What Happened When I Gave Up Coffee For a Month

I have been engaging in monthly personal challenges in order to flex my discipline muscle on the regular. I laugh at how a few days of jumping out of bed at 4:30am “because I said I would” can make me feel like I’m spreading my wings on the deck of the Titanic.

Zero coffee for a month was my first personal challenge. I had been feeling a little too addicted to the ritual of coffee (no doubt the drug, too). I define addiction (in my life) to be an involvement with an activity or substance, without which I cannot function normally. Keep in mind “function normally” means that I’m not having obsessive thoughts on the topic. I find the powerlessness associated with a dependency on anything outside of me to be unpleasant. I NEEDED to know that I could go without un cafe a day and still operate. If I could go about my life for a month sans coffee, I would then just have the knowing that I was drinking the coffee and the coffee wasn’t drinking me.

Lindsey Michelle Photography  http://lensymichelle.com

Lindsey Michelle Photography http://lensymichelle.com


In this post I’m going to list the pros and cons of the experience, and then let you know where I stand with coffee today, 2.5 months later.

Have you heard all of the noise/debate around coffee and whether or not it’s “good for you?” I prefer to use my intuition; learn by experience rather than get caught up intellectualizing the topic.  So without further discussion, here are my pros and cons of the experience:

NO COFFEE PROS

- LESS FOOD CRAVINGS

- LESS OVEREATING

- FEWER INSTANCES OF IRRITABILITY

- NO COFFEE BREATH (my mouth just felt more clean)

- LESS $ SPENT

- LESS DISPOSABLE COFFEE CUP WASTE

- SLIGHTLY LESS ANXIETY

- SOMEHOW I FELT LIKE I HAD MORE TIME (i felt like i was rushing less)

- MORE ENERGY LATER IN THE DAY (I felt as though my energy was slow burning all day, not just coming in big waves)


NO COFFEE CONS

- TOOK A LOT LONGER TO BECOME ALERT IN THE MORNING
- I FELT A BIT BACKED UP AT THE START (this went away after a few days)
- I MISSED THE FLAVOR

Clearly, the pros outweigh the cons. So, I have stopped consuming coffee on a daily basis. I have an occasional late morning coffee (maybe once per week). Each time I do that I become more acutely aware of the caffeine buzz and subsequent crash (followed by an awareness of how much I don’t like that experience).

I’ve introduced chai tea to my mornings as a coffee replacement. Even though the chai has caffeine, I feel less attached to that morning ritual. It’s as though I don’t mind if I have it or not. I feel less attached to the feeling of coffee. The caffeine doesn’t “hit me” as hard with tea.

After this experience, I understood that the only thing keeping me hooked on coffee was the way it makes me feel. I was getting used to the jitters and it felt normal. I think from here on I’d like to be really in touch with my natural energy levels as well as my feelings. Maybe as a really sensitive girl, I should mind the drugs coming in JUST to be able to tune in better. I always like to make choices to increase my level of true aliveness.

Will you try giving up coffee? Tag me if you do @valthehappy


Thank you and jobless,

Val



DM me or Contact me for online coaching in the following areas:

Strength training

Transition to Veganism

Meditation



9 Practical Ways to Stop Being Too Nice

Hi petals!

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being too nice. However, deep inside the hearts of every nice person, there’s probably a raging bull (whether they are conscious of it or not).  I know because I am a recovering nice person. When we are too agreeable, it feels like the universe is swallowing us up and we feel pulled in a dozen different directions. There is a way to go from nice to NATURAL. We can have a sweet way about us, but also be firm in our selves and aware of our boundaries. What we DO have in our favor is our gift of kindness as a second nature. This can be used as a tool for asserting our boundaries with love. I do think the process of going from nice to natural is one that can take a long time - maybe even a lifetime! Here are a few practical tips to apply today so we can start reclaiming our personal power.

-Stop using exclamation points in emails and texts. If you’re not shouting it, or actually experiencing strong feelings inside, omit the excited punctuation

-Find AND support a good cause beyond your own interests which is more important to you than being nice. For example, mine is the joy of being alive and taking care of one’s health.  I am willing to be an asshole (...kinda) to defend the gift of life and our responsibility to make the best of it

-Relax your face. You don’t always (or ever) have to look happy

-When in conversation, answer an intrusive question with a question, or count to 5 s l o w l y during a lull in the conversation

Example:

Intruder: “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”

You: “What do you mean by boyfriend?”

Intruder: “You know, like someone you’re dating.”

You: Pause 5...4...3...2...1... “What is dating in this day and age?”

-Do not wait for anyone. Next time you’re waiting around for someone, do not sit idle stewing about being taken advantage of. Preoccupy yourself with a task that serves you

-Disagree with one person per day. You DO NOT have to agree with everyone’s perspective. Use the “yes, AND” trick. Basically, instead of saying “yes, but” to disagree with someone, you can deliver it more gently by saying “yes, AND ….. here’s what I think”

-Curate your IG feed. Unfollow all of the people that don’t inspire you (they belong in the dark dungeon of facebook).

-Immediately set a firm boundary when you are pulled into an unexpected conversation. Tell your friend that it’s so great to see them, but you only have a few minutes to chat. Say this with love, release the panic.  

Last and most importantly:

-When you walk into a room, imagine you are shining just as brightly as everyone else.  Us nice folk will often immediately dim our brightness in the company of others. I visualize myself in vivid color, just like everyone else. It helps me assert myself and recognize my own feelings and my own worth. It helps turn off my instinct of diving deep into the feelings of others when I’m not in the mood - what a relief!

I hope you found these 9 tips helpful. Please let me know which ones you like and/or if you use one in your life! As always, please share this article with a friend, family member, or colleague who might benefit from it.

Thank you and jobless,

Val


How I Increased My Calories & Metabolism

In this post I am going to share

  • Why & How I increased my calories from 1000 per day to 2000 + per day
  • The ways this change has improved my life

Why so little food?

Let’s start with WHY I ate 1000 calories per day. Cutting to the chase, I lacked boundaries and a sense of self in the world. I controlled the fuck out of my food intake because it felt like if I were thin I would be lovable. Also, if I could assert this kind of control over something I then felt like I had a better hold on my otherwise out of control existence. I was terrified of gaining any weight at all so I decided to undershoot my calories each day “just in case.” 

I'm on the far right. This was not my thinnest but a good snapshot of my lifestyle :)

I'm on the far right. This was not my thinnest but a good snapshot of my lifestyle :)

First Stages

FFW a couple years and I increased my calories after a family intervention and a conscious decision to get better. I wanted to start fueling my body. My physical health improved, but things were a bit up n’ down for me mentally while eating around 1200-1400 calories a day. One “bad” day and (to me) my body would blow up like a balloon and I felt awful. Add plenty of alcohol to the mix and the whole thing was a sad mess. Needless to say I spent many afternoons in college skipping class, feeling bad for myself and listening to David Gray songs while lying in the fetal position. Haven’t we all been there….?

Healing Realizations

FFW another few years and one day it dawned on me that I truly wanted to live a life free from food drama. I wanted to eat food and not even think about counting and obsessing. I desperately wanted to let go a little bit. I thought: maybe if I truly nourished my body it would work with me to create a sense of peace.  I have learned that any war you wage against your body – your body will win.  The body and subconscious mind have intelligence we do not give ample credit to today.

What I did Next

After my own research it became glaringly obvious to me that a plant based vegan diet was the healthiest way to feel alive - and to stay alive.  I'd chosen life and wanted to feed myself in that manner.  I wanted to do anything in my power to increase my life force energy. This began my love affair with food. This was the type of love you want from a partner: supportive, harmonious and inspiring.  I re-learned how to feed myself. I threw caution to the wind and began a plant based vegan diet. I didn’t track food or even control food. I ate as much as I wanted. After years of restriction you better believe I wanted to eat.

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The Juicy Part: The “HOW”

It was not a gradual switch. I increased my calories from about 1500/day to 2500/day OVERNIGHT. I put my trust in the process and I forged ahead. I knew I had nothing to lose. I knew I could always go back to that miserable semi-starvation.  I actually felt like extreme dieting was one of the only ways I could excel in life. I had a silly sense of pride in my ability to diet. It took me a few weeks to get used to the massive fiber hit, but after that my digestive system worked like a well oiled machine. I didn’t gain weight. I didn’t bloat. It took next to no time at all for my touchy metabolism to catch up.

(Note: Your metabolism isn’t your enemy.  Why would we have a built in system that wanted us to be overweight?  Why do some of us attribute negative characteristics to our body's chemical processing of food?  Your body has an incredible ability to heal itself. The metabolism will do the same – if you keep it burnin’.)

After getting my fix of food, I naturally settled into a place where I was eating 2000-2200 calories per day.  I built some muscle. Building muscle increases your metabolism.  The combo of plant based vegan + add'l muscle is a metabolism's wet dream.  I never worry about anything I eat. It always regulates and returns to moving along efficiently if I have an odd eating day, or travel, or a little extra food. 

 

Here’s a list of the type of foods I ate:

Raw Vegan Sushi (filled with brown rice & veggies)

Colorful Salads in serving bowls with veggie based dressings

Tons of banana ice cream (blended frozen bananas) with any new fruit I could get my hands on

Beans & lentils

Smoothie Bowls with homemade granola (mixed with greens!)

Baked Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes

Rice Paper Veggie Wraps

Salt Free Seasoned Brown rice

Fruit – a lot of fruit

Homemade Granola

Veggie Soups with lentils

Oat-Based Pancakes

Homemade cheese-less pizza

Stuffed Dates

Seeds

Herbs

Greens – spinach, kale, arugula

Homemade nut milks

Fruit Juice

 

I did not eat:

Dairy

Eggs

Meat

Oil of any kind

Nut Butters

Bread

Salt

Vegan Meat Products

Soy

White Sugar

 

I ate very little:

Packaged food with more than 2-3 ingredients

Alcohol (less than 2 drinks/month)

 

My Workouts

Here is the coolest part:  As soon as I gave myself some god damn fuel I had energy for exercise. It suddenly didn’t feel like I was dragging a mac truck behind me when I went to workout.  Exercise became a sustainable and an enjoyable regular practice, not a variable for calorie math. When I realized I could actually get stronger from this eating and exercise thing, I was hooked. My body's physical capabilities started to really impress me – particularly the fact that I could see performance improvement with consistent practice. This caused a great shift in my mindset. It was one of going in the direction of what I wanted rather than running away from what I didn't want. I wanted to be strong - to stand my ground. This shift led me from doing lots of HIIT training to strength training. 

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Other Changes from More Food

  • I wasn’t afraid of calories anymore. I was able to eat in abundance, and not gain weight, in fact I lost weight effortlessly.
  • I started trying new things. It helped to wake up my conscious state of mind, and therefore became more grateful of the beautiful things around me. #wokeaf
  • I eventually removed myself from all of my environments which were allowing me to conform too easily. The world was more colorful and alive.
  • By cutting out added salt, I opened my taste buds up to a whole new world of fun. Fruits and vegetables taste better than ever and I don't retain water like a saggy balloon.
  • I used to get unexpected digestive issues. Extreme abdominal pain & the runs with no clue of the cause. I haven't had a stomach ache in 5 years (when I started). In fact, my digestive system is regular every single day.
  • I haven't had food poisoning in 5 years
  • I feel vibrant and alive every time I eat food 

But Wait, There's More

There are many other benefits, but I think that's enough for now.  Cliff notes is that I eliminated processed food, went vegan and built some muscle with strength training.  I have a new online personal training 1 week trial if you're looking to get into strength training and build a strong, confident body. Check it out here.

If you'd like to chat about going vegan, starting to strength train or getting your fitness under control, send me an email valerie.k.walker@gmail.com

Thanks and jobless,

Val

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Your Baggage Blocks Fitness Results

Your physical and emotional baggage will stunt your fitness progress and prevent the joy in achievement of any and all goals.

What is non-possessiveness?

It is to not have any physical baggage – or any other kind of baggage! The physical baggage you carry can weigh you down and clutter your life. This clutter gets in the way of seeing what is important. There is joy in simplicity.

What else to we possess?

If left unchecked, you greet each moment with a sack full of energetic crap. Crap= preferences for how you want the world (and the people in it) to be.  Your unique set of preferences is shaped by past events, beliefs, conditioning, or future expectations, beliefs (again) and fears.

Holding On

I laugh at how pathetic I feel knowing I allow myself to have a mini tantrum every time things don’t line up exactly as I want.  This “holding on” to baggage is what has the potential to turn a good day into a terrible day. It is one of the ways you and I create hell on earth using the power of our minds.

You might be holding on to events from the past. You might be holding on to expectations or fears about the future. Both future and past energetic possessions carry enough weight to make each day feel like a real slog.

Becoming POSSESSED

I will use myself as an example to illustrate the idea of becoming possessed by our possessions.

My baggage often comes in the form of fear. Too much future! My fear and anxiety about not being able to handle my life in an imaginary unbearable future severs that aliveness that would otherwise burst from within. I am not usually so conscious of this fear. Most of the time it feels like a permanent fixture. If I pay close attention, the easier it is for me to realize that this fear has taken the form of anxiety, tension or complete inaction. It has become like that pile of junk in my house that aggravates me whenever I see it, but I don’t do anything about it – as though some part of me believes it belongs there.

Many of us come to fitness with baggage. We don’t believe we can do anything about the state we’re in; we expect to have a really hard time, to fail or make a fool of ourselves. Maybe we expect it to be easy and then bolt for the door once we feel the first wave of bodily discomfort.

About 5-ish years ago I had a closed-door (let’s call it?) relationship with physical exercise. I really believed that my efforts were in vain; that I could not make a change to my body, or my life in general. I was positive that it was just too hard for me because I felt I was not driven enough. I was so afraid the future was going to be the SAME as the now: UNBEARABLE. In hindsight I see my lack of acceptance of A. my real life situation (including my body) and B. the fact that I could change my life kept me very unhappy.

I cried and I whined and stomped around and felt sorry for myself, etc. I was either paralyzed into inaction, or so anxious that I would never be the way I wanted. Anxiety was clouding my clarity on the subject in general.

The turnaround

Since then, I’ve proven to myself that I can improve. The only thing that has changed is my belief about my abilities. I suppose I calmed down and stopped reducing the here-and-now to a means to an end. I still have fitness goals, but I’m not as hell bent on achieving them, because I am not CLINGING to the result. I am not making the result my salvation. I know I can affect my life in ways that will either meet goals, or get me as close as possible.

Learning to let go

In one of my favorite books, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says “…do not be concerned with the fruit of your action – just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of it’s own accord.”

This is the act of non-attachment. To show up to every moment so fully and with joy that you can let go fully, then move to the next.  If we can let go as we move through life, we can move with more ease & lightness.

In my story, when I let go of clinging to beliefs about my ability to achieve goals, I was not so possessed by them. I urge you to examine what your expectations are around your fitness. What past experiences are affecting your relationship with the here-and-now? How outdated are those beliefs about what kind of a person you are in relationship to physical exercise? 
"I've always been out of shape"

"I'm not an athlete"

"Nothing has worked for me in the past"

"I'm desperate -- but I won't do that"

"Apparently I suck at everything"

These thoughts - said aloud or to yourself - are only true as long as you believe them.  They are evidence of your painful baggage which keeps you stuck. They block success by setting you up for failure before you have even started. If you reached your goals you wouldn't even notice it!

What emotional or physical baggage possesses you? 

Thank you & Jobless,

Val

4 Steps to Ensure your Workout Routine Delivers Results

It's Monday. I need motivation, so my remedy is to send motivation out to you! Before you embark on your new fitness regimen, read through the follow 4 steps to make sure you get what you want.

Steps 1-3 are prerequisites for starting the actual workout plan. If you would like a routine specific for you, I offer online & 1-on-1 coaching services. Shoot me an email valerie.k.walker@gmail.com if you want to chat about that!

1. Get Real Measure your current level of fitness. Be objective. How? Here are some ways:

-Measure Body Fat 

-Circumference measurements 

-Progress Pictures

-Video Tracking (take videos to watch lifting improve)

The truth of our current situation is something we might not always like, but keeping it real means there will be no surprises. So, regularly check your level of fitness. Mark time in your calendar to check in and re-measure. If you experience resistance to this then explore - What is driving you to distort the truth?

2. Get Clear From that place of knowing where you stand, you can get clarity on the future vision of you. Get crystal clear about that person. If you don’t know what you want – identify what you don’t want then find the opposite of that. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you want to tone, burn fat (or gain strength), and look good naked. Whatever it is, write it down.

Now it’s time to make some goals. I want you get specific. On goals – think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be numbers related. Maybe it might be to fit into your old clothes, maybe it might be squatting your bodyweight. Write it down, and review it daily. Imagine a positive outcome – feel how it would feel to achieve your goal. Check out S.M.A.R.T. Goals: http://topachievement.com/smart.html

3. Get Motivated Now that you know what you want, identify why you want to achieve this goal. What is motivating you? Once you have your source of motivation, ask – is this coming from a place of love or a place of fear, shame and/or guilt? If it’s not from a place of love, you will sabotage your own progress. How to find motivation from a genuine place of wanting to better yourself? Define your core values and priorities in life.  How does this goal align with those values? Draw motivation from a place of growth. Focus on what you really want rather than what you don’t want.

4. Make a Plan Calendar the next month worth of exercising. Carve out time in your schedule for this work. In two or three weeks, start planning for the following month. It’s too easy to let one missed workout derail you. Just keep on showing up and you will increase your level of physical fitness (strength, flexibility, power).  If you are tracking progress (see step one) results will eventually follow. You have to be mentally & emotionally dialed in, too - the only way to keep going is to learn to enjoy the process. That’s why I had you think about what is motivating you.

 

No one ever succeeds in fitness with inconsistency. If you are consistent, there is no way you will fail.

 

With love,

Val

 

p.s. if a friend would benefit from this article, please share it!

Balance: A Holistic Approach to Fitness

LIFE YOGA IS "WHERE IT'S AT"

DISCLAIMER: This post has nothing to do with bending and stretching at a popular tourist spot.

I believe if you follow yoga's off-the-mat instructions for life, you’ll be a hell of a lot closer to getting what you want from diet and fitness. In January I spent some time exploring the #1 guideline of yogic teaching: practice nonviolence toward the self and others. A whopper. We’re living in a very overstimulated world and I would like to make a case for pausing, stepping back and taking a look at life. Finding your unique life balance is a crucial aspect of living without doing unnecessary harm to yourself. Maintaining some level of balance within your body, mind and soul will help you become just as fit as you would like to be. It doesn’t matter if you want to bench press a million pounds or run a marathon, you need balance or you’ll hit a wall-sideways.

Balance in life is a prerequisite for attaining a general sense of well-being and contentment. A feel-good calm and centered way of being will improve almost all of the important aspects of your life (e.g. relationships, career, the internet, etc.) ha! Balance will give you peace of mind as you go full steam ahead.

BALANCE IS WHACK THESE DAYS

Let’s define balance for a sec here. Not spinning your head on a bat and racing to the finish line. I’m talking about a state of inner equilibrium that results in a healthy body. A state of mental equanimity which allows you to be calm alert and focused. A feeling of inner peace knowing that the essence of you is oozing out of every pore.  To put it simply, being in balance is when you feel alive because you’re doing and being what you want.

There is immense pressure for us to achieve greatness, do ALL the things simultaneously and perform perfectly(oh, and look hot doing it). Goals are super fantastic...until it means your day looks like: over caffeinating, working 10 hr day, hitting the gym and totally flogging yourself with a workout, coming home under hydrated and having some kind of dinner, realize sadly that it’s already time for bed and pass out or look at your phone in bed for a while. Or some version of that.

In the example day above, there’s very little time dedicated to any of the following:

-fam/friends/community

-self care (massage, bath, etc.)

-good old fashioned fun

-romance

Note these above needs are general. We all have a different set of needs and core values. So only you alone can know if all of your cups are full.  To put it heavily, denying any of your needs is violence toward the self. Not overt violence, but a kind of incessant subtle self-denial which leaves you feeling taken advantage of and anxious. Remaining out of balance for a long time will lead to an unpleasant misdirection of energy. You’ve heard of “eat my feelings” I’m assuming. Yeah, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

So, let’s take a sample list of important dimensions of life:

-fam/friends/community

-finances

-health/self care

-social/fun

-personal/spiritual development

-romance/intimacy

-physical environment (home/office)

-career/business

In order to get a visual of life balance, we need to give each of those elements a rating 0-10 on level of satisfaction, then put it into a life balance wheel. Let’s say Joanna (fake person) entered her ratings like this:

-fam/friends/community 6

-finances 4

-health/self care 8

-social/fun 5

-personal/spiritual development 3

-romance/intimacy 6

-physical environment (home/office) 2

-career/business 10

Let’s now look at Joanna's results in a life balance wheel:

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Joanna takes great care of her health, loves her job and maintains decent relationships in her life. Her home is an absolute dump and she hasn't looked at her bank account in weeks. This causes some low-level nervousness for Joanna, but delving into a fulfilling work day makes it all OK*forced smile*!

Like Joanna, it is common for you to pay the MOST attention to 1,2 or even 3 things. The other parts get a bad deal. Basically, it’s shitty pizza math that you’re applying to your life.

balance

definition : a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.

The really annoying thing about finding balance is that it is niiiiice and fluid. So, once you have a balanced afternoon with 1 hour of work, 1 hour soaking in the tub, 1 hour reading etc., you are not then in a permanent state of equilibrium. It changes moment to moment, day to day, forever.  You’ve got to remain aware of what is not getting ample attention. Imagine a waiter who is filling a whole cluster of cups with a water pitcher, and starts a conversation with one of his co-workers. He doesn't realize he is still filling the same cup and letting the water run all over the counter. Most of the other cups are empty. Hey, it happens! Currently my overflowing cup is personal development. Yes - that can be too full as well. I'd like to start filling my finances cup once I finish writing this...

You might make your own version of the life balance wheel(or even just a list) with the same or different dimensions. You can choose needs that feel more true for you. What can you do to give more attention to your near-empty cups?

WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH BEING #FITAF?

Once you recognize the balance you need in your big-picture life, you can hone in on what you direction to take your fitness.  To go back to the spinning on a bat example, once you steady your feet and make sure you’re not going to face plant or walk right off the track - you attempt to walk straight ahead. Similarly, once we have the life balance to feel grounded, we can clearly decide which direction to walk. In other words, we can view our level of fitness objectively, and make clear decisions on how to improve based on what we want.  That might be toward a triathlon, or a powerlifting competition, or a serious long term sustainable fat loss program.  

Feeling rushed, over tired, achy, or overwhelmed might be your signal that you are one out-of-balance individual. Is your calendar overbooked? Do you sleep enough? How’s the water intake? No one ever reached their fitness goals from a state of overwhelm. Do Olympic level athletes get ready for their trials using a 6-week couch to Olympics guide? (NO! HINT: it's a long-term precise training program).

Don’t forget how much choice you have with your time. If you have too much to do, carve out some time to prioritize what’s important. Oh - and cancel some shit! It’s YOUR SCHEDULE. If you’re not filling it, who is?

Let us briefly revisit Joanna (above). From Joanna's balance wheel, it’s clear that her main priority is career. Career will obviously be the quickest area of positive growth in her life. She cannot expect to achieve the bangin' body she has in mind with so much energy put toward her career. However, she still beats herself up because she "should be able" to have that body. Wrong. The best looking bodies out there have the majority of their wheel filled in with self care, personal development and training. You can’t expect to have exactly what you want with your fitness if you don’t give it the focused attention that it requires.

Unfortunately you cannot have it all, 100% of the time. Maybe you look to others and believe they have it all, but you don't know crap about their needs. You're just comparing yourself to others to make yourself feel bad.  They might have a 0 in the intimacy category because their partner is never home. The point is, you don't know. No one has it all. Focus on you.  I think many people who have unmet needs decide to punish and shame their own bodies . Our bodies are an easy target, and of course the media constantly aids us in feeling flawed.

Your unmet needs are very likely to blame for not getting what you want in the gym. You may ignore your needs and let your assumed lack of progress feel like a reflection of who you are as a person: imperfect, flawed, stuck, not worthy. So get out a piece of paper, draw your wheel and find out what needs attention in your life!

ME: SPINNING OUT OF BALANCE

As an overwhelmed college student, I starved my way to 89 lbs(about 30 lbs underweight) which felt like a victory to me at the time. In retrospect, I see that so many aspects of my life suffered because i was hangry for food(obviously) but also for self-care. My grades were barely passable. My spiritual/personal development was non-existent, and my health was straight-up bad. One doctor told me that my heart was in serious danger if I continued that way. My emptiness was spilling over to concerned friend and my parents, who were suffering with worry. Also, my inattention to my own basic needs had an extremely negative effect on my body (because I blamed my body). My needs could only be met by me alone. This is why you always have to put your own oxygen mask on first. Imbalance within you has a spillover effect.

What did I do? Long story very short, I tapped into my inner guidance system. My intuition. You have your own. There’s a quiet voice within you that works for your best interest. 

My inner voice told me that I needed to be kinder to myself for the sake of my life. No external look would change how I felt about myself. I allowed myself to heal. Fast forward a decade (plus a couple years) and my relationship to my body is 1000x better, and fitness has a very healthy spot in my life. 

FINAL WORDS

When it comes to fitness, finding balance will allow you to think calmly about what it is you’d like to achieve.  Finding balance is how we address that "something's missing" feeling. Success in fitness comes from a delightful life balance, with a special fitness prioritization. Reaching a higher level of fitness should not serve as a prescription for shitty health, or a slap on the wrist for having cake, or an urgent cure-all. It’s part of a balanced life. If your fitness cup is almost full on the life wheel, success is inevitable. We're all going nowhere fast, so just enjoy the journey ;)