GIVE AWAY and All the feels…Sadness, Loss, Fear, Joy, Ego, and Excitement!


Before I jump into the blog post, I have exciting news!!! I am giving away a FREE movie ticket to a special screening of Embrace. You can join me Monday, October 3rd at 7:30 pm for this wonderful documentary about a body image movement that was developed by Taryn Brumfitt.  The showing will be held at at the Bel Air Cinema in Abingdon.

You have three chances to win.  Just leave a comment below about why you think positive body image is important for all bodies in todays society. You can also leave a comment on my fb page Just Me Jenn B or leave a comment on Instagram @ JustmeJennb78. I will randomly select a winner on Saturday evening. This is Just me Jenn B’s first GIVE AWAY!! 

Disclaimer: I am not being endorsed by Taryn Brumfitt, I am offering this give away out of the goodness of my heart to  help promote positive body image, because we know it’s an uphill battle in today’s world.

Okay,on to the blog post…

To say September has been a busy month would be an understatement. It’s also been a bit of an emotional roller coaster of laughter, tears, excitement, and even fears. Please bear with me because I have a lot to say, and I might be all over the place in this post. The good stuff is toward the end, but don’t skip ahead 🙂

At the beginning of the month, Bob and I had the privilege of volunteering at the Boy and Girls Club.  We had a blast teaching the kids to have fun with fitness and teach them new ways to move more.  Honestly, I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids or us.

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Last weekend Bob and I rented a booth at Healthy Harford Day to reach out to the community about ways to better their health, and yes, to promote my personal training business. Honestly, I forgot all about promoting my personal training business because I was having so much fun chatting away, and meeting new faces. From babies, to birds, to grown adults, everyone was having a good time. I saw some old friends and got to do what I love most: promote self-love by talking about body positive health and fitness.  It brought me so much joy to see how far the Healthy Harford Day event has grown over the last few years. Hartford County is growing in so many positive ways.

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I had to say goodbye to two friends who moved away to New York.  Beth and Buddy have been my clients for over three years now, and they have also become good friends of our family.  I was sad to see them leave, but now we have a new place to visit when we want to get away.

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A few times this month my kids needed some guidance to help get them though some growing pains they were going through.  When you’re a mom you will drop everything when your kids need you, no matter how old they get, or how hectic your schedule is.

In addition to all the above I have been frustrated because I’m trying to grow my business.  This means creating a FB page for Just Me Jenn B and having to update Instagram and send emails and all the things that I honestly don’t enjoy doing. I find it tedious and I also don’t want to come off as annoying to others.

I love blogging, writing, motivating and training others.  I am very much a relational person and I am very loyal, but playing the social media game feels disingenuous and doesn’t allow me to really connect with people the way I would like…In person.

Starting a business is scary.  I have been playing it safe for years now. Training clients, small groups and such out of the comfort of mine or other peoples homes, but reaching out to grow and help more people makes me a bit fearful and vulnerable.  I’m putting more time and money into growing Just Me Jenn B. It’s a scary thing! What if I fail?  Or what if I succeed, but I lose my passion for what I love to do and I get burned out? More than anything, I am afraid that if I didn’t give it my best try, and did nothing, I would never know what could have been.  So, I am facing my fears and anxiety head on. Even if one or all of those fears come true it will be worth it, because if nothing else I know I will have learned something new about myself and will come out on the other end of it all a stronger person.

For me, personal training is so much more than getting people to look good, lose weight, get stronger,and get physically healthy.  Those are just the side effects that come with physical fitness and making healthy decisions when it comes to food.  What I am really passionate about is assisting people to find the best version of themselves!  Not just on the surface, but deep down inside. What drives them? What makes them want to be better? How can they learn to use and appreciate the gifts they already own?

Last night at my women’s small group our leader quoted the following; “Every fisherman knows that the good fish are deep down under the surface. Yes, you can catch fish that are closer to to the top, but the really good ones are deeper down in the water.”  In order to become the best version of ourselves we need to be willing to go a little deeper to catch that good fish. Yes, it might be a little dark and murky down there, perhaps even cold, but how do we ever really learn to love, appreciate and become our most authentic selves if we don’t take time to go a little deeper?  

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When we start exploring, we might not like what we see at first.  You see, our ego is going to get in the way.  Another yummy nugget of truth that I have learned from this small group is that ego is a way of protecting ourselves.   Think about that for a moment.  Have you ever known someone that has a huge ego?  Perhaps this person doesn’t do well with any kind of criticism, even constructive criticism.  Their ego is protecting them from something that’s going on deep down under the surface where the big fish are.  Okay, enough about fish…you get the point.

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Photo credit to Elise Neal Butt | Melyssa Ford’s Alter Ego + Photos/Interview » Naybesa.com

I have an ego, you have an ego, we all have egos.  I have had to check mine at the door many times; but what if instead of checking it at the door like a fur coat at a fancy restaurant, we sit down and explore it. Figure out why and what it’s trying to protect us from. I encourage you to try it.  The next time you feel yourself threatened, vulnerable, or possibly even being competitive, ask yourself why?  What’s happening below the surface that is causing you to go into protection mode?  Have patience for those who are prideful and egotistical, especially  yourself.

True story about my ego: I know a woman who is very athletic, kind, happy, a good mom, has a happy marriage, and to top it all off she is beautiful and very well liked.  She is physically stronger than me, and was able to progress quicker with certain weight lifting movements than I was.  Whenever she posted about her life on social media it always seemed to be “perfect.”  My ego got in the way of a possible friendship I could have had with her.  My ego told me that she was too perfect, not real or authentic. That her lifts could use improvement… etc..etc… Truth is she is a really wonderful human being, and her lifts looked really good!  My ego was protecting me by feeding me those thoughts to keep me from feeling incompetent.  So, I had to go deep down below the surface and figure out why I was feeling incompetent. What I found wasn’t pretty…Jealously, pride, shame, unworthiness, just to name a few. Once I identified  those feelings, I started to to go even deeper and unravel some other truths. Only after figuring out these things and facing them was I able to identify who I am as an individual.  My own gifts, my own strengths, what makes me unique.  What makes me Jenn B.

I’m a work in progress, but it’s progress that I am striving for, not perfection.


Small Group Training, Healthy Harford Day, and My Own Brand!


Hey hey!

Just popping in to give you the skinny on what’s new with JustmeJennB.  I have so much exciting news to share with you that I don’t even know where to start!

First off, Healthy Harford Day is this Saturday, Sept. 24 from 9am- 1pm. If you live in or near the Bel Air area be sure to come by my booth and say hello!  Bring a friend too. I’ll be offering a fun fitness challenge every hour on the hour and giving away some sweet prizes.  See loot below. There will also be a lot of other cool health and wellness vendors there.  It’s very family friendly and a wonderful way to spend your Saturday!

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  • Foam roller
  • yoga mat
  • magic cirlce
  • jump rope
  • yoga blocks
  • Resistance training tube
  • Shaker Water Bottle
  • 30 minutes of free personal training

I am happy to announce that I will now be offering more classes here in Bel Air, Maryland.  Small group fitness training, mobility, foundations for functional fitness training, Pilates, Saturday morning boot camps, 30 minute HIIT classes and so much more!!!!!! Do you have a group of friends looking to get fit, healthy and strong together? I would be more than happy to assist your group reach it’s fullest potential.  Community is strong in numbers, so let’s get stronger together.  See here for class times and affordable prices.  One on one sessions are still offered as well. Contact me to find the class that will fit your needs.

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The final news…I’m pumped to tell you guys that over the next couple of weeks JustmeJennB.com is getting a make-over! It’s been two years since I started the blog and I’m finally going to make an investment and make this blog legit! Starting with my own brand. This is great news for you guys because it will be a little more user friendly to fit your needs. So stay tuned for that.

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Fall Goals Plus a Full Body Workout


I don’t know about you, but I am more than ready for fall.  Summer was great, but long; now I’m ready for some cooler temperatures and a new season of autumn colors, and of course…pumpkin everything.

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I am pretty sure I did everything on my summer bucket list.

1) Planted a vegetable garden – check

2) Enjoyed some time at the beach – check

3) Traveled the country – check

Now I’m ready for my fall bucket list.  Which includes, apple picking, pumpkin picking, haunted hay rides, and fall festivals.  Not to mention decorating (which I have already done for fall) for Halloween.

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In addition to that, I’m creating some new fall routines for my health (mind, body, spirit). I have started attending a small bible study once a week and I practice meditation/prayer every morning as soon as I pour my first cup of coffee. After my morning meditation/prayer, I do some fasted cardio, which is really just a brisk walk with Abby, or maybe some rowing or airdyne bike before breakfast.  Speaking of bike. Check out my new ride.

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I love it.  I have been biking around town doing errands and my new Tuesday routine is biking to aerial yoga.  So far I have only done two classed but I love it!

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I’m also switching up my nutrition a bit. Even though I eat healthy most of the time, I find myself slipping into old habits and honestly I”m not feeling my best. So I have some small aesthetic goals I want to achieve.  However, I want to enjoy the process and not feel restricted.  I have been on the fence about whether I should start working with a nutrition coach.  I know how many calories, and macros I need to accomplish my goals, but it’s nice to be held accountable.  However, it can be expensive to work with a nutrition coach and I’m not sure I want to start tracking everything and counting macros mostly because it’s annoying and makes me batshit crazy. Plus every one is doing it nowadays and when everyone else is doing something I usually don’t.  Never been the popular girl that way.

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However, I do like the science behind it and sometimes its like a game figuring out the right combination of foods.  Kind of like a puzzle.

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I know I have to enjoy it to make it work.  I really get annoyed seeing people get so pissed off because they can’t eat something because it doesn’t “fit their macros.” That’s not living and  being overly restrictive can cause disordered eating in some people.  Recently I heard a podcast where the women went on and on about how they were burnt out on counting macros and eating the food they needed to meet their numbers.  That’s when things get crazy.  If it doesn’t bring you joy, then why do it? I have written other blog post about macros and I really do think there is a healthy way to do it. As long as it’s temporary, you’re enjoying it and it gives you a better understanding for what works for your body.  Anyway, for now, I’m just making some simple changes to my nutrition and limiting some of the fat, eating more protein and healthy carbs and keeping track of my “macros” (eye ball roll) for a couple of weeks. As long as I feel good, in a healthy place mentally and seeing results, I’ll continue to do it on my own, it’s to be decided if I choose to hire a coach.

So now that school is back in session I have started teaching pilates classes again.  Which I just love.  Of course I’m still training clients too.  I’m in the process of making some changes to my business.  Working on more small group training.  With goals to teach women the importance of positive body image, as well as healthy effective exercises without over training and under eating.  Right now I’m just starting to game plan but I’m excited for what’s to come.

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I still want to post more videos on Justmejennb and recently was asked to create videos on youtube for pilates.  I have to do some research but I have to admit, youtube scares me a bit.  I barely read the comments but when I do, people are harsh and most of them don’t know what they are talking about.  Besides it seems like everyone has a youtube, blog, or podcast these days.  There’s not much that hasn’t been done. Am I right?  I prefer to work with real people in person.  It’s so important we make human contact in the world today.  There is value to human touch, eye contact and live conversations. Sure, online programs and videos are helpful and there is definitely a place for them, but I think our society is losing touch with reality sometimes.  It’s no wonder why there are so many depressed people out there.  It’s partly because we are missing real human connection, real friends and conversations. They have been replaced my FB friends, texting, and online communication.  We need to bring back human relationships in real life.

Anyway, sorry about the unexpected rant. LOL!  For those of you looking for a good workout, I posted one below. I did it last weekend and hit just about every muscle in my body, and since I can’t be with you showing these exercises, I have included youtube videos of other people doing them. Ha! Perhaps I do need my own youtube channel ;)….

Full Body Workout

Warm up first 5 to 10 minutes

4 Rounds

10 tall step ups ( I used 24 inch box) each leg

10 Banded Hip Thrust (I added a Plated Press to this as well)

10 KB Incline Row

10 Deltoid Dumbbell flyes

10 single leg RDL 

10 single arm KB swing

Rest as needed after each round.

Sled pull and push ups. (You will need a sled and plated weights for this workout)

55# sled sprint 100 meters

5 Push ups

Rest :30s and repeat

Always cool down and mobilize after your workout.


The monster that tells me I’m not good enough


I have been contemplating whether I should write this blog post or not.  It’s about depression, my struggle with it and doing my best to overcome it; as well as turn off the voices in my head that sometimes tell me I’m not good enough.

I get depressed to a degree around this time every year and sometimes in late winter.  It’s interesting because as soon as the weather changes and it gets cool in the fall or warm in the spring, I feel better. So here I am waiting… Waiting for the humidity to go away and the long hot days of summer to be over with. Waiting for something new.  Perhaps a challenge, a career change, or perhaps a new light to shine inside me that allows me to feel renewed, but for now I wait; and unfortunately, I’m in the waiting room with a little monster who is trying to move into my space and take up residence.

Monster?  Yes, well that’s what I call it.  It’s the ugly negative voice that tells us we aren’t good enough. We’re not smart enough, fit enough, pretty enough, other people are better than we are and who are we to better our lives or the lives around us.  It’s the ugly voice in our heads that might tell us we are too old, or people don’t really like us.  It feeds us lies.  It tells us that we’re failures and wants us to be lonely.  Many know this monster.  I know him well, so when he starts to rear his ugly head, I have to fight hard to kick his ass to the curb and prove him wrong.  Then he goes away.. at least for little while.

Ok, so to some that might sound a little cray cray, but to others, in fact to most people, it probably sounds so very familiar.

I’ll give you a little example.  Four months ago I was on top of the world. I had goals and I felt as though I finally knew what I wanted to do.  At the time I was training clients, teaching pilates, blogging, podcasting and being a wife and mother.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a need or drive to really help people.  If you have been paying attention to my blog you will know first hand that I am doing my best to change the worlds perspective of body image/shaming (mostly in females but in men too).  I’m all about loving the body you have because it’s the only house you get for your wonderful spirit to live in.  Not about perfection, and no we won’t always love our body, but we can learn to appreciate it and it’s capabilities. Ok, I’m getting off topic. See that passion?  Anyway, when Abby, my co-host at the time, decided she was no longer going to do the Perfectly Imperfect Podcast, I decided I was going to do it on my own.  I still had a voice.  I still had something to say.  In addition to this, I had been daydreaming of creating an environment or place that would allow women of all walks of life to have a place to get fit together.  A small community of women who built each other up, encouraged each other with fitness and weight training, in addition to learning new ways of thinking about our bodies, our relationships with ourselves and others around us.  I had/have a dream to build a small community of strong women who lift heavy weights and at the same time lift each other up.  A community of women inspiring and building strong minds and strong bodies in a positive environment.  But as the summer went by, I started to lose sight of my goals.

The ugly monster started telling me I’m not good enough, smart enough, fit enough or even young enough to do the things I mentioned above.  There are already so many other podcasts saying things that I have and want to say.  There are so many gyms out there, why would anyone want to come to me and work with me?   In addition to that, this monster tells me that I’m getting old, I have a lot of work to do in so many areas and that I’m not worthy of using my voice when there are so many better stronger voices out there to be heard.  Also, I’ll have to compete.  I’ll have to learn how to use the damn podcast equipment and figure out the grueling task of getting the podcast on iTunes. This list goes on and on.

So where does this leave me?  I find myself in this overwhelming pit where I don’t feel encouraged, or motivated to move forward. I find myself alone.  Sad, and depressed.  Some would say, how are you alone, you are surrounded by people on a daily basis?  Loneliness doesn’t always mean that you are without people.  Often times what it means is that we don’t feel connected, we don’t feel we have someone who can relate, so therefore we feel alone.

This feeling of depression also coincides with my mothering. This year my oldest will graduate high school.  I have always prided myself on being a mom, but as my boys are getting older and will soon be making a life of their own, what does this mean for me?  Change.  Change is what it means and I need to embrace it and figure it out.  No longer am I a mom who’s little ones need her.  Yes, my boys still need me to an extent but not like when they were little.  That’s a good thing, I want them to be strong independent men, but to be honest… I feel a little lost lately.  They don’t need me to walk them to school, play action figures with them, sit down and read bedtime stories.  As they are getting older they need me less and less, and my role is changing.  To be honest, that shit is scary!! I am finding that I can’t hide my identity behind being their mom anymore.  Yes, I’m still their mom but what about the busyness of being a mom?  I have more time to focus on me and I’m not sure that I want to.

So the monster of insecurities is trying to tear me down and tell me how I don’t measure up.  Well, here’s how I get him to go away. First I don’t stop being me.  Yes, I am getting older, but with that I’m also wiser and more confident with who I am as a person.  Strong enough or fit enough?  Sure there are people who are stronger than me and I can’t compare my individual genetic make up to theirs.  I can only compare myself to where I am now to where I was yesterday. Somedays I”m freakin super woman, other days I’m Olive Oil.  The difference is I won’t stop trying to always better myself.  Smart enough?  I’m a self learner and geek out on learning many different things. I am very intelligent and can read people well which is a gift that allows me to connect and reach them.

My voice may be small and but one of many, but it’s still mine and there are many people out there who I can help inspire to feel good about their lives and their bodies.  Even if it’s just one client or reader at a time.  I will continue to be real on Just Me Jenn B.  I’m not the kind of blogger that hides behind a pretend perfect life that makes others feel they can’t relate.  If you’re looking for the perfect abs or fall trends and a pinterest recipe you’re probably not going to find it on my blog.  There are plenty of self absorbed bloggers, trainers and coaches out there to follow, that’s not my style.  Podcast…ugh, that’s to be continued.  I need to figure out how I’m going to do it all by myself, the monster says I can’t, but I will and even if I don’t it won’t be because I’m a failure or not worthy enough, it will be if it’s meant to be.

In addition to all of the above, to overcome this bout of depression I am going to start taking a class again. Perhaps yoga, or ballroom dancing or a craft, whatever it is, I want to be around more people with different interests and ideas.  Next week I will be joining a small women’s spiritual group to connect with God.  I’m going to sign up for some sort of fitness challenge like another Spartan or something similar just to feel the push that says I can and I will.  An last but not least, to shut the negative out, I’m going to replace my negative thoughts with positive thoughts, remind myself of all the things that I can do, and I will do.  I keep notes and cards from previous clients and friends that have thanked me for helping them in their lives some how over the years.  I like to read them from time to time as a reminder that I too make a difference in this world.  Also, l plan to reach out to the women who inspire me and make me want to be a better person and even send them a thank you note.  Last but not least, I’m going to volunteer my time.  Helping others is a powerful way to fight depression.

How do you shut your monster up?  You comment may help another reader. Feel free to share.


Holiday Road, Our Family Road Trip across the USA


The Burnett’s are back from our trip across country and what a journey it was…

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Recently, Bob, Logan and I met up with my mom and my son Alex in Vegas to begin an 11 day trip in an RV across country.  5 people, one breadbox of an RV living space, traveling across country for 11 days.  This is the perfect pitch for a reality tv show.  Much like the old MTV Real World episodes of “See what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” Thank God we were family and not strangers.

Where to begin?  Should I start with getting felt up by the nice TSA lady at the airport in Baltimore before our journey even began, or should I start with the cab drive to the airport where we were able to get all the juicy details from our cab driver about what his former life as a 30 year prison guard was like as well as all the horrid details that happen to men at night when the lights go off.  Yeah, lets skip that part and go right to TSA.

I’ll keep it short.  I got felt up by a TSA lady who was in training.  Allegedly the computer picked up that I had metal near my groin.  Not sure how that could be, given that I was wearing all cotton and my skirt was tight enough (classy but very from fitting) that if I were carrying a weapon or any metal you would easily be able to see it.  FYI, I have no piercings below my ears.  Anyhow, it turns out they flagged me because this TSA lady needed to learn how to pat people down and look for explosives, or weapons of some sort.  I just wish they would have been honest about it and not lied to me, making me look like a criminal with my hands up over my head as she frisked me.  Anyway, I was in and out and got to my flight with plenty of time to spare, but still annoyed that I purposely wore clothing and slip on shoes to avoid BS like that.  Of course there are a lot of people who they would never flag, or pull aside to be used as a 2016-08-03 08.01.24guinea pig, because of racial profiling, so you know…they can’t go wrong targeting the white woman.

 

We landed in Vegas around noon.  Las Vegas has never been a destination spot for me. Mostly because I don’t like people.  I’m not a gambler.  It looked exactly how I expected it to look.  Like an oversized miniature golf course for drunk people who think they might be in New York and Paris at the same time.  We had lunch at the Bellagio and then gambled for a bit.  Being the high roller that I am, I put five dollars in the slot machine and walked out with sixty bucks.  Bob won about 100 dollars off the black jack table and then we quit while we were ahead.  Besides, we had a long ride ahead of us and we wanted to see the Hoover Dam before we headed out to Arizona.

Imagine our surprise when we saw a sign that said “Welcome to Arizona” we completely missed the exit or road that took us to the Hoover Dam.  We were told we would drive right over it.  Didn’t happen. Road trip fail.

A couple hours later we were all hungry and decided to get a quick bite to eat at IN and Out Burger. The boys were stoked to eat there.  Being that we don’t have them on the east coast the kids get so excited to eat there when we visit the west.  I have always heard the hype around In and Out Burger so I gave it a try.  I was not impressed.  I thought it was gross but then again I can be a bit of a food snob.  The highlight of our dinner experience was watching a homeless man role a joint on the outdoor tables at In and Out Burger, maybe that’s the secret to making it taste good? We are winning this day for sure.(<—sarcasm)

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The first campground was still about a three hour drive so we piled back in the RV and got to the campground around 9pm.  The campground was located off of Route 66 somewhere in Arizona. We turned in to an old dark gas station that had a bunch of abandoned antique cars all over the drive way.  We didn’t see any tents, cabins or RVs.  My mom got out to look around and see if anyone was in the gas station office.  A sign read “Campers come to room 22 after 8pm.” Turns out there was an old motel behind the gas station.  We headed to the motel room.  Any horror story you can think of was what this place looked like in the dark.  Bob spoke with a woman about our reservation and she told us to drive down to the end of the road turn right and keep driving until we saw the RV park.  I’ll skip past the part of the old lady who chased us down as we headed to camp and grabbed onto Bob’s arm as though she was trying to tell him something without saying it out loud. I think she was hopped up on something.

It was a very quiet ride down the dirt driveway in the pitch black. No one said a word, but the thought bubbles that were hanging over our heads all had a scene from Psycho or The Hills Have Eyes or whatever horror movie you can imagine. Most people probably would have left and found another campsite. However, we were exhausted and in the middle of the desert; who knows when we would see another campsite.

We were only one of three RV’s in a very big RV park in the desert.  We barely slept that night as we listened to the weird sounds of scraping and tapping against the RV.  At one point Bob went to check it out.  It felt like being trapped animals in a cage.  Whatever was out there could see us but we can’t see them.  (By them, I mean the wind, bugs and probably some small rodents like lizards and armadillos or whatever animals live in Arizona, but in our mind it was Leather Face coming for us.)

We woke up to a very beautiful morning with cows, bulls and steers eating grass from their pasture right next to our RV.  A friendly employee came by as we were cooking breakfast to let us know about their free continental breakfast at there restaurant lounge.  I took a hot shower in a bathroom that turned out to be the cleanest of all the campgrounds we stayed at.  It turns out the campground was very old and also had a motel and lodging, as well as an old store and restaurant, probably once a big tourist destination in the 1950’s.

We learned a lesson that we are city slicker snobs and watch way too much tv.  The place was charming yet still creepy, there were creepy manikins around the campground, one was a boy manikin tied to a rope and being lowered into a 250 foot hole in the ground by an adult manikin.  It’s called Dope on a Rope.  Apparently tourists used to pay to go down into the hole.  It’s a thing… you can look it up. It’s very creepy and bizarre but still interesting.

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Next stop was the Grand Canyon. Absolutely beautiful. We stayed one night for only 6 bucks. Apparently, in order to do all the active fun stuff like hiking, donkey rides and paddle boarding you have to plan a year in advance.  However, we made the most of it.  The boys got too close to the edge and would goof off at times.  This sent me into lunatic mom mode.  We hear all the time about people falling off over the edge and I can see how that can happen.  People are idiots and do stupid shit.  I don’t think I’m fearful of heights but I am fearful of seeing one of my kids fall to his death because he wants to do some stupid headstand or crow pose by the edge. Ok, yes I did a yoga pose in the picture below, but I was far from the edge.  Trust me, I’m an expert. (not) Bob recommended waking up super early and watching the sunrise over the  canyon, so that’s exactly what us adults did.  Teenagers had no interest so they slept.  I highly recommend watching the sun rise and set over the Grand Canyon.  It’s something magical for sure.

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The rest of that day was spent mostly driving.  We drove through Utah and stopped at Arches National Park.  We hiked up to one of the arches, it was a great way to get some movement after being cooped up for the day.  We made our way to Grand Junction Colorado and  stayed for the night. Then we started our way to Denver.  We stopped at a place to swim and hopefully see a waterfall but it was a bust. The water was more suitable for boaters and there were fish hooks and sharp objects all over the place, so we called it a day and headed to Denver.

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Denver was all about the eats for me.  We had dinner at this great restaurant called Pinche Tacos. This place is so good!  It’s a young trendy restaurant with really great food.  The food is served family style so we all ordered different tacos.  I had cow tongue, fish and porkbelly tacos.  They are severed on small but but very filling tacos.  I couldn’t finish mine.  I also enjoyed a spicy margarita made with really good and cleanish ingredients.

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After dinner we enjoyed a treat from Beet Box Bakery and Cafe. Everything there is vegan and you can also get gluten free.  I had a donut and a bite of Logan’s brownie.  It was probably one of the best desserts I have ever eaten.  I also enjoyed a berry black Kombucha from Upstart, a company that makes and bottles their Kombucha in Boulder Co.

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Probably one of my most favorite stops from the trip was our visit to Mount Rushmore.  It was a beautiful drive on the way to see the four presidents. Lot’s of pine trees and mountain views. We had a lot of fun sight seeing.  Most tourists walked the wooded path and steps but we insisted on running the path. Partly because we are not normal and partly because we needed to get our energy out.  On the drive back down the mountain we spotted a lake and went for a nice swim.  The weather and water was perfect and everyone was happy.

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We camped overnight somewhere in South Dakota. The next morning we drove through part of the Bad lands and stopped to feed the prairie dogs.  My mom had the great idea of dressing up in frontier clothing that the gift shop offered to take photos.  We certainly had a lot of laughs and got a kick out of it.

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We made our way east.  Next stop in Wisconsin.  This was a short but special trip to see our dearest friends the Campbell’s.  We have been friends with the Campbell’s since our kids were little toddlers.  It was so great to see all of them and see how big our kids have gotten.  Only wish we would of had more time to spend with them.

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Bob and my mom got up the next morning at 4 am and packed up camp so we could get to Niagara Falls by dinner.  It was a very long drive.  The boys and I slept most of the morning and avoided the stressful episode of almost running out of gas just past Chicago.  Something to do with only certain gas stations sold diesel, which is what the RV needed.  Also, the GPS tried to take us to Canada so we got to see a bit of Michigan by accident.

2016-08-11 22.30.30My entire life people have spoken about Niagara Falls as being a must see and make it sound so magical.  What no one tells you is that it’s pretty much a big carnival and other than the falls it’s not very pretty or even clean and kept.  The falls themselves were beautiful and I definitely recommend taking the ferry ride to get a closer look and walking the Cave of the Winds to feel the power of the waterfall. But… here’s what no one tells you.  There are so many people on the boat and you get shuffled on and off like cattle. There are long lines for both the ferry and the Cave of the Winds.  They sell cheap overly priced carnival food, like your typical ice cream, pretzels, soda, burgers and such.  They charge an arm and a leg for water.  The trolley is over crowded with people standing and the drivers won’t allow you to bring your overly priced iced cream onto the trolley and they treat you like a child as they shame you for trying to bring it on.  My mom was smart, she snuck it into her purse.  Bob was a little pissed to say the least.  Partly because it was hot, he already spent a few hundred bucks for tickets, food and water and he didn’t appreciate the condescending bus drivers tone of voice as she shamed him for trying to bring his just bought ice-cream on the trolley.  Unless I just happened to be in the area, I wouldn’t waste my time going to Niagara Falls. Although, I hear the Canada side is nice, but  after our experience, I have no desire to see the falls from that side either.  All that being said, I’m grateful for the opportunity to see the falls with my family.

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We made a last minute decision to leave Buffalo that evening and headed out to Connecticut. It was a very long drive.  I stayed up to keep Bob company as he drove.  We decided to stay at a hotel that night and didn’t get in until 2 am.  At this point we had all been living in the RV for 9 days and the hotel stay was short lived but a welcome treat.

We were on the road again by 9 am the next morning.  Our final stop was Cape Cod.  We stayed in Falmouth Cape Cod. Our stay was short, only a day but we made the most of it. We enjoyed some ice cream at Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium and then took a nice bike ride along the coast.  The boys went for a swim and skipped rocks into the water. We ended our day with a nice dinner at the Glass Onion. A pretty fancy and pricey restaurant which after living in an RV we were a little out of place because we weren’t dressed for it, but it was worth it. I only wish we had more time to spend in Cape Cod.  Perhaps a three day stay at a bed and breakfast is in the future.

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We headed home the next morning.  We hit lots of traffic through New York and Philly.  We were happy to get home that night.  I’m so thankful to have done this trip with my family before Logan heads off to college next year.  I would absolutely have done it all over again but I will never do it again.  If that makes any sense.  I’m not a fan of long endless car rides and waking up in a new spot everyday. Plus we didn’t have enough time to really stay and enjoy all the places.  For example, the next time I go to Colorado, I would like to fly there and enjoy a couple of days doing fun active stuff.

I must say my boys did great. Never once did they fight or lose their mind.  The adults did well too.  We had a few freak out moments that were to be expected, but when one would freak out the others would stay cool, and understanding.  So it all worked out. There were a lot of Griswold moments as well. Things broke, an alarm went off in the RV, we almost ran out of gas, my mom and I walked into the men’s shower room, we almost got lost a few times and ended up in some shady areas, but we laughed it off.  I lost my shit over Bob asking me to make him a sandwich while he was driving because I was getting bumped around the cabin, but settled down after I had something to eat. When traveling in small quarters all the way across our great nation It’s all to be expected, it’s what makes us human and great Americans after all. Right? Just nod in agreement.

As far as workouts and healthy eating goes.  Hahaha! Not this time. Sure, I did a few push-ups and lunges here and there just to get some movement from sitting for so long, but it wasn’t really exercise. We would arrive at a campsite with just enough time to set up camp, eat dinner and then pack up and be on the road early the next day.  Our sleep habits were off too. Twizzlers and Cow Tails were my go to stress and boredom snack.  We kept most of our meals healthy with exception to In and Out Burger and the lunch we had in Niagara Falls.  For me exercise and nutrition are part of my lifestyle so if I’m not perfect or on point while I’m living in an RV for 11 days traveling across country I don’t stress about it. My body starts to crave healthy foods and movement because it is part of my daily life. I have been living a healthy lifestyle so long that experience and maturity has taught me so much about what my body is capable of doing and what it needs that I don’t struggle with getting on track.  It has taken practice to get there, but consistency is key and before you know it, its a habit that becomes a lifestyle.  I don’t have any advice for eating healthy and exercise on a family trip across country.  All I can say is make the best of it and enjoy the experience.


Rachel Carson 18 mile hike recap.


At the beginning of the summer I had the privilege to hike the 18 mile Rachel Carson course in Pennsylvania with my friend Julie and her sweet cousin Lindsay. The 18 mile was the half-challenge of the course, for those willing there was the option to hike the full 34 mile course.  Participants have one day to complete the entire course.

I had never heard of this challenge before being invited by Julie to hike the course with her and Lindsay.  When she invited me to join them I jumped at the chance to try something different. Other than going on three longish hikes with Julie: about 7miles one day, 7 the next and 13 miles another time, I didn’t really  train for this event.  I was pretty confident that I could hike the course without any problems because of my current fitness level. The only thing that I was really concerned about were snakes, and thankfully there were so many people on the course I didn’t see any.

Julie and I drove up to Pittsburg the day before the hike.  We met up with Lindsay to register for the hike and then headed to dinner.  I’m not sure what I was more excited about, the hike with two fun gals or dinner at Meat and Potatoes.  One of my favorite restaurants in Pittsburg.   We ordered so much food.  We started with some apps, one of my favorites is the bone marrow on toast…so good, and of course I enjoyed a drink or two.

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After gorging ourselves with allthefood we headed to the waterfront from some amazing views,

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and then headed back to Julie’s Aunt’s house for some much needed sleep.  We woke up early to roll out on some lax balls before heading out to the race.  We weren’t very hungry after the big dinner from the night before.  I drank a Bang which has some BCAAs and a lot of caffeine in it. I also ate a quest bar about an hour before starting the race.

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We took a very long  bus ride to the start of the course and there were surprisingly a lot of people there already.  We also did some stretching before starting our 18 mile trek.

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I packed some protein bars, trail mix and some plums for the hike.  I wanted fruit that would be juicy enough to keep me hydrated and give me energy to finish the hike.  I also had a camelback full of water that I refilled at the water stations.

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The course was so much fun.  I liked the rolling hills most of all.  Going up hill is not a problem whatsoever, but down hill for me is a whole other story.  I really slow down going down hill and even did a crab crawl when the gravel was loose and steep.  Thankfully Julie let me borrow one of her hiking sticks. There were people of all walks of life and a lot of kids too. What a great idea to expose the kids to hiking at an early age.

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The first four miles flew by.  There was a water station after the first four miles and then every seven after that.  The water stations were very organized and they had plenty of food as well.  I had a couple of orange slices but stuck to the food I brought for the most part.

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About half way through the course we stopped to stretch which was a really great idea.  A few calf stretches, back and hip stretches is exactly what the body needs to recharge and keep going. We stuck together for the entire race.  Which was good because when one person was feeling hot, and tired the others would pick up the pace a bit and we were able to keep each other motivated.

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I didn’t feel the course was very hard,  If anything the mental game was the hardest part at the end.  It’s hot, your feet are wet and blistered because of going through some streams,and you just want to be done on that last mile or two.  That being said, I would do it all over again.  I have no desire to do the 34 mile course but I would definitely do 18 again.  It helps when you have good company too.

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A Journey to Finding My Happy Place


I think being happy in your own skin plays a huge role when it comes to being happy in life.  If you don’t like who you are, if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself, then how can you experience genuine joy?  Sure, there may be fleeting experiences with happiness but can you spend time alone with yourself and just feel joy? Does your joy only come from things or material possessions?  Do you think you will be happier when you have a better body, the bigger house, the vacation of your dreams, PR the next race or competition? I will be the first to admit that I used to think that way.

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It has taken me a while to get to the place I am today, and no, I’m not always happy.  That’s not realistic. However, I feel joyful, peaceful, and at this present time, I’m in a good place. Will that change?  Sure! Life has to change. As sure as the tides roll in and off the shore, feelings of happiness come and go, that’s why I want to be here and be present while I feel this way.  Relish in this peaceful happy feeling.

If you’re a long time reader of my blog then you know my thoughts on body image. You know my personal story to overcome my struggles, and you also know that I have experimented with different ways to improve my nutrition, or fitness. I have competed in various races, fitness challenges, nutrition challenges, body measurements and many other things in the past as a way to challenge myself, chase a goal, or better myself in some way.  Whether it was by counting my macros, doing an endurance race or a CrossFit competition, I have learned so much about who I am as a person. All of those things have made me a stronger, more confident woman, but not necessarily a happier one.  In fact, some of those things, like counting my macros and competing in CF competitions, made me feel worse about myself.  Now that’s just MY experience.

There can be a time and a place for calories or macro counting, but for me it took away the joyful experience of sitting down to have an enjoyable meal.  Yes, some may say “food is fuel” but for me food is also an experience.  One I value.  Not just the taste but sitting down to “break bread” with friends and family.  Taking time to enjoy the smells, taste the flavors, and feel the feeling of being satisfied afterwords. Weighing and measuring my food took away the pleasurable experience I get when it came down to meal time.  It felt a lot like calorie counting and a numbers game.  Again, there may be a time and a place for counting macros or calories and food journaling, and there are a lot of positive lessons to be learned from doing so.  The main lesson I learned was that my meals needed to be more balanced  and that I wasn’t eating enough food.  Physically I started to feel a bit better too, but the psychological effect was not good for me.  It caused more stress and took away my joy.  So again, FOR ME2016-07-17 07.48.21 it wasn’t a positive experience.  I do better by listening to my body.  That, in and of itself, has taken years of practice, but now I crave vegetables and protein, and yes at times I crave donuts and ice cream too, so I eat them and  I stop when I’m satisfied.  It’s a very healthy, happy place to be. No binging, no wishing I could have something, no regrets.  Just eating healthy meals most of the time, and the other stuff some of the time.

I admire strong people.  Especially people who have overcome life hardships such as bad relationships, illness, or losses of some sort.  People who push through and carry on to fight the good fight.  In fitness, I admire people of all walks of life who don’t give up no matter what. I admire Crossfitter’s who just don’t quit, swimmers who well, don’t drown and endurance athletes who continue to keep going the distance no matter how far or how long.  I have been all of those things.  I have loved every second of those things.  However, when competing was no longer fun, and became a numbers game or comparison game, making me feel less of a person, I knew it was time for me to make a change.  Not give up, but find other forms of movement and exercises that make me happy.  That’s not to say I won’t compete again, or sign up for another challenge of some sort, it’s just that I have learned that if it’s no longer fun, then for me it’s no longer worth it.  My time is valuable! The biggest and best lesson that I have learned so far is to enjoy th experience and not take myself too seriously.

I’m learning to pay less attention to what others think of me or at least what I think others think of me, and pay more attention to believing in myself and my own capabilities.  Do I like the person in the mirror? Do my children enjoy spending time with me, is my husband happy with the woman he is married to?  My family is a reflection of myself.  While it’s not my job to make them happy, I do play a role when it comes to making their life a little better.

So right now, in the middle of a very hot summer I am so happy to say I have enjoyed every second of it.  It started with the Rachel Carson 18 mile hike in Pittsburg, PA with these fun ladies.(recap of the hike coming soon.)

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Followed by a get away with my oldest son Logan.  We went to visit my mom, so I got some quality time with my mom and Logan.  Relaxing and having fun at the beach.  Meanwhile, I got to see and hear about Bob and Alex’s adventures in Colorado.  They rode bikes down Pikes Peak, and hiked a bit too.  Alex got the chance to tour the Air Force Academy and has decided he wants to pursue the Air Force Academy after high school, so he has a big goal to chase and I’m very proud of him!

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We got to hang out at the pool with our friends Julie and Rico, and celebrate the forth of July with our friends the Coards.  Even though it rained all day and night on the fourth, we still enjoyed fireworks from our deck. I have also been enjoying getting some vitamin D on the patio roof.

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In addition to all the summer fun, I am happy to report that our garden is growing a lot of vegetables.  It’s like free food!  The best part is seeing the fruit of our labor, there is nothing better  than growing your own food, well, besides eating it. 🙂

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Of course I can’t forget donuts and ice cream.  This summer we got to chance to indulge in Duck Donuts and try The Fractured Prune. I have no words, both donuts are totally worth every bite.  A few visits to Brooms Bloom for ice cream with the boys has been a nice treat too.

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Long morning and afternoon walks with Abby have made her and I closer since the loss of Jedi and she seems to be happy too.

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Last weekend our good friends, Ken and Sandy invited us to stay the weekend with them at their beach house.  Bob and I had such a good time with really great people.  Our friend Lauren, had a an awesome idea about  taking a yoga class on the beach.  It was the perfect way to start our day.

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On the way home that evening Bob and I stopped to enjoy the ocean and take it all in before heading home to the grind.  The pictures below say it all.

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The summer’s not over yet.  We still have another fun trip coming up.  You will be able to read about all of the fun and not so fun adventures to come on the blog. For now, think Griswold’s.  I will also be Snapchatting the whole experience.

Have a Happy weekend!!!!

 


Shopping, Fashion and Eating…a New Boutique, plus a Summer Salad Recipe!!!


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Hello and Happy Hump Day!  Hope you’re off to a good week.  Today’s blog post is going to be fun because it’s all about shopping, fashion and eating!!  Moving near down town Bel Air has truly been the best thing for our family. We walk everywhere and I’m especially happy when I can walk to some of my favorite boutiques and shops!

Speaking of boutiques, Bel Air residents (and Harford County Peeps) did you know there is a new boutique in town? Say what?! Yes, there is a cute little boutique that just opened up called, Velvet Trunk. It’s right off the corner of Office St and Main St. I stumbled upon it one day on my walk to the bank.  I finally had a chance to pop in the other day on my way home after getting iced coffee from my new favorite coffee shop the Jaded Bean (See fun fact about the owner here).

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While I was there I had the pleasure of meeting Marissa who is the owner of the Velvet Trunk.  2016-07-07 17.08.01She is super chill, friendly and extremely fashionable!  This cute store is going to do big things for the small town of Bel Air.  Marissa grew up in New York City and has lived in California and many places in between. She brings fun, stylish, and bohemian pieces of fashion to Bel Air . If you’re looking for fun flirty she has it! Edgy rocker? Yep, she offers stylish t-shirts and distressed jeans. Looking for something more on the bohemian style, you will find at Velvet Trunk for sure!

 

 

I’m eyeballing this dress Marissa is holding up.  I didn’t have time to try it on the day I was there, but I plan on going back this week and picking up some cute things for my upcoming trips. So stay tuned!

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If you live near town, grab your girl friends and swing by this Friday, July 15th from 5-8 pm to enjoy a cocktail and save 10% off a single item!!!! 

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August 1st is the official store opening date. Store hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 10:30-5pm, and Sunday 11-3.

No time to stop in? Or perhaps you live in another state, no worries, you can check out her online site Velvet Trunk.  Let me know what you bought!  There are so many cute things to choose from!

On my way home the other evening I was able to pop into another favorite store of mine on 2016-07-07 17.14.37Main Street. Full Heart Solutions.  There are so many great things happening in this shop!  Whether you are looking for a gift for a special someone or a treat yo-self occasion they have everything from handmade gifts to essential oils, and cute pieces of jewelry and clothing. In addition to all of this, Heartfelt Solutions also offers message therapy and reiki, chakra healing.  As well as waxing!!! Located in this cute shop is The Honey Pot Waxing Studio. New clients can save 50% off of in studio services!!!

2016-07-07 17.16.32-1If nothing else, just stop in to say hi to this little guy – Olly.  How cute is he?!  He fits in perfectly with this adorable, affordable, lovely shop on Main St. in Bel Air.  Also, say hello to Kyanne and Lisa, who are the very friendly owners of Full Heart Solutions.   They are not just owners, Kyanne and Lisa are passionate spiritual women who believe in offering organic, earth friendly practices to nurture the body, mind and spirit!   We need more shops like this in our world.  You can swing by or check them out on line here.

Now on to food!!! I made this summer salad recipe for our fourth of July pool cookout with our friends Julie and Rico.  It is super easy to make, I just used what I had in my fridge. It turned out so good that I will definitely be making this again this summer.

Summer Salad

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Ingredients: 

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1 quart Sun sugar tomatoes halved

1/3 of a red onion thinly sliced

2 bell peppers  (one red, one yellow) thinly sliced

1 large English Cucumber ( lazy peeled and sliced)

2 yellow summer squash sliced and steamed

3 tbsp of olive oil (use more or less to your liking)

2 tbsp Brags Apple cider vinegar (use more or less to you liking)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: slice a up all the veggies the way you like them.  I was lazy so I just thinly sliced my bell pepper and red onion.  I peeled the cucumber in a stripped fashion, because I’m lazy and it makes it look so fancy.  After you slice your yellow squash, steam it for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender but not soggy.  Steaming it will help you digest the vegetable better. While yellow squash is set aside to cool, place all of you cut up veggies in a large bowl. Once yellow squash is cool add it to the bowl and mix in oil, apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper to your liking.  Keep in fridge until ready to eat.  It’s good, refreshing, and the perfect easy salad to make on a summer day.  Enjoy!

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A Teenage Boy’s Journey: Overcoming an Eating Disorder and Body Image


If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you are probably looking for the summer salad I said I would post this week.  I will post it next week, I promise. After all, we have plenty of summer left and who needs another summer salad blog post when there are more important matters to read about.  Like the story below from my son Alex.  If you think eating disorders are something that only young girls or women face, think again. Living and seeing my son struggle with his body image when he was younger was heart wrenching to say the least. A while back I wrote a blog post about the words we use in front of children, and how our actions are important.  I know this from experience.  Who would have known that a statement such as, “hot sauce is good for the metabolism” would cause him to drink a glass of it hoping it would make him “skinny.” Below you will read an incredible story and get inside the head of a young boys struggle to not be the “chubby” kid. 

Side note: {We never thought or told Alex he was fat, those are his words not ours.  We did tell him it was just a phase and he would shoot up and lean out once he hit puberty.}

I would like to thank my son Alex, for showing courage and opening his heart for all of us to read. You are my super hero Alex, and by sharing your story, you may be the hero that some young boy may need!

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Hi, my name is Alex, son of Just Me Jenn B. My mom asked if I wanted to write a blog post about my experience growing up as a boy in today’s society with negative body image and to share my point of view when it comes to food, exercise and weight loss. This isn’t a blog post about how to get lean or build muscle.  This is my personal story, growing up as a “chubby Kid.”

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As far as I can remember I was always chubby. I’ve seen older pictures of myself (like the ones above) when I was really little and I wasn’t  chubby at all,  but I don’t really remember those times. It was around third grade that I noticed my body was, what I felt, different from that of my friends.  I  remember hating myself because I had a thick waist, had fat that would hang over my waistline, and cheeks that would rise up to my eyes when I smiled. I hated going shopping for clothes because I would have to wear a “husky” pant size.  I remember it was third grade that I seemed to take notice of this, because that was my first year in public school after being home schooled. We had just moved from North Carolina to Maryland. Starting a new school was hard enough, not to mention a public school where I didn’t know anyone and only wanted to fit in with the other kids.

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In the summer time I would go to other kids houses to swim or go on the slip and slide and I wouldn’t want to take my shirt off. I remember wearing a swim shirt, and everyone asking me why I had it on, to which my response was “it makes me go faster down the slide.” of course  it didn’t. For me it was like a cone of shame. You know how a dog has to wear a cone to stop from scratching itself?  Well, this was my cone to stop myself from being embarrassed and for covering up my body.

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That same year, I would go to school with a belt on. Not the usual way you wear a belt through the loops of your pants though, I wore my belt over my stomach at the tightest setting to suck in my fat. I would have to go to the bathroom in gym class so I could take it off in the stall and let myself breathe, before tightening it back up and forcing a smile on my face. This didn’t make me a depressed or sad kid. Honestly I was very happy for the most part or at least when I wasn’t thinking about my body. You can ask my family, they always love it when I smile. To this day, when I am sad, they say; “Show me that Alex-smile.” However, this was like a deep secret that I kept. I was good at keeping this secret.

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There were times I would get upset.  Like going clothes shopping.  As much as my parents tried to encourage me and tell me it was just a “phase” or “a lot of boys go through a chubby phase before puberty.” My dad would always try and convince me that he was a “chubby” kid and he hit puberty and shot right up, so did my uncle and even my brother.  They would even show me pictures, but I didn’t believe them and I didn’t think they could relate to me. My parents would also talk to me about being confident no matter what.  I showed confidence on the outside, but deep down, I hated myself.  I hated my body, and I hated that I didn’t look like everyone else.

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I am a huge nerd who loves to read comic books. My dad gave me his old comic collection from the 1980’s. I had these strong male idols and role models with over-exagerrated muscles, which didn’t exactly make me feel good about myself. But thats just part of the story. I remember looking at ads that had bicycles being raffled away, or if you sent in a slip, you would receive “X-ray glasses,” but there was one recurring ad that would always catch my eye. It would show a skinny boy with an arrow pointing to a muscular man indicating that the boy had transformed into this man.The picture was in a box with a perforated line around it, and in the box, there was a big text that read “Get Bigger Now! ” I remember thinking to myself “that kid is so lucky! He’s skinny! He doesn’t realize how lucky he is to not be fat like me! Why can’t he just be happy the way he is?!” Now this was obviously advertised to skinny kids in the 80’s when being skinny wasn’t exactly a good looking feature. I still see those ads now, and I am reminded of that envious feeling I had for the boy in the picture.

Once I started middle school (a private school), I would still do the “belt-trick” every now and then, but I stopped at about 7th grade. However, 6th grade was a tough year for me. I won’t go into detail, and I wasn’t bullied or anything like that, but I remember really thinking how I didn’t want to grow up. Going into sixth grade made me realize i was getting older, and I didn’t want that! I came home crying one day around the same time my 11th birthday had come (yes, I was one of the younger kids in my class.) I was crying because I hadn’t changed. My body still looked the same.  The other kids were bigger, leaner, taller and looking back now even older. My parents said that I would hit a growth spurt, and I would eventually lean out as I get taller. But I didn’t. Just about every Summer, my dad would say “this summer, we  will be active, and you will get faster on the lacrosse field!” This would excite me, because I thought that this is a turning point! This is the time i will look better! This is the summer I will look like the super hero’s in the comics I read, but it wasn’t. I would still be stuck looking the same by the next school year.

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By 8th grade, I was done. Even though we eat pretty healthy in our house if I had any sugary food I would regret it right away, so much that I didn’t want to shower at night because I would have to get out of the shower and see myself in the mirror. I would have to see my flaws. That same year in eighth grade, my friends and I were looking through old  yearbooks of ourselves, and I saw that one of my friends looked like I did in his sixth grade picture (chubby). It was 8th grade and he had changed completely! So I asked him what he did to change and lose weight and I remember his exact words, “well in 7th grade, i just stopped eating” he said, making a cutting motion with his hand to exaggerate his words. As soon as his words fell out of his mouth, the idea popped into my head. That day, I threw away my lunch, I barely picked at my dinner, and I didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day. From then on, I wouldn’t eat breakfast, telling my mom I already ate unless she made me eat with the family. I would pack a lunch but tell the teacher that I forgot it at home or that I wasn’t hungry. The only meal I ate was dinner, and I would still feel bad about it. I would even tell my friends not to offer me any food, even if i begged for it. One weekend, while i was starving myself, my mom made eggs for breakfast, and asked me if I wanted sriracha sauce on mine. I lied and told her I didn’t want anything  and that I wasn’t hungry. “Are you sure?” she asked, “you got to eat and hot sauce is good for your metabolism!” Hot sauce is good for your metabolism… another idea came into my head. After reassuring her that I wasn’t hungry and waiting for her to leave the kitchen, I got out a glass, took the top off the sriracha sauce, and poured about the amount of a shot glass into it, and drank all of it in hopes that it would help my metabolism, and in turn make me skinny. Holding back the sickening, burning feeling, I washed out the glass, and put it away, along with the sriracha bottle, erasing the evidence.

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It’s important for you, the reader, to know that my parents talked to me about food many times.  They emphasized and role modeled healthy eating, as well as limiting sugary foods but recognizing that there is a place for them too.  Yes, I would get eyeballed or lectured if my brother and I drank too much soda but I just felt I was different from them.  Even from my brother who at the time had hit puberty and was constantly flexing his new found muscle.

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My big bro

It wasn’t until one night, I was texting a friend, and told her how I felt light-headed. She asked me what I ate today, and I said “an apple.” She began to tell me how she wasn’t sure I should be doing this, and how it’s not good for me, but I said that I had everything in control, and that the results would pay off. That night, my parents read the messages on my phone. They woke me up, called me into their bedroom, and demanded I tell them what was happening. I spilled the beans about how I had been starving myself, and how I was ashamed of what I looked like. They asked what I had eaten that day, my mom noticed at dinner that I had been pushing food around my plate. I told them that I had only eaten an apple. So they brought me downstairs and heated me up a bowl of spaghetti squash, and made me a sandwich, and had me eat all of it. I told them about my friends advice and confided in them that I hated my body.  They explained to me what an eating disorder was.  My mom sat down with me on the couch and showed me pictures of anarexic boys and how it could be deadly. I was able to read for myself the dangers of what I had been doing the last few months. I had no idea and I can’t thank my parents  enough for sitting me down, explaining what food does for the body  and explaining to me the dangers of my habit. I would like to also say that if anyone reading this has the same problem I had that they should educate themselves and get help! My parents contacted my school, had a meeting with my teacher who had also witnessed me not eating lunch, and things started to get better.

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I have always been active. I have wrestled, played soccer, basketball , and lacrosse; I have always 2016-05-29 17.12.07-1been in some type of sport. I was introduced to CrossFit in 6th grade and used to go to a CrossFit box where my my dad was my coach. I liked it a lot, however at the time I wasn’t seeing any gains or even weight loss, but I think that was just due to my eating disorder or perhaps it was my prepuberty “chubby” stage or maybe a combo of the two. The summer after my eighth grade year, I found myself getting stronger. It was also that summer that my mom had shown me healthy recipes and taught me how to cook. She and my dad showed me workouts that I could do to get healthier, and achieve what I wanted. And you know what? My mom was also right about the growth spurt!  I had gotten a lot taller that summer, and began to slim down a lot! Now, I not only have a better outlook on things, but I am also comfortable and confident in my body, and happy with myself. I have both my parents to thank for that, my dad who coached all of my lacrosse teams and the Crossfit kids program, and my mom who helped me eat healthier, enjoy all food and appreciate myself. I am now on my high school lacrosse team and I enjoy working out and lifting to accomplish my goals of being a strong athelete in a healthy body, no longer trying to be a skinny kid or even a muscular super hero in my old comic book.. I just wish i could go back and tell myself when I was younger about how it will get better, but everything happens for a reason i guess. 🙂

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A Teenage Girls Perspective of Self-love and Positive Body Image


Learning to Love the Woman You Are Becoming

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By: Brogan Gerhart

Hi! As many of you may already be able to tell, I’m not Jenn B! Don’t worry though, I’m not taking over her page or anything like that – just stopping in for a quick talk about how young women, like myself, can maintain a positive self-image and learn to love and appreciate all that their bodies and bright, beautiful minds can do for them. My name is Brogan Gerhart, and this is my story.

When I was a little kid, after my parents divorced, I moved to Maryland with my dad. I attended private school from kindergarten to 6th grade and, aside from the one or two close friends in my entire grade of twenty students and a few of the girls on my gymnastics team, I didn’t really know a whole lot of people. This made the shift to public school not only one of the scariest things I’d ever done, but also one of the most exciting. I was finally connected to a HUGE (well, huge to me) group of kids my age that I could talk to and become friends with!! It was beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of! I was open and ready for all this new world had to offer me, however, sadly, some of the things that I got out of this new world weren’t all that great. A few years after I’d started public school I was absolutely obsessed with how I looked. Every day after I got on the bus, I would come home, add whatever I’d eaten that day to a list I kept in the notes section on my phone, and then spend two to three hours on the elliptical in my basement… Running. It was horrible. I made sure that I didn’t eat more than 1500 calories a day (the recommended amount for my BMI) and that I never skipped a day of working out. I was always hungry and always sore, but I was losing weight and starting to achieve the perfect thigh gap – something I’d thought all beautiful women were supposed to have.

I was insecure and terribly misguided. God, all I wanted to do was fit in. I thought that maybe if I looked a certain way or wore the right clothes or talked about the right things, then maybe people would like me and if people liked me, then maybe that meant there was a reason to like myself. I was trying so desperately to change who I was when, in reality, there was never anything wrong with me to begin with! It was a long, hard road to realizing that – a journey that took my frail spirit and fragile body and made me stronger than I’d ever believed possible.

It all started with yoga.

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I discovered my love for yoga after deciding to participate in a month-long yoga challenge that I was following on Instagram. With my background in gymnastics I thought it would be easy. A pose per day? Piece of cake! Or so I thought. After months of over-exercise and not eating nearly enough of what I should have been, it became painstakingly clear how weak my body had become. I could hardly hold a plank, let alone a handstand like I’d been able to do before, for more than a few shaky seconds. It was one of the most eye-opening and defeating moments I’d ever experienced.

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But man did it really show me how far I’d let myself slip into the false, misinterpretations of what it meant to be beautiful. For years I’d been telling myself I had to look more like the models I saw on television or be more like the pretty girls in school that everyone wanted to sit next to, but once I stopped seeing my body for what it wasn’t and started listening to and accepting and loving my body for what it was, it became more about all that it could do opposed to what it looked like and what it couldn’t.

Seeing how I grew encouraged me to keep growing.

The more time I spent doing yoga, the less time I spent counting calories and running just to lose. I was working to gain now and doing something that made me genuinely happy and it felt incredible! As time went on I was able to look back, not only on the change in my physical ability, but also on my mindset. I felt… Lighter than before. And no not lighter as in less weight, lighter as in I was beginning to love the person I was and… I smiled more <3

I formed positive relationships.

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Once I started pursuing the kind of lifestyle that made me feel happy and healthy again, it made me beyond excited to share that life with others. I began reaching out to confident, enthusiastic, loving, likeminded individuals who not only supported me in my journey, but also inspired me to continue it.

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Through forming these connections with these amazing people, and encouraging anyone who was willing to listen, I began to develop a sense of devotion, trust, and honesty towards myself as well as the people that I came to teach, learn from, grow with, and love.

Being kind.

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It’s pretty easy to find ourselves slipping into the routine gossips of everyday life. Passing judgements and saying hateful things about other people, even behind their backs, may be something that we don’t really think about or intend to do, but we do anyway. Don’t get me wrong I’m plenty guilty for doing this, but one thing that I learned about loving yourself: It’s pretty hard to see the good on the inside if you don’t at least try to see the good that surrounds you.

By practicing seeing the beauty and strength in others, you will be able to better look at yourself in the mirror, see the person in front of you, and tell them, without fail or doubt or hesitation, just how perfect they (YOU!) are.

Falling down taught me I was capable of getting back up.

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No matter how many times I fell or wasn’t able to do something, I pushed forward with nothing but passion and enthusiasm. Through my mistakes I was able to encourage myself to go further; I knew my limits, but I also believed that I was capable of raising them.

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Laughing also played a big part in keeping up my spirits and my motivation. Everyone has bad days and everyone falls. It’s okay if today is the day that you fall, but don’t let it drag you down too deep – let yourself learn, let it go, and move on. There’s no point in holding onto a “that one time I couldn’t” when you’re trying to achieve a “this time I can”.

The time I spent with myself helped me learn more about who I was and who I wanted to be.

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I cannot thank the practice of yoga enough for what it did for me. Yoga taught me so many life lessons about what it means to be strong – it’s not just about being able to lift your body off the ground. True strength comes from relentlessly pursuing the healthy, beautiful person you are and guiding others, and challenging them, to think the same way.

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Learning to love yourself is a personal journey – one that you will have to start and finish on your own. Having people along the way helps, and there’s nothing wrong with being open to others, but you must remember that ultimately this is YOUR road to walk.

Don’t be afraid to spend some time with the person you want to love. By taking the time to be alone and self-reflect, you’ll be able to gain better understanding of who you are as a person and what you like, and what you might want to change, about yourself.

Final thoughts… You only have to live with one person in this world. You’ll grow and change and meet new people and experience new things throughout life, but you’ll still be you.

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The question is whether or not you’ll be proud of that fact – that you are you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It isn’t vain or selfish, or whatever anyone else will tell you, to want to better yourself and it is by no means conceited to be proud of the fact that you are able to take a good long look at yourself and say, “I like my body and who I am beneath it.”

I can’t tell you through what activity or medium you’ll be able to accomplish this, or how your past or your future will play a part in how difficult or simple it will be for you, but I do know that it is possible. For me, I found peace in myself through yoga. But guess what? I didn’t just create that peace with myself out of nothing… I FOUND it. It had been there inside of me the entire time and that peace is inside of you too.

So. With that being said, what are you waiting for?

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You know it’s there. You know that it wouldn’t have been put there if you wouldn’t one day have the strength to reach it. Go on! You already have the key to loving yourself…  It’s time to find it!