living intuitively


Posts tagged balanced lifestyle
Y tu?!
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

I have the kind of friends who make you feel like you’re the coolest person on earth. They make you feel like there’s nothing they’d rather be doing than hearing about your newest venture, or your date last night, or your upcoming getaway. They actively listen and ask follow-up questions. They present the appropriate corresponding facial expressions (eye rolls, knowing looks, cheesy grins) and happy dance as necessary.

They friggin’ rule.

They also inspire me to be better.

I hope you have friends like this too, because as I’m sure you’ve realized by now, not everyone is like this. If you don’t believe me, tag along on 90% of my dates!

For a number of reasons (social anxiety, lack of self awareness, self absorption, insecurity, all of the above, etc) people keep the spotlight on them. They’ll tell you allllll about themselves and once you’ve finally politely excused yourself, you realize that after 20 minutes of “conversing” they didn’t ask you a single question about you…but you know all about their new car and their daughter’s bout with the flu and their upcoming vacation and and and…

In moments like this, it’s easy to get annoyed, but important to remember some people just don’t know better! And/or they’re socially unsure of themselves and find it easier to rely on what they do know: themselves/their lives. It’s their comfort zone. It doesn’t even dawn on them to ask about you.

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Don’t try to impress others. Be humble. Take an interest in others.
— Philippians 2:3-4

Another reason for monologues is they feel compelled to “peacock” and show/tell you how great they are. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dated some awesome, considerate guys, but man - I’ve also dated beyond my share of peacocks. I’ll get to the end of the date and know they couldn’t tell you three facts about me because we focused solely on them the.entire.time. They didn’t bother to reciprocate any of the questions I initiated. Or if they did…they’d interrupt me to hijack the spotlight and turn it back to them. Not very enjoyable, as I’m sure you can imagine. When I’m particularly maxed out on their showboating, I’ll just clam up and stop supplying questions/conversation starters. I’ll watch them fidget awkwardly in the silence, marveling how they don’t realize that to end the silence, all they have to do is ASK ME A QUESTION. These guys.

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You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in others than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
— Dale Carnegie

Feeling and expressing a genuine interest in others is an INVALUABLE friendship trait. Hell, not only a friendship trait - a human trait! Making people feel worthy of interest and attention is the surest way to not only win people over but - more importantly - to connect with them. Making an effort to listen to and connect with others fosters empathy, understanding, mutual interest, etc. All the good things!

Tips to be more charming:
1. Smile more
2. Remember names
3. Be authentic
4. Be curious
5. Offer value

But genuine is the key word here. Authenticity is crucial. People can immediately sense when you’re merely going through the motions and just posing. Ain’t nobody likes a poser. And it’s not enough to just ask questions - you must also listen! How obnoxious is it when someone asks you a question then immediately checks out by scanning the room/scrolling on their phone/interrupting your story/etc.

Here are some tips for enhancing your social interactions by cultivating and expressing genuine interest in others. In other words, here’s guidance on how to be the kind of person others want to be around!

  • Offer customized compliments

    • Sure, it’s nice to hear “You look good” but how much better do you feel when someone notices and compliments you on something special and specific to you?

      • Examples: “That color looks amazing on you!” or “Your home has the most inviting energy!”

  • Ask specific, attentive questions

    • Show you’re truly interested in learning more about the person/the topic they’re discussing. Listen to what they say and ask follow-up questions.

      • If you’re not sure what to ask, maybe request clarification or note how interesting what they said is and ask, “What do you mean by ___?”

    • It’s important to come from a place of curiosity, rather than judgment.

    • If you happen to know more on the subject - keep it to yourself! It’s not a “who knows more” contest so just chillaxxxx and let them share what they know. And who knows - you might even learn something from them! At the very least, you’ll hear a fresh perspective.

    • Try to maintain that balance of showing interest without getting all up in their business. Ensure you’re on solid footing before asking probing questions.

  • Reciprocate their questions

    • Piggybacking off the previous point, is a great hack for when you’re feeling socially unsteady and not up to carrying the convo is simply to ask them what they asked you!

It’s important to mention some people don’t like talking about themselves: they’re shy, they’re insecure, etc. So honor where they are and try to find a common interest, or focus on safe, general topics like current events/mutual contacts (sans the gossip because gossiping is ew).

The more you really listen and get to know people, the more you realize how FASCINATING people really are! I can’t tell you how many times people have surprised me with their experiences/back stories/insights/etc. Everyone has a story and everyone has something to teach us.



When you are alive with joy, gratitude, and genuine interest in others, you are your most beautiful. Remember that. Now go stun the world.
— Brendon Burchard
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W O R K it I N not just O U T
Photos taken by Abbey Armstrong Photography, edited by me

Photos taken by Abbey Armstrong Photography, edited by me

The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
— Thomas Edison

Tell me if one or more of these thoughts have ever crossed your mind:

  • I need to lose weight
  • I need to tighten up
  • Why am I not seeing results? I've been careful with my eating change
  • Okay, so I've been exercising consistently annndddd still nothing
  • If I'm not seeing results, that must mean I'm clearly not hitting it hard enough. Time to really drill down with my workouts and my eating
  • Carbs are enemy #1. I'll cut them out completely and get crazy shredded
  • I was up studying/with the baby/sick all night, but I need to be consistent with my early-morning workouts. Gym time for sleep is a sacrifice I gotta make
  • Pain is gain. Exercise and "clean" nutrition aren't meant to be easy/enjoyable

As Dwight from The Office would assert: FALSE. As The Grinch would aver: WRONG-O. As the...okay, you get the idea.

Health isn’t about being ‘perfect’ with food or exercise or herbs. Health is about balancing those things with your desires. It’s about nourishing your spirit as well as your body
— Golda Poretsky

It's so easy to get trapped in the mentality that if you aren't seeing results, that means you need to work harder in the gym/be more disciplined in the kitchen. 

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Some truths to consider:

  • What's happening internally is more important than what's happening externally

You can kill yourself in the gym and eat as "cleanly" as possible, but if you're stressed/sleep deprived/hormonally imbalanced, you won't see results. Moreover, the stress you place on your body through intense workouts/calorie (or carb or fat) restriction could actually be CAUSING weight gain. Real talk. Your body's job is to keep you alive and functioning optimally, so if it feels like its wellbeing is threatened in any way (excessive energetic output, insufficient nutrients/calories) it will spring into shutdown mode. 

  • Hormones reign supreme

Hormones are sneaky little bastards and can wreak havoc on your metabolic health. If you've been exercising regularly and honing your nutrition, yet still feel you're fighting an uphill battle, start side eyeing dem hormones. Consult your doc about running some tests to ensure all is well on the hormonal front. And don't go jacking up your hormones by ignoring your body's cries for help. Hormones are affected by multiple factors: lack of sleep, stress, excessive exercise, improper nutrition (inadequate caloric intake, insufficient fat/carbs/protein, etc). Do right by your body and it'll do right by you.

Piggybacking off of these first two points:

  • Stress is ew and sleep is BAE

This is where working IN is paramount. More important than working those bunz is minimizing your stress. Your physical health reflects your mental health. Your results depend on being solid mentally. Trust me when I say you'll reap a much larger reward when you prioritize your mind over your body. Get your mind right, and your body will follow. Sleep is a crucial component of this. Sleep restores and heals the body from the daily stresses it faces. Fight the urge to skimp on ZZZs. Your time is much better spent ensuring a full 8 hours than rising early to work out. Rather than compromising sleep to get an hour workout, try sleeping in later and then doing a 15-minute full-body HIIT strength and cardio combo. Honestly, if you hit it hard enough, 15 minutes are plenty to rev up the metabolism and keep you fit, and you have more time for life/rest. 

Shift your thinking from weight to self care. “I need to lose weight” becomes “How can I pay attention to what my body needs?”
  • Every body is different

Some respond to lower carb grub (and maintain optimal energy). Some thrive on a vegan/vegetarian subsistence. Some do best on high fat nourishment. It's all about finding YOUR sweet spot. You'll be able to *feel* when you find it.

Listen to your body. It’s smarter than you.

The same goes for exercise. Some people can run a marathon a day and be totally functional, or work out for two hours six days a week and still have energy to spare. Not moi. I love high-intensity workouts but my body does not. It does much better with mostly low- to moderate intensity workouts, with one or two harder ones sprinkled in per week. When I do two back-to-back intense workouts, I'm down for the count the rest of the week. My sleep takes a hit, my concentration suffers, and it's Zombie Whitney. Also (but less important) my muscle definition decreases. What have YOU noticed with your body? Experiment to find out.

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Lately, what I've been doing is setting my timer for 23.5 minutes (random, I know - that's just what the interval time app I use defaulted to) and perform various exercises for a minute nonstop. This works for me, and my body responds exceptionally well to it. It keeps me from mentally and physically burning out. It feels doable (less than 30 minutes - easy peasy lemon squeezy!) and keeps me on track. Shockingly, I've still maintained my strength and stamina despite giving up the longer, more intense cardio and strength workouts.  Again, it's all about honoring your body's cues and finding your fitness and nutritional sweet spots.

Nature gets it right. Human intervention gets it wrong.
— Dr. Libby Weaver

Working out/eating well doesn't have to suck! Explore your options to find what jazzes you up.  You truly do have so many, so don't feel like you have to resign yourself to the dreadmill (I personally can't stand the treadmill - I get so bored!). 

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Mindful eating means trusting your body, not a calculator.

The same goes for nutrition. Healthy eating doesn't mean bland food or bust. There are SOOO MANY delicious natural flavor choices out there! Play around with natural seasonings and spices to find what gets you going. It may require an upfront investment of time and energy to experiment, but then you'll get the hang of it and that investment will pay off. And lucky us, living in the world of social media inspo. Delectable recipes at our fingertips! All those social media influencers did the hard work for us. I personally recommend simply eating intuitively and listening to your body, rather than following a specific protocol, but it's totally up to you! It might help to use a structured regimen as a guide (emphasis on guide - try not to get obsessive and rigid!) while you get your feet wet if you're not following a certain protocol. A good place to start is the Whole 30 protocol. The best rule of thumb is to eat food as close to its natural form as possible.

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Mindful eating is very pleasant.
We sit beautifully. We are aware of the people surrounding us. We are aware of the food on our plates. This is a deep practice.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

I've never agreed with the saying, "Live to eat, not eat to live." Food/eating can and should still be enjoyable! Sure, if you're emotionally eating and ignoring your body's satiety cues, that could be problematic. But why not derive joy from a biological necessity, something we do multiple times daily? Mindful eating - really relishing the food and making that mind-body connection - can really transform the experience and ensure you are on the same page with your body and heeding its needs.

Remember when your body is hungry, it wants nutrients, not calories.
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Create healthy habits, not restrictions.



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