Category Archives: Environmental

Environmental wellness is an awareness of the state of the earth and the effects of your daily habits on the physical environment. It consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment. It includes being involved in socially responsible activities to protect the environment. Although you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the numerous environmental issues, every little change you make does count. If everyone made individual adjustments in their life, the impact on the environment would be great.

Contemplating the F-word

I recently attended an outstanding conference hosted by the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, and one of the speakers in particular has left me thinking…

and thinking…

and thinking.

Even on a weekend. Which is almost unlawful.

She talked about the F-word. You know: Failure.

Her message was simple. We must not fear failure and rob ourselves of living life, we must share our failures with others, and we must celebrate failures in order to create a culture of innovation. This concept blew my mind. I’ve always held myself to the standard that failure is unacceptable. It means I didn’t try hard enough, or I made the wrong choice, or I did something incorrectly- whatever “it” is, I screwed it up. And she wants me to CELEBRATE and SHARE these things?!956b2cadd449b6b6a05ed4f8e65b9ee1

She asked for volunteers to share a time they’ve failed and what they learned from it. I have to admit that it rarely crosses my mind to think, “What did I learnfrom this mess?” when it’s all over. I usually think “Oh my gosh thank GOODNESS that’s over! Time to move on.”I try to stay on the safe side of everything, and if something doesn’t work out right, I sweep it under the rug and move past as fast as possible. The last few jobs I’ve had have been “firsts” for the companies- I was the first Executive Director and I’m currently the first Events Coordinator. (Did I mention that my degree is dietetics?!) Anyway, before I took my last job as ED, I was almost paralyzed with fear that I would say or do something wrong in the position and somehow make the entire organization crumble. I sat down with this same great lady at the time and rather than offering pity or comfort, she challenged me with statements like: “What’s the worst that could happen?” and “So what?!” I was not ready to even consider the outcomes, as my mind was too consumed with the possibilities.

I’m someone who can easily get lost in her own mind. I think about thinking- to a fault at times. So now I have this new challenge to start celebrating and sharing my thoughts on failures I’ve had. I’m not going to lie- it’s been a few weeks, and I still find myself paralyzed with fear at times when I think about failing- but I try to stop and open my mind to the possibility that it may happen as a lesson- as something to celebrate. I believe that most things happen for a reason, even if it’s a reason I don’t like. Or a lesson I don’t want to learn. It still happens, and it’s up to me to decide how to close the cover on that book.

Girl walking in a field carrying a suitcase

What have you failed at recently? And what became of it? Share it with me- let’s CELEBRATE!

 

Social Media Microphone

I remember quite clearly when Facebook was introduced to me by a friend. It was the fall of my freshman year of college, 2004, and she swore this was going to be “all the rage” in no time at all. I bought into it, thinking it’ll be a nice way to keep in touch. Of course, the trick back then was trying to get your friends to join so it would work right.

It was a time when you were limited on the number of characters you could use in a status,  and it was always “Stacey is…” You were given a lot less freedom in creating yourself on a webpage than what we have today. Things began to evolve, and soon you could have your very own picture, you could write your very own statuses (without the annoying “is” directing your path), and you could find almost anyone in the Facebook family.

My friend was right; this had become the “place to be.”

As the years have flown by, I’ve been disheartened and encouraged all at the same time. I see things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as  awesome people connectors and a form of self-expression. I’m able to tell my story creatively through pictures and thoughts. I’m able to keep in touch with friends and family- both near and far. I’m able to spread the word on anything I choose…which leads me to this question for you:

What are you trying to tell the world?

As times have changed,  I’ve seen some sobering displays of disrespect, distasteful outspokenness, and downright embarrassing outbursts. I won’t lie; I’m just as guilty as many in saying that I’ve posted a thought or opinion that I’m not proud of. At the time, it was too easy to post something to “get back” at a person or vent about a situation. All I had to do was write it, hit post, and wait for the satisfaction of people liking it- and therefore obviously (-in my own mind) agreeing with me…

But that’s just.not.right. Remember when you were little, and you said something out of anger or spite, perhaps even taking a swing at someone because you felt like they deserved it in that moment- but were corrected for your behavior shortly thereafter? The trouble with Social Media Microphones is that we don’t always have a parent or a teacher that corrects our behavior or unplugs the power source- so things can escalate quickly. Feelings get hurt and friendships get lost. And unfortunately, sometimes it all happens because of a misunderstanding.

Sometimes I’m so proud of the way people use social media to spread a positive message or awareness of something, to share really exciting life news with their friends and family, to connect with new people in new ways. And sometimes… well, in the wake of things like elections or this “instant news source” that doesn’t always even allow us to know the whole story before forming opinions and taking action or the ability to create alternative personalities and profiles online to totally trick and … sometimes, I just need to quiet the World Wide Web. All of those opinions just get to be too much, and I’m not proud of our human race.

I get that there are times when emotions take over and passion is not containable, but in those moments try to go for a walk. Or write it down using a pen and paper. Find something that will make you slow down and really think about what you want to say. Many of you cannot imagine a time when you didn’t have this Social Media Microphone to blast your thoughts out to the world, but it used to exist. If I was frustrated with someone, I had to just sit with that uncomfortable feeling, write a letter, or make a phone call. 2 of those options made me face the person, and that was not always attractive enough to pursue. As a result, feelings were hurt less. Relationships were destroyed less.

You hold a lot of power with your Social Media Microphone. Use it wisely. Please remember that we’re all human on the other side of the screen.

Retro microphone on stage

 

A new kind of Bump.

When I was younger, my “life plan” was to be married by 20 and have at least one child by 21. I was also going to live in a purple house and play saxophone for the former President Clinton. (Because he was President at the time, also played the saxophone,  and I was obsessed with that instrument.)

Then life happened.

I starting losing weight… graduated from high school… started college… lost too much weight… struggled to find my purpose… switched colleges and degrees (again)… found a healthy and attainable weight… graduated from college… first “big kid” job in a new city… new job in a different city… met a boy and his dog… bought a house… got married… next job…

and now we’re here. I’m almost 29 years old and I don’t live in a purple house. I rarely play the saxophone for ANYONE- definitely NOT the former President.

But, now the “child” thing is happening. I’m 1/2-way to meeting our newest family member, and it’s been quite the journey so far. In terms of symptoms, I’ve had a ridiculously easy pregnancy. Aside from feeling like a walking zombie for most of my baby-growing time, I’ve had just a few aches and ailments, and I’m pretty darn thankful.

My loose skin which has hung so haphazardly for 10 years is now forming into a rounded “bump.” I love that little bump.  I’ve often found myself just holding it- holding my baby- to keep it safe and show love to both the child and my body. It’s important to do that. Just as important has been to surround myself with love- having people who support me and lift me up, who encourage me with their words and actions. I’ve felt an outpouring of all of these things since sharing our exciting news and there are so many days that these people have been the reason that I am able to remember how lucky I am.

The biggest struggle in all of this has been in the growing. In the beginning, I can remember having conversations with myself about what pregnancy may entail, and that it WILL include a weight gain. A good and important kind. And there was nothing wrong with it- as long it was done in a healthy way.  I’ve worked so hard on losing and maintaining a weight loss of over 100 pounds, and for the first time since I can remember, I’m having to process that it’s OK to gain. That when a shirt or pant or skirt no longer fits it’s a natural part of the process rather than a sign that I need to kick myself for eating all those peanut M&Ms.
If any of you have lost a significant amount of weight before pregnancy, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a weird (for lack of a better word) thing to have to accept and be OK with. It’s even harder when you have the appetite of a linebacker and a strong addiction to cake and candy and French fries that no longer seems to be avoidable. I’m certain that lost a lot of my self-control, and I swear people can just smell it on me… and know just what to offer to make me drool and make my knees buckle. I mean, even the Ice Cream truck drives by me while I’m out walking and by my house at least 4 times a week (I wish I was kidding).

So for now my goal has now been to (try to) eat healthy about 90% of the day (and yes- I do count down the minutes), as well as try to get some form of physical activity in almost every day… I know I eat more than I should, so this way I rest a little easier knowing that I’m trying. Like I said, I’m by no means perfect (like the times I’ve eaten jars of peanut butter as a “snack,” or the entire popcorn cake by myself, or that pan of delicious double cake, or….), but I give it a shot. Every day.  Just like I did before I was growing a human.

I want my child(ren) to grow up with healthy self images and love their bodies rather than avoid any reflective surface because they hate what they see. I want them to see food as fuel rather than “good or bad.” And I want them to enjoy playing rather than feeling like they need to torture themselves with exercise. I know that all of these messages- negative and realistic- are out there. And I know I can be one of the first to send the “right” messages about bodies and health from an early age.

Until Baby D arrives, I can practice being a good role model to those around me by keeping my self-talk positive, by forgiving myself for the jar of peanut butter, by appreciating the fact that I can still exercise and eat what I want.
Being love and showing love.

Is THAT what You call Commitment?

Throughout your day, if you really think about it you commit to a lot. You commit to the outfit you’re wearing. You commit to wearing your seatbelt on the way to school/work. You commit to riding your bike or walking to work. You commit to your responsibilities at work. You commit to cooking supper or maybe choosing where to pick up something to eat. You commit to taking the dog for a walk or going to the gym. You commit to sleeping at night.

Do you think of it that way? Do you see your life as a series of choices to commitments you make?

Maybe I’m off… maybe your car is broken so you HAVE to ride your bike or walk. Maybe your favorite shirt is dirty so you HAVE to wear the other shirt. Maybe it’s raining out so you HAVE to find a different way of exercising. But really, don’t you still have a choice in committing to these things at a certain level?
I mean, you could call for a ride, you could pick your 2nd favorite shirt, you could embrace your exercising alternative… do you see what I mean?

I’m not saying that you need to walk around and high five everyone you pass on the street because you were “tasked” with picking up all of the dog poop at a recent volunteer event… but you could at the very least remain a pleasant human being. I think most people would agree that isn’t the best job in the world, but you are greatly appreciated for doing it. Pull up your big kid pants and put a smile on your face- after all, it’s only temporary!

There are other times when you choose to do things- like attend an after work event with coworkers. It’s up to you to be mindful and respectful of all of the others present with your conversation… meaning, you aren’t bashing those who chose not to come. And you aren’t negatively simmering over the fact that you showed up. You are simply there and enjoying whatever unfolds. Choosing to see the bright side of your choice and only worrying about yourself.

Commitment… what does it look like? In my mind, it looks strong. It looks reassuring. It looks positive. It looks attractive.

What does your commitment look like?

example

You are Allowed.

Dear Self,

Sometimes you push too hard. You forget to take a break for fear of failure. You let those silly voices tell you that ‘you are not worthy of rejuvenation because the person next to you must be working harder. You have to keep going. Even allowing one hour or one evening of rest will undo all of your efforts. Get up. Get going. Keep going’.

Do you ever find yourself feeling this way? It might be at work, or at the gym, or at your place of residence… this overwhelming sense of guilt for daring to listen to your body and take care of yourself by breaking for a nap to to watch your favorite show or read a chapter in your book. I do- like, all the time. I found myself in this predicament last week. The previous week at work had been pretty crazy and I don’t think I ever did recover. You know, because there’s always a house to clean, a dog to walk, clothes and dishes to wash… the list never ends. Every time I thought about sitting down I would feel like I was just wasting time.

I could feel my body telling me I better slow down “or else” on Monday, but once again ignored it; I had stuff to do!

And then it hit me. HARD. By mid-afternoon Tuesday I felt physically and emotionally exhausted. It hurt to sit. And think. And function. By the time I got home I was going back and forth from tearing up to yawning. All I thought about was taking the dog for a walk and picking up the house and finishing the dishes and cleaning off the counters and all of the other little things that I felt like I HAD to get done that night or risk total failure as a human. (I know, I know… totally ridiculous, right?!) But … my body had officially had enough.

So I stopped. I allowed myself permission and space to just sit, and then just sleep. After a 2 hour “dead sleep” nap plus a full nights’ sleep, I woke up the next day feeling human again.

In a go-go-go world, it’s easy to get caught up in a rough cycle that will eventually lead to breakdown. It’s important that we remember that the majority of people feel this way- that we are all “competing” for that “I’m the busiest person” trophy… and yet, you don’t win a prize for that.

Slow down.

Allow yourself to sit and enjoy life- whether it’s through a hobby, a phone call to a friend/family member, or even taking a little bit of time to catch up on your favorite TV show. From my experience, the police won’t show up on your doorstep because you chose to take care of yourself… and the dishes/clothes/messes will be there tomorrow.

How will you slow down this week?

slowdown

North Dakota is boring

I moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota a few years back from Wisconsin to take a job at the University of North Dakota and the one thing that I heard from many people (not everyone, but quite a few) is that North Dakota is boring.  Its flat prairie and there is not much to do in terms of outdoor adventures and at first glance that is true.  North Dakota is the Northern Great Plains, and yes it is flat for much of the state, however, I soon learned that North Dakota is home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP).  Wisconsin doesn’t even have a national park (its got national forests, rivers, and state parks out the wazoo, but no National Parks)!  So over Memorial Day weekend i decided to take a road trip to the North Unit of TRNP and see what it is all about.

I left early in the morning to beat the “traffic” on Hwy 2 and after a very doable 6hr drive (I drive slow) I was entering Watford City.  Now up until that point I will say that all I saw was prairie, a few lakes, and the Bakken oil fields, but as I made my way 15 miles south of Watford City…BAM!!!  I was in the middle of North Dakota Badlands!  They literally came out of nowhere.

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Now the North Unit of TRNP is much smaller than the South Unit which is located 68 miles south and closer to Medora, ND, but I have to say the North Unit is underrated.  The first thing you see upon entering the park are the badlands formations and the layers of sediments.  The pictures do not do it justice, as there were numerous colors from blue-grey, orange, red, brown, black, and green.  There were also buffalo just hanging out in the campground.  I actually had 2 walk right through my campsite while i was putting some equipment away in my car.

The other great thing about the park is that even though it is smaller than the South Unit or Badlands National Park in South Dakota, it is also very intimate.  When hike the 36+ miles of trail you are scrambling over rocks and badlands formations, you are following in the footsteps of buffalo herds, you are climbing up hill through a juniper and ash forest, you are truly a part of TRNP, not just getting scenic overlooks.  It’s also nice that the North Unit is not crowded.  When I arrived on Thursday before Memorial Day there were 4 other groups in the campground and by the Sunday there was still 20 sites available.

The trails were very rugged which was a lot of fun and exhausting at the same time.. I hiked for almost 4 hours each day I was there and still did not see everything.  I also learned a lot from the Nature Trail leaflets on the Little Mo Trail and Caprock Coulee Trail (in my opinion the best representation of the entire park and it was only 4.4 miles round trip).  Did you know that there are 3 different varieties of sagebrush in the park and each has a unique fragrance?  I was only able to find 2 of them (Silver Sage and Big Sage), but sure enough they both had a different smell!

Another great thing about TRNP is that it is within spitting distance of the Maah Daah Hey Trail.  A 97 mile trail that one can hike, bike, or horseback ride on through the North Dakota badlands and rolling prairie.

North Dakota is boring?!?!? There is almost too much to do!  And for those that live in Grand Forks and a 6 hr drive is too long, Turtle River State Park is just down the road and Devil’s Lake just little bit farther.  Get outside and explore the wonders of North Dakota and the surrounding areas and if someone tells you that North Dakota is boring just tell them that they are just not looking hard enough.

Restoring Meaning

There seems to be a struggle between perceived expectations and reality in the wake of social media.

America just celebrated Memorial Day, and people seem to have different interpretations of what it means: a sign of summer, the perfect time to fire up the grill, invite your friends over, and hopefully bask in the sun vs. a time to remember our Fallen Soldiers and honor all those who gave and give so we could enjoy all of the freedoms we have today.  I see the same thing happening to Thanksgiving (overeating, parades, and football vs. being Thankful for life’s blessings), Christmas (presents, shopping, Elf on the Shelf, Santa, parties, decorations vs. Jesus being the Reason for the Season), Weddings (the “perfect dress,” over-the-top decorations, showers and parties before the party, invitations, flowers, pictures, food, music, attendants, schedules, presents, registries and favors vs. Celebrating the Love that has brought 2 people together into a Lasting Union), Easter (dressing up, Easter Bunny, candy, egg hunts, and more presents vs. Jesus dying for our sins to Save us)* and even Birthdays (pinterest-worthy recipes, decorations, and presents vs. Celebrating Life with loved ones).

Too many people are competing for the “biggest and best _(insert celebration here)_,” but seriously- what is it all for?

When I was in 3rd grade, we loaded up our family suburban with a bunch of friends and went to the Winnepeg waterslides and Old Spaghetti Factory to celebrate my Birthday. Do you know what I remember about that day? I remember the Border Patrol ripping the heads off of my brand new Troll dolls, probably checking for drugs. (If you don’t know what Troll dolls were- Google it. They were AWESOME!)

I can’t even tell you what I got for Christmas last year… but I do remember all of the awesome family gatherings- just sitting around and sharing stories and memories.

OK fine, I guess I’ll admit that there are times I remember a recipe or food from a holiday- like the almost-entire delicious popcorn cake I consumed at Easter this year; but to be fair, I’m kind of obsessed with food sometimes. 

Popcorn cake aside, my point is this: I think we can all do a better job of restoring- maybe even discovering- meaning in our celebrations. Stripping away the expectations to out-do the neighbors next door, to spend all of the money (or even more) than you have, to win the perceived invisible trophy among human beings for throwing the best celebration. Sometimes it stresses me out just thinking about all of the thought, time, and planning that went into some of the celebrations I’ve attended.

I’m challenging you in the next year: strive more for meaning than the perceived societal expectations. Take note of the warm fuzzies that come of just being with loved ones. Cut yourself enough slack to enjoy a celebration rather than stress over a timeline or making sure “the perfect memory” was made. Know that you’ve done a wonderful job. You’re doing a wonderful job.

I recently heard a story from a mom who had pulled out all the stops to give her daughter the BEST birthday party imaginable. A few months later she asked her daughter what the best part of the day was, to which the girl replied “shopping for last-minute supplies with you in the morning. I liked the ‘us’ time.”

simplify2What kind of memories are you making?

Will you join me in Just… Being?

*Full disclosure: I’m a Christian and believe in God and Jesus, so you may have other beliefs or celebrate other holidays. This is just my story. 

You still have a Choice.

When it rains, it pours… you know what I mean? raincloud

Like, when the clouds fill the skies for more than a day, people accidentally grab their grumpy pants when they get dressed in the morning. Without knowing it, they are claiming victims right and left- simply by forgetting to be kind. Or forgetting to be thoughtful. Or forgetting that we are all human and we all make mistakes.
You know what I mean?

It can be rough to survive one of those days. But then sometimes it happens for 2 days. Or 5 days. Or an entire week.
And at the end of each day you start to look forward to shutting out the world and hiding under the covers… and sometimes when your alarm goes off the next morning you plead with God that it’s actually Saturday and you forgot to shut your alarm off.

I’ve been there. Have you?

It’s really easy in those moments to slip into pity party mode and pass the negativity on to others… BUT… do you really want to do that?

You still have a Choice.

Just like so many other things in your day, you get to choose the path you’re going to take when the dust settles from the raincloud people. You can become one, or you can be the Sunshine- perhaps it’s what that person needs to flip the switch in their own world.

We’d be lying to ourselves if we said that we’ve never been raincloud people. I speak from experience when I say there have been days when I couldn’t stand myself. Sometimes I figure it out by myself, usually in the moment when I’m freaking out over a very minor thing- like having a total meltdown because my hairspray didn’t set correctly and I now look like I have bedhead. (Don’t lie- you’ve been there.) Sometimes I figure it out because other people let me in on the reality of my attitude. There’s a general rule in my house that my husband isn’t allowed to ask me if I’m crabby or call me crabby, because in all honesty that makes everything worse. But there are key phrases and words that alert me to the fact that I might just be a little hard to handle- like “are you tired?” “do you need to eat?” or simply “how was your day?”

Whether you figure it out on your own or find it out in the reactions or statements of others… You still have a Choice.

Upon hearing/figuring it out, you get to decide whether you’re going to sink into a deeper funk, making the world even more miserable, or you’re going to reset your attitude in that moment. I get it- it’s not always easy to “snap out of it.”. Try one of the following:

  • go for a walk/run, or do your own favorite exercise
  • deep breaths… remember that You still have a Choice
  • write down 3 things you are thankful for, and then spend a few moments thinking about those things
  • SMILE. at yourself in the mirror. at the strangers on the street. for no reason in particular- just fix your face
  • if possible, hug someone. the power of human touch is incredible
  • take a bath, read a book, meditate… something relaxing and enjoyable

I cannot promise you that these things are the magical cure, because remember: You still have a Choice. If you go for a walk but stew on all the crappy things your friend said to you that day, it might not be so effective. If you make your thankful list but follow up each thing with “BUT,” you missed the point.
Channel your mind into knowing that you are working towards the goal of happiness and contentment.

Of being Sunshine for others.

you are my sunshine colored

 

 

You still have a Choice today.
Make it a good one!

Team(at)Work

I’ve been out in the “Real World” now for almost 5 years (holy COW, how did that happen?!), and I’ve worked in a few different settings. I like to think that although I still have a lot to learn, I’ve figured out a thing or 2 about making a job something I look forward to doing. One reoccurring theme is Teamwork. As a self-proclaimed “NON-athlete,” the opportunity to be a part of a team makes me excited and interested.

How does someone “Join the Team” at work?

  • be reliable- deliver on the things you promise, show up on time, and be prepared
  • get to know your neighbor- I don’t just mean introducing yourself to your coworkers or sharing your tape dispenser on occasion; I’m talking about genuinely getting to know the people that you work with. Chances are, you will be spending a lot of time with your coworkers, especially when you get your “big kid job” You might as well enjoy them, right? Have lunch in the break room and talk about hobbies and interests. Perhaps you’ll find a new fishing buddy! and also along those lines…
  • take it outside- if your coworkers occasionally get together for fun activities, join them! Whether it’s a rec league sports team or trying out a new restaurant, getting together for fun can continue to help build camaraderie and trust in the workplace.
  • be flexible- especially if it makes a difference in a group project. Be willing to go the extra mile on occasion and step out of your norm for the benefit of all.
  • participate- you get paid to do a job, so be sure you’re doing that and more.
  • be committed- if you truly cannot be even remotely interested in the work you do or the place you work, it might be time to find something new. I got to fulfill my dream of being a “lunch lady” in college, and I learned so much just by being open-minded and committed to the work I was doing. I couldn’t believe how passionate those women were about each child that came through the line and each fruit cup served- truly inspiring and heart-warming.
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T- if you want it, have it. simple as that.
  • use your ears AND your voice- be an active listener, meaning that you are just listening rather than thinking about all of the things you want to say. Speak up appropriately and contribute to the idea or conversation.
  • there’s only one trophy- remember that you all succeed or fail as a TEAM. Give credit where credit is due, and stay humble.
  • have their backs- Support is a biggie. And just like respect, it goes both ways.

Now I realize there will likely be aspects of any job that you find a bit more challenging and off-putting… but you can choose to make your way through those things with a positive attitude.

So…is your name on the Workplace Roster?

Writing21

Let It Go without Letting It Go

psst… Did you get the title? I guess I had to be a part of the cool kids and reference the latest craze. Truthfully- I haven’t seen the movie yet. I only heard John T butchered Idina’s name. (And to be fair, I would’ve probably said something similar. Wouldn’t you?)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Mostly about weight loss, self image, and the journey that I’ve been on for a dozen years (WOW- it’s been that long?! I feel old). When I was 16, I tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. I didn’t see a “big person,” and it was honestly confusing to me to hold up my clothes and accept the fact that I not only filled them, but I challenged many of the seams’ thread power.

As I said, those days are long gone. A lot of hard work and much better lifestyle choices have helped me maintain my 100+ pound weight loss. I’d be lying if I told you that it has been easy. I think at some point it did get easier, but I.still.struggle.every.day. If I’m not finding it hard to say no to a pound of peanut M&Ms, I’m daunted with the task of looking in the mirror and not only accepting, but loving my loose skin and remnants of stretch marks.

Did you know that we all have bad days? Mine might look different than yours, but even the most successful people run into challenging moments that sometimes end in defeat.

The age of social media has somewhat muted our ability to accept that it’s OK to be anything less than perfect. There’s a funny picture I recently saw that has a couple happily posing while on a hike; underneath was a picture of them fighting with the title “3 seconds earlier.” Social Media allows us to share our highlight reel with the world… and if you’re anything like me, it also creates an unnecessary perception of pressure to continue “one upping” yourself or those around you.

A few weeks ago, I sat and at a pound of peanut M&Ms. Yes, an ENTIRE POUND. By myself. Just watching tv, relaxing (OK- well maybe it was a combination of stress and emotional eating a little bit, too). Anyway. When my hand hit the bottom of the bag, I was MORTIFIED at what I had done. I couldn’t believe that “I was so weak”…  in my head there were much harsher adjectives I was using in reference to my moment of weakness. Let’s just say- I was not being a nice person, and I went from a moment of pure bliss and enjoyment in the form of sweet and salty crunchiness to complete defeat and horror.

The next day I woke up still mad at myself and began plotting the things I would HAVE to do to make sure that pound of peanut M&Ms didn’t end in a 100 pound weight gain. I would HAVE to spend at least 5 hours at the gym. I would HAVE to eat one meal and nothing else. I would HAVE to not see anyone because they would surely smell the chocolate and peanuts seeping out of my pores…

HOLD UP. STOP THE BUS. 

Do you hear how ridiculous that all sounds? Reflecting back on it, I do! At the time it seemed very rational though. (And for the record- I did my normal time at the gym and ate my normal 2 meals and 14 snacks, and I saw several friends/family members. haha!)

Here’s the thing. Sometimes you’re going to have a moment of weakness. A bad day. A tough decision. And sometimes the best option won’t be the one that you choose to make. But that’s OK. Just as important as it can be to make a good choice, it is equally as important to forgive yourself for being human. As I read in a book the other day,

“Don’t let a Lapse become a Relapse.”

As both an emotional and stress eater, I know all-too-well how easy it is to fall off the tracks. One “bad” bite can lead to a “bad” meal can lead to a “bad” day can lead to a “bad” week… and pretty soon I’ve given up the gym and my 10 heads of lettuce a week.

Now I’m working on a different mindset. For too many years following my weight loss, I had a “good or bad” mentality. Everything was black and white.
Good= lots of exercise, fruits, vegetables, no fat, smaller clothing sizes…
Bad= ice cream, peanut M&Ms, not exercising, a plateau or increase in clothing sizes, marshmallows…

I was missing out on SO.MUCH. and it finally got to the point that I felt deprived and was ready to rebel by eating every “Bad” thing in sight. I’ve since learned to Let it Go once in a while… to enjoy a nice treat. I put in a lot of effort into eating healthy and exercise.  And now I’m working on loving what I see in the mirror. After all, I’ve worked really hard for the body I have for a really long time, and considering what I’ve put it through, it DESERVES love!

Think about your own life. Do you allow yourself to fail lovingly? Are you willing to forgive yourself, learn from the situation, and move on when things don’t happen according to plan?

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