Let’s be honest: there are fewer people out there with six-packs than Pinterest would lead us to believe. And frankly, I’m not sure if that many of us want to be totally ripped anyway. I would just like to climb up a few flights of stairs without wheezing or fit into my favorite pair of slacks without sucking in my tummy.
But how to motivate ourselves? If you’re like me, then you know that body shaming yourself into it won’t work. You may succeed for a couple weeks, but you’ll eventually give up and feel worse than ever before. Believe me: I’ve been there more times than I can count.
Our culture doesn’t exactly help. I like shopping at Victoria Secret as much as the next girl, but those models have bodies that just aren’t achievable for the average woman. So, here is a list of some items that help me motivate myself to work out and to take better care of myself when I don’t feel like it:
1. Look to Your Role Model
Something that helps motivate me is to think of my health role models. For me, it’s my mom and aunt. They’re both built very similarly to me, and while there’s a good 30 years between us, they hover around the same weight as I do (despite having two kids apiece). When we all go swimming together, it’s not that they look like 25-year-olds in bikinis — they don’t need to. They’re healthy women who have treated their bodies right their whole lives, and it shows. When I see them, it reminds me that I’m capable of taking care of myself that well too.
This can be a slippery slope because we often fall into trying to make ourselves into someone else. That’s why it’s important to pick someone who already shares traits and body types with you. If you don’t have someone in your life like this, that’s okay. However, rather than going to standard fashion magazines where everyone is photoshopped, try to look for magazines centered around women’s health instead. One company’s magazine that I really like is called Title IX. They create athletic apparel, and what I love about looking through their clothing options is that all of the models look happy, trim, and healthy — and all at weights that feel achievable for my body type.Read More »
Have you ever seen an ad that gets you right in the gut? Recently, I was driving to my parents’ house and saw the below billboard:
What Makes it Great
As someone who has known several friends battle through anorexia, I know that the lack of understanding is often the biggest hurdle. One friend who shared her story with me said that a lot of her struggle had nothing to do with losing weight at all: it was about control over her body, and therefore, some semblance of control over her life. This crucial need for understanding why is something so many people battle, not just those with eating disorders. The text’s simplicity conveys the specialists’ warm and caring attitudes; additionally, The Emily Program’s main color is the same vibrant orange. Read More »
If you’re like me, working out is something you do more out of obligation than desire.
The problem with that though, is that I give up after a few weeks because I begin to dread putting on my sneakers. I keep trying to find ways to exercise regularly doing work outs that I truly enjoy. It’s easier in the summer where I can bike and rollerblade, but winter in the Midwest can be rather vicious. Gym memberships are pricey and involve travel time, so my preference is for workout videos. (Since I paid money for them, I give more effort than I do for Pinterest tutorials.)
My current favorite this past season has been one of Jillian Michaels’ DVD workouts. It’s five 10-minute workouts plus a warm up and cool down. What I love about this DVD is that it’s easy for me to do only one workout, but I can also add three more if I want to. The five workouts each specialize on a different exercise type, which I will break down below. All of them challenge me, and all of them have been a lot of fun.
This is probably one of the most challenging on the DVD. Calisthenics means using your body weight as your tool of resistance (think push-ups) — no free weights needed for this one! You’ll feel this one the most in your shoulders and arms because of all the plank positions.Read More »
Recently, my husband Jon and I were able to take a trip to Scotland and Ireland for a couple weeks. We hiked, swam, toured castles, and ate lots of fish ‘n’ chips. While it’s never easy to go back to work, here are some of my methods to get the most out of your vacation so that you return to work energized:
This does not mean you have to do laps in the hotel pool every day. Maybe it’s as simple as walking to your dinner reservation instead of taking an Uber. Or maybe plan a day to see an outdoor exhibit. One of my favorite parts of the trip was hiking in a national park and spending a few hours climbing around the boulders of a waterfall.
2. Try Something New
Yes, this is rather cliche, but like exercise, it doesn’t have to be something extraordinary. For example, I tried gin-flavored ice cream when we were in Ireland. (I know it sounds weird, but it was amazing.) We also tried out surfing on a nearby beach. Most of the time was spent wiping out on the sand, but it was an incredible experience.
3. Talk to the Locals
As Rick Steves says, this can really “carbonate” a trip. We wound up sharing a restaurant table with some women from Edinburgh as we were on our way into the city. They were able to recommend some places for us to visit, but what made that conversation so memorable was that we were able to swap opinions on world news. It was so interesting hearing their thoughts on Brexit, President Trump, Scottish nationalism, etc. I felt very lucky that they were kind enough to chat with us for as long as they did; we learned a lot.
We’ve all been there. A co-worker whispers something clandestine to you about someone else, and you have suddenly landed in the office gossip pool.
I’ve been in teams before where talk about each other ran rampant. And to be fair, sometimes, it’s simply discussing another teammate, not out of malice, but simply keeping up. One of my co-workers at one point was undergoing a divorce, and a friend and I were discussing it, in order to come up with ideas of how to cheer her up. Is that gossip?