I had a bunch of photos taken of me this weekend and wow, what a crazy experience. I know that I am confident, I am strong, I am happy, I am secure, and to be honest, I don’t even think that much about my body when I leave the house; however, this weekend was eye-opening to say the least. At our workshops I preach loving yourself and to focus on the process of getting healthy; however, what I see when I look in the mirror is something entirely different than what the camera sees. Here’s what I mean; six years ago I hauled myself to NorCal Strength and Conditioning, stuffed inside my husbands sweat pants, with fear, pain, grief, and depression glueing me to my car seat, barely able to walk inside that gym. But I went, I listened to Robb and Nicki, I worked, and I never looked back. Since that very first day, feeling good, feeling great rather, has been my only motivator and I think that’s part of why I don’t always see what the camera sees, what my husband sees, what you all see. I just want to keep on living. I just want to keep on picking up weights, hearing the plates crash to the ground, pulling myself up and over the bar. I just want to keep on chasing my kids, jumping on the trampoline, going to bed early and waking up at dawn so that I know what it feels like to want to get out of bed. Every. Single. Day. I want to do these things forever because I finally know what it feels like to really LIVE.I am busy. I get stressed. I screw up. BUT – I no longer compromise my health. Not for you, not for my family, not for anyone. I have learned that without my health I am nothing and what I never ever think about is how that equates to what I look like in a photo or in the mirror or how that even matters. What’s awesome is that it doesn’t matter; because I’m loving myself every single day for the strength I actually possess to make it through each day; where 6 years ago it was simply a struggle to drag myself out of bed. What’s awesome is that what the camera sees is just a bonus and not my focus. I spent too many years making how I looked in the mirror or in a picture my main priority; but losing someone you love and consequently losing your own health and your will to even try; can sometimes be a harsh reality slap in the face. It took this very thing for me to realize that no matter how great or horrid someone might think they look; the only thing that matters is health.
Now I am healthy. Now I am strong. Now I am the wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend I have always wanted to be. Now I do not see anything in the mirror but a confident women who radiates health and what I see could look a million different ways to a million different people but to me what I focus on is the light in my eyes and that’s all that matters. What I don’t see when looking in the mirror is what only the camera can reveal; and I am shocked! It’s almost a little bit crazy and as I sat last night with John looking through all the pictures that were taken; all I could do was smile. But it couldn’t be me I was looking at in those pictures but some other lady because I only know how I feel. And I’m totally ok with that.
My focus is life and what I do to take care of myself these days is really simple. I eat super clean. I don’t eat a lot of “paleo” treats because when I avoid treats, they taste too sweet and make me feel gross when I do eat them; not to mention it’s time consuming, hard and expensive to make that stuff anyway. I try not to keep it complicated because I have a very healthy relationship with food (finally) and this is the best way for me to keep it that way. I also rarely drink but for the occasional glass of wine or vodka soda with lots of lime. I drank a lot the year my mom died. Wait, let’s be honest; I drank a lot for several years after my mom died and now I only want to have a drink to celebrate life, not mask my emotions or to “de-stress.” Celebration is much better than disconnection. I eat cheesy corn chips or sauce smothered enchiladas now and then; when the moment arises but otherwise, I’m way too busy to think about “cheats” or “treats”. I cook a lot on the weekends and my family eats tons of leftovers or whatever creations I’m working on for the next cookbook or from previous cookbooks or for a new blog post recipe. I always have a huge amount of eggs, tuna salad, chicken salad, and sliced veggies on hand so that I’m not constantly making lunches or snacks for the boys. I drink one or two cups of coffee in the morning and rarely have more than that but I don’t stress out about it if I do. I lift heavy weights – meaning I dead lift, back squat, press overhead, bench press, do weighted pull ups, and currently I’m having fun (emphasis on FUN) doing a bunch of glute work and some old school body building stuff (yes, I do bicep curls – GASP!) I’ll do some metabolic conditioning that usually looks like sprints, kettle bell swings, or jumprope and it rarely lasts longer than 10 minutes. I try to walk as much as possible but I need/want to do more of that. I’m super active with my kids; playing, running, wrestling, jumping, laughing, being silly. (Being silly is great exercise). I go to bed when I’m tired and that’s usually pretty early because I’m running around like mad all day. I homeschool Jaden and Rowan and Coby is in his last year of high school and we are currently searching out potential colleges. I love what I do, I love Everyday Paleo, but I won’t do this anymore when I stop loving it. I love writing books. I love doing our workshops with Jason. I love hanging out with my husband and laughing and playing with my kids. I keep my family my focus and when I feel like I start to slip, when I feel like it’s all going over the edge and my health is starting to take a back burner I SHUT IT ALL DOWN for a few days! I will never go back to how things used to be and that’s my mantra; so if the blog is a bit quiet or if Facebook is a bit stagnant it’s not because I do not care; it’s because I DO care and when I do give you all I’ve got I want to offer myself to you with health as my backbone, not because I feel like I have to or that I need to.
If I let my life wreck me; I would be a horrible role model for all of you, and not at all what I want to be for my family.
I want you all to do the same – which means figure out what works for you. I want for you to look in the mirror and see health. I want for you to notice what makes you glow, what you feel, and why you breath in and out deep from within your soul. This is what you should be seeing when you look in the mirror. Not how thick or thin, strong or weak, lumpy or bumpy, shredded or bulging, big or small; but how great you are. My personal goal is to always see my best self looking back at me (which has nothing to do with my appearance) and everyday I strive to be the best I can to my own body so that I can be the best I can for everyone who needs me. Most importantly; I need me. I am not happy unless I am being truly authentic to who I am and how I want to live and I want to live well.
I want to live well. I want to always see the light in my eyes.
I will leave you with a picture that simply radiates the joy that I feel in this life that I am living. This is not one of the pictures that inspired me to write this post; but rather a picture that brings tears to my eyes that I am well enough to have these moments.