Body Image & Feeling Joy Within

13511042_10101328990240173_9113512781857079739_n“Been thinking for a bit on body image. I once heard that only 4%of women think they’re beautiful, which made me sad because I know so many beautiful, radiant women. I believe then too that even less are happy with their bodies. I believe it is easy for women, especially when we’re younger to be objectified or to identify ourselves by our bodies.
When we had our business, I lived in this physical realm. My validation and happiness centered on my body, weekly weigh-ins, and my body fat percentage. If I lost I was happy. If not I waited for the next week. Does it not seem absurd for a scale to rule my life and level of happiness? Even when I got to a goal (I’ve been 13% with the flattest stomach and abs) it was never enough. So often we feel this way. We compare ourselves to other women (as well as our own former bodies). We are SO hard on ourselves.
I like the line, ‘promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.’ What if we did the same thing with ourselves? What if instead of dissecting our bodies and seeing ‘flaws’ we celebrated? My body allows me to get up each morning. It is healthy and rarely sick. It is strong and lets me do kettlebells. It is flexible and lets me do yoga. I’ve got powerful legs that let me bike or hike for miles. It can endure. It can climb mountains. It lets me pick up my nephews and throw them in the air, so I am rewarded with this beautiful smile. Next week it’s going to take me zip lining and to see the country. It’s let me jump out of planes and have so many adventures. It can do so much. It lets me LIVE my life. It is pretty awesome. Lately I am learning too that if you feel really good and happy on the inside, it starts to reflect and show on the outside. Stop being so hard on yourself, you are extraordinary

I posted this about a month ago on my Facebook, it was the most I could condense the dynamic topic of body image. I will be real right from the beginning, this really hits home with me. This is a daily thing. Sometimes I am better than others. But it is easy to be tempted back down that slippery slope into dwelling in the physical. I worked in the fitness and weight loss industry, so the struggle to leave it behind is real sometimes.

I believe that men too can deal with body-image, but I really feel as women, we are conditioned from a young age. We are infiltrated with images in the media. There is a massive change I feel taking place, but it seems we often think of beauty to be synonymous with skinny or thin. Also a lot of validation comes with beauty and body image. Our outside appearance can often rule our lives and happiness level (this is true for me in the past). We are objectified for our bodies as well, condensed down to chest, waist and jean size. These numbers seem so relevant for some reason. And worst of all (personal opinion), is comparison. We compare ourselves to other women (skinny bitches). We compare ourselves to how we may have been at a lighter weight. Wrong. Comparison kills. It kills your joy. Your love in yourself. Your beauty. God created you perfectly as you are. You have your own personal beauty. Your own body. Find joy in that. Why waste time in being jealous or wanting something you can’t have? That is their body, you have your own. Be happy in what you got. Continue reading

Broccoli and Bacon Omelet

IMAG0407My husband is awesome (and he definitely made this meal). If I’ve had a long day at work, he’ll make me lunch or dinner when I get home. Breakfast, we feel, can be eaten any time of day. L&A eggs from our local Terre Haute Farmer’s Market are phenomenal. So when I arrive home and he asks if I’m hungry and want eggs? I am totally down for that. Add some broccoli and it’s a total package of veggies and protein. That’s the great thing about making an omelet, you can add whatever vegetables or proteins you have chilling in your fridge.

Broccoli and Bacon Omelet

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 4 oz. shredded cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk

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Always Take a Scenic By-Way

13557904_10101338524199043_6483325757912505194_nScenic By-Ways were something we discovered in Montana. Sure we had seen a few on our atlas and we had highlighted a couple before take-off, but we didn’t really grasp the scenic by-way awesomeness. Pre-trip we were pumped. We told everyone about it, everyone knew. Everyone we talked to was so happy and excited for us. Our traveling friends wanted to give us their tips and must-sees.

One afternoon at work, a co-worker comes up and tells me her table claims to have known me for my whole life. Sure enough, it is a couple who have known my parents since grade school. Naturally I told them about the trip. Katie told me to see Jenny Lake at Grand Tetons (check that, we hiked around the whole thing). Jim said if we could, we should take the pass through the Beartooth Mountains. They’re his favorite mountains in the country. This is saying something.

13512154_10101338524348743_5414797211666243550_nWhen we ended up a day ahead on our trip, I convinced Zach that we should indeed take the Bears Tooth Scenic By-Way and enter Yellowstone via the Northeast entrance (also a bonus because we entered into the Lamar Valley, land of all the wildlife and thousands of buffalo).

Wow! It was our first scenic drive and one of my favorites (I can’t help it, Escalante was completely different and amazing too). It was storming just before we entered the by-way. The clouds parted though as we started. The road was tight, hugging sharp curves and turns, pinning you right next to the rock of the mountain or a guard rail. We switchbacked and continued to climb higher and higher. Close to the highest elevation we ran into hail. I was extremely happy Zach was driving. But once it passed and the sun streamed through to light the mountains, it was beyond breathtaking. There were too many views that I kept requesting stops for. And then the slight disappointment when a picture is too small to capture the grandeur. And incapable of capturing the experiencing and sheer perfection of God’s creations. It was a pretty long by-way, along the way we experienced 40 degree temperature changes. As well as the changing weather from sunshine to rain or hail, back to sunshine. It was completely stunning. Continue reading

Zoodles with Pesto

IMAG0374I have such awesome friends! My friend Stacie from work recently made some homemade pesto. Naturally my interest is piqued. She is amazing and said she would bring me some. Then of course my imagination and creativity backed up. What was I going to make with this? It sat in the fridge for several days. And she kept asking me if I had used it. I wanted it to be perfect, though.

Sitting at the market one Saturday, I had tables full of zucchini baked goods. I had mini bundt zucchini coffee cakes and chocolate zucchini bread and zucchini pie and regular zucchini bread. One of my vending friends had given me leftover zucchini the market before. I had used two zucchini, but still had two more at home. A light bulb went off. Years ago someone had given me a vegetti. Why not use that to make some zoodles (zucchini noodles)? Surprisingly, this was my first time making vegetable noodles or in using the apparatus.

My husband is awesome, when we got home, I got to cubing sweet potatoes and cooking sausage, while he used the vegetti on not only zucchini, but some carrots. They were so beautiful and fresh looking.

Toss these with some pesto and sausage, so GOOD! Continue reading

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Kale

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My mother-in-law Sharon and my mother Susan 

My main love language would be acts of service. I thoroughly enjoy doing things for other people (I do struggle, however, sometimes with receiving this back). Especially food. I am a baker. I live in the kitchen. It is one of the main ways I express not only my creativity, but my love. Gifts are probably my last language. So when it comes time to celebrating birthdays or holidays or any special occasion, I either like to create an experience (take my nephews to a state park or have a Batman themed night) or like to bake or cook something. Continue reading

National Parks and Why you NEED an Annual Pass

Initially our trip was just going to be us spending a week at Yellowstone. I don’t really know what happened, maybe I mentioned that I had always wanted to go to Utah, or others kept making suggestions. Regardless, our trip began to grow. More states, more parks, more days. It morphed into a two week Grand Adventure (#1).

Somewhere, sometime, I had heard about a National Parks Pass. It is ONLY $80 (this is dope because a state pass, just for parks in Indiana is $50). Just to get into a national park, can cost you $20, if not more. And this pass is good for an entire year (hence why we are in the works for planning a Grand Adventure with my sister-in-law Mary with a larger loop and 10 more national parks). I cannot describe my level of giddiness when our pass came. I pretty much was ready for us to sign it and put it in the window right away!!!

Nature is my spot. Growing up, we lived in the country. My parents, notably my father, were big on being outdoors. As I grew, the more I came to appreciate my times outdoors. After college, when I simplified my life (got rid of a bunch of stuff, moved into a shed, set out on adventures, the usual), I set to living my life. My instant gravitation led me to the woods. Anytime I had a day off I took off to a state or local park or camping. I ached to be on a trail. On a whim I took off to Yosemite by myself. I yearned to be outside. The woods, to me, cuts out and filters the bullshit of everyday life. It is easy to get lost in the busy of everyday life. To get sucked into worries or stressed. We are constantly connected and contantly bombarbed with a stream of other people telling us how to live. Going to the woods, helps me reconnect with myself. With life. I get back to what is important. To my values. To god. That is my time for clarity. For maximum gratitude. For mindfulness and awareness. It is like hitting a reset button, back to my best self. I NEED outdoor time.

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Lettuce Wraps

1467833401680Lettuce wraps are one of my favorite things to eat when I want something fresh and fast, or when I just don’t feel like cooking (usually the later). I work in a kitchen right? I spend all morning six days a week surrounded by food, on my feet, sweating over an oven. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is to come home and cook or chop vegetable or be around a stove. Lettuce wraps for me are a go-to then. And I can fill them with whatever I like (at home bacon is my personal favorite).

On our trip we found the lettuce wrap to be a friend as well, especially when we were in the desert and sweating balls, post hike. The last thing we wanted to do was drag out the stove and propane and stand over a hot surface (f*** that). Insert then a refreshing wrap and chips (sweet potato or plantain ones for me, plantains are my preferred chip of choice)!

13606997_10101342061475313_5030748990021576157_nThis particular wrap I distinctly remember. We were at my favorite Utah park, Bryce Canyon (Utah has five national parks referred to as the Mighty Five, we went to them all). We drove all the way down to the end. Took in the scenery of the whole thing. Spotted the lookouts we were headed to. Loved the Natural Arch there. And then we headed back down to the crowded, most popular look-outs. We dropped our bikes off at Sunset Point and drove over to Sunrise Point. Hit a trail and really got into the maze of cool formations that make up Bryce Canyon. It was truly stunning. The Queens Trail, is a must. You walk through archways cut into the rocks. And the views are just non-stop the whole way. Crush the switchbacks on the way up to Sunset and take in even more breathtaking views. I do have to say, here is where Thor’s Hammer is. I had seen a lot of pictures on my Pinterest and seen it on different sites, I was a little disappointed in seeing it in person. The hike. The views. The experience is what I treasured. I walked away thinking that I liked it even more than I had anticipated. That is always a good thing because often on a trip we hype things up, it’s easy to be disappointed, but if we come away happier than we thought, that’s a win. Bryce Canyon fully surprised me. Continue reading