Health and Wellness, Self-Love

April Newsletter

A Little Lightness

Okay, I think we all need a little something uplifting right about now. What do you think? Jokes? I’m horrible at jokes. Funny stories about me? How about some things you may not know about me? No limits… okay, why not! Here we go!

  • When I was younger, one of my good friends and I would make videos. My name was Max and her name was Dusty – we would create cooking shows (which would end in flour fights), getting dressed on our way to work (has anyone seen that Bean episode? We basically recreated it) and being stranded on an island among many many other scenarios. We thought they were absolutely hilarious, and honestly thinking back to them… I still laugh.
  • I love to dance. I was on our hip-hop dance team for my senior year in high school and I absolutely loved it. I took a hip-hop dance class when I lived in Boston and I’ve been searching for a good hip-hop dance class around here, but have yet to find one…so if anyone knows of one, let me know!
  • I’ve lived in Boston, San Francisco and Philadelphia. I also studied abroad and lived in Rome, Italy for a semester. I have traveled to the following places: Florence, Venice, Napoli, Barcelona, Madrid, Dublin, London, Liverpool, Stockholm, Vienna, Athens, San Juan, Grand Turks, St. Thomas, Bahamas, Costa Maya, Costa Rica, Panama, Montego Bay, Jamaica, Antigua, Dominican Republic, and Alaska. I have also driven across the country.
  • I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon, the year of the bombing. I truly believe that my grandparents were pushing me forward every step I took that day. If I had it my way, I would have stopped many many times, but I never did. I crossed that finish line approximately 19 minutes before the bomb went off.
  • For my senior year challenge, I wanted to learn how to play the piano and write/sing my own song. So I did. I performed it as part of my presentation. I played that piano and sang my heart out. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done… talk about vulnerability.
  • When I went wine tasting in Napa Valley, CA with a whole crew of people, I drank too much and threw up in the van on the ride home… whoops – not my finest moment.
  • I once wanted to be a war journalist, I wanted to go into the most dangerous areas and report on it.
  • I absolutely love photography and working in a darkroom.
  • I started writing when I was in high school and currently write every single day.
  • I have two bachelor degrees – Communication/Journalism and Nursing.
  • I have been skydiving and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
  • I love dirt bikes, snow machines, and four wheelers – if it has speed, I want to take it for a spin!
  • I’m obsessed with the Ace Ventura movies – so much so that I have acted them out – theatrics and all – MANY times. ALLLLLRIGHTY THEN!

There’s so much more, but I think that’s a good start. I hope this brought you a little joy, a little happiness and a break from all that’s going on. Stay healthy, Ashley.

Health and Wellness, Self-Love, Self-Worth

December Newsletter – Self-Worth

Self-Worth – what is your worth?

Webster defines self-worth as “the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person.” What is your perception of your worth? Is it: I’m worth more than this? I’m not worthy of that? I will always be unhealthy? I can get healthy? I won’t succeed?

Often, our perceived value or self-worth is based on the stories and limiting beliefs we tell ourselves. I won’t succeed. I’m unhealthy. I’m not good enough.

The thing about these limiting beliefs is that when we attempt for something more: a healthier lifestyle, a job promotion, a better grade on an exam, a better race time – if our limiting belief is: I’m not good enough, I won’t succeed – we will likely not achieve our goal. When our results start to exceed our limiting belief, we often start to self-sabotage.

Let me give you an example: I want to live a healthier lifestyle, which for me is about working out daily, obtaining a healthy weight for my size, choosing healthy and supportive relationships, sleeping well, feeling energetic and being optimistic. Let’s say my limiting belief is, “I am unworthy of good things.” I start my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle: I start to lose the weight, feel happier, more energetic, my relationships are flourishing, and my sense of well-being has completely shifted. My results are exceeding my limiting belief of, “I am unworthy of good things.” This is when I am likely to start self-sabotaging. How would I do this? I may stop working out. I choose the chocolate instead of the salad. I stay up too late mindlessly scrolling or watching TV. I pick fights with the people in my life. By doing this, I then match my results to my limiting belief. My overall sense of well-being suffers, and I find myself right back where I started which reinforces my belief of “I am unworthy of good things.”

Can you think of a time in your life where this has happened to you? Maybe with a weight loss journey? You start to lose the weight, have a slight stall in the weight loss and then revert back to your old habits because your perceived worth or belief is “I will never lose the weight,” “I will always be unhealthy.”

How do we overcome and change our perceived self-worth when it is not serving us? The first thing is to recognize your limiting belief(s), the second thing is to change the story and the third thing is to surround yourself with people that have a higher perceived self-worth than you.

Our limiting beliefs and believed self-worth can affect our identity. Are your limiting beliefs serving you or sabotaging your efforts?

 

Goals, Health and Wellness, Pursuing your dreams, Self Awareness, Self Care, Self-Love

How to: Navigate the Holidays with your Health in Mind

Christmas sport composition with  shoes, dumbbells and note

This is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather change, the football, the family time and the coziness that accompanies the holidays. The sweet scents of Thanksgiving dinner and the Christmas tree, the Macy’s Day parade – just everything… I love it – I always have.

A few things that come along with the holidays are: homecooked meals, sweets and treats, maybe more alcohol indulgence and a lot of time visiting and sitting with family. It becomes an easy time to hibernate and neglect the effort you have put in towards your health and wellness all year. How do you navigate the holidays with your health in mind so you’re not starting over again when the new year hits?

Here are a few ways I like to navigate the holidays while keeping my health in mind:

  • Mindfulness and awareness – I find that if I am distracted by the television, visiting, playing games or just caught up in the joy of the season, I am more likely to mindlessly eat. Being aware of this is the first step. The second step is to acknowledge if I am reaching for the muddy buddies because I’m hungry or because they’re there. When I stop and ask myself this question, it gives me a moment to pause and tune into my body. Most of the time, I am reaching for the food/drink because I am caught up in the joy and fun of my surroundings. Being mindful and aware of your hunger cues and triggers for overindulging is essential for maintaining your focus and efforts towards a healthier version of you. What triggers you to keep reaching for the food and drink? Endless talking? Family stress? Personal insecurities? Recognize this, pause in the moment and make the best choice for you and your health.
  • A bit of bargaining – I enjoy sweet treats and I enjoy a nice glass of wine. When it comes to the holidays, in order for me to stay on track towards my health and wellness, I find myself bargaining. I’ll have that piece of pie, but I won’t have a glass of wine. I’ll have that homecooked roll, but I won’t have any green bean casserole. I’ll have that salad so I can indulge in a dessert. I find myself picking and choosing so I can stay energized, focused and present with my family and friends.
  • Continued Effort –  In the past, I have used this time of year as an excuse to not move my body or choose healthy options for myself. However, within the past 10 years, I have recognized that if I continue my effort towards staying active and choosing healthier options for me, it is much easier to stay on track or to get back on track if I have a slight indulgence or deviation. When I get in a morning workout, I set myself up for a great day; why wouldn’t I do something that helps me feel good and that I love on one of my favorite days or during my favorite time of year? Pursue that good feeling every day of the year.
  • Grace – This is the biggest thing for me, giving myself grace when I do indulge. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I do not live a life of restriction. If I restrict myself, I will then crave and indulge. I give myself grace when I have a second glass of wine. I give myself grace when I choose to eat a bigger piece of pie. I give myself grace if I go back for one of my mom’s home-cooked rolls. I give myself grace because I know that this one day of enjoying myself, my family and the food will not completely derail all the hard work I have put in all year. I give myself grace because I know I will be right back to my usual routine the next day. I give myself grace because I know this is not going to start a downward spiral of daily indulgences because I have created a habit of a healthy lifestyle. I give myself grace because I deserve it.

You can navigate AND enjoy the holidays with your health in mind. Just because the holidays are approaching does not mean that you can’t stay active or you can’t eat the salad – stay on track. Don’t succumb to pressure or family stress. Keep pursuing your goals and dreams of a healthier version of you. If anyone gets in your way or gives you grief, throw a pie in their face. (Disclaimer: Fit Together is not responsible for any outcomes of you throwing pies at people.) 🙂

Fitness, Goals, Health and Wellness, Pursuing your dreams, Self Care, Self-Love, Self-Worth

October Newsletter – Get Out of Your Own Way

Ever wonder why you still haven’t lost that weight? Or why you still haven’t run that 5K? Or why you still haven’t reconciled that relationship? Or why you still haven’t gone after that promotion? It’s not because it’s not possible or not available to you, it’s because you won’t get out of your own way.

That’s right… I said it. You say you want to be healthier while also saying you don’t have the time or the energy. You say you’ve wanted that promotion for years but still haven’t made a plan to get there. You say you’ll sign up for a 5k but never signed up let alone got to the starting line. It isn’t because the opportunity wasn’t there.

The opportunity is ALWAYS present. You are choosing, subconsciously or consciously to turn your head every time it shows up. You are choosing to stay still even when you want something more. You are choosing to live in a state of familiar discomfort rather than push yourself for more.

I’m going to say it again, everything that you want but have not received is because you are standing in your own way. Is it harsh? – absolutely, but I think some of you reading this need to hear it.

You want to be “healthier”, but you don’t have the time or energy. How are you spending your days and nights? What can you change to pursue a healthier lifestyle? Is it your nighttime snacking? Is it your mindless scrolling of social media? Are you binge-watching shows that you’ve seen a hundred times? Are you turning towards food and drink as a way to self-sooth? Do you wake up by the sound of your children or with just enough time to get in the shower and head out the door for work? You have the time – you just need to prioritize and organize it.

You have wanted that promotion for years but still haven’t gotten it. Does your boss know you’re interested? What have you done to go above and beyond your current job requirements and expectations to show your boss you want to advance?

You want to run that 5K but tell yourself that you’ll sign up when you’ve trained for it. Or maybe you sign up but you never show up to the starting line. Are you afraid? Or is it the story you’ve always told yourself ‘I’ll never succeed’ that’s standing in your way?

Stop taking a victim’s stance and start showing up for yourself to go after what you want. If you want happiness, if you want better health, if you want that promotion, if you want that 5K – no one is going to fight harder for it than you, and no one is going to do it for you.

You and your thoughts are the only 2 things holding you back -show up and get out of your own way, what are you waiting for?

Goals, Pursuing your dreams, Self-Love, Self-Worth, Uncategorized

August Newsletter – Where’s the Motivation?

“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”

Whether it be in regard to my running schedule or my on-going effort for Fit Together, I often hear the question, “how do you find the motivation?”

When this question comes up, my answer is always the same: I don’t always have the motivation; it is not a constant state that I am in. My motivation, much like anything else in life, waivers.

So then the question really becomes, how am I staying so dedicated to Fit Together, running, and my health and wellness when I am overwhelmed with a lack of motivation?

It comes down to this: my desire to put myself as a priority, to put my dreams as a priority and to put my wellbeing as a priority far outweigh any lack of motivation. When I am unmotivated, my desire to stick with what I planned to do is 100 x stronger. When I am unmotivated, my desire to keep pushing for this dream is 100 x stronger. When I am unmotivated, my desire for my own mental and physical health is 100 x stronger. When I am unmotivated, my desire to NOT quit on myself is 100 x stronger.

I know for a fact that when I work out, when I do something for Fit Together or when I make the time for myself, I will be rewarded.

It is not always about being motivated. It is about committing myself to something that I believe in and sticking with it through thick and thin. It is about dedicating myself to a goal long after the mood I set it in is gone.

I set out to run this weekend as I always do but my Sunday morning motivation was lacking. I wanted to veg out, sit on the porch and hang with my loves. Ella repeatedly said “stay here Mama, stay here” – commence the Mama guilt. So how did I overcome that and still accomplish my Sunday morning run like I planned to do? It wasn’t because I had the motivation, it was because I recognized that 1. It’s only 30 minutes away from them. 2. I will feel better once it’s done. 3. I will be better once it’s done. And 4. I deserve 30 minutes to myself. So even though I didn’t have the motivation and even though my little 2-year-old was asking me to stay, I did what I planned to do and took care of myself. Ella was fine as I left and gave me a big hug, she was still playing in the pool with Alex by her side once I returned and I was more present and emotionally stable that day after the run.

It isn’t about always having the motivation, it is choosing to commit to yourself and your dreams every single day despite the external or internal barriers.

Goals, Self Awareness, Self-Care, Self-Love, Self-Worth

Overcoming Your Excuses

“I’m too tired.” “Missing one day won’t matter.” “It takes too much time.” “I don’t have the time.” “It’s too hot/cold.” “It’s raining/snowing.”

The list can go on and on. We all have those excuses that can break down your determination and motivation. The thing about the excuses is that they always turn up right when we need an easy out. We choose to use the excuse because that is easier than it is to do something challenging and uncomfortable.

It is deeply engrained in us to avoid pain, to limit our expressions of emotion and to protect ourselves. Because of this, we limit ourselves from achieving goals we set out to accomplish. We do this to avoid vulnerability and in doing so, ultimately we limit potential greatness.

What if we chose the challenge over the ease?

What if we chose the discomfort over the complacent?

What if we chose the unknown over the known?

Where could we be? Who could we be?

What if you embraced that sweat and shortness of breath during that first workout vs. sitting on the couch watching tv again?

What if you chose to confront yourself and finally moved past those 20 years of anger and hurt vs. burying it inside you and living with it like it doesn’t still effect you?

What if you chose to walk past that wall you’ve built vs. sitting on the same side that you know is destructive to the person you want to be?

Where could you be? Who could you be?

Overcoming your excuses is about choosing the challenge, discomfort and unknown over and over again and trusting that you will be okay… if not stronger.

Overcoming your excuses takes constant effort, determination and willpower. It is not easy – but it will always be worth it.

Overcoming your excuses is about making your why more important and forceful than the line up of excuses you’ve been carrying around and using all your life.

Do it anyway.

Tired? Do it anyway. Too hot? Do it anyway. Angry, sad, frustrated, irritated? Do it anyway!

Stop standing in your own way, be stronger than your pile of excuses and do it anyway!

Body Image, Self Care, Self-Love, Self-Worth

Body Shaming

Body shaming – the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.

We’ve all been witness to judgement and body shaming most of our lives. I have seen this my whole life and for so long thought nothing of it; I thought it to be normal…this is how we talk to ourselves. She’s calling herself fat again. She’s squeezing her fat and expressing hate for herself. She made another comment about my size. He used words like “skin and bones” in a negative tone. They say I look sick and disgusting. She’s crying about losing a feature that she feels defines her, “they’re all going to make fun of me.” She hurt herself because she felt ugly. She changed because she didn’t look sexy enough. She verbally abused herself again in front of the mirror.

We, as a society have normalized talk of hate and disgust towards our own bodies. We negatively assess how we compare to others we know and the “perfection” we see in the media.

Body shaming does not discriminate, it happens to people of all shapes and sizes. If I’m being honest with you, I’ve gotten it from both ends. “Oh, I didn’t know your stomach was that big”, “oh, you should start tightening your butt”, “oh man, you’re skin and bones.”

People don’t understand the power of their words. Although they may not be intentionally judging or shaming, often times any comment about someone’s body triggers some sort of emotional response.

When it comes down to it, body shaming is not actually about the person being shamed. It’s not about what they’re wearing, how they look or what they chose to do with their hair. No, the body shaming is nothing about the one being shamed. It has EVERYTHING to do with the person shaming and judging. It has to do with their insecurities, their anger, their hate, their need to break someone else down to feel adequate and worthy.

When someone body shames another person, it speaks to who they are. When they judge someone, it’s about them. When they degrade someone based on appearance it’s a representation of their own insecurities, yet we… the people being shamed take it personally and more often than not, hold it to be true.

Our hair does not define us. The number of fat cells on our body do not define us. The number on the scale does not define us. Our clothes do not define us.

The only thing that defines us is us. If you want to be fun and crazy, then be fun and crazy. If you want to be carefree, then do carefree. If you want to be angry, then do angry. If you want to shave your head, you know what… I’m still going to love you. We make choices every single day to represent who we are.

Step outside the media and create your own version of beauty; there’s more to it than just our appearance.

When hearing judgement, being judged or a victim to body shaming, take a moment to step back, recognize that it’s not about you… it’s about them. Speak up, stand up and be strong. See your truth, feel your truth … it does not come from their words of hate and anger, it comes from you.

Find yourself, define yourself and be the person you were made to be.