Easy to be heavy, hard to be light

“It is easy to be heavy, hard to be light.” – G.K. Chesterton

I recently heard this quote, and absolutely cannot get it out of my head.

Why does it ring so true?  Why do I feel like this is so applicable to my life and my behavior?  Why do I find it so much less effortful to automatically react negatively to situations?  Do other people feel this way as well?  Do most people?

A few days ago, my boyfriend went to Publix (an amazing grocery store chain, for those of you not from the southeastern United States) to get some sandwiches for us for lunch.  In my typical persnickety, particular fashion, I had my boyfriend write out exactly what I wanted on my sandwich, expecting that he would read my instructions verbatim to the sandwich maker.

A six inch ultimate sandwich, with pepperjack cheese, on whole wheat bread, toasted.  Plus lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, green peppers, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Simple, right?  Not at all demanding?

I stayed home with the baby while he went, but was already hungry, and really looking forward to my sandwich.  It felt like he took forever to return.  I was practically waiting at the window with the baby, watching for his car to pull into the driveway.

When he got back, he took out the two sandwiches, and I eagerly began to unwrap my half.  Before I could even get the paper off I noticed a familiar yellow tinge bleeding through the white paper and my heart sank.  I hate mustard on my sandwiches.  My boyfriend noticed my unease and remarked disdainfully, “Yeah, I think she might have put mustard on one side.”

I was angry.

I was angry at the sandwich lady for what I assumed to be an inability to follow instructions. (Yes, probably very unfair).

But even more so, I was angry at my boyfriend.  He must not have been paying attention when the lady was making the sandwich.  He should have checked it for correctness before he paid.  Doesn’t he KNOW that I don’t like mustard on my sandwiches?

I was pouting like a child.  I withdrew into myself and tried to scrape the mustard off the bread, but my efforts were fruitless.  The mustard had already soaked itself into the very fibers of the bun as mustard tends to do.  I ripped the bread to pieces trying to remove the mustard, and ended up just toasting two slices of bread we had at home and putting the filling of my sandwich inside.

Of course during all this time, it was painfully obvious that my mood was soured.  Over a sandwich.  I was barely talking to my boyfriend as I indignantly ate my Frankenstein sandwich.  Granted, even with switching out the bread, the sandwich was still delicious.  It was just easier to be angry and place blame than it was to simply let it go.

It was easier to be heavy, than to be light.

My natural instinct was to be bitter about the sandwich, rather than to be grateful that my boyfriend had used his time (and money) to go get us lunch on a weekday – something that we normally never do.  I finished the sandwich, which I had actually enjoyed very much, and gave my boyfriend a hug.  I swallowed my stupid little pity party and decided to be light about the situation.  I apologized for my behavior and thanked him for going to get the sandwiches for us.  He wasn’t upset and the atmosphere of heaviness that had been in the air for the last 15 minutes or so cleared out completely.  The atmosphere of heaviness that I had created.

I feel like we encounter so many moments each day, where things do not go exactly as we expect.  In these moments we have a choice to make.  It is easy to be heavy and let irritation or disappoint spoil your mood (and probably those of anyone around you).  But I promise, you will be much happier if you take the little bit of extra effort and try to find the positivity in the situation.

 

 

A Shift in Perspective

Isn’t it amazing what excuses we tell ourselves when we fail to make time for things we have committed to, or even the things we enjoy doing?

Like this blog, for instance. I love to write. Like really love it. And I love the idea of taking time for myself to write here every day – or even just a few times a week. This is something that I have committed myself to doing time and again, recommitting every few months with a renewed vigor. “This time for sure! This time I will make my list of post ideas and work on one to publish every 2-3 days. This time I’m really going to do it!”

Then without fail I enthusiastically throw myself into the creation of one grand post. I publish it. I feel amazing and creatively fulfilled and can’t wait to begin work on the next one.

And then a day passes.

And then another. And another.

My list of blog post ideas goes untouched as the excuses start to dim the rosy glow of creativity and satisfaction that had enveloped me following my previous post.

“I have to run errands today.”

“I don’t really feel like writing.”

“I don’t have any good ideas today.”

“This post isn’t perfect.”

“No body will care to read that.”

“My baby is taking too much of my time today.” (This is, in fact, a somewhat valid excuse I think. My almost 5 month old is still quite needy and dependent on me, as most 5 month old babies tend to be. I am writing this right now at 9pm after he has fallen asleep in my arms).

But I think the biggest limitation I put on myself was my initial intent of making this a health/nutrition/fitness-y type of blog. I find myself struggling to come up with new and original post ideas that fit within these categories (when there is already SO MUCH out there), and have not even allowed myself to consider writing about other subjects.

But what if I didn’t just have to write about these things?

What if I were just to write?

I started this blog at a time when I was trying to transition from a teaching career to one in the fitness industry. I cared so much about getting stronger and having abs and counting my macros and having a popular Instagram.

But then I got pregnant. And eventually had my little baby boy. And my entire perspective on the universe changed so drastically that things that used to seem really important to me, all of a sudden diminished in their importance.

Don’t get me wrong, I still work out every day and lift heavy things. But my goals have shifted dramatically. I just want to lose the last little bit of my baby weight and stay active and healthy – not because I want to look like a fitness model, but because exercise makes me feel good, physically and emotionally.

I still love to cook because I am passionate about the process of cooking. It is one of my favorite ways to relax. But I don’t care about creating “macro-friendly” recipes that will somehow become Instagram famous and be shared around the internet. I just enjoy eating deliciously healthy food and sharing it with my family.

I don’t put time or effort into my Instagram because I don’t care how many followers I have anymore. The time I spend playing with my little guy and experiencing all his giggles and wonder at the big wide world is much more valuable. These are passing moments that are much better experienced with a fully present heart and mind, not moments to be constantly recording and uploading for others to ogle at.

This baby, little Noah, has changed my life and put so much into perspective. I find myself milking every last drop of joy out of each moment of the day. I have never felt so engaged and satisfied with my life.

Rather than letting him be an excuse for not writing, I’m going to use him, and the beautiful moments we spend together, as inspiration for writing.

And not just him (even though he is like, 96.3% of my life right now). But I am going to write about whatever I want. Fitness, books, food, me, gratitude, quotes. Whatever comes to mind, inspires creation, and contributes to my happiness.

Isn’t that what having a blog is all about?

YOU GOAL GIRL!


So much to look forward to in the coming year.

Since it’s the last day of 2018, I’d like to take a quick intermission from my pregnancy series to talk about goal-setting and some goals I have for the upcoming year. I don’t really like to use the term “resolution” – that word conjures up images of grand schemes that fizzle out after the first couple weeks of January. To me GOALS is a more long term way of looking at New Years Resolutions. You can make and stick to goals at any time of the year, not just beginning on January 1st.


Goal-Setting 101

I’m not sure where I first heard about it, but I think the simplest guideline to setting goals is to make sure they are SMART. I mean obviously you don’t want to set dumb goals *eyeroll*. But if you just say your goal is “to lose weight”, for instance… how would you even know when or if that goal has been met? So make your goals…

  1. Specific – write down your goal using specific language rather than ambiguous terms. What do you want to accomplish, where and why? “I want to lose 15 pounds” is much more specific than lose weight. Also, what specific steps can be taken to attain that goal? “I will go to the gym 4 days a week” or “I will not eat desserts 6 out of 7 days of the week.” Those are both very specific steps that can be taken to help you achieve your goal of losing 15 pounds.
  2. Measurable – make the goal something that you can actually objectively track the progress of. You can’t track an ambiguously phrased “lose weight”, but you can step on a scale each day to measure how much of the 15 pounds you’ve lost. Seeing the progress in real time will actually do wonders for your momentum and motivation.
  3. Attainable – YES, even goals are confined to the laws of physics. I know, I know, we all wish we could just have one million dollars by tomorrow, but this is not a realistic or attainable desire. It is attainable to make a goal to “save up $5000 in 6 months” or something like that. It is attainable to “lose 15 pounds by next Christmas”. Make sure the goal is actually something that you can achieve and not just a wild fantasy you have, otherwise nothing but frustration will ensue.
  4. Relevant – I guess this means a goal you set should be something that’s worthwhile to you while also in line with your other goals. Your goals should complement each other and help push you to be exactly who you want to be.
  5. Time-bound – I think this might be the most important of them all. Exactly by WHEN do you plan to meet your goal? “I want to lose 15 pounds.” By tomorrow? As if. Set a time limit. “I want to lose 15 pounds by June 30, 2019.” Thats about a 6 month time frame. Not only would this be perfectly feasible, but the sense of urgency that a time limit sets will allow you to stay focused and motivated.

I want to mention one more goal-setting guideline that is not included in this model but I think is absolutely CRUCIAL. WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN ON PAPER. Put them in a place where you will see them and be reminded of them daily. Each day ask yourself, “What have I done today to bring myself closer to my goals?” Every day you should do at least one thing, no matter how small, that will propel you forward. Going back to the theoretical weight loss goal, maybe the one thing you did was make the choice to not eat the donuts your coworkers brought to work. AND THAT’S A HARD CHOICE, TRUST ME, I KNOW. But every day you have the chance to make little choices that add up to big changes. If you just have your goals floating around in your head, it will be harder to take real-life steps toward them. Writing them down makes them tangible.


My Goals for 2019

So what are MY goals for 2019?? I may have a couple…

Maybe that last goal isn’t quite measurable or specific, but that one may be the most important to me of them all. I am going to be a mom. It is still crazy to me but each day I will do whatever I can to make sure that little baby feels loved and safe.

Each of these is important to me for different reasons, but they are all intended to help me be the happiest, healthiest, and most successful I can be. Some of these goals are stepping stones to even longer term goals (education, career, etc.). I have been especially overwhelmed lately with the concept of getting a graduate degree, especially with the unexpected little bundle of joy that will be here before I know it. My goals have had to shift a lot from what they would have been were I not now growing my little family.

But that’s okay. That’s just life. Life is unexpected and will always throw curveballs your way. What’s important is the ability to remain flexible and adapt and grow with those changes. Maybe 2018 didn’t end for you exactly as you would have planned, but you’re about to have 365 brand new, shiny and fresh chances to make the most of each day, to grow and to learn and to appreciate all of the blessings that life gives you. You are breathing and you are alive and this coming year is going to be SPECTACULAR. ✭

The Gummy Bear Files

About 3 months ago I wrote a post about my negative experiences with obsessively tracking macros, how it affected my relationship with food, and my subsequent gradual weight gain. To this day I still have not tracked any of the food I’ve eaten and followed a much more intuitive pattern of eating, but there is a very good reason for this. It turns out my expanding belly, exhaustion, and moody disposition was due to more than just nutritional inconsistency. On September 1, I found out I am expecting my first baby.

7 weeks → 12 weeks → 20 weeks

From Bawling to Blessing

I’ll be honest – my first reaction was tears, lots of them. We were NOT trying to have a baby, and in fact I didn’t even think it would be possible (or easy) for me to get pregnant [more on this later]. I’m going to be blunt here, since early July my boobs had been KILLING ME. They were tender and swollen and I just assumed I was “about to” get my period – for 5 weeks in a row.

My only other symptom was exhaustion. I became less and less motivated to push myself in crossfit as it subsequently became harder to lift big weights and catch my breath in intense endurance-heavy workouts. I continued to push myself and figured I was just kind of in a rut, a rut related to my recent food cravings and what I saw as “bad” eating habits. If I could just completely cut out carbs or completely cut out sugar somehow my performance would rebound.

One day I got out of the shower and my boyfriend looked at me and exclaimed (again, very bluntly), “Babe, your tits are HUGE! That’s not normal maybe you should show your mom.” So we went in the kitchen, I flashed my mother and her immediate reaction: “Claire I think you’re pregnant.”

No way. I didn’t believe it so decided to take a test that night. It was immediately and obviously positive. But maybe that one was just a fluke??? Nope. Next morning I took another one, it was ALSO positive! When I took the first test I started bawling. I couldn’t contain my tears, the emotions were so overwhelming. I have never been pregnant before and didn’t even know how to react. What about my body?!? How will I support the baby financially?! AM I EVEN READY TO GROW AND RAISE A WHOLE HUMAN BEING?!!!!

My boyfriend walked in, looked at the test, broke out in the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and said, “WHY ARE YOU CRYING?! WE’RE GOING TO BE PARENTS!” He was so happy it melted my heart.

After we finally made it to the doctor I found out I was already 9 weeks along *gasp*. The baby literally looked like a tiny gummy bear:

Tell me that is not the most gummy bear looking little guy you’ve ever seen.

I won’t lie, I mourned the loss of my abs and waistline. I stressed about having sugar cravings and being hungry all the time and feeling like I was eating way too much. I was horrified that my size 0 pants were beginning to not fit. Even though I was overjoyed (I’ve always wanted to be a mom) it took me a good month to accept that there’s a life growing inside me and that right now IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. It is okay to gain weight right now. I will have the opportunity to get fit again. It will be fun, like a project that I am starting anew. I worked so hard over the last 3 years for my health and fitness.

I have not stopped lifting weights and crossfitting throughout my pregnancy. I have had to make a lot of modifications and I am definitely not as strong or “toned” as I used to be. But I have been blessed beyond belief. I am grateful to have the opportunity to experience what it is like to bring a little person into this world, to give all of myself to another human being.

The Adventure Begins…

My life will NEVER be the same, but this will literally be the most amazing adventure we have ever embarked on. I know my baby daddy will be the most incredible father ever, and he has already been so supportive and helpful in every aspect. I’m 27 years old. I always envisioned that I would have a baby WHEN I was a certain age, WHEN I had a certain job, WHEN I had x amount of money saved up. If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that life never goes like that. Life just happens and then you figure it out. You just have to be present and enjoy each moment as it comes, rather than stressing about all the “what if’s”.

I’m totally new at this but I think I’d like to share some of my pregnancy experiences with you guys. If you all are interested, in the coming days I will be sharing about:

  • Lifestyle and PCOS
  • Pregnancy nutrition and dealing with sugar cravings
  • Working out when pregnant
  • Dealing with grief during pregnancy

The last bullet point is especially close to my heart. If my thoughts can inspire or help even one person I will be happy. If no one even reads this and I simply have an outlet to organize my thoughts and work through the emotional rollercoaster of life, I will be equally as happy.

The last thing I’ll leave you with is a picture of some teeny tiny feet. Because these teeny tiny feet are inside of me and I still cannot wrap my mind around what a miracle this is.

Spring Cleaning

simplify.jpg

My life is about to change.  A LOT.  I’ve been in Miami for 5 years and my boyfriend has been in Miami almost his whole life.  We have both been itching to get out and experience living in a different (read: cheaper!!) city.  When we are ready to buy a house there is NO WAY Miami would be an option.  I am from Dallas and recently found out my grandmother’s health is not in great condition, so we saw this as a perfect opportunity to not only move over there to spend time with family, but as a stepping stone to save money for our future house.  All of this has happened rather quickly, and the moving process is well underway.

But this is not the point of this post.  As I have been packing up my apartment, I have been reflecting on just how much STUFF I have.  Clothes, shoes, and jewelry that I never wear.  Hair products and makeup that I never use.  Kitchen tools that I don’t need.  Books I bought six years ago and never “got around” to reading.  This list of utterly useless junk that I haven’t touched in over a year (or in some cases years) is endless.  It is simply not necessary for me to move halfway across the country with all of these material things that are not of use to me.  What’s more, what if they would be USEFUL to someone else? Someone in need who hasn’t been as fortunate as me to be able to mindlessly buy a pair of high heels from Target??? High heels which were worn NOT EVEN ONCE.

All at once the realization hit me that all of these things aren’t just creating clutter in my physical space, but in my mental space as well.  Having more clothes just means more laundry which means more stress.  Unnecessary clutter barrages our mind with stimuli and makes relaxation more difficult.  I’ve been at work the last few days and just trying to mentally sort through all of the crap I have to literally sort through has been causing me anxiety.

I have spent years collecting things, following the misconception that more stuff equals more happiness.  But this is just NOT TRUE.  It is not the new dress or the new pair of earrings that will make you happy.  The memories you create whilst wearing those items will do more for your life satisfaction than the dress or earrings ever will.

The more I box up things to give to those in need, the lighter and more mentally clear I feel.  I don’t need all these things.  Getting rid of these things is allowing those that are truly important to rise to the surface.  I’m not saying you have to literally throw away all your clothes, but if you  haven’t worn something at least 2 or 3 times throughout the last year, I promise you can live without it.  I challenge you to undergo a round of spring cleaning, revisit your closet, your kitchen, your life.  Eliminate those things which are not essential and make room for things that matter more.  Make more room for new clothes, new friends, new experiences.

Get rid of the unnecessary and “It is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.”