Health & Fitness,Lifestyle

A Healthy Life Starts With A Healthy Mind

In my deep quest to find myself— or rather, to lose myself— I’ve tried pretty much everything under the sun. The first diet I ever went on was the cabbage soup diet when I was in the 8th grade.

You mean, the one that is only meant for extremely overweight people who are in need of dropping quick pounds before a medical procedure? Yep, that’s the one!

At the tender age of 13, I was already so appalled by the way I looked, that I spent 7 days eating a soup that made my stomach churn, in hopes that I would love myself at the end of it.
Instead, I felt like Bruce Bogtrotter in “Matilda”, when Miss Trunchbull forces him to eat an entire chocolate cake in front of the student body— ashamed, engorged, defeated, motivated, triumphant, proud, full. Fucking full of nonsense. And cabbage. A freckle faced, pale skinned, baby teenager with a head full of nonsense and stomach full of cabbage. I think I lost like 8 pounds that week, but it didn’t make me happy and to this day, cabbage in soup form makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

I continued to struggle with the number on the scale and the person in the mirror for the rest of forever. Once I had my first child, however, I began to genuinely give a shit about what I put in my body and how I treated it. So I started eating right and doing P90X after I saw a friend’s results.

I ended up being one of those lucky bitches who was able to shed all of her baby weight, plus an additional 10 lbs., 5 months postpartum.

I signed up to be a Beachbody coach after that, convinced that I knew the secret to success, and began drinking shakeology as well and promoting all of the goodness that was my remarkable transformation. And really, it felt remarkable. I was helping people and keeping myself motivated in the process.

I was in the best shape of my life, but then I decided to get pregnant again. It was planned, yet still daunting. What if I became that girl again? The one who hated herself enough to eat nothing but something that made her feel physically sick for 7 days, just so she could feel beautiful.

I was determined not to become her again. But life, and pizza, had other plans for me.

I worked out through almost my entire pregnancy, went on a sugar free cleanse, and ate clean about 70/30, but it didn’t matter. I still gained a whopping 40 lbs. just like I did in my previous pregnancy where I lived off of brownies and lasagna.

In the midst of that, we lost our son’s Godfather before he could even meet his godson— and this would become the backboard for my postpartum depression to bounce right off of.

I had sweet little B, and immediately wanted my body back. I couldn’t wait to get back into working out and eating clean even more strictly. But life with two proved to be much more difficult than I anticipated, and I couldn’t manage to get all of the weight off.

Months past, and then a year, and still my body clung to those last ten pounds like a child to their daddy’s leg before he leaves for work in the morning— begging to stay with me.

I tried a fitness challenge through my stroller strides group, clean eating, paleo, whole30, low carb, ketogenic, Kayla Istines BBG guide, Christina Carlyle’s Total Transformation Challenge, P90X3, Leanhigh (which is basically just starving yourself for three days straight), Core De Force, and Isagenix.

Each regime started with the same intensity, and fizzled out with the same extinguished spark within a month.

It wasn’t until now, that I realized why.

My mindset after a few weeks would always fall back into the same patterns:

“I have no time to meal prep.”
“I don’t want to deprive myself for the rest of my life.”
“I need ice cream and pizza to get through my period.”
“I can’t worry my life away about what I eat.”

What these excuses really meant were:

“I would rather sit on the couch and watch football than chop up veggies on a Sunday.”

“I need an excuse to cheat right now. Here it is.”

“Blaming my hormones allows me to avoid taking responsibility for my actions.”

“YOLO is a cop out for being too lazy to go for what I want.”

Damn.

Talk about a wake up call.

I realized just how destructive I have been to my own success as I was listening to Jen Secerno’s audiobook “You Are A Badass” on an Isagenix cleanse day. A cleanse day, is where you give your body a reset to rid itself of toxin build up, and well, it kind of sucks.

But I was already three weeks into the program, making this my third cleanse, and I KNEW that the day after my cleanse I always feel incredible. Still, I was hating life on this cleanse day. I began thinking of ways to get out of it. And that’s when something just clicked.

Here’s the thing— you’ll never achieve the things you want to, until you’re ready to allow yourself to. I have spent the last year and a half, refusing to allow myself to be successful.

Why would someone do that? Right? I know, it sounds crazy.

But the truth is, I didn’t believe I was worthy of that success. Physically, professionally, spiritually— I had road blocked my mind so intensely with these invisible “do not cross” signs blocking my way to my goals, and I didn’t even realize it.

So on that day, I decided it was time to fight. To ninja kick those invisible road blocks down and to ignore the warning signs my own subconscious had placed saying that I shouldn’t enter, because I wasn’t worthy. I told myself that I was freaking Aladdin and turned my diamond in the rough heart around that day.

As fate would have it, I had signed up for the Spartan Sprint a few months back, and was feeling horribly unprepared for the whole ordeal right around this time. But once I had my come to Jesus, I made a conscious decision not to doubt myself anymore. I WAS going to finish that race. And I was going to love it.

I repeated the following affirmation the entire 1:52 min I spent on that course last weekend:

I am strong. I am fit. I am able.

ON REPEAT.

I know, know with my whole heart, that this mantra (paired with some excellent team members who had my back at every obstacle) was the key contributor to my success that day.

In the last quarter mile of the race I got a crippling calf cramp that should have ended it for me. I’m notorious for calf cramps and derek has actually had to carry me to the car and take me to the hospital before because they get so bad. So when I felt it, with that finish line in sight, I had a moment of my old excuses pop into my heads

I can’t do this.

My leg cramp is too intense. There is no way I will be able to pull that last bag or climb that giant wall.

But then I shushed the voices, and got right with the universe. I sent out a prayer.

God, help me finish this.

And as I limped my way to the next obstacle (that requires you to either pull a heavy ass sandbag all the way to the top of a giant rope and then back down or do 30 burpees) a girl randomly approached me and asked me if I wanted to do it together with her.

Thanks, God!

That gave me momentum.

I picked up the pace as I climbed over some muddy dirt piles and walked through pools of water. I swam underneath the wall of murky water and made my way to the last obstacle before the infamous fire jump: the rope climb wall.

The guys ushered me to go ahead of them, and I almost did— but something told me to have one of them go first, and so I did.

Next was my turn, and I felt a strength come over me. I climbed and climbed and made it to the top. As I went to swing my leg over the side of the wall, the leg cramp hit again— hard. If I hadn’t sent my friend up before me, he wouldn’t have been there to catch my leg and swing it over for me, and I would have fallen face first.

I am strong. I am fit. I am able.

I limped down the wall and found that I couldn’t walk on my right leg.

The guys wanted to carry me the rest of the way, but I was hell bent on getting my fire picture.

I came all this way! I’m getting my damn fire picture! I’m finishing this damn thing.

Sheer adrenaline took me over those flames, and I limped my way to the finish line feeling so damn strong, so damn fit, so damn able.

The moral of the story is this:

Nothing will work for you, until you work for you.

It wasn’t until I was ready to take a good hard look at myself and WHY I was making the choices that I was, that I was able to do something about it.

Currently, I’m a rebel.

I drink a various array of protein shakes. I do Beachbody home workout DVDs, and the Christina Carlyle bikini guide workouts, and BBG. I also eat pizza and drink wine.

Basically, I do whatever the hell makes me feel good and alive.

And it has been the best transformation of my life.

Sure, I’ve also lost 10 lbs and 20 inches all over in 30 days, but what I have gained mentally and spiritually is so much bigger than all of that combined. I’m no longer bound to my small mind that tries to keep me in that sad little box of “I cant’s”. I’m also no longer bound to the 40 oz. of coffee I was guzzling a day (Not kidding).

So get out there and do what makes your body and mind feel good.

And it all started with me be willing to say “yes” a million times, until I found the right “yes” for me.

If you think your yes could be Beachbody, let me know— because I have a ton of awesome coach friends that would be so pumped to help you. If you think your “yes” could be a personal trainer/nutritionist, then go for it! Whatever your yes is, you owe it to yourself to go out there and find it. 

Get your mind right, and your body will follow. And if you ever, ever need someone to bounce ideas or fears or crippling subconscious beliefs off of, I’m here for you. Because I’ve been there, and I’m still on my journey— so we can walk it together.

You are strong. You are fit. You are able.

And in the words of Spartans, AROO!

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Krysten
    February 2, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    I had an eating disorder for more years than I honestly want to admit. I was in recovery when I had my son, but afterwards I started to slide back into the eating disorder to feel ‘beautiful.’
    Luckily, I started to improve my thoughts and started doing yoga and practicing positive affirmation to really help.
    I haven’t read ‘You are a Badass,’ yet, but I have it and am planning to read it soon.
    Good job on the Spartan!

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 3, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Krysten. I’ve struggled with body dysmorphia since middle school, so I know how loud those voices can be that try and tell you that you’re not good enough, thin enough, etc. etc. etc. It’s really encouraging to hear that you’ve found a way out of that with yoga and positive affirmations.

  • Reply
    Amy
    February 2, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Love the mantra. Good for you!!!!! Nothing like crossing a finish line to make you feel amazing.

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 3, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Thank you, Amy! It felt absolutely amazing!

  • Reply
    Girl @ girlintherapy.com
    February 3, 2017 at 9:30 am

    “You are strong. You are fit. You are able.” What awesome affirmations!

    Congrats on your achievements and transformation. We are all a work in progress. And nothing beats seeing another woman champion this.

    On the same note, I am learning to love myself more this year (as part of my mental health recovery journey), because I’m prone to self-sabotaging behaviours. I see this message in your blog post too 🙂

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 3, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Oh, yes. It has been a heavy theme of my heart for many years without even realizing it. This year has already been a HUGE eye opener. Glad to hear you’re on your love journey too. It’s nice to be on it with other people!

  • Reply
    Amber Starr
    February 3, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    This was so awesome to read and I needed it right now! I just signed up for Tough Mudder and totally am not feeling ready for it (it’s still a long while away) and beginning to doubt if I can do it! This was the inspiration I needed!

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 3, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      You can totally do it! That’s so awesome, Amber. I can’t wait to see you rock it. And I’m here for whatever encouragement you may need!

  • Reply
    Tina @AMindfulFairytale
    February 4, 2017 at 2:08 am

    This is awesome! Words are so powerful! Congrats on finding what works for you and most importantly finding happy!

    • Reply
      Andi
      February 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Thank you, Tina!

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