living intuitively

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Posts tagged healthy life
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 yet...no 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.

xx,

-w-

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THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. People are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am I.

This world has some incredible people in it. People with impressive achievements and accolades. People with seemingly endless talent, drive, energy, resources, skill, courage. 

When you encounter people like this, sometimes you can't help but reflect on your own achievements. You start comparing yourself, which we all know can be the kiss of death to contentment and gratitude. That comparison shiz ain't good. 

Here's an angle for your consideration. Something to ponder when you're feeling down, unaccomplished...you know, like a lahuuu-suh-herrrr (translation: loser). It's not about what you've achieved/accomplished/acquired. IT'S ABOUT THE EFFECT YOU HAVE ON OTHERS.

Think about the greatest, most valuable and meaningful people in your life. The MVPs in your life. I'm willing to bet the criteria you used to determine their value in your life had nada to do with their yearly income, or Instagram followers, or degrees, or bad ass trips to China (hopefully...). 

No matter how educated, talented, rich, or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything.

The most impactful people are the ones who lift you up/inspire you/support you. Or just friggin' MAKE YOU LAUGH. Let's say you're out with some friends and meet two people. One is a zillionaire, owns real estate all over the world, travels internationally on the monthly, has a Harvard degree, wrote five New York Times bestsellers, and runs a thriving non-profit to halt human trafficking. This person is nice enough, but more interested in telling you allll about how cool they are, with no interest in hearing about you. Cool story, bro. The other individual works in IT, has never traveled outside the US, yet is engaging, funny, kind, and genuinely interested in what you have to say. Which one are you going to want to keep talking to? The latter one, right?

Same with other people in your life. The people you want to hang around with and invite to a party are those who make you feel good, not inferior/bored/bummed/betrayed/etc. It matters far more how you treat people, than how accomplished/cool/successful you are. Besides - success is subjective! My definition of success may be different than yours. 

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Charisma is the transference of enthusiasm.
— Ralph Archibold

And charisma isn't about always having the right thing to say at the right time, or being the life of the party. It's about being genuine and kind. It matters less what you say than how well you listen. I'm more appreciative of the people who are there when I need them, with a helping hand or listening ear, than I am of those who are always ready with a witty comment. 

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
— Toni Morrison

So stay on those good vibes and know you are a bad ass.

xx,

-w-

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DO IT TO IT
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.
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Have you ever had a task you know you need to do, but you just cannot find the motivation to do it? You have a chore to check off, or an errand to run, or a call to make, or a paper to write.

Or maybe it's not yourself you're trying to motivate - maybe you're trying to prompt someone else to do something. You're trying to encourage your kids to do their homework, or your husband to start a garden with you. 

Wanna hear a cool motivational hack I found?

To give credit where credit's due, I'll start by saying I heard about this neato trick while listening to one of my fave podcasts: The Tim Ferriss Show. Tim was interviewing Daniel Pink, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author about work, management, and behavioral science so...bro knows his stuff. 

Here's how it works:

Let's say you're trying to talk yourself into getting your bunz off the couch and working out. Start by asking yourself: on a scale of 1 - 10, how motivated am I right now? Let's say you rate yourself at a solid 2. So you then ask yourself: Why am I not a 0? (Maybe a different direction than you thought it was going, right?) In response, some of the following reasons may come to mind: "I know exercise is good for me"; "I want to be healthy"; "I want to lose weight"; "I want to tone up"; "I want to be healthy for my kids"; "I'm training for a race and want to be ready."

Boom. You just articulated your own, autonomous, intrinsically motivated reasons for doing it. Not someone else's reasons. YOURS. It elicits and spotlights why you recognize it's something you ought to do. It can realign you to your initial motivation for committing to the goal. 

The key here is whenever you're able to prompt yourself/others to articulate your/their reasons for doing something, you're/they're more likely to follow through. 

Powerful, right?

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In a later post, we'll discuss intrinsic (internal; originating within the person) vs. extrinsic (external) motivation. 

Peace and blessings!

xx,

-w-

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F O R G I V E N E S S
Images taken by Abbey Armstrong Photography  Images edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images taken by Abbey Armstrong Photography

Images edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.
— Lily Tomlin

Think about the last time you were physically hurt. You likely did something to address the pain, right? Popped an aspirin, threw on a rad Power Rangers Band-Aid (because everyone knows cool BandAids are more effective than regular, boring Band-Aids). Even if you try to avoid medicine, you probably took some measure to ease the discomfort (cold washcloth/rest/essential oils/etc). How long did you wait to do something about it?

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In her book You Are A Badass, author Jen Sincero brilliantly articulates the power of forgiveness. She highlights the distinction between how we typically treat physical pain as opposed to emotional pain. As she notes, we're typically very proactive and quick on the draw to banish our physical pain...even if this involves the initial discomfort of pouring stinging disinfectant on an open wound or powering through getting stitches. We're motivated to do it right away, because we're intent on our ultimate goal of R E L I E F.

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They caused the first wound, but you are causing the rest; this is what not forgiving does. They got it started, but you keep it going. Forgive and let it go, or it will eat you alive. You think they made you feel this way, but when you won’t forgive, you are the one inflicting the pain on yourself.
— Bryant McGill

However, when it comes to emotional pain, we're apparently down to see just how much torture we can endure, wallowing in our "guilt, shame, resentment, and self-loathing, sometimes for entire lifetimes." Ring any bells?

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
— Buddha

We prolong our misery by clinging to our ill feelings. We do this by badmouthing our boss/fantasizing about telling our overbearing mother-in-law where to stick it/pondering the many reasons our enemies are wrong and the many reasons we're right. As Sincero points out, we relive our worst moments over and over and over instead of letting them go. Doing so, we pick at the emotional scabs, thereby refusing healing and preventing the pain from subsiding. 

Reminder: Forgiveness is a process. A choice you have to make over and over, until you’re free from the negative feelings.

I'm sure this isn't the first time you've heard this. We all know we should release our resentments and let that shiz go. It's one thing to know it - it's another to do it. And I can completely relate. I'm definitely not immune to the self-inflicted pain by clinging to past wrongs others have done me, particularly the big whammies. Through effort and mindfulness it's become much easier, but I still have my moments. Rarely do the negative feelings immediately dissolve upon deciding to forgive. They can linger, sometimes re-surfacing after you thought you'd fully released them. Depending on the severity of the wrongdoing, forgiveness is usually a process. A decision you have to make repeatedly. Be patient with yourself and know it's okay if you occasionally get sucked back into the angry/hurt vortex - all that matters is that you find your way back out. 

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When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they did right.

We all have our own stories of people royally screwing us over. It's life. We've (unintentionally or otherwise) done wrong by others. Here's what I remind myself to make the process easier:

  • Being a human is hard sometimes, and a little grace toward someone goes a long way. Hurt people hurt people.
  • I'm so grateful for the forgiveness others have extended to me. Who am I to withhold it from others?
  • it's friggin' EXHAUSTING to hang onto hurt/anger/resentment. 
  • Empathy, understanding, and compassion dissolve anger/guilt/resentment. I always try to understand why the person did what they did - every time, I'm able to trace it to fear/insecurity/hurt the other person is feeling. This immediately reminds me of our collective humanity, and effectively softens my heart toward them. This doesn't mean you condone their actions, but it allows you to empathize, accept the situation, and move onnnn.
  • People fight battles we know nothing about.
  • Jumping to conclusions and automatically assuming ill intent often proves wrong. Allowing the person the benefit of the doubt is usually the best tactic. If possible, communicate with the other person to express your concern and provide them with a chance to explain themselves. 
  • It's often not about you. Step back and be honest with yourself: Are you allowing your insecurities to color your judgment? 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This also applies to self-forgiveness!! Be kind to yourself! Forgive yourself for your own indiscretions and slip ups, and be patient with yourself as you work to forgive others. 

xx,

-w-

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