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31 DAYS OF MOTIVATION: Define Your Fitness

Define Your FitnessIsn’t it funny how opinionated people are about body weight. “she’s too skinny”, “she’s too fat”, “she’s too muscley”, “she’s too lean”, “she looks like a man”, “she doesn’t even look like she lifts weights”.

I could be having a totally fat day (or month! lol) and people will feel the need to remind me that my fat day would be their skinny day. Does that make me feel thinner? No. Do I instantly feel dynamite, fit and happy? Not a chance. Do I still feel fat and crappy? Yep. Are my jeans still too tight? Yep.

Too fat, too thin, too confused

I remember one time, a couple of years ago, a company wanted to hire me to be a fitness model for a celebrity workout series, and another company wanted to hire me for a infomercial. In the same period of time, one told me I was too lean and muscular, and the other one said I needed to lose 15lbs. I had to laugh. I admit, at first I didn’t laugh at all. I was totally frustrated. I found myself dieting one minute, and trying to add some mass the next. I was on a fitness rollercoaster ride and how I felt about my weight was determined by what others thought. Then I realized I just needed to be me. I needed to be at the weight I feel most comfortable, and not worry what others thought.

body type

weight stereotypingThe issue of judging and stereotyping body types applies to everyone in some way or other – and it will likely happen to you too. As you diet and strive to reach your goals, it is not uncommon for people to tell you you’re getting too skinny, or to remind you how happy they’d be if they were at your weight. Another issue is people may judge you for caring about your body and health – maybe they think you are being selfish. They may judge you for the time you spend in the gym or how often you run. Some people perceive a healthy person to be vain or conceited. At the same time, fitness fanatics can come across equally judgmental.  As Johnny Depp playing Donnie Brasco said, “forgetaboutit”. What matters most is how YOU feel.

Don’t let people define fitness for you. You are the only one who knows what you have to do to feel your best and to do what you need to be healthy and happy. So set your goals based on that – not one anyone else is doing or thinking. Not what you think the scale should say or a magazine may tell you. Define your own fitness this year.

Body Type

There Are No Ugly Women

There are no ugly womenWhen I saw Helena’s Quote, I was like “YES!”. That is SO true! Anyone can be beautiful, it just takes work. STOP!!! Before I go a word further, let me reassure you, I am not talking about make-up. I am not talking about how much money you spend on your hair, having a perfect body or about having good genes. The beauty I am talking about goes deeper than the skin.

First, let’s talk about emotional beauty. When you think of someone beautiful, you think of someone standing tall and confident. You probably don’t picture someone hunched over and insecure. So, first, beauty starts within. Of course, not everyone has a rosy life. Some people are still attending the school of hard knocks – BUT you don’t have to let those moments define you. You LEARN from the school of hard knocks, you don’t grab a dorm and move in permanently.

If you are struggling emotionally, seek help to rebuild your spirit and to heal so you your light can shine again.

yogaSecond, let’s talk about your effort to take care of yourself. Don’t get me wrong, if your husband loves you best with no makeup, go for it! But, that doesn’t mean go ditch the hairspray and toothbrush too! There is a certain level of love we should have for ourselves that we should maintain. Not a vain selfish love, but a caring love for the body God gave us. Not only that, we should think about the effort we put in our appearance to GET our sweetheart, and continue to put in that much effort to keep him or her.

If you are neglecting your health, your body, your well-being, you are not being your best. Not only that, it’s hard to work on our emotional health while neglecting our body. When we start to work on our best and make improvements, confidence follows. This helps us work on the first topic of standing proud and tall. Then we actually feel physically better. THEN we look better because we feel better. THEN we look forward to presenting ourselves as our very best because we know we are valuable and special.

Lastly, let’s talk about the physical appearance. Once you are feeling better, inside and out, we shouldn’t neglect our appearance. I don’t mean you need to get plastic surgery if you hate your nose. I mean powder that nose and make the best with what you have. 90% of beauty is not the make-up you put on, or the muscles you sculpt, it’s the way you present yourself to the mirror and to the world. Beauty is a reflection of your heart, and the effort you put into making the most of the life God gave you. The make-up, hair and dress is just the ribbon on top of the present (and you ARE a valuable prize!).

Monica-Tess-touched-by-an-angel-30892909-1024-768If you wash you car, clean your house, polish your furniture and mow your yard, then why would you neglect your body? Maybe you have put everyone else first. Maybe you have struggled with being too vain (believe me, I’ve struggled with that one too!). Maybe you feel like there’s no hope for you. Maybe you’ve gained too much weight, are too old or have too many problems. Let me tell you right now, some of the most beautiful people I know are not the most perfect people I know. Of matter of fact, some of the ugliest people I know, are the most physically attractive. You can only be as beautiful on the outside as you are in the inside.

No fat, no zits, no wrinkles, no scars, no flaws can cover up real beauty. If you focus on sprucing up the inside, the outside will begin to sparkle too! 🙂

Don’t believe me? Ask God. He made you and he don’t make no junk! 😉


Reward Yourself with Confidence, Not Food

reward yourselfMany times, when people are on a diet, they reward themselves with a nice dinner out or “cheat weekend”, but what about rewarding yourself with nice clothes that support your fitness goals? We would easily blow $50 on dinner without blinking an eye, but why not invest in your confidence and goals?

When I first got married and fell off the fitness train, I dreaded going back to the gym – as the fatter version of me. I felt fat and ugly, and knew people would notice how I had “let myself go”. I wore crappy workout clothes because I didn’t have any cute ones to fit my heavier body. As I lost weight, I began to reward myself with cuter tops and accessories. The closer I reached my goals, the more goodies I got – and the more excited I was about going to the gym.

Changing the way you reward yourself is one way to help boost your self-esteem to help you feel your best as you are working toward your goals. It worked for me – and it can work for you!

Ellie XOXOIf you like fitness and working out, but you want to do it in style, you need to meet Ellie. Ellie is a monthly subscription program where you get a new outfit each month for half the cost. You can stop it any time, or you can even just order pieces you like, but the monthly subscription is the most affordable way to get a killer high-quality outfit each month for less. Here are some of the items I have and really love. As you can see, each piece has a unique design and fun cuts that not only pretty, but are flattering too.
Ellie medium_201306-PERFECTCATCH_RISEANDSHINE_LITTLEBLACKLEGGING_BACK Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 7.05.05 AM medium_9backScreen Shot 2013-08-06 at 7.05.48 AM medium_peek-a-boo-back
medium_201306-outfit-UPALLNIGHT_HEATWAVE_BACKScreen Shot 2013-08-06 at 7.06.13 AM Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 7.06.24 AMmedium_3back

Here is a sneak peak of Ellie‘s Bon Voyage Collection, the newest monthly collection.

10 Tips for Goal Setting:

  • Set clear defined goals each week – this can be based on attendance, diet or weight
  • Set clear defined goals each month – this should be results based
  • Decide what has to be done to reach those goals
  • Determine a specific reward for each goal or task met
  • Reward yourself weekly with something small – like a fitness magazine or new music
  • Reward yourself monthly with something bigger, like a new outfit or fitness accessory
  • Create a “consolation prize”, like a smaller reward for those times you missed your goal, but didn’t give up or backslide, so you don’t get discouraged
  • Share your goals with friends for added accountability
  • Constantly remind yourself where you will be if you reach your goals each week.
  • Keep your eye on the prize! Post your goals, pictures and motivation where you can see it multiple times through out the day.

How to Give Your Self-Esteem a Healthy Boost

Why are we so hard on ourself?

If you asked me all the things I hated about myself, I’d pour you some tea because it would take a while to list everything. Physical flaws, personality flaws, my weaknesses, my fears…I probably could spend all day picking myself apart. By the time it was over, I’d need to check into a mental hospital.

On the contrary, if you asked me to tell you something good about myself, I’d probably draw a blank – at least for a moment. I’d most likely come up with a few things, none of which would probably be a physical trait. Every time I’d begin to say something, I’d immediately think of how that could be better or how “it’s not really that great”. I could come up with a few good personality traits, moral traits and probably some professional strengths but, all in all, it would be one difficult task.

The Remodel Job: You Through YOUR Eyes

Why is it so hard to like ourself? I think it’s because we know our flaws better than anyone else, and can’t see how we look to others. Think of our body like our house. People can come to our house and brag on how pretty it is, compliment the decorating, etc but they aren’t inspecting it with a white glove. Only we know what is broken, how dusty the baseboards are and what parts have been neglected because we are the ones who see it up close every day. Despite what needs work, we make it as presentable as we can to share with others. This happens a lot in fitness. We work so hard to remodel ourselves, and maintain our body (like we do our house), that we are aware of our flaws even more.

The Archie Bunker Effect: You Through ANOTHER’s Voice

Another reason we are hard on ourself is because others can be hard on us. Think of Archie Bunker. We all remember what a jerk he was – a funny jerk, but a jerk still. Yet, we know he loved Edith. He adored her actually. However, he was so darn hard on everyone and rarely gave a compliment.

Unfortunately, our loved ones will sometimes point out our flaws more than our good traits, just like good ole Archie. Ironically, they probably could make a list a mile long of all your great traits. They SEE you better than you probably see yourself, but they often TELL you everything they don’t like a lot more. It’s like having one pimple on your face. If everyone points at it all the time, you can’t think of anything else besides that annoying pimple. You’ll feel ugly and want to hide, no matter how great the rest of you looks. But, the same person with the same pimple is much better if no one points it out. They’ll almost forget it’s there if people let them.

I’m not saying we should ignore our flaws – if they are something we can work on, we should be aware of them enough to want to work on them. I believe we should always want to improve. However, we can’t let them get us down because there are still SO many parts of you that are simply amazing.

Things to Consider:

1. You have great traits whether you see them or not. Others do. You just need to open your eyes.

2. When others point out flaws, they are normally the same few flaws they continue to point out. Tell them “you know, you’re working on it” and to be patient.

3. If you focus on correcting flaws every day, allot extra time to focus on your progress. If you need to pull out fat pictures, do it. If you need to keep a package of Ramen Noodles out to remember when you used to be broke, do it. Support a child in need and post his/her picture on the refrigerator to help keep a healthy perspective in life. Do whatever it takes to remind you where you came from so you aren’t so focused on where you are headed you forget to celebrate where you are.

4. Be thankful. Thank the Lord for everything you DO have and for everything you are. God made you and He thinks you are great. It’s hard to be ungrateful when you are talking to God. That’s like telling an artist you think their painting is ugly. Also, you can’t lie to Him and you can’t get him to feel sorry for you when there are people in the world who don’t know if they will survive another day without food. He knows just how truly blessed you are, and will quickly remind you too. You’ll find your mind and heart will open up in a unique way. He’ll help bring you back to reality. Before you know it, you’ll be overwhelmed with life, your health, your friends, your functioning body and all that you DO have that’s truly great.


Write down at least 5 things that you feel are amazing about yourself and write them down. Post it at your desk or vanity to remember every day. Share the love and tell a co-worker, friend or loved one at least 5 things you like about them and right them down so they can post it and remember they are awesome too!

BODY: Be Mine

17 years ago today, Steve asked me to “Be Mine” and I said yes. It was such an easy decision, I barely blinked an eye. There is a lot of love in the air around this time of year, but no matter how much love there is to go around, we often struggle to extend that same love to our own self. I have to admit, if my body said “Be Mine” I’d have to think twice. I mean, I can’t help but think there HAS to be a better body out there for me. If only I had the choice to pick it like we get to pick our mate.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” 

Poor Vision
If we could just see ourselves through our lover’s eyes. We would be so much easier on ourselves. We wouldn’t even notice the zit on our face or our love handles poking out of our jeans. We wouldn’t be staring at everything that is wrong, but we would be looking at all that was right. It would almost be like we were looking at a different person.

If only we could see ourselves like we see others. We extend our loved ones so much grace, yet we have none left for ourself. We harshly judge our body, so much so, we end up imprisoning ourselves with negative and irrational thoughts.

Even Heidi Klum can rip apart her own smile, yet all we see is beauty. How many times has someone said they wish they had something you had. They wish they had your hair, they wish they had your skin, or they wish they had your eyes. If you’re like me, these comments are hard to accept.

They are hard to accept because we honestly don’t see what they see. Not because it’s not there – but because we aren’t looking at it. We are so focused on all the crappy stuff, we literally aren’t even looking at the good stuff. However, the good stuff is still there, whether we recognize it or not, and it’s normally what everyone else sees first.

The problem with people who are actively working on the “flaws” in our life, is that they become focused on them. It’s difficult to work on something without focusing on it so much you actually become obsessed with it.

Losing Focus
Think of marriage and relationships. You can’t just ignore each other’s flaws – there is a certain amount of work that is required to improve flaws so you can improve your marriage. However, you can easily become so focused on those flaws you begin to take everything else for granted. Before you know it, you can’t even see all the good stuff that made you fall in love to begin with.

This is exactly what happens to people who are working to improve their health and their body. The fat you once were accustomed to, and didn’t bother you as much as it does now, and although you probably even have less of it now, it’s all you see.

As you work and work to improve your flaws, it’s important you don’t become obsessed with them. Because you will never naturally think of all your positive attributes, you have to be purposeful when it comes to building yourself up. Our flaws will always try to steal the show so it’s up to us to close the curtain on them and put the spotlight on the real stars – all your awesome traits everyone else loves and you’ve forgotten.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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