I am so excited for you to take a read into this blog post written by Lexi Ellenbecker. We talk all things self-love, tangible tips and tons of take homes to make this transition extremely doable. Let’s chat about a biggie. Altering your mindset from a goal to be SKINNY to a goal to be HEALTHY. For as far back as I can remember, I have always been aware of my body, and its shape – especially when it comes to comparison to others. I suppose that spurred from media, but also my personal life. I have always been extremely active, playing sports, dancing, outdoor activities, etc. My friends were in the same position. While we were always taking care of ourselves, I couldn’t help comparing myself to them in the way we looked. This concept stuck with me throughout all of childhood. I was raised in a wonderful household. We were always making home cooked, healthy meals. We ate our fruits and veggies. We took family walks and always tried to do activities outside. So living a healthy life was part of me from the beginning and I never thought twice about it. In early high school, it started to get somewhat unhealthy. I took control more and more of what I was doing, what I was eating, and how I wanted to look and feel. As I lost even more weight, I noticed a change in people’s responses. People were telling me left and right how “good I looked,” “jealous they were that I could eat whatever I wanted and stay that thin,” “wished they could fit into the clothes I did,” etc. Little did they know how much I was going through. Why couldn’t these “you look healthy” comments also come when I was actually in shape and feeling good? I always thought I would be happier and more confident in my body if I were thinner, or if I dropped a few more pounds. Do you find yourself having the same thoughts? If you do, don’t worry. We have all been there. I started to really dial in to this whole idea, and actually ended up writing my college thesis on it. Happiness does not come from how you look or the amount of any amount of weight loss you achieve. It’s not about being skinny. It’s about being strong and healthy. Somewhere along the way, we have been told that the ideal body to have is a skinny one. Except for the fact that everyone is built differently and “skinny” can be defined in a variety of ways. We start to idolize an unachievable idea that isn’t natural or healthy. We are worried about the pounds on the scale. Carbs terrify us. We basically live on an elliptical. Our every thought is consumed on how we can become skinny. If getting skinny is your goal, even when you reach your goal, you’re going to continue to want more. And more. And more. You will never feel satisfied with the progress you have made. If you want happiness, you have to learn to love YOURSELF; it’s absolutely not about how your body looks. My goal now is to be healthy, nourish my body with nutritious foods, enjoy treats when I want to, soak in this beautiful life, and above everything, love and accept my body through all stages. There is SO much more to life than being obsessed with the number on the scale or silly letter on your clothes. Here are some REAL tricks to being fit, healthy, and HAPPY. - Protein is your friend. If you don’t eat properly, your muscles will literally eat away at themselves and ruin what you are trying to build. So fuel up my sisters! - Carbs aren’t the enemy!! They give you energy AND help repair and regrow those muscle proteins. It’s the processed carbs you need to be careful of because they have very little nutritional value. - Cardio does not equal getting into shape. You need to exercise your muscles as well! Choose a workout split and stick with it. It’s important to lift as well – hey it burns calories too! - SLEEP and STOP stressing. Seriously the biggest tip. I make sure I get the correct amount of sleep so I feel better mentally and physically. Plus if anything is stressing you out in life, ditch it! - Enjoy the process! Take selfies, show off your body, chose a workout that is FUN, blast a playlist that makes you feel amazing. What’s the fun if you can’t enjoy the ride? Appreciate that you have the opportunity to be healthy. You get to choose what you put in your body and how you move it. Take PRIDE in that. Try new things and figure out what works best for YOU. Eat good food. Get your heart pounding and sweat dripping. FUEL yourself. It’s a wonder what your body will become when you treat it right. You will still be in shape, healthy, and most importantly, HAPPY. Exercise is not a punishment. This mentality is often wrapped with anxiety and negativity. It approaches exercise from a place of attacking your body and being angry with yourself. When you make the mind shift to, “I want to feel good in my own body, and BECAUSE of that, I am going to exercise,” everything changes. You no longer associate exercise with burning calories or as a punishment for what you ate. Practice approaching exercise from a place of self-respect. It’s not easy but I promise it makes the world of a difference. I love you. You are enough. Plus, strong women are sexy women. Who doesn’t want to be a strong, sexy, beautiful, happy woman?
Ps if you’re interested in following along with Lexi’s journey, follow her Sisters in Christ page on instagram: @patiently.you
Thank you so much for your words, Lexi.