Do you Allow Fear to Hold you Back?

I love to explore the reasons why we struggle to reach our goals, or to experience change and growth in our lives. 

One of the biggest factors I've noticed (and personally experienced) is the fear of discomfort. We fear that if we try new things, or change, we might fail. We might lose friends. We might change our opinion on something. We might have to give up our pride. 

So we stay stuck. We stay playing small. Because it's comfortable, and it's easy. But is it fulfilling? Maybe for some. But rarely is that that case.

In this video, I discuss one of my fears and how I'm moving through it. I also share some tips to help you move past the discomfort, and lean into the fear of playing big!

You can check it out right here...

 

Now I'd love to hear your thoughts...what is one thing you've been putting off because you're afraid? How can you begin to move past this fear and start to move forward? What's one step you can take this week to move closer to your goal? 

Why Loving Yourself Comes First

When it comes to loving ourselves...we're often encouraged to do so. But for some reason, when it comes to our body size, many people feel that it depends. 

If we meet society's standards of the "ideal body", we have permission to love ourselves. If we don't, then we better lose weight first, then we will be worthy of loving ourselves. 

I'm not buying into this BS. And from firsthand experience, I'm here to tell you that you will never feel worthy unless you've made the choice to accept yourself. No matter your size, shape, status, etc. etc. 

If you want further detail on how I feel about this topic, plus my reasoning why I feel like loving yourself first works, and some tips...check out this video...

 

Now I'd love to hear your thoughts...what's your biggest fear when it comes to loving and accepting yourself? How can you begin to move past that fear in order to truly make changes in your life? 

What to Do When a Child Calls you Fat

 
 

Have you ever experienced that moment where a kid's honesty can punch you so hard in the gut, it knocks the wind out of you? Me too. Children are so uncensored and honest...which can be such a beautiful thing. At the same time, it can also be really hurtful. 

 

A really common thing I've noticed that children point out is when someone is "fat" or "large" or something like that. They'll say things like "mommy, your tummy is really big!" Which can send anyone off crying and researching the next weight loss fad. 

 

But it doesn't have to be that way. 

 

The only reason that being called "fat" feels insulting to us is because of the meaning we've placed behind it. Most of the time, kids don't understand what "fat" means quite yet. Consider this a teaching opportunity for them! 

 

Let's check out the difference in perspectives when it comes to the situation...we'll start on the adult's side. A kid (usually our own) points out an observation... something to the effect of "mommy, your tummy is so big!" They simply looked at your belly, made the observation, and pointed it out. That's all.

 

On your side, you hear what they've said, and all the meaning that's been tied to what a "big tummy" means comes flooding in. You think a big tummy is bad. Your kid just called you fat. Oh shit, being fat is bad! You're bad. You're unlovable. You need to lose weight to become lovable again. Etc, etc. 

 

Now here's where the teaching opportunity comes in...your kid likely hasn't been taught that "fat" is a bad thing. You have the most influence in this moment to teach them that it's not! Fat is simply a descriptive term. The only reason we think it's bad as a society is because of the meaning we've placed behind it. 

 

If you think you're fat right now, and think it's a bad thing...it's because you were likely taught by your parents and/or those closest to you at a young age that being fat is a bad thing. But it's not a bad thing...it's simply a descriptive term. 

 

So now you have a beautiful opportunity to change the whole trajectory of this child's life when it comes to how they experience their own body, and the bodies of those around them. If you react negatively toward their comment, they'll internalize that and automatically associate "fat" with "wrong".

 

Instead, try this... embrace their comment. If you're unable to say something like "yes honey, I do have a big tummy, and it's beautiful!" (they would probably agree)...but if that's too difficult, just try to say something like "thank you". Then change the subject. 

 

Here's the thing...if we judge and bash our bodies in front of our own children, they are going to feel that their own bodies are wrong. No matter how much we tell them otherwise. They pick up our own examples of behavior, so it's important that we're also speaking to ourselves kindly, lovingly and positively.

 

If you don't want your child to experience the negative feelings around body image that you may have, I recommend you really work on accepting your own body and model that behavior for your child. That will be their best teacher! 

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

 

What is something a child has said to you that you may have misconstrued by placing your own meaning behind it? How can you view and then be able to approach the situation differently next time? 

 

Let's discuss in the comments below! 

What are you Really Trying to Achieve Through Weight Loss?

 
 

I hear this all the time... "I need to lose weight!" Notice the emphasis on the "need". It's so normalized for us to believe that we should lose weight, but not many of us really understand why.

Some other time I'll address the screwed up truth behind why as a society we always think we should be thinner. But for now, I'm shining some light on what you're really trying to achieve through weight loss. 

It's easy to believe there's some pot of gold at the end of the weight loss rainbow...I also believed that once! But the truth is, weight loss is simply weight loss. Maybe more confidence comes along with it? But if that confidence is dependable on the size of your body, it's pretty shaky to begin with. Sometimes it leads to improved health, but the improved health is due to a change in habits, not weight loss. And no, healthier habits do not automatically induce weight loss. It will only do so for those above their healthy weight in the first place. 

This week I'll walk you through a personal experience I had with wanting to lose weight. I've vowed to myself that I never again will purposefully try to lose weight, but will instead focus on taking great care of my body. 

Weight loss thoughts still come up, and usually there's a deeper meaning hidden within them. I explain it all right here...

Now tell me...

When you say the words "I want to lose weight", I have a few questions for you...

  1. Why?? 
  2. What desires do you feel weight loss will give you? List them all out!
  3. Is there a way to go after those desires without achieving weight loss? (Keep in mind, this doesn't mean you have to completely give up your desire to lose weight. I'm just asking you if it's possible to put aside that goal for now, and just go straight for what you want to achieve)

Feel free to reply in the comments, email me at lauren.m.kepler@gmail.com, or keep your answers private!

If you don't know how to make your weight loss related desires happen without weight loss, I have some examples. First of all, weight loss does not promise more energy, more confidence, lower blood pressure, etc. 

Here is how you can go after those things directly. If weight loss comes along during these changes, then alright! But it's not necessary, so if you don't lose weight along the way, it does not mean you have failed...

Want more energy? Sleep more, drink less caffeine and more water, work on managing your stress levels. More confidence? Work on your relationship with yourself. Do some body image work while you're at it! Lower blood pressure? Add some more whole foods into your meals every day. 

Come up with your own examples and put them in the comments! If you're not sure how to achieve the goals without weight loss, let me know and I'll help you figure it out. 

Most important of all...remember that you aren't obligated to lose weight. We all have a different size that's healthy for us. Heck...you're not even obligated to be healthy if you don't want to! Your life, your rules. It's all about finding what works for you! 

 

Why You Won't Stick to Your Gym Routine

 
 

"I'll get back into my workout routine starting Monday"... "I'm really gonna stick to it this time"..."I need to get off my lazy butt and go to the gym"..."I should probably start getting my summer body ready".

 

Have you found yourself saying any of those phrases at least once? Multiple times? Do you go back and forth from being super motivated and "good" to feeling lazy and inactive? Then this post is juuuust for you!

 

When I used to be extremely consistent with my gym routine...as in, 6 days a week, 2 hours a day consistent...my boyfriend and I were long distance. I had just separated from the military, I was on unemployment, and had no life other than working out and eating (and studying for my personal training certification).

 

But still, my life revolved around the gym. That is one of the the only times I've ever been that consistent with working out. The other time was when my boyfriend was deployed. That time I was working part time, attending college full time, but outside of that I still had no life. And I had just moved to a new city, so I definitely didn't have many friends.

 

During both times where my gym routine was consistent, I was like a gym robot. It was like I couldn't compute without my time in the gym "must...work...out". I would feel lost and devastated if I missed a day. I would literally panic, and would break plans with friends and family because I couldn't possibly miss a day.

 

Now that I look back...I don't see that gym obsession as a healthy way to go about it. And I would muuuch rather spend time living life with loved ones and making memories than to just work out for the sake of looking a certain way.

 

I have a few theories as to why we find it difficult to stick to our gym routine. Of course, everyone's situation is different, so I can't cover everything in one post. But what I can do is point out some of the most "obvious" (actually not so obvious) reasons why we find it difficult to be consistent in our gym routine.

 

 First of all, let's just break down the common reasons why we even choose to go to the gym in the first place...

 

  1. "Shoulds"

    • Everyone else is doing it. So we "should" too. It's such a normal thing in our society to have a gym membership that no one actually asks themselves "do I even like going to the gym??" We forget that exercise can be found in other places besides a gym. More on that later.
  2. "I want a better body"

    • In our modern society, I can't just question weight loss motives because then I'm often told "well, I'm not trying to lose weight. I'm just trying to tone up". In whatever way you're trying to change your body, that may not be motivation enough to keep you working out consistently. Especially when considering your habits outside of the gym. If you're eating food that isn't serving you, not sleeping enough, not managing your stress...the gym isn't going to be your magic fix. Not to mention, you can only manipulate your body so much. We all look different at our own healthy size...I couldn't ever be a Beyoncé, or a Kate Moss. I just wasn't built that way. No amount of hours in the gym would ever get me there. And trust me, I've tried. 

 

Those two reasons for choosing going to the gym are the main reasons I come across. I'm not pointing them out to say that they're "wrong" ways to go about it, but it's good information to have when you're trying to analyze why you can't seem to stick to your gym routine. It will also build some much needed self-compassion along the way.

 

Okay, now that we've covered why many of us feel we should go to the gym in the first place...let's dive into a few of the most common reasons why we don't stick to our routine.

 

  1. It's just not a priority

    • Life is crazy! Often times, we just don't make the time to get ourselves to the gym. There is nothing wrong with that! Movement doesn't have to only take place at the gym.
  2. You just don't like the gym!

    • Going back to what I said earlier... we try to force ourselves into enjoying our time at the gym, but what if you just don't enjoy working out at the gym?? I'll explain what you can do about that in the next section.
  3. You forget that life is full of ebbs and flows

    • Sometimes, your gym routine is gonna be on point! You'll be consistent, motivated, and just on it. Then sometimes you won't see the inside of your gym for weeks. That's how life works...think of it as a giant wave. We never criticize the ocean when it's calm and relaxed, so why do we criticize ourselves when we're going through a period of rest?
  4. You don't think it counts unless you're consistent

    • You may have the urge to go to the gym on a Thursday, but if you haven't gone all week you might think "eh, I've already blown it this week. I might as well just start back up on Monday". You get into a cycle of feeling like you've "failed" and it only gets confirmed more each time you skip workouts because you haven't made it at all that week. 
  5. You haven't found a workout routine you enjoy

    • So many people think that for a workout to "count" it has to include some strength training, some cardio, and lots of sweating. You overwork yourself when you do go to the gym...then you dread going back. No wonder!

Here are some ways you can look at your gym habits differently, and make movement and exercise a more regular part of your life (if that's what you want, you're not obligated to do so!)

 

  1. Prioritize movement

    • In order for us to keep our bodies healthy and feel that simple every day activities are doable, we need to get in the habit of moving our bodies regularly! Instead of thinking in terms of "exercise" or "workout", it's helpful to remember that just getting up and moving our bodies is enough. Also, don't think that if you've already gone to the gym, then you're "done" for the day. The gym shouldn't wear you out enough that you can't move for the rest of the day. Try to get some movement in every day...even if it's just a five minute walk around the block, you're doing enough! 
  2. Decide if you even like the gym

    • What kind of movement did you enjoy as a child? What sort of activities got you running around for hours while forgetting about time? Try to get back into that child like mindset! If you've grown up, gotten a gym membership and decided you don't enjoy working out in an enclosed space with just standard gym equipment...that's okay! Cancel your membership and explore something else. Do you like to hike? Sports? Dance? Want to try out pole fitness? Yoga? Boxing? Aerial yoga? Sex? There are SO many options out there...you don't have to limit yourself to just one place to get your workout on! 
  3. Have some self-compassion

    • You won't perfectly meet your gym expectations all the time. Life comes with many obstacles, and changes, and it's important for us to be flexible. Unless you're getting paid to workout, you have nothing else going on, or you make it a top priority (which is not the case for most people), you're going to experience weeks where you're at the gym a lot, and some weeks where you're just not. That's okay! Pick right back up where you left off. You don't have to do extreme workouts to experience the benefits of exercise. 
  4. Be okay with being inconsistent

    • As I said above, it's silly to skip your Thursday workout just because you didn't make it on Wednesday. If you're in the mood to workout, or you know it will help you feel less stressed, happier, etc...then go do it!! Who cares if you skipped a few days?? Your body doesn't keep score. It's just happy that you're moving it...like a dog that feels happy to go on a walk. 
  5. Experiment with different options at your gym

    • You may not have experienced a type of workout you like to do yet...that's so common! Especially if you're unsure where to start, you feel intimidated, or you just don't have a routine. There are tons of great resources online to help you through this! When I was first learning to lift weights, I learned all my techniques by watching YouTube videos. It was super helpful, and if I felt confused during a new type of lift, I would just check out the video! You can also bring a friend for support, or hire a trainer. You may enjoy taking the classes at your gym. You may like weight lifting. Circuit training. Power lifting. Cardio. Swimming. The options are endless...get out of your comfort zone and figure out what you really love to do! That will guarantee to keep you coming back. And don't do anything you don't enjoy...there are too many options out there to torture yourself like that...plus doing so will cause you to dread working out. 
  6. Most importantly...get really clear on why you want to workout in the first place

    • I find that most people workout because they want to look a certain way. While this type of motivation may work in the short-term, it often fades. Life gets in the way and when we "slip up" on our routine, we feel like there's no point in trying because we've "lost our progress". Or maybe we are non-stop bingeing on food outside of the gym, and we're not seeing any changes in our body so we get discouraged and quit. If you want to make exercise a long-term, consistent part of your life, then I suggest digging deeper to find out why it's important to you. For me...I exercise to relieve stress. To push myself. To test how strong I am physically and mentally. To decompress. As a form of meditation. Because I like every day activities to feel effortless. Because I want to be moving my body for a very long time, especially as I get older and it becomes more difficult. Why is exercise important to you? Write down 5-10 reasons that don't involve your appearance right now! (Feel free to share these with me...you can email me at lauren.m.kepler@gmail.com or post in the comments below) 

 

As you can see, implementing exercise into our lives is only as complicated as we make it. It doesn't have to be so difficult. Adding in regular movement is so beneficial to the well-being of our minds and bodies.

It's unfortunate that we've learned to see exercise as simply a way to lose weight or change the appearance of our bodies, because often we forget that it's about so much more than that!

I challenge you to focus on 2-3 ways that you can change your mindset around exercise. Start figuring out how regular movement fits into your life. When your body craves movement, give it some movement in whatever way you see fit! You don't have to drop everything and head to the gym. Ask yourself what sounds good in that moment, and go do it.

Most importantly, remember that your journey will look unique to everyone else's. That's perfect. Whatever amount, whatever type, and however often works for you...you're doing it right!