Don’t Compare Your Journey

I think this message is something that is a necessity for everyone to hear and really take to heart. It can be applied to any life situation (job, hobby, family, relationship, social status, fitness, etc.), but in this blog I’m going to focus mainly on fitness journeys.

Don’t compare your journey.

It’s definitely not the easiest, but it’s so important to understand and here’s why:

“Comparison the thief of joy”

It really is. Generally when we compare–no matter what it is we actually compare–we see others at their best and ourselves at our worst. Whether it be bodies, relationship, social status, possessions, money, happiness, life in general, etc. our focus is what someone else has that’s better than us. This steals all joy from the good that might be happening right in our very faces. But even if you compare against someone to make yourself seem or feel “better off” “higher up” “more X” you aren’t truly happy. You’re getting these feelings by tearing someone else down, probably because you don’t want to face your inner demons yourself. True joy should not be about building yourself up by tearing others down; true joy comes from being confident in who you are and what you are doing and still having room to bring others up with you.

I get that it’s hard. Being into fitness and an athlete, comparisons happen all the time. Who has more muscle, who’s in better shape, stronger, faster, more skilled, etc. and while sometimes coaches have to compare players to pick who starts, it’s not fair for us to determine our worth around comparisons. Here’s why. You don’t know what someone has done, been doing, been through or is planning to do to get to where they are and want to be. You don’t know the time, the effort, the resources, etc. that someone had that could be different from your situation–not better or worse, just different. Think about it: you could be comparing your day 30 with someone’s day 300. A month vs. almost a year…I would say there SHOULD be some pretty big differences there.

In the fitness industry, a lot of factors go into your ability, your form, your physique, your training, your strength…even what healthy looks like for you in your life. Maybe they don’t work or work from home and have a ton more hours to spend at the gym, maybe they grew up lifting as an athlete whereas you just found the sport, maybe they’ve chosen to fully dedicate themselves 100% to being strict in workouts and nutrition whereas you want to choose to be more balanced (either way is okay!). Maybe (most likely actually) their genetics are WAY DIFFERENT than yours meaning that how and where they gain muscle/fat as well as how long it takes will be different. Some people have fast metabolisms and lean out easily, but have a hard time to gain any muscle (And vice versa). In any of these situations there is no right or wrong, there is just each person’s unique journey that they are on for themselves–to better their lives each and every day.

The only person who should matter in your journey is you. And because of this, your only comparison should be to your previous self. Compare where you;ve been, where you’re, and where you are going instead of comparing your now to someone else’s now. As I mentioned, your beginning could be someone’s 6 years in and it’s not fair to beat yourself up by this by comparing. Instead compare your beginning, your middle, your craziness in between to where you want to be–and then don’t stop there. Be so focused on improving your own life that you don’t have time to compare it to others’. Because in reality it doesn’t matter what others are doing, how they look or feel; it all matters how you are doing on your own fitness journey. Build others up as they progress through their journey all while remaining confident in yours. This industry has so much support, community, inspiration, etc. if you let it instead of using every platform to tear yourself (or others down) through comparison.

As one final thought, I’ll leave you with this to reflect on.

Nobody else can make the changes you want in your life, so why should you let your progress be defined by what others have done in theirs?

Simple answer, you shouldn’t. Don’t compare your journey, and I promise you, you will find an abundance of joy, happiness, support, progress, and growth through it.

It’s Okay to not Know

I originally wanted this post to be about an update, but I didn’t know where to start. Then, I kept changing what I was doing, having different thoughts and feelings–it was all to chaotic to put into words. But what I realized through this is that I don’t know, and that’s okay! It’s okay not to know. It may be a bit sporadic, but the message will be there and hopefully this blog can help you with anything you’re going through whether or not you can directly relate to me and my situation.

So at first, I was going to mention that I wasn’t gaining much weight so I had been increasing my macros. I’m essentially on a “reverse-diet” so this is appropriate; however, I don’t have a coach–it’s all just me. Yes, it can be frustrating at times because I don’t see a lot of progress from my own eye and I am kind of scrambling around blindfolded trying to see what my body works best with macros wise–and let me tell you, I’m still searching. I’m constantly feeling tired and bloated and just blah even after increasing proteins then decreasing carbs, then increasing fats and carbs, etc. Now, I don’t mean to make this a whole thing a ranting session, so I’ll stop there.

Anyway, I weigh myself when I go home to my parents house (every 1-2 weeks) because I don’t have a scale at my apartment and I found that weight gain had been slow: so I increased my calories to 2600. Another 2 weeks went by and I gained about a pound in those 2 weeks eating on average 2,570. I say average because I’m not perfect. I strive to hit my macros perfectly every day, but it hasn’t been easy for me. I’m never more than 3-5 off from a macro, but sometimes I went a little lower and some days I had “extreme hunger” and continued eating after having all my meals for the day. I’m doing my best and that still caused me to gain a pound which is progress so I decided to increase up to 2700 (2697 to be exact).

Well, that fell apart. I don’t know if it was long time coming or just this week or what, but I felt overwhelmed trying to hit those. Not only because the amount of food, but just stressing to hit my macros and plan since I work full-time. I would spend 15 minutes a day trying to plan out what I was eating the next and massively reconfiguring it all when it didn’t reach my macros. It was obsessive for me and not healthy. I also had been super annoyed with meal prep for the past few weeks too. Now I know no one likes meal prepping, it’s just something you have to do if you want to hit your goals, but I never minded it until recently. I had made so much food progress recently buying bagels, bacon, things not on my grocery list, etc. and trying to have more food freedom so this was hard setback. On top of this, I’ve still been constantly tired, bloated (even when waking up), and having horrible digestive issues. I decided it was time for a change.

That change leads me up to where I am today. 2 days into 2700 calories, I decided to stop tracking and counting and take a much needed break. I’m not saying give up when things are challenging, or don’t push yourself to your goals; I’m saying understand when you reached your limits…or in my case ran right past them. Currently, my training schedule for volleyball isn’t conducive to a true bulk. And while yes I need to keep gaining weight to be healthier, I’m not in the place to see the fruits of eating a lot, stuffing myself even when full, hitting high macros, stressing about it, etc. I’m pretty sure I want to do a true bulk once season is over, but for now I want to feel my best and perform my best, I want to learn to try to listen to my body more and to not track.

I’ve been tracking, weighing, and counting for a while (at least 1 year) and have been researching into it so I know what foods to eat to fuel my body and the right amounts, etc. I know I won’t eat as much as I need to everyday and honestly in the place I am right now, that’s okay. Some days I’ll probably eat more and some days I may eat less; some days I may be ravenous and others I may have to still force myself to eat because I can’t trust my hunger cues yet. Do I know if this is the best decisions for me? No. I don’t know if it’s the perfect solution (or if one exists), I don’t know if I should be tracking or if my hunger cues are okay, when I’ll start tracking again (probably loosely during season) or what I want to do in the future with all this.

This is my point. It’s okay to not know or have a clear picture. Sometimes you need to step break, take a break and just breathe. Take time to figure it out, to experiment and try new ways of living and eating. Living a healthy lifestyle is all about finding what works for you at that moment in your life–this will change as you go through stages and seasons. Instead of stressing about not knowing or making the “right” choice, choose to embrace the journey. Pick a path, try it out, and assess from there. You won’t always know, heck you may never know, but that’s kind of the beauty, isn’t it? As hard as it is, it’s okay to not know. Not knowing allows you the freedom to look around, experiment, and choose what feels best. It allows you to find what you works and what doesn’t. It allows you to realize that not knowing is normal, it’s okay. Embrace the unknown.

Finding Your Identity

This is a topic that has been on my mind the past few weeks from talks with people at work, posts on social media, and my own thoughts/reflections.

Lately between my full-time internship, coaching, workouts, and just personal stuff I’ve been feeling very busy–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I love all the experiences and opportunities that I have. But, this also means that I’ve been caught up in trying to balance it and succeed in all areas at the same time, and this has led to many “failures” in my eyes. Feeling as if I’m not good enough for my job, stressing about eating in recovery yet not putting in the effort to ensure I hit my macros and calories every day so that I gain the healthy weight I need to, not being able to spend enough time as I would like on coaching…all these things and thoughts begin to pile up and overwhelm me. I understand this is all part of life, but when I start to see myself as successful or not by how well I do in all these areas, it becomes a problem. My identity is no longer found in where it should be, but rather in what I do and how well I do it–and that is not or should not be the case at all.

I recently got the chance to speak about this in-depth with someone at work and it was just an amazing conversation to be able to have. She and I are very similar and when she mentioned getting tied up in her work, being a perfectionist, and wanting to accomplish so many things, I instantly related. Feeling upset for the rest of the day if a business meeting went bad or I made a tiny mistake in my work; feeling pressure from myself to go above and beyond and succeed at work; struggling to find what I was passionate about and wanted to do with my future. All of these moments were times I put my identity and worth in the so-called “success” of myself, my work, and my actions. Instead I need to do something that I have both heard and known for a long time, but now I need to really work on connecting to and living my life around it: my identity is found in the Lord.

Whether or not you’re a believer or follower of Christ, I hope that you can find some peace in this message.My identity, who I am, is already set by the creator of the universe; I am to be a child of God, one that he loves so, so much. God doesn’t care if I bombed a work meeting, forgot to do something, know my future plans, failed to focus time on my recovery, etc. because he doesn’t see me as those things. He sees me as a child of God who he has already claimed as his even while knowing my past, present and future. Remembering this allows the pressure to be taken off of me in all these areas because all I can do is my best. Going in, I know that I am going to do my best that I can, but that I won’t be able to accomplish everything–it’s impossible. But with God, all things are possible. I’m not saying he will magically give you the energy and strength to do 30 hours of work in 24 hours, but I am saying that you don’t have to define yourself anymore by what you do or don’t get done, by what you “succeed” or “fail” at. Instead you can find your identity in Christ, and be at peace knowing that is enough. No matter what else you accomplish or don’t accomplish, simply being His is enough. You are enough in him.

When I try and handle everything on my own and take on an internship, side job, workouts, personal development, recovery, social time, etc. all on my own, I get worn out and feel weak at my inability to succeed at everything. But when I already know that my strength and help comes from the Lord and that in him I have peace, rest, and renewal–it isn’t a burden to bear. I don’t let it affect me because I am not defined by any of that. I simply do my best and am satisfied at that because God fills any and all voids or gaps of joy and satisfaction. When you stop letting things of this world define you–how you look, your athletic ability, your relationships or number of friends, money, job, success at work–you can start to see that you were made for so much more for a greater purpose.

I couldn’t balance or handle trying to be super successful at my internship, fully recovered (physically and mentally), the best and strongest athlete I could be, a top coach, a big social media presence, a daughter, friend, etc. No one can and in life there are bound to be moments of failure–even in Christ. But the difference is that I no longer let those moments (or any moments really) define me, who I am, my worth or my purpose because those are already set for me in Christ.

Finding your identity is a huge step of growth and development of who you are as a person and what you do. I am still an intern, a coach, an athlete, an ED soldier, a strong, healthy body, but my identity isn’t in those things, but in God. I am free to be me and live my life because I know that at the end of the day, no matter what I do or what happens, I am a daughter of the one true King. And for me, that is enough. I pray the same for you. Find your identity in the One who has already given you the identity of being loved, worthy, and simply enough–no matter what! Because I promise you, you are all of that and so much more.

Most Girls…

Yes, if you’ve been listening to the radio recently this is the name of song. And yes that is exactly what I am going to be talking about today. Why would you be talking about a song on your blog? Well one, because I can (#sorrynotsorry). But on a more serious note and more importantly, because this song–actually just a few lines of this one song–has so much to offer in terms of a great message!!

“You know some days you feel so good in your own skin
But it’s okay if you wanna change the body that you came in
‘Cause you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen
We’re all just playing a game in a way, trying to win at life”

First, right off the bat, I love that it mentions that some days you feel good in your body because you should! That doesn’t mean that all the time, every day, you will feel great about yourself, but that doesn’t’ mean you shouldn’t always  love yourself right where you are. I’m all for having goals, wanting to change, and working hard to accomplish it–I do that with my body every day. But in the middle of the process, still love yourself, your body, who you are…everything about yourself! Don’t wait until you look a certain way or hit a certain goal to love yourself because you’re  going to constantly be fishing for “what’s next”. Yes there will be days you feel great about yourself; yes it’s okay to want to change or improve your body; but it’s not okay to not love yourself every single minute–no matter whether you’re feeling good in your own skin or not. Because at the end of the day, that’s you and that’s what you have and it’s a waste not to embrace every bit of it.

As I mentioned before and the song says in the second line above, it’s okay to want to change the body that you came in. I think society almost shames people now if they want to change their body composition through lifting or working out calling us “superficial”, “selfish”, “conceited”,”ED issues” etc. Yes there are times when people want to change their bodies because of mental health issues–I used to be there. But now I seriously work so hard to change my body because I love it; I want to be the best I can be and I love feeling my body push and seeing the results of my dedication, my discipline, and my hard work. And if you do want to change your body, make sure it is because you want to and not for anyone else–do it for you! Personally, I want to be strong as hell, build muscle and have it show. Some people want to lose weight, some people want to get skinnier, some want to stay right where they are–whatever it is do it out of love for your body, your life, and most importantly, your health.

Lastly, the line “you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen” is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. So much is said in one short line. First, notice how it says you look greatest when you feel NOT you feel greatest when you look. This is because your feelings should not be based on how you look. Granted I do believe that when you fuel yourself right and take care of your health and fitness you will be in better shape and feel better in general…but that does not mean that you based your feelings based on how you think your body looks (or how it does). I’ve been there, I was at a good, healthy weight, I was above that and I was way below that too and no matter what I still didn’t feel good because I didn’t think I looked good. That mentality is so messed up! As mentioned before, whether or not you like how you look or think you look how you should/want or not, love yourself while working towards those goals! Because I promise you, when you feel good about yourself, are confident, love yourself and are proud to own who you are–that’s when you are going to shine, to radiate, and to look your best–no matter how your body physically lines up.

Overall from this song and this post, I hope you understand that it’s okay to not always feel the best about yourself–there are good days and bad days for everyone. But when you truly embrace where you are in your journey, and who you are now and what you are working towards, you are going to have a much more positive outlook on life, yourself and everything you do. When you start to love yourself through the process and find a healthy lifestyle that you love to live, you will start going about life feeling like the damn queen that you are.