on your goals. Others may be wishing upon a star that this year will finally be different.
Yet others of you may be feeling more like me at the moment…a little behind where you’d like to be. Even as I write that, I realize how ridiculous it sounds to be feeling behind when we are only one week into a year that has 51 more to go.
In the spirit of keeping this short, sweet, and simple, I wanted to share three things you can start doing today to radically change the trajectory of your year. And bonus, because it’s only three things and they are pretty quick to execute, you will feel like a total rockstar.
3 Habits to develop this year
Go to bed earlier-
Yes. It really is that simple. Whatever your typical bedtime is, shave off a few minutes and get yourself into bed a bit earlier.
Some perks to this:
You won’t be quite as tempted to dive into the cupboards for some late night snacking.
The amount of time you spend scrolling social media looking at how awesome everyone else’s life is while comparing your own will go way down (as long as you put your phone up before bed).
You will be primed and ready for the next one…
Wake up earlier and start your day with intention-
I’m sorry, but this is a no brainer if you have kids. I used to be notorious for sleeping in until my kids came running in to wake me up or until I heard the baby cry.
This totally put me in a funk, and I felt like I was already behind. It didn’t make for good mornings for any of us.
So even if it is just 15-20 minutes, set your alarm across the room. And get yourself up.
You can sip a cup of hot coffee, enjoy the quiet, get in some journaling time to declutter your mind, or just drink that hot coffee thinking about how you want to show up today in your world.
Doing what you can with what you’ve got-
This one is simple, but not always easy. In fact, that could be said for the above too.
Take a quick inventory of your life in this season. Do you really have time, energy, or the capacity to hit the gym for over an hour a day, pick the kids up, make dinner, help with homework, and volunteer on all those boards?
If you can’t do what’s on your to-do list without feeling totally wiped out by the end of the day, I want to invite you to whittle your list a little.
Or modify. Maybe your workouts go from an hour a day to 20 minutes..still better than nothing. It might be time to let the kids ride the bus, or take yourself off the volunteer rotation.
The point is this, working with what you’ve got is so much better mentally, emotionally, and physically than trying to do too much with too little.
Whatever it is for you, do what you can with what you’ve got.
Your worth isn’t determined by how much you get done. And I promise you, the to-do list will still be there tomorrow 😉
P.S. Ready to get serious about making changes this year? Schedule a free consult to see if coaching is the next step you need to be taking.