Body image and self love

It feels like I’ve always had body image issues. Looking back, I can’t seem to remember a moment where I loved the way I looked. I would try my best to be content with my body, but I would always find something I’d like to change.

When I was a baby, I didn’t have a neck. My uncle called me Jabba the Hut since I was all baby fat. I didn’t ever crawl, because I was way too happy being immobile. Once I started walking, I lost the baby fat and thinned out. In high school, I was pretty active and stayed relatively thin but still felt chubby. I didn’t see myself as sexy and focused way too much on my extra-small boobs.

Freshman year in college I’d skip meals because I felt chubby. The other three years of college, I gained about 25 to 30 pounds that I instantly hated and tried to combat best I could. My boyfriend encouraged me by working out with me, but at the end of the day I felt fat and didn’t know what exercises to do other than run and some strength machines. Through the years, I’ve gone up and down in my weight. I started my fitness journey 7 years ago when I weighed in at my heaviest. I still hated my body, but decided to finally do something about it. So I joined a local Kung Fu school and started practicing traditional martial arts.

Even over the last 7 years, I still felt chubby and fat. In the beginning, my diet was crap as I was trying to workout 3-4 times a week. About a year into my fitness journey was when I decided to watch a few food documentaries. These altered my world and my diet. I was vegan for almost two years, and that was when I noticed the real change occurring in my body. I finally liked my body weight, and almost liked how I looked. My endurance was increasing but I felt like I needed more of a challenge. So I started running in addition to the martial arts training.

When I started running, I mostly hated it. But my friend Sarah kept me accountable and we ran many races together over the years. Even as a runner and martial artist, I still struggled with my body image. Especially after I fell off the vegan wagon and started to be more open with my diet. And, you know, got married and comfortable. When I turned 30 only a year and a half ago, I felt embarrassed when looking at photos of myself. That chubby tummy and love handles were too much! I knew I needed more strength training and a better diet, but kinda let myself go. It was when my ex left that I reassessed everything in my life, but chose to focus on self love and body image.

I turned to fitness and working out to help me get through one of the hardest situations in my life. I upped the frequency and intensity of working out. I made a conscious decision to focus on my health and everything else would work itself out. I felt called to run the Chicago marathon last year, and I chose to focus more on strength training both while running and after the race. Even after running the marathon, I still felt chubby. But I sat down and created a fitness goal for myself in order to help me work towards the body I want rather than the one I had.

And guess what? I didn’t reach my goal. My goal was to get to 18% body fat by last week. I’m currently hovering just above 19% body fat, but I started at 25% four months ago. Despite not meeting my goal, I can finally say I love my body. Just the way it is. I know I’m still a work in progress, and I still have fitness goals I’m working on. But I realized it isn’t about the numbers. It’s not about how much I weigh nor how much body fat I have (as long as I’m not obese). It’s about how I look and feel. Hard work pays off, but most of the work I’ve needed has been mental. 90% mental, 10% physical.



Breaking the habit


I don’t know about you, but for me it’s hard to break a habit once I’ve incorporated it into my daily routine. Some habits are good, like brushing your teeth or working out. But some habits are bad, like eating an entire box of cookies in one sitting. I’m not here to talk about good or bad habits, rather I’m going to focus on comfortable habits.

We are creatures of habit. We are predictable. We enjoy routine, and don’t like disruption. Sometimes, we start doing something because we enjoy it. For example, I started practicing Kung Fu in 2011 because I enjoyed the exercise, the learning experience, and the community. I saw many benefits outpouring from the training, and decided to make it a habit. Even when I was scraping by financially, I still made it a priority and found the means to continue paying for the classes.

This was a good habit that I incorporated into my life to make it better. But sometimes I’ve incorporated a bad habit just because it makes me feel better. Or I add something to my routine because at first it seems great, but over time I start making excuses when it’s really not so great.

I’ve found myself in this sort of cycle when it comes to dating and relationships. I tend to be attracted to the same type of guy: a little arrogant, a little smart, very good looking, self-absorbed, and fake(?) nice. Every time I start having feelings for someone like this, I see past the bad qualities and only see the good stuff, the surface things. But over time, the truth shows it’s ugly head. And my problem is that I start making excuses for them. In my head they aren’t perfect, but they’re also not terrible. In reality, they’re just not the right person for me. But for some reason, I can’t let go.

Is it the fact that by this time I’ve spent time, money and energy on them? Or maybe because it feels comfortable. They’re always around, and I enjoy their company. Or am I just used to their company and can’t remember how it was before? Then I feel trapped. How can I break this habit? This cycle of self-destruction, of dating the wrong guy. The list of wrong guys I’ve dated seems endless, and all at once it feels like I’m staring down into an empty bottle. Where are the good guys? Better yet, where’s the right guy for me? Does he even exist?

So I challenged myself for this year: I’m breaking this cycle I’ve allowed myself to fall into. Moving forward, I will be honest with every guy I meet. If after talking once or twice they don’t meet my standards (deal-breakers), then I will be very clear in regards to my intentions and how I see them. This is something I thought I was capable of doing last year, but I lost my way. I let my guard down, and I let the wrong person in. No regrets, because life is all about learning and growing. And I’m learning and growing everyday.


Suicide Prevention and the Holidays

With the holiday season comes an increase of sadness and depression. Some blame it on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to the decreased daylight, whereas other cases can be traced back to lonely or drama-included holidays. Speaking from experience, I can see where the holidays can be sad for someone since I lost my mom right before Christmas of 2015. I want to focus on suicide prevention and ways to lift your spirits despite the gloomy circumstances surrounding you.

Suicide Prevention: tips and tricks

  • Move! Stay active. I know it’s hard during these colder months, but staying active will increase your feel-good hormones. It may be too cold to exercise outside, but there are some great gym membership deals going on right now that you can jump on.
  • Eat better! Instead of grabbing processed and fatty foods, go for foods rich in protein, fiber, and/or good fats. I.e. eggs, avocados, oatmeal, etc. These foods will also help you stay full for longer and won’t tire you out.
  • Start or re-vamp a hobby! Whether you like to read books, watch movies, or play the guitar, pick up an old or new hobby to focus on. People who do what they enjoy find more joy in their daily lives.
  • Be social! Join a meet up group or a local running club. Whatever it is you like to do, there’s likely a group of people to do it with. Doing something you enjoy with others is a great way to make new friends.
  • Choose yourself. Love yourself. You are amazing and you are worth it.

If you find yourself considering suicide or suffering from depression, don’t hesitate to call 1-800-273-8255

Check out this website HERE for more resources and information. Let’s get the conversation going and let it continue on everywhere.


Merry Christmas!

Yes, I’m a few days late. But better late than never..

Merry Christmas!

merry christmasI hope you all had an amazing Christmas Eve and Day! I filled my two days off of work with friends, family, and of course a great workout. Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year, so I spent the morning at church with my extended church family. Afterwards, I hit the gym bringing my A game and my Santa hat. I got to spend some quality time with Nathen Mixon at one of my favorite LA Fitness locations in the South Loop of Chicago. It was nice to get away from the office for a day and get some different views while lifting.

After a good sweat sesh, we headed over to my dad’s house for some quality Christmas Eve dinner. Thus begun the holiday eating binge. We ended the night with some Beauty and the Beast (original Disney version) and It’s a Wonderful Life (classic Christmas movie).

merry christmasThe next day was Christmas, and since the gym was closed I got my workout in by carrying a heavy load of laundry over to my dad’s house (I asked first). I got there early to help him prepare for the Christmas Day feast. About 14 people or so showed up, many cousins, aunts and uncles. A few came in from out of town, so it was great to see everyone.

Nathen even remembered almost everyone’s name afterwards, and I learned some new tricks to remembering names since I meet about 30 to 50 new people everyday at my new job. After eating way too much food, we headed out to see the new Jumanji movie which was awesome! Overall, I had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family and friends. I hope you also had a great holiday surrounded by friends and family. Or perhaps just a relaxing one.

What did you do for Christmas? Any family traditions?


Late night thoughts

I have a theory. Or maybe a few of them. All relating to people and their behaviors. This is probably one of the latest blog posts I’ve ever done, but I wanted to write this week and didn’t have time until now.

scale-403585_1920There’s an article I read recently about this amazing couple that lost all this weight together. Like nearly 400 pounds between the two of them over the last two years. I can’t even make this up, it’s like two completely different couples. This story got me thinking about relationships and how they can literally build you up and push you forward, or knock you down and hold you back. This is an extreme case of the former. It’s like together they pushed each other to be healthier and to take back their lives.

Ideal relationships

This is the ideal relationship. We all want someone who will love us no matter what, but will also push us to be better than who we were yesterday. Settling is for dirt; people are meant to grow and evolve throughout their entire life. If we end up settling, we may miss an opportunity because we may not even get to that level to open that door. In my previous relationship, I thought I was with someone who was supportive no matter what. It wasn’t until I wanted to go back to school did I realize that he was holding me back from my goals and dreams.

Unhealthy relationships

Then you have the relationships that knock you down. “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” (The Room). You know, the ones where your partner tells you you’re fat or you’re boring. And somehow, despite all the weight you lose, you’re never good enough. In a way, they can push you to do better, but you’re only trying to do better because the person who’s supposed to be on your team is tearing you down. And you want to prove them wrong. Pretty sure this is unbelievably unhealthy. And if you’re in this type of relationship, the one where your significant other is extremely selfish, please do yourself a favor and leave it. You can do so much better.

Are you in a healthy, ideal relationship? Is your guy or gal willing to support you and push you forward all while loving you no matter what?


Pursuing my dreams

What does it look like to pursue your dreams? There’s a saying that if you find your dream job, you’ll never work another day in your life.

My many hats

Through the past several years, I’ve worked in many different fields. When I started out fresh out of college, I wanted to work in the veterinary field for the rest of my life. So, naturally, I started out as a Veterinary Technician (nurse). Through the years, and Grad school, I determined the Veterinary field wasn’t right for me. I also worked a little in Information Technology, where I thrived but wasn’t passionate about my role there.

I thought I broke through the mundane when after I received my Master’s degree, I got a Technical Support role at a laboratory supply company. It mixed my skills of IT with science, and I got to talk to customers. I love talking to people, something I found through the veterinary roles I had. Then the company management started micro-managing me, despite me being one of the top employees in my department. They pushed me away and into sales since they gave me sales goals with no incentives. And I entered IT sales, because it made sense. Yes, I knew it wasn’t my passion, but I thought there would be a bigger chance to make more money.

That brings me to now..

After a year and a half in IT sales, I wasn’t making nearly as much as I thought I would. The company I was working for actually lied about the role of the job and instead of it leading to a sales account manager position, it was more of a glorified admin role. And if you know me, you know I’m not one to just sit back and do nothing. I’ve been there, done that. And no way did I get a Master’s degree to be someone’s assistant.

So I decided to take a risk. After months of job applications and a handful of interviews, I received zero job offers. I was getting this itch to get out of my current role and into something that would help push me towards my dream job. Not to mention, I wanted to get away from my old life as much as I could and my career was the last string to be cut. So when LA Fitness called me, I agreed to interview with them. The words manager in training were said and I was instantly interested. After the interview, I knew I had a shoe in but that my life would be changing completely.

My passion in fitness

pursuing my dreamsThis is only my first week and I’m still in training and learning all that I can. So far, I’m loving it. It feels like I belong in the world of fitness. Technically, I’m still in sales. But now I’m selling personal training rather than laptops and servers. I’m helping people work towards and obtain their health and fitness goals. And this makes me happy. I know that I’m taking a huge risk. My income is based on how much I sell, and I have bills to pay. But for some reason, this feels right. And I believe that if you don’t push yourself and put yourself out there, you’ll never know your full potential.

Also, you can’t know success until you know failure. So if I fail, I will know what doesn’t work. But I like the saying do or do not, there is no try. I’m beyond trying and now I’m doing. I’m following my passions and dreams. And I know this will help me grow in the fitness field and gain the experience and knowledge needed to be a leader in the fitness field.

What’s your passion? Are you working your dream job?

Come see me at LA Fitness in Oak Brook if you’re looking to start or change your fitness journey!


World AIDS Day

AIDS_ribbon-08-1024x1024Today is World AIDS Day which always falls on the first day of December every year. It is a day where people worldwide unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the HIV virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, over 35 million people have died from HIV or AIDS. This is one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Thankfully, there have been scientific advancements in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect the people living with HIV, and we understand much more about the condition these days. Despite this, people continue to be diagnosed with HIV, people don’t know the facts on how to protect themselves and others, and there are still stigmas and discrimination in regards to the people living with the virus.

World AIDS Day is important because it reminds us that HIV has not gone away. There’s still a vital need to raise money and increase awareness surrounding the virus.

What can you do?

Show solidarity with people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon. You can also donate towards HIV treatment research and education. Or, if you need a fun coffee pick-me-up you can go to Starbucks and they’ll donate 25 cents if you order one of the following drinks:  Peppermint Mocha, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte or Eggnog Latte. So go get your holiday drink and sparkle on!


What not to say after the first Hello

This past weekend I was out and about much more than I normally am since I had a few extra days off and no marathon to train for. Also, the weather could not be more perfect. I took advantage and explored many areas of the city. I got to see many lights on trees, sip some hot cider at Christkindlmarket, and I even visited my old stompin’ grounds Holiday Club to dance the night away to 80’s hits. While out and about, I also got to meet a few new friendly faces. One in particular struck me as extra-odd and has inspired me to write a little bit about what not to say when you first meet someone.

I’m talking we literally just met, face to face, for the first time. He introduces himself, I already forgot his name, and he starts telling me about what he does and asks me the same. Everything’s fine and dandy, I love talking about what I studied in school or what jobs I have. And I enjoy learning about other people as well; I enjoy networking and growing my social circle. Oh that’s a cool job, I say. I hear that’s a great company to work for.

Then he drops the bomb

The songs didn’t stop playing, the dancing continued on around us, but I took a double look at this guy. What did you just say? You’ve never kissed anyone before? You’re a virgin? How old are you? And why are you telling me this? Of all things, to a perfect stranger.

But then again maybe it’s how he weeds people out. Perhaps there will be one person out of a hundred or a few hundred who’d be like “OH me too!” Okay, maybe more like one out of a few thousand. I know because I’ve been in his shoes. Or close. I was a virgin for a long time (many years), and I also was waiting for marriage (yes, that’s what he told me). But I don’t think I walked around at a bar telling people that. It’s just not a topic that comes to mind when I first meet someone. I’m thinking that’s something that shouldn’t be addressed until you establish and both agree on dating exclusively. Not sure if he thought there was a chance of dating or not, but whatever chance there was burned up once he told me that.

And me, being the ultra-honest female I am, gave him some pointers and feedback afterwards. I told him in the future to keep the facts of his sex life private upon first meeting someone. No one needs to know your entire life story after saying hi at a bar or in a social setting. Not sure he appreciated the feedback, but I told him I was trying to help him out. For the next time he meets a beautiful woman. 😉

You’re welcome!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard upon meeting someone new? I know this doesn’t just go one-way, and that it can be applied to men and women alike.


Princess warriors

Last Friday was an amazing night! It was Sheer One Night event at Free Church. Over a hundred women gathered to mingle, eat, and grow together. Pastor Urshanna was needed elsewhere, so Pastor Katrina spoke in her place. And she brought down the house!

Katrina opened the night with this visual from Ephesians 3:1-8: Paul became a servant of the gospel by the gift of God’s grace given to him through the working of his power. Although Paul was less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given to him: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ. What does this mean? Even the least of us, even the worst of the worst, are given God’s grace when we follow Him.


When you need comfort, Jesus wraps His arms around you. Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)


If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) If you’re not disciplined then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. (Hebrews 12:8)


I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8)


We stay connected to the bride…

  • On Sunday Mornings: Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)
  • In small groups: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  • Through serving: You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13)

We discover Jesus as our constant savior

We need rescue from…


He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. (Psalm 18:16-19) We are princesses of God but we are not damsels in distress!




For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:18-19

We have a great capacity for mistakes.

Some additional passages that are great to read:

Philippians 4:8
1 Peter 3:3-4
Proverbs 31:25-26
Psalm 100:5


Porn and how it destroys lives

What you do think of when you hear the word porn?

girl-in-white-dress-2571411_1920Don’t be shy, we’ve all seen it one way or another. And even if we don’t actively watch it, we’re aware of what it is. Do you call it art? Visual stimulation? A movie? Whatever it is to you, I’m going to talk about how it destroys people’s lives today. Yes, this may seem harsh, but it destroyed mine and I’m here to tell you how.

I was married to a person who I thought only had eyes for me. That is, until I found out he watched porn regularly. I didn’t find out because he told me or I caught him. No, that would’ve been too easy. And, to be honest, the idea of him watching porn didn’t bother me until it destroyed our relationship and the life we were trying to build together.

I watched the way he saw our sexual relationship transform from reality to fantasy over time. It wasn’t like I woke up one day and he had completely different sexual expectations, but gradually he kept bringing up the same oddball requests. As any normal human being would do, I would consider fulfilling his desires, and even try best I could, but I kept falling short. I just wasn’t into what it was he was looking for.

The problem wasn’t so much that I couldn’t deliver what it was my husband wanted, instead it was that what he wanted wasn’t realistic. Instead, it was what the magical world of pornography portrays as sex. And I’m here to tell you, porn is not sex. Porn is fantasy. Porn creates an unrealistic expectation of sex. And it destroys lives.

I also had sexual desires that weren’t always fulfilled by my husband. I would tell him certain things that I would like him to do, things he had done once before but stopped doing once we were married. And while I found myself frustrated, I never sought the answer anywhere else. I just utilized the tools at my disposal (i.e. myself) and made do with what my husband was willing to partake in.

face-848537_1920I tried my best to keep things interesting in the bedroom, in hopes that we could keep our passions alive. But over time, this felt very one-sided. And it became increasingly common for him to become frustrated with me and my inability to fulfill his unrealistic expectations. I started despising the porn, and started praying for change.

And change happened. God answered my prayers in the form of my husband seeking the answers to his desires in other people. At the time, all I could see was my life, our life, being completely destroyed though. This marriage we tried to build together came crumbling down. All thanks to pornography and the belief that what is meant to be fake was mistakenly taken as real. God freed me from this world of distortion that I was trapped in. And every day I thank Him for it.

How do you see porn? Do you think it affects people as much as I do?