At a very young age, my parents taught me the importance of self-respect and self-confidence. My mom always had me play the lead in church programs and made sure I was on the front row at my dance recitals. Later when I started playing sports, my dad would preach that “competitions are just about confidence…if I worked hard and believed that I was better than my opponent, I was!”
However as I matured, I started to believe that humility and self-confidence were mutually exclusive (i.e. if I wanted to be humble, that meant I needed to put the needs of others before my own or criticize myself). However, the TRUTH is exactly the opposite!
As a new vegetarian, I started reading the book “Skinny B*itch” which takes a very no-nonsense approach to healthy living and healthy eating. There’s a paragraph in the book, that really hammers home my beliefs about self-confidence and SWAGGER:
“Certainly your health and your body and you are more important than anything else in your life. You are worthless to your colleagues, friends and family if you do not value yourself enough to take excellent care of you. Yes, you have to put yourself before your friends, parents, boyfriend, husband and even your children. It won’t make you bad daughter or wife or mother; it will make you less resentful, more confident, interesting, beautiful, patient, tolerant, and fun person to be around. Your bright shining light will give everyone around you permission and inspiration to shine more brightly. Love yourself enough to do whatever it takes to be the best you you can be.”
For your Monday Motivation, I wanted to share this excerpt along with a graphic that my Aunt sent me (shout out to Aunt Cathy). Think about these truths as you start your week. I hope they encourage you as much as they encourage me! #GRIT
Happy February! Today marks the beginning of my “Love Your Body” series. For each of the next 5 days I’ll share a healthy, body-lovin’ tip. Our health is essential to our being, so cherish yourprecious temple of your soul – your BODY!
Lots of luv,
Get HATE of out of your HEART
Let the grudge go. Holding a grudge does NOT cause any pain to the person who hurt you (they couldn’t care less). Your grudge only causes pain to your body. Several university studies have proven that holding a grudge is bad for your health. Joseph Neumann, PhD, a clinical psychologist explains, “When I treated patients with cardiovascular disease, I was struck by how many were bitter, angry, and depressed,” says Neumann. “It clearly affected their health and their ability to heal.” On the flip side, a study by Harvard Women’s Health Watch found a link between forgiving and improvements in heart rate and blood pressure.
The reality is that life isn’t fair. People will treat you unfairly, hurt you, cheat you and, on top of that, get away with it. But we must CHOOSE to not let our pain or anger ruin all of the good things we have in life. Eventually, we reap what we sow. So don’t worry about getting back at that awful person, just let the grudge go!
Love your body today by forgiving and letting old hurts be history #GRIT
Not until about 3 years ago did I start to really appreciate the quality time I spent with my family and friends. Often I measure my personal success by my academic and professional achievements, money earned, Twitter followers and Facebook likes. However, none of these things bring me the sincere joy that my personal relationships create. I feel such a sense of peace, purpose and self-assurance by knowing that there are people in my life who truly have my back. Despite my shortcomings, my imperfections and my bad habits, they love me just the way I am. This holiday season, I’m challenging myself to invest in my relationships as much I invest in my job, my fitness regimen and in the stock market because sowing positive seeds into other people prepares the MOST bountiful harvest of all!
I don’t have many words for this post, just an extraordinary expression of gratitude for my loving, understanding, amazing family and friends. I thank God for you all – Merry Christmas!
(above) My sister, brother and me after church yesterday
Scale Deception – I’ve discovered that when I don’t see the numbers change on the scale, I should also take a look at my clothes. I was amazed at the clothes and how they were fitting. I took a photo of my new pair of jeans verses my old jeggings. To see the change was amazing!
Time Off – My doctor has me reducing my stress level thus I am making sure I get my 7-8 hours of sleep each night no matter what. I am drinking a lot of tea and have found a recent new tea to help bring down stress levels and relax. Tea is great for the skin and is an easy way to drink more water.
Exercise – Even if I am not meeting the goals every day with the plan, I am making each step and min count by keeping my heart rate monitor on. I had a pretty crappy run outside last week, but what made me smile was the calories burned.
Mental & Spiritual Strength – I am feeding my spirit and mind with educational opportunities but also the word (read: The Bible). Mostly during the day I am listening to sermons and uplifting music. This is making the day go by so much faster and my mood a lot better.
Grocery Shopping – I am loving Trader Joes as I get a chance to try new foods but also save a lot of staples. Since I have a salad every day, I can pick out a variety of salad toppings and bagged lettuce at the store $1-$2 cheaper. I also keep breakfast at my office now. I brought breakfast a few weeks ago to offset the amount of growing Halloween candy.
Food and Choices – The choices are becoming easier each day. I still love my bread but I am finding alternatives. The biggest changes are in my snacking as I have decrease my nuts/granola and fruit. I only have berries for my fruit and half or small apple or banana after a workout. I also started back eating fish as I am not having enough omegas, bored and needed to change a few things in my diet. I am keeping things in check much better. Dieting sucks and I binge badly after a few weeks (or days! lol) so being realistic about my life and time has helped amazingly.
Overall, I am feeling really good about myself and my progress especially since I am a few days out from my birthday 🙂
Sasha Obama wore this adorable dress to her father’s speech at the DNC. I promptly purchased and wore it Wednesday for a work event. Not going to lie, I felt good in it. It accentuated my waist and was flattering (so I thought). I went to the work event, where the first person I spoke with had met with me a year ago. She said to me, “It’s great to see you again. And I see you have a baby bump.” Pow. All my confidence (I had even posted on Facebook about how great I felt in the dress) just disappeared like that. Unfortunately, there’s something about my body type that causes me to get mistaken for being pregnant all too often (I know, weird). I played the bigger person and instead of socking her in the face I said, “You’d be surprised how often I am mistaken for being pregnant. I must have a pregnant glow. When it does actually happen to me, I’ll be radioactive!” But I can joke all I want. It still really hurts. And when it hurts, I need some carbs. So Brit, I did eat carbs after 4 pm on Wednesday. But can you blame me? I was eating for two (PLEASE NOTE: THAT STATEMENT IS A JOKE).
Really tough to get the workouts in this week. I was in Boston Wed – Thursday AM. And am in Richmond Thursday AM to Friday night. Working a ton – so my options to workout were between the hours of midnight and 4 am. Sooo…I didn’t workout Thursday and Friday. I’ll get back into the groove on Saturday, I promise!
Here’s the dress I wore Wednesday. Isn’t it adorable? (the black and white one). No one mistook Sasha Obama for being prego.
Brit’s Advice for Lakshmi
Accentuate the positive – when you reflect on your week, ALWAYS think about everything you did WELL first. If you start with your “slip ups,” it’s too easy to get discouraged and eventually quit your shape up efforts.
Don’t think in absolutes– you will never have a perfect day, so don’t beat yourself up if you sneak a cookie or miss a workout. Just think about living a “balanced” life and schedule some extra workout time or a super lean meal to compensate for your “slip up”
This weekend I went to NYC to hang with some friends and scope out the scene. I’ve been contemplating a move from the Big D to the Big Apple over the past few weeks. That said my friends labeled this trip as my “official recruiting” visit.
On Saturday morning I hit up the Derek Jeter 24 Hour Fitness in Midtown to get my usual 2-hour Saturday detox on. I had a sick Turbo Kick workout my girl Natalie (follow her @natalieughling) – one of my favorite NYC group fitness instructors and also the new face of Under Armor Women. After that, I did my 1st full-hour TRX Suspension Training class = KILLER CORE WORK and body weight resistance training. I felt nice and tight for the remainder of the weekend. I highly recommend you give it a whirl.
While wandering the Urban Jungle I hit up a street market in West Village, a roof top party near Gramercy Park, The Ramble and Alice’s Tea Cup in Central Park (you must try the pumpkin/caramel scone) and finally a b-day brunch/Soul Parade in Harlem. Let’s just say, this was a successful “recruiting visit” …
I’m feeling refreshed and optimistic for the week ahead. Here are some of my personal photos for you to peruse. Enjoy and Happy Monday 🙂
“I’m going to shoot a workout video on May 12, 2012”
– Brit on 1/24/12
Guess what? I did! In less than 5 months, with help of the most amazing friends and family, yesterday we shot GRIT Ultimate Body Burn Vol.1 – WOW! Let me preface this by saying that I have ZERO video or audio production experience, I’m not a full-time fitness professional (I’m a management consultant by day) and I’ve only been a group fitness instructor for 1 year. However, a simple statement that I made to a friend on Jan 24, 2012 became a reality due to enthusiasm and the amazing power of the tongue!
Now let me keep it real, there were SEVERAL bumps in the road: getting legal clearance for music was a nightmare, writing choreography took many sleepless nights and my credit card is suffering from underestimating the cost of video equipment rentals. However, I feel more alive and energized than I have in years because I did something that most, including myself, considered impossible – and it all starting with SPEAKING out my goal. Even though we still have a lot of post production work to do, this is one of most challenging and inspiring experiences of my life so I wanted to share it with you. Now, I challenge YOU to BELIEVE in whatever it is that you want to achieve. You ARE what you SAY you are. So, NAME it, CLAIM it, and DO it – GRIT!
“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21)
Last weekend I went to a fitness instructor workshop and one part of the training was on the “Iceberg” model of health. As you can see Spirituality/Meaning are at the base of the iceberg. This helped me understand that the lasting way to maintain good health is to have a strong spiritual foundation and life meaning/purpose. It goes a little something like this: Knowing our life’s purpose drives our motivations > our motivations drive our lifestyle/behaviors > our lifestyle determines our state of health. You’re probably thinking, “WHOA, Brit just got real deep on us!” Well no worries, I’m not trying to be your guru – I just don’t want all of my leg and ab workouts going to waste if you haven’t first laid the foundation 🙂
I’ve held tight to some valuable advice from my parents and mentors which can guide us as we evaluate the “base of our health icebergs.” Hopefully this advice helps you as much as it’s helped me – enjoy!
Brit’s 5 Step Guide for a Strong Spiritual Foundation:
Believe in God and that He put you here for a reason. YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE – your life has meaning and a specific purpose. Life is about understanding our individual and collective human purposes and striving each day to live those out. If you choose not to believe in God or a higher power, it’s virtually impossible to have HOPE for a greater good, divine order or individual life purpose. And if your life is hopeless, why even live?
Understand your strengths and where you put your effort. By knowing what you’re good at and when you’re most willing to work hard, you can gain a good sense of your natural gifts and ultimately your purpose in life.
Understand and/or define your values. What do you stand for? Think about it and write it down. Also, choose friends that understand your values, support them and keep you accountable for living by them – yes, tough love! After all, “if you don’t stand for anything you’ll fall for everything.” – Peter Marshall, 1947
Surround yourself with positive people. Positive people are the ultimate sources of optimism and energy, find ‘em and keep ‘em. On the other hand, negative people are like viruses, they will literally suck the life out of you – GET AWAY FROM THEM ASAP. This doesn’t make you heartless or a bad friend. Instead, it makes YOUR OWN well-being your first priority. The fact of the matter is that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we are incapable of adequately loving and supporting others.
Pray Regularly. Now, I have a hard time with this one because I find it very challenging to quiet my mind and really acknowledge my deepest fears, issues, questions, etc. However, a daily devotion to prayer and/or meditation gives us an opportunity to express gratitude, explore our deepest spiritual questions, relax and continue progressing on our spiritual journeys.