Success Stories

Tattoos

I have five tattoos. I love them. They all mean something to me and they all tell a story of that time in my life. The first one I got when I was 18–like a week legal! I was young, a little stupid and didn’t do my research. It’s a small ankh on my right ankle. The work isn’t great and someday I need to get it redone. The second one is a labrys on my left arm, symbolizing strength, independence and feminism.

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The third is an Egyptian goddess, symbolizing rebirth, fertility and femininity.

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The fourth is the Eye of Horus, an Egyptian symbol for protection. This one is pretty special to me–I got it in London (Notting Hill!) and my cousin Anna has an identical one on her ankle, too.

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Lastly, my favorite tattoo, is on my back. It’s a purple lotus flower with a symbol above it. Not only is the work gorgeous, but it also has happy memories for me, too. I got the tattoo on my trip to San Francisco with my cousin Anna. We stopped at a parlor on Haight –I wish I could remember where now! The last tattoo I got when I was 22 years old and I haven’t gotten another one since.

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I think part of the reason I have tattoos has to do with where I grew up. The Pacific Northwest is very “crunchy”. I grew up surrounded by people who had tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks, crazy hair, pretty much every stereotype you can imagine about Seattle and Portland. That was the norm.

But giving it some genuine thought and analyzing the “why,” I think there is another reason for my tattoos. I think that when I gained my weight and I was really unhappy with my body, I wanted to do something to make it be beautiful in my eyes. I didn’t like my body, I couldn’t lose weight, I felt self-conscious and unhappy. Adorning myself with art work of my choosing seemed to change that.

I’ve changed a lot since I lost 110 pounds. I learned to love my body (most of the time). Becoming a fit, healthy, active person not only changed my body for the better, but it changed my brain, too. I started to look at my body in a positive way because I was able to do things I could never do before. Having the ability to swim two miles without stopping to rest was mind blowing to me! I was so proud of my accomplishments!

The weight training program I’ve been doing has been transforming my body even more and it’s given me the self-confidence I was lacking. I LOVE seeing definition in my arms and recognizing my own strength. And of course, working on getting awesome muscles just make my tattoos look even better. 🙂

Do I regret the tattoos now that I’ve changed? Not at all. I think it was the self-expression I needed to do at a certain time in my life. I’m sure I will get more someday, and definitely clean up the ones I have now when they are faded. I look back at that time in my life and instead of thinking about how I disliked my body, I remember the story that each tattoo tells. London, San Francisco, feminism, strength, whatever it represented then, it still represents now.

New Year’s Resolutions To Skip

New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year! New Year’s Resolutions. A fresh start. A time to plan the new year and make goals. If you’re new to the blog, check out these two posts:

21 Days to a New Life

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Here are some common New Year’s Resolutions and better alternatives:

The Fast/Juice Cleanse

I see “detox diets” all over the blog world, magazines and social media in January. I know several people that do this every January. If it works for them, kudos. Of course the people I know doing the detox cleanses are already pretty fit. I understand the desire to detox after the holiday bingeing! But it’s not always safe.

First, it’s not healthy to suddenly stop eating for a period of time. It can mess up metabolism and cause more issues than it fixes. Second, it would be quite a shock to go from eating 3000+ calories a day to 500. I envision nausea, headaches, stomachaches, and a whole mess of other issues. It’s a fad diet and fad diets aren’t long-term solutions.

My suggestion is to analyze your current diet and make small changes to improve your diet. Find ways to eat more fruits and vegetables. Skip dessert for awhile. Stop drinking beer. There are a million HEALTHIER ways to “detox” and start eating a healthier diet. Read this post I wrote on Why All or Nothing Doesn’t Work For Me. Moderation is better than strict denial.

“I’m going to lose weight!”

This is probably the #1 New Year’s Resolution and for good reason. Obesity rates are increasing to astronomical numbers year after year. Losing weight is a noble goal and a healthy goal. Losing 100 pounds prevented me from developing diabetes (I was pre-diabetic), lowered my blood pressure to a normal number, and fixed the joint and back pain I had from carrying around too much weight. These are all good things!

The reason I say don’t make this your goal, is because it’s not specific. My suggestion for anyone wanting to lose weight is to make a goal, break it down into baby-steps and make sure they are ATTAINABLE. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you even start.

A better goal would be “I will try and lose 5 pounds each month this year.” Or “I will try and lose 1 pound a week in January.” When I decided to lose 100 pounds, I made a smaller goal first. 100 pounds was a huge number in my head and overwhelmed me. Instead, I set out to lose 25 pounds. When I reached that goal, I changed it to 50 and so on. Taking it in smaller chunks helped me to be successful!

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“I’m going to the gym every day!”

Again, a noble goal but unrealistic. I don’t even go to the gym every day! Rest days are an important part of fitness and too many people skip this part. It leads to plateaus, over-use injuries, burnout and failure. Instead, start small.

I’ve seen it over and over again. Friends on social media posting that their goal is to go to the gym every day! And I see it. People flood my gym in droves. It’s crowded, it’s unpleasant, it’s annoying for the regular gym-goers (especially if the newbies don’t follow gym rules and etiquette) but it doesn’t usually last. Each week that ticks by, the resolutioners start to disappear. Why? Maybe because they set unrealistic goals for themselves.

So start small. Make a goal to do some kind of physical activity 3 days a week to start. On your “non-gym” days, include a walk. It’s not going to get you to your goal if you burn yourself out right from the start. Not only that, not easing in to a workout routine can cause injury. You know what happens if you do 40 squats in one session after not doing any? Yeah, you’ll be crippled. Hello hamstrings! I’ve done it myself! So now you’re crippled and in pain, resenting the gym and hating to workout–which makes it easier to just quit. Don’t set yourself up for failure!

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Finally, here are some past posts that I’ve written regarding weight loss, new year’s resolutions and being successful in your goals. Check them out:

For Those Ready For a Change

How to Start Losing Weight Now

I Hate Going to the Gym

Don’t Wait!

How Are Your Goals?

7 Secrets to Making This Year the Best Year Ever

Choosing the Right Gym

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

I hope this post has helped some readers. If you’re feeling that spark of inspiration because it’s a new year and a new start, harness that feeling and funnel it into a specific, attainable goal. You can do this!!