5 Ways to Love Who you are Right Now

 

"I just hate how I look”

“I need to lose 5 pounds”

“I want to tone and get rid of flab”

“I just don’t like myself right now”

 

I hear the above statements all the time. I speak to so many women at the start of their wellness journey and it is almost always from a place of not enough or of needing to fix themselves.

So today I want to present an alternative. A radical one. What if instead of starting this journey from a place of not enough we decided to see ourselves as awesome just the way we are???

I know that this is really hard, but you can do hard things and I am going to help. I have 5 ways that you can love yourself right now and start this journey from a place of abundance.

1- Stop comparing yourself: this one is first because it is HUGE. Comparison is not only the thief of joy but it steals your self esteem. Social media is a comparison party!!! Good rule of thumb: if a persons feed makes you feel anything but joy click UNFOLLOW. 

2- make a list of all the things that are amazing about you: do it right now grab a piece of paper and write down 10 things that you love about yourself. Then share it with your husband, child or if you are really feeling yourself post it!

3- Tell someone else how awesome they are: this is a fun one. I challenge you to find something about 3 people you come in contact with today that is awesome and tell them so. Making someone feel good feels good.

4- gratitude: this is a lot like #2. Challenge yourself for 30 days every morning to think of 2 things you are grateful for. Why 30 days? It forces you to really get creative about your gratitude. It also takes that long to develop a habit.

5- No negativity challenge: I tried this one and it is shocking. Put a rubber band on your wrist, every time you say something negative about yourself snap the band. You will be surprised by how you speak to yourself. 

Bonus: every time you speak something negative about yourself imagine saying that to your child. Really makes you realize how much the words we speak to ourselves make an impact.

Try one of these strategies or all 5 and let me know what you think. Was it hard? Easy? Change the way you feel about yourself?

Become part of the conversation by joining the Brick House Bodies private Facebook community.  It where I hang out with other amazing women like you who are on this journey to be Fit Inside and Out!!!

 

5 Books that Changed Everything

Books.  For my entire life books have been there for me.  When I was young they kept me company.  Being overweight as a child was pretty isolating so reading was what I did.  The stories I read became my world.  The greatest discovery was that I could learn anything just by reading a book about it.  Books gave me knowledge, experiences and insight into how the rest of the world lived. 

As I got older (and more popular) I started reading less.  I can still mark times in my life by the book I was reading.  In college it was mystical fiction by amazing Hispanic authors.  As I started in the career world Stephen Covey and Zig Zigler became who I turned to for knowledge.  Once I had my daughter I became obsessed with all things parenting and began to “listen” instead of read books (you moms know what I am taking about).  Once I started going to church and developing my relationship with God I sought out women ahead of me in their faith.  Looking for a roadmap to what my life could look like now that I knew Jesus. 

When I decided to think about the 5 books that changed everything for me you will see a bit of everything I just mentioned.  These books are ones that bring up emotions and memories for me and have had the biggest impact on my life.  It was so hard to narrow it down!!! It is like asking a mom to list her kids in the order she likes them best.  There are about 10 other books I could add to this list(maybe I will make a part 2) and I know that before I die there will be 10 more added and that makes me so happy! Reading is something I treasure and a good writer has a gift from God. 

I hope that you enjoy my list and check one of them out!  I would love to hear your top 5! Put them in the comments or share them on Instagram and tag me @brick_housebodies. 

 

100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This book is the one fiction novel in the group.  This book was released in 2006 when I was 34.  This was a CRAZY time in my life!  This was pre baby and marriage and I was making a lot of money working in NYC in the fashion industry.  I was living a “Sex in the City” kinda life (lots of nights out, drinking and drama) and this book was like a wonderful dream that I could escape to while I read it.  The writing is beautiful and the story has everything , history, romance and fantasy.  It just sucked me in and was a happy place for me in the whirlwind that was my life.

Gifts of Imperfection  Brene Brown

I actually listened to this book.  It was my first exposure to Brene Brown.  It came out in late 2010 and my daughter was about to turn a year old (hence the listening and not reading).  All I remember about this book was sobbing while listening and being just floored that Brene Brown was in my head and knew exactly how I felt and then was brave enough to write a book about it.

Whispers of Rest  Bonnie Gray

This book I finished recently at the recommendation of a friend.  I was in a state of utter and complete burn out.  Had no idea what I really wanted in life (still sometimes don’t know) and I was desperate.  I read this book devotional style every morning during my quiet time.  The most powerful exercise that Bonnie has you do is think about what you loved when you were 12.  That made me cry and shifted something in me.  This is one I need to read again and soon

A Mended Heart  Suzanne Eller

This is a tough one.  I looked through this book before I started this post and it is just covered with notes and underlined passages and dog eared pages.  This book I read when my marriage was in a really bad place.  I was sad, frustrated and angry and I was desperate for help of any kind.  This book really saved my sanity.  The only regret that I have is that I have been unable to loan this book to anyone (everyone needs it) because of all of my frantic note taking in the margins and all over the pages. 

 

Made to Crave Lysa Terkeurst

I have been a personal trainer/health coach for over 10 years.  I was saved a little over 5 years ago.  When I started my walk with Jesus I wanted Him to be a part of my ENTIRE life. But I didn’t see many fitness ministries, sometimes it almost felt like this fitness thing was a little prideful and vain.  I had struggled with an eating disorder since I was 16 years old so I knew this food thing was serious.  It was God who finally set me free of it.  To me it was incredible that something I could not overcome on my own for over 20 years could be changed.  So I wanted to learn more, I searched for tools that could help others that were struggle same as I was.  I google searched “God and food” found this book.  I cried at every page.  This is what I was feeling, This is what I had struggled with for so long.  God did care about this!! It showed me that my life,  the 20 years of suffering that I had gone through I was not alone in.  This book gave me the courage to believe that this FIT INSIDE OUT idea could be a thing.  That I could help people,  that this could be my calling.  If I ever meet Lysa Terkeurst the author I think I just might die, or get arrested for causing a scene.

The 5 that changed everything.  Tell me yours!!! What books changed your life, made you ugly cry, finally made you feel like you were not alone or was just a safe place in your chaotic world.

 

 

Traffic Lights

We have all been there, stuck in traffic, lined up behind countless cars waiting for the traffic light to change from red to green. Or late for an appointment and praying that every traffic light that we encounter changes magically to green just as we approach it. My favorite is racing to catch the green light just as it is about to turn red, then feeling like a champion when I make it.

Summer in NYC the weather is crazy, bright blue skies and hot one minute then suddenly the sky darkens and open up to a downpour. I was walking home one day looking up I saw a traffic light, dark sky and impending rain as its back drop. God reminded me in that moment how important traffic lights are not just to control traffic (without them there would be chaos) but how they create rhythm for that traffic and can do the same in my life too.

 

Right now I feel like I am late for an appointment, my life is waiting and I am really really behind schedule. There is a job I need to get, a business I need to grow, a daughter to take care of and I am way late. I wake up every morning and feel like I am playing catch up. I hit the road running and do all the things. Hoping that something will happen. Hoping the lights will be magically green so I can get to where I need to go NOW.

What I am being reminded of each day when I don’t get a response to a job application or I feel like I am spinning my wheels is that none of it is in my control. The timing of the lights exists but it is impossible for me to know what that timing is.

Trying to beat the light may sometimes result in success and momentary satisfaction but more often it is an exercise in frustration.

Today I am going to just drive. Get up, get in my car and go. Decide to move with the flow of traffic, maintain a consistent speed and enjoy the sights along the way.

Today I will not try to rush, not try to maneuver to avoid traffic, showing up at my destination but not remembering for the life of me how I got there.

Today I will breathe and lay off my horn. Let a car pass, yield to those around me.

Today I will just enjoy the ride and embrace every red traffic light, look around and smile.

Less is SOOO much more!

Well its been a week.

Running up against a lot of hard truths and big lessons.  I truly believe that sometimes things blow up and we never want them to but sometimes they have to for something better to grow.

The biggest lesson I have learned so far (its been about a month) is that perfection is just not possible.  Before all of this my expectation everyday was perfection.  A "good day" to me was everything going as scheduled and on time.  Workouts 5 days a week at the same time, eating: everything measured and prepped, school pick ups and quality "me time" needed to be just so, that means exactly 8 hours of sleep.  If not I was just not someone you wanted to hang out with.  I would get so frustrated when things did not go my way.  I have never been a "go with the flow kind of woman.

Well things have definately changed. In the last month I have worked out a total of about 7 or 8 times.  Some days I eat well and some days I survive on coffee and chips and salsa.  I have meal prepped once and had to throw it all out cause I never ate it.  I have had GLASSES of wine on a school night and I cannot remember the last night I got 6 hours of sleep let alone 8.

Did I explode? Did I gain 20 pounds? No and no.  I have actually pretty much maintained my weight over the past month but I dont look as lean.  I have bags under my eyes some days and my clothes are a little tighter.  I have probably lost a little strength and "fitness" too.  I am a little tired all the time and I have developed a sty under my left eyelid that just wont go away (sorry about the TMI) A hot mess?  Some would think so but I say  far from it!  In the last month I have also been able to (well forced) figure out a lot of things that I just didnt have time to do before:

I have updated my website slowly overcoming my fear of technology which I realize was just a lack of patience and a bit of spoiled rotten.

I have learned that though I am not working out regularly now,  all that working out I have done for so long has made my body strong and resilent.  Lack of sleep, not perfect food choices and stress will effect me and my body can handled it in the short term

I can make big, life effecting decisions and be terrified while I am doing it. I have always relied on advice of others and my own smarts to get me through,  both of which are not in large supply now  That good enough is  better than perfect almost all the time and the value of a sincere "i'm sorry" when you make a mistake (which I do everyday) will go a long way.  Thank God for Jesus and grace. 

That survival is not convient or easy and neither is success.  You will always have to do things you don't want to do.  You will always have to choose the narrow gate(Matthew 7:14), its less crowed for a reason.

I can live without a car, new clothes, Starbucks and all my "stuff".  God, my daughter and my family (friends and by blood) are all irreplacable.

That NOTHING IS FOREVER.  That life is made up of seasons.  Some are awesome and fun and easy and some are scary and hard and awful.  But every season has a purpose and life happens when you figure out what that purpose is and live it.

 

 

Perspective

“It is all about perspective”

“Look on the bright side”

“Turn that frown upside down”

Everyone loves a good quote. Until about 3 weeks ago I would furiously highlight them in the books I was reading and take screen shots of them to post on social media.

But deep down they were just words to me. They sounded good, they struck a cord for a moment but just as quickly they were gone. I was never the type of person to post inspirational quotes all over the house. I was the one who inspired me.

Especially the quotes about perspective. I found those most interesting. How you could change things just by changing the way you think. I have had experience in this. Small things like getting stuck in traffic or waiting in line. Switching my perspective has saved me from a lot of frustration over small things. But 3 weeks ago my life changed completely. The home, job, church, friends and things that made up my life changed overnight.

So I had a choice. That thing they talk about in all those quotes. I could lay in bed with the covers over my head, I could cry constantly, I could be angry, spiteful and feel sorry for myself. For goodness sake I deserved it.  Or I could pray. Stand up and lift my head. Put one foot in front of the other and take action.

This I know for sure. Words matter, or more precisely the words that you fill yourself with matter.

My choice: would I fill myself with truth or lies. Would I believe what God says or what the world was telling me. MOST days I choose what God says

Do I have days where I cry? When I feel hopeless and helpless? When hate bubbles in my heart?

Where I think about all I have lost and I can feel the anger come over me with such force that I get nauseous? Absolutely.

That’s when those words matter even more. When this all happened a friend said something I will never forget

“Lean in”

3 weeks ago I would have said “amen” but had no idea what that meant. Now I know.

Everyday leaning in means I pick my perspective. Sometimes I choose to cry and sit for hours in shock, to spend too much time on instagram and worrying about what people think and money and tomorrow. But as the days go by leaning in looks more and more like getting dressed and playing with my little girl, getting dressed and go outside, reading my bible and writing in my journal. Watching a funny movie, eating a good meal, smiling and laughing.

I know it will get easier. The bright spots last longer and I don't stop myself as much in a happy moment to remember what life used to be.  Right now it’s still very raw and speaking about it out loud to people is so hard. So I will believe what God tells me instead: that until it get easier He will be with me, He who is always the same will love me and get me through.

That the plans He has for me are always good. That I will get through.

I believe in Him.

Why am I sharing this? I am sharing because it is the truth, it is real.  I never in my wildest nightmares thought my life would be this, but it is and hiding it or pretending that everything is ok all the time is not real.  My pride cannot save me.  My perfectionism cant either.  Only God can.  I never thought that was true until I leaned in and He brought me peace and hope.

The idea that I had of  God has moved from my head and penetrated my prideful heart. I am wrecked in the best kind of way and so grateful.

So I encourage you whatever it is that is hurting you, paralyzing you

Lean in

 

Get it Together

The conversation almost always starts the same way. It most often takes place at the end of the day, when I am tired and I have done something silly like forget to bring my daughter to gymnastics or realized that I have only shaved one leg in the shower that morning.

"I have to get it together"

Six words that hold so much power.  The power to condemn.  The power to feel defeated and less than.  Not one little bit of grace at all.  These six words have decided that I am a mess and I need to fix it and fix it now.  I need to write stuff down, pay attention, drink more coffee, do something to avoid these mess ups from happening again.  Mess ups are not acceptable or allowed.  In my world mess ups are a loss of control and a loss of control is a scary thing.  

So I search for something I can control.  For me that thing has always been my food and exercise.  If I was a hot mess of a mom well I can at least be a fit hot mess of a mom.  I will just focus harder on my nutrition.  Make sure I get to the gym and give it 150%.  I will focus more, be better and get it together.  Then everything will be ok.

The problem with this is that I am human.  I was created flawed (no matter how much I deny and fight this its true).  Perfection is impossible.  I will always mess up.  The circumstances and degrees of the mess ups will change but no matter how hard I try, how tight I hold on, how much MORE I do it will NEVER be perfect.

Grace 

The definition of grace is "unmerited favor" and for me it is the answer to the whirlwind that is created when I try to "get it together".  I am learning to laugh at my life, mess ups and all.  To take the good with the bad and to just give myself a break.  I remember that I am ok, no matter what and already forgiven.  The mess ups will not define me.  I am loved right now, with all my forgotten appointments and extra slices of pizza.  I rest in who I am, and who loves me.  God quietly reminds me that HE HAS GOT IT and I dont need to keep all the balls of my life in the air.  I realize that exercising and dieting harder will not get me closer to peace, only opening my grip and allowing Him to work in my life will. 

As I learn to let go of food and exercise as a way to feel in control I am developing a new relationship with food.  It has taken me years and I still have times I struggle.  I know that this is the root of so many womens struggle.  

I have been reading the book Full by Asheritah Ciuciu and in it she ask some really powerful questions, a big one being : 

What does your ideal relationship with food look like?

How would you eat?

What  would you feel?

How would you act?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these questions I encourage you to comment below and if you would like to join me in readying Full over the next two weeks you can email me:

tabitha@brickhousebodies.com

As always I am praying for each of you

 

My Summer Podcast List

I love to listen to podcasts!! They are the perfect background to my day.  I listen in the kitchen while I cook, the car while I run errands and while i fold laundry!  Podcast are a great way to listen and learn.  My tastes range from Crossfit to nutrition to lifestyle.  I also enjoy a good story and some of my favorite podcast are in the form of a serial program just like a tv show.

Since summer is here I wanted to share some of my favorite podcast.  I encourage you to check them out and explore the world of podcast.  Its a great way to get away from the tv and learn something new!!!

you can listen to podcast on your iphone using the podcast app that comes on your phone.  If you are an android user you can listen via the stitcher app or on your laptop or home computer via soundcloud.

 

Balances Bites

Mind Pump

The Shauna Niequist Podcast

You Must Remember This

Harder to Kill Radio

How I Built This (NPR)

Chasing Excellence

That Sounds Fun

Christy Wright's Business Boutique

Brute Strength Podcast

Girls Gon Wod

Pursuing Health with Julie Foucher

 

Happiness

Happy: Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.  Fortunate and convenient. Characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment or joy.

Happiness: the state of being happy.

It had been a long day and it was only 11am.  The morning was a blur of emails, dishes, bus drop off and unending text messages.  I was totally in over my head.  As I walked out of the bank (my last errand till my next appointment in an hour)  I looked up for the first time since I woke at 5am that morning.  The sun was high in the sky and shining.  It was pleasantly warm and there was a soft breeze.  I got into my car and rolled down my windows, I took a huge breath in and out, the air just smelled GOOD, Like spring, my heart skipped a beat.  I closed my eyes and said a simple prayer:

THANK YOU LORD

When I opened my eyes the heavy weight of the morning had vanished.  I felt excited and lighter.  All the things I had to do for the rest of the day dissappeared.  I turned up Lecrae and just started driving.  

That moment was happiness to me.  I am so grateful that God has helped me to pause and appreciate these little moments because for a very long time (and sometimes still) I struggle to find those moments.  For the better part of my life happiness had conditions:

1- I had to make 6 figures and have a position of power

2- I had to live in NYC, in the best apartment money could buy

3- I had to be a size 2 

4- I had to have all the fun and friends and places to go to

5- I had to have designer clothes

The list goes on and on.  I was exhausted just trying to keep track of it all.  In reality and upon reflection I was anything but happy.  In my 20's and half of my 30's I drank too much, did drugs, struggled with an eating disorder and could not maintain a stable relationship with anyone.  But to the world I had everything.   I kept telling myself if I kept working I would finally make enough money.  If I went on enough dates I would find the right person.  If I worked out long enough and dieted hard enough that I would finally be happy.  My happiness was dependant on the outcome of each of my days.  I had given over control of my happiness to my job, my apartment, my wardrobe and my pants size.  I focused only on the outcome of my efforts.  Getting what I needed mattered above all.  I stormed through my life like a bull in a china shop, never pausing for reflection or lessons.  Not caring what was broken on my way to the final destination - happiness.

I got really close.  But when I had those rare moments of quiet a feeling nagged at me.  I would get anxious and then get sad.  The feeling was so fleeting, it slipped away as quickly as it came.  It wasen't until I had thought all was lost:  When my husband was out of work and we had $100 in our bank account.  When we lived with my in-laws for 4 years while struggling to get on our feet.  When I prayed everytime I got in my old truck with 200,00 miles, a broken exhaust and questionable steering that I would just be able to make it to work cause we needed the money, and in so many other ways

That was when I realized, that was when I understood.  All of those things I had worked so hard for, the happiness I took pride in earning could be gone JUST. LIKE. THAT.  If I stayed where I was, if Gods grace and mercy and the holy spirit had not intervened I would have never been happy again.  I had nothing to be happy about, I had nothing.  

I learned that even tohugh I had nothing I learned how to entertain a 6 year old by spending $5 at the dollar store.  I realized that date night could be a cup of coffee at the diner and Target and Forever 21 have some great workout wear.  That family walks can be just as fun as a vacation and it is true God will always provide.  The feeling of happy did not cause anxiety or quickly fade.  It was there just waiting for me to embrace it.

So if you are struggling with happiness I understand.  I know exactly what you are feeling.  I challenge you to take a moment look around and take a deep breath.  Ask yourself if you are working for happiness or just opening your eyes and seeing it for the first time.  Are you chasing the moments or building a life dependant on a peace and joy that is unchanging.  Happiness cannot be bought or worked for it is given by God, freely and with grace.