One quick way to stop your body shaming

One quick way to stop your body shaming

 
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. 
 
The catch?
 
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.
One mistake every woman needs to stop making

One mistake every woman needs to stop making

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. 
How to get the most out of personal development books

How to get the most out of personal development books

Every few months the cleaning bug seems to hit me, and I start a massive purging of the stuff I’ve managed to accumulate over the days and months.

During one of these deep cleaning sessions, I found a box of journals I’d kept. I began  flipping through journals from several years ago, and realized even though time had passed I hadn’t really changed all that much. 

 I decided then and there I didn’t want to let more time to pass without growing. I didn’t want to just be going through the motions of pretending to do better. I had been reading all the best personal development books, but realized very little had really changed in my life. 

 There was a brief moment of failure that flashed through my mind as I realized I had spent months and even years reliving the same heartbreak or the same struggle. What a waste of precious time. I began to wonder if I could actually change?

I was doing the same things day after day, yet expecting different results (reminds me a little of my time as a chronic dieter too…), for the first time, I’d seen I was basically just pretending to ‘do the work’. You can’t read a book, go to a seminar, buy a course and expect to be different. You must dig in-deep, and do the work. This lesson applies to nearly every area of your life. It’s not enough to just show up. First you show up, then you do the work. 

At one point or another, you’ve probably heard the saying “You can’t do the same thing and expect things to be different”, yet time and time again we find ourselves trying that same strategy.

Here’s the thing though, you won’t solve your problems with the same thinking and behavior that created those problems.

For me, during this deep cleaning sesh, I was forced to confront myself in a way I don’t think I ever had. A new sense of self-awareness emerged. Ultimately, it was that self awareness that was the key to sparking actual change in my life. 

Look at the bigger picture

The first step I took was back. I had to get a bird’s eye view of what  I had been doing, and how I had been going about ‘it’ (in this case it was personal development, but for you the ‘it’ might be weight loss, might be creating boundaries around your time, etc). What was working about it, what wasn’t?

Instead of the outside in approach–simply utilizing strategies or reading more books, I needed to take an inside out approach. I had to take a hard look at my behaviors (despite what I might had been telling myself) and my values.

Subconsciously there was a disconnect between what I was truly believing and what I was doing. The way I was acting wasn’t supporting the things I said I wanted.

 It’s like telling yourself this time will be different, but taking the same approach.

You can’t just change the method, you have to also change yourself–the way you think, what you believe, and then what you do. 

Let’s be real though, behaviors and thoughts are hard to change. There are times we find ourselves slipping back into that old way of thinking or doing things. We have to be vigilant to guard our minds the old patterns.

Instead of looking at this as something with a finish line, take the posture of practice. Show up daily looking for ways you can practice following through, showing up, and growing.

Once I found the disconnect, I was able to create connection between what I said and what I did. Creating alignment  between what I said I wanted and what I was doing to actually create the change I wanted to see allowed me to live with integrity. Which ultimately led to more confidence and self-respect. 

I wish you could grasp what it’s felt like to go from being unaware and pretending  to self aware and actually doing. That alone was a huge boost to my confidence. I mean, you can experience it for yourself too. By becoming more self aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions you are able to decide whether or not you’re acting in line with the woman you want to be or not.

Action is what creates results. We don’t get results from pretending. We get results from actually digging in and doing the hard work, and calling your own bluff. 

xo,

Alisha

PS. Ready to do things differently, but not quite sure where to start? I got you. Start doing life The Strong[HER] Way by doing life a little differently. Get strategies, tools, and find community by signing up below.

 

Define success on your terms-how to find your North Star

Define success on your terms-how to find your North Star

What lies or excuses are you willing to give up to become who you want to be? Because here’s the thing, you can’t hold onto your excuses or the BS story you keep telling yourself, and be the woman you were created to be. 

The other day I was on a walk with my dog, Pepper. She’s not the best at the game fetch, and truthfully would probably rather I chase her or play tug of war with the stick instead of her retrieving it for me.

To get around this, I will throw one stick and then another one so she’s alternating between the two sticks, because when I do this, she has to *choose* between the two sticks. She can’t have both at the same time—even though she does try.

While we were playing this ridiculous version of fetch the other day I thought about how often, this is  how we try to live our lives …we want to change, to grow, to become the better version of ourselves, but we aren’t fully ready to let go of the things we know we need to in order to reach that next level. 

Time to rip off the band-aid and get to work

We try all of these outside in approaches to ‘fix’ ourselves–meal plans, diets, new workout programs, new planners and time management strategies, but we don’t take a hard enough look at what’s really going on inside. 

 If you want to create lasting change in any area of your life whether it’s getting to a body you feel comfortable and confident in or it’s building a better relationship with your partner, you have to take the inside out approach. 

The problem we often face though is the ‘quick fix’ mentality. We are desperate for change, for relief, for better, so out of desperation we will try anything that promises quick change. Quick fixes don’t really fix anything long-term. And they are no more than a band-aid approach to something that may need a deeper level healing.  

You can’t have it both ways, you can’t operate using the same system or foundations you have been and get where you want to go, you have to be willing to let go of the lies, habits, and behaviors that aren’t serving the future version of yourself you are trying to create. You’ve gotta shift your perspective. 

 Find your North Star

I believe you are the best expert when it comes to your life. Only you can truly decide what matters most to you. So instead of looking for the next guru or expert to tell you how to spend your time, what you should look like, and who you should be…look in the mirror. Ask yourself those questions, and then wait for the answers to come. When they do, they will point you in the direction of your own personal North Star.

You can only do this by knowing yourself well. Knowing your deepest desires and dreams. What are the things that excite you? What are your non-negotiables?

If you could snap your fingers and be the ‘dream version of yourself’ what would she feel about herself? How would she show up in her life–relationships, work, etc? Who would she be?

Your roadmap to your North Star

Once you have the vision in your mind and in your heart, you can then draw up a plan. Reverse engineer the vision to figure out what you need to start doing differently in your own life to get you closer to your North Star.

For example, if you want to be known as being dependable, you must define that first for yourself so you have clear actions to take–does it mean you’re on time? Does it mean you’re prepared? Does it mean you do what you say you’ll do?

Then (and this might be the most important part) you must realize you have to be dependable for yourself FIRST before you can be that for others, because how you do anything is how you do everything, so if you’re not first dependable to yourself, how will you be for the other things that matter to you?

I get it, the band-aid solution seems so much easier. Just like my dog, Pepper had a hard time deciding which stick she wanted more, and which she was willing to let go of, we too, run into the tough decision of leaving who we were behind so we can grab hold of what and who we can be. This is a decision we will have to make moment by moment. 

Let go of the stick that doesn’t serve you, and take a firm hold of the one that does will bring a weird sense of freedom to your life. It’s as if your heart knows you are now acting in alignment with what you were meant to be doing instead of going after someone else’s idea of good enough. 

Once you have identified your North Star and the actions you must take to get there, you will have the blueprint in hand to live your life unapologetically, authentically showing up as yourself. 

This frees you up to be a woman of your word to yourself first and foremost, which is what allows you to be that woman to the world around you. Making lasting change in your life starts to feel easier, more doable. Which is far better than trying another quick fix and being defeated yet again. 

Do the tough work, my friend. You are worth it, and the world needs you to be who you were created to be.

x,

Alisha

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How to feel better about yourself without losing weight

How to feel better about yourself without losing weight

Think about the first time you ‘knew’ you needed to lose weight.. or even thought about losing weight? Chances are you were pretty young. And if you weren’t the one struggling with your weight, you knew a woman you who was and still probably is. 

Here’s the truth: you don’t need to lose weight to feel what you want to feel about yourself.

But, you must to take care of yourself like you matter.

Which is something I don’t see women doing very often. For many women, their needs get pushed to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list while they are busy taking care of everyone else. After a while of neglecting themselves, they forget who they are. And they don’t like what they see when they look in the mirror. 

This is usually when the typical dieting behavior kicks in. The fantasies about what life would be like if they just lost those last 10 pounds or if they were a bit more “toned” fill their minds.

They try to beat their bodies into submission via strict diets aka “healthy lifestyles” and crazy workouts.

A new way to ‘self-care’

Weight loss is highly celebrated and elevated in our culture. Comments like ‘you look good, have you lost weight?’ only further the idea that weight loss = health and that health looks a certain way–no matter what it took to get there.

Instead of following the traditional model of health that focuses solely on weight loss and fearful thoughts around food..

Eat well.

Move your body.

Talk to yourself like you love yourself.

before you’ve lost the weight.

Do it from a place of compassion, love, and a desire to take care of you the way you take care of others. Not because you fear that looking a certain way will be the only way you can earn love or acceptance from others.

Do it because you know and believe you were created for a purpose and you can’t do it if you are exhausted, and are beating your body up with lifestyle choices that aren’t serving you. 

Your mind needs a makeover 

 1. Give your thoughts a makeover. Notice the words you use to talk about yourself and your body.

What kinds of feelings or emotions do those thoughts evoke for you? If it’s negative, you gotta change that pronto.

2. Change your thoughts- first notice the thoughts you think about yourself NOW, what result is that producing for you?

Then choose new thoughts to think. Yes, you get to pick what you think about. You don’t have to be at the mercy of the mean girl living between your ears. 

3. Take care of yourself NOW, not when you’ve lost the weight–what does YOUR healthy lifestyle look like?

Instead of following someone else’s plan for your healthy lifestyle, create your own. There are many ways you can move your body–find a way that works for you. 

And aside from a few key nutrition habits, you don’t need to follow a meal plan or specific diet despite popular information found all over Google.

Prepare for battle

We are immersed in diet culture, there is no denying it. Depending on how steeped in it you are, you may have a hard time shutting the inner diet police down. The thoughts and feelings of inadequacy or disgust because of your weight, size, or shape will mostly likely creep back in.

Stand guard against those thoughts. 

Here are some strategies you can use to wage war against the diet fueled thoughts:

  1. Write out the new thoughts you want to think about yourself. You can put them on post it notes around the house or in your car.
  2. Come up with new ways to describe yourself that have zero to do with how you look.
  3. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to someone you really loved.
  4. Remember you don’t have love the way your body looks, but you don’t have to hate it either. Practice body neutrality.
  5. List out what your body can do now, and what it allows you to do.

As you continue on your journey of leaving the weight obsessed world behind, you will find you’re less stressed, life feels less chaotic, and you’ll have more energy for the things that you *actually* care about.

You’ll be making choices about your body, food, eating, and exercise from a place of care rather than  duty, obligation, or penance.

You won’t be eating better or exercising in order to feel good enough, you’ll be doing those things because you already know you are.. 

If you’re ready to make the next move in your life, and you’re not sure how to start, I’ve got you. The Mindful Eating Project is open now, click the link to fill out the application!