Not Your Body…

Why is it that we as a society feel the need to comment on a woman (or man’s) body type? Better yet, what do we think it will accomplish?

Now, I’m not talking about the positive comments. I’m down for sharing all the good vibes and positivity! You want to tell a girl she looks beautiful, DO IT. You want to compliments someone’s outfit, YOU BETTER! BUT….what I’m referring to is the NEGATIVE and UNWANTED opinions on someone’s body type or appearance. And if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I don’t EVER let these comments slide without addressing them in some way… EXAMPLE A

In what realm of this world is it acceptable to share YOUR negative opinion about someone else’s appearance, lifestyle, etc.?

Before I started bodybuilding, I had this crazy fear that I would start to look bulky or manly if I so much as lifted a dumbbellBut why did I feel this way? It took me a while to figure it out…SOCIETY’S INFLUENCE OF OPINION.

Now we all know (unless you’re just extremely unaware) that as a woman, gaining muscle is fairly difficult and takes quite a bit of time. Unless of course you are using PED’s (performance enhancing drugs). I definitely don’t knock those who do use them, but I do have a issue with those who use them and then claim NOT TO. Different rant for a different day… I digress. Simply lifting weights for 4 weeks, 6 months or even a year won’t have you looking “jacked” unless of course you are a) using what was stated above or b) beyond genetically gifted. Regardless, muscle gain for women is a difficult task and does not come easy. But any woman I’ve come into contact with who has ever turned their nose up at the thought of weight lifting, has often stated that “lifting weights will make you look bulky”.

I’m sorry Tina, but can we revisit the days of Lauren Berryhill at 200 plus pounds….(see below) Now THAT, is BULKY

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When I let go of that preconceived notion and started falling in love with lifting weights, I found a passion I never knew I had. I found a way to challenge myself in a physical and mental way. I discovered a way to change my body composition that allowed me to feel confident in the body I’m in. It took so much education, learning and discipline to make sure I practice proper form as well as ensure my training coincides with my goals. And after all of this hard work… all of this dedication….Almost two years into my fitness journey, I went from this…..

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To this…..

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OH SO BULKY RIGHT????

To this day, I still get comments from “concerned” individuals that I am looking too manly. I’m losing my feminine curves. I’m looking boxy and bulky. All of these comments from random strangers who for some odd reason find that it is acceptable to share their unwanted opinion on MY body.

WHHYYYYYY????

The BIGGER problem I have with this issue is the mental affect it will have of the person receiving the criticism. For those who are into fitness or are on a fitness journey, most are looking to transform their body. And 99% of them most likely suffer from body dysmorphia. They most likely already see issues with their body image therefore they are on said journey to try and achieve a different look. So when a random person critiques another on their body image, the impact that comment has can trigger something so much deeper than you can image. I’ve personally had such comments send me into an emotional binge eating spiral. That is NOT okay.

The point of this blog post is to bring awareness to your words and how you use them to describe someone else. The point of this blog is to share the insight of someone who receives daily unwanted opinions on her body from strangers. Having and growing a social media platform has taught me SO much and has brought me quite a bit of joy. To be able to share my story and inspire others is so empowering. But what I’ve also had to develop is a thick skin to those who share their nasty and rude unwanted opinions on my body, my appearance and my motive. The confidence I have in myself, who I am and what I stand for has grown to be something I never thought it could, but it was forced. If you don’t have that confidence within yourself, those people on social media will eat you alive…I can promise you that.

The absolutely beautiful thing about the world we live in is that there is so much diversity. So many different people who look different, talk different, have different hobbies/view/likes/dislikes…you name it! Diversity makes this world such an interesting place! Without it, imagine how boring life would be.

So the next time you think to comment on someones appearance, their lifestyle, their body….remember what your mama taught you….

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

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No Rain, No Flowers…

You’ve heard the sayings I’m sure. No Rain, No Flowers. No Grit, No Pearl. No Struggle, No Success. No climb, No Mountain Top. Whatever analogy you fancy the most, they all mean the same thing.

Nothing positive comes without experiencing something negative.

This remains true in almost every aspect of life. But why?

Failure is the key to growth

When we fail at something in life be it a job, a friendship, a marriage, a sport, a hobby or what have you. When we set out to accomplish something but FAIL, don’t we almost ALWAYS come out on the other side learning a valuable lesson or two hidden beneath the surface? I know for certain that I do! Maybe you see it a little differently though. Maybe you’re only seeing a negative situation for face value. Maybe you focus on the disappointments SO intensely that it masks the real value of the situation. Hear me out…

Most of the people in my life know me as a go-getter. They know that if I set my mind to something, I WILL find a way to make it happen. I won’t settle. I refuse to accept defeat. My dad is this way as well. This trait I can attribute to him, though sometimes can get me in trouble. (I’ve been referred to has hard headed a time or two) … <insert cheesy grin emoji>. But for people like us, when we decide we want to achieve something, we take no prisoners. We accomplish what we set out to do. We put our heads down and make shit happen…..until life stiff arms us mid way and says NOPE. Ouch….

One of the few moments in my life that this has happened to me is actually happening right now. I say FEW and mean it in the most humble way possible because as I’ve stated before, I’m a go-getter. I don’t typically take no for an answer. But when the thing telling you no is the vessel you live your daily life in (aka YOUR BODY), you have no choice but to accept it’s answer.

My body. My poor, neglected, unloved body. I hated it for so long. I critiqued it each and every morning. I spoke so negatively to it for years and years and years. It wasn’t until I started my weight loss journey, changed my lifestyle to Keto and rediscovered my love for weight lifting that I developing a self love practice. It was hard. I mean the hardest thing ever. Learning to love a body you hated for so long is probably one of the most trying, uncomfortable tasks. But I’ve been actively doing it for the past 2 1/2 years.  I’ve never felt better about myself! Sure there were days I didn’t feel optimal or as confident.. But I can honestly say I was secure in my appearance, I was happy with my body and I was in love with the process of watching my body change… was.

It wasn’t until very recently that I experienced a loss of that secureness in myself.

I am someone who loves to have a goal. I feel lost without a goal to strive for and a plan in place. So when I finished my “bulking” phase (in the body building world this means a muscle building season), I set out to accomplish the ultimate goal- Prep for a body building show.

Why did I want to do this? Why did I want to put myself through such a extreme experience. There are various reasons….I don’t feel compelled to list them all here BUT I will say this : hindsight is 20/20. Looking back at WHY I wanted to do this and my fears for being hesitant to do it in the first place are the VERY reason why I paused. I say paused because I am not giving up on my goal; at all. Remember what I said earlier? About how I’m a go-getter and I get what I want? I WILL step on stage one day. I WILL compete one day. I WILL accomplish the goal I set for myself. But for now, I must wait.

Wait... A word no one ever wants to hear.

I started out so strong. Doesn’t everyone when they decided to start something new?     22 weeks of prepping was the goal and I was committed. Changes took place quickly. I lost 12 pounds in the first 6 weeks! I was on a roll…and then my progress started stalling. My body wasn’t changing much anymore. I was getting frustrated. So I enlisted some help. The help of a fellow keto coach who was more versed in this realm than I. With his help, my body started making progress again but sadly, not for long. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t this easier? I was doing everything right….everything I was told. I wasn’t progressing quickly enough and I was STRESSED. Key word right there. Oh the Stress.

You see, the level of selfishness that is required when prepping is something most would frown upon. You literally can’t do ANYTHING. No eating out. No straying from your macros. No missed training sessions. No extra cream in your coffee and I “just won’t count it today”. EVERYTHING matters.

Every. Single. Thing.

So on top of the stress of the actual prep, I also still had my daily stressors. Being a mom, a wife, a coach, a business owner, a social media influencer, a friend, a daughter, a sister ….. LIFE basically. The stressors of just my daily life piled on top of this extreme goal I set for myself was causing my body to literally shut down. It wouldn’t respond. It COULDN’T. It was in survival mode. And ON TOP of the non existent physical changes, my MENTAL health was rapidly declining. When I finally realized this…when my coach finally had the talk with me about just what exactly this was doing to me mentally…that’s when I finally woke up.

I was experiencing binge eating urges I’d long left behind. Instead of speaking kindly to myself (a practice I developed along this entire journey to self love), I was picking my appearance apart in the mirror. Grabbing “fat” and feeling “gross”. Telling myself I’d never be lean enough or have enough muscle in certain places…I’d never be ENOUGH. I was on a downward, dark spiral to a past version of myself I swore I’d never EVER be again. I was losing myself….

So I paused…

You see, any level of failure is what allows us to grow. Do I see this experience as a “failure” for myself? Actually, not at all. I haven’t given up on the end goal. I’ve simply paused the process to regain my focus. To remember who I am and what I stand for. To bring myself out of the darkness I was slipping into so quickly…

This whole experience has allowed me to grow in a whole new way. It has brought me so much clarity to different aspects of my life and myself. I am forever grateful for my struggles, fore they all have made me who I am today.

Without the grit, there would be no pearl. Without the climb, there’d be no view. Without the rain, there would be no flowers. So take the time to understand this simple fact:

There is NOTHING in the world that blooms all year long. Though we would love to stay on top of our A game year round, we simply can’t. But you shouldn’t want to…when you’re wilted is when the growth really occurs. So enjoy the rain for now…Some day soon you’ll BLOOM.

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Along The Way…

I’ve stated previously that there are few and far between who truly know me on a personal level. Aside from some very close family, my husband and a friend or two I still keep in contact with from my younger years, there are only a handful of people who have witnessed some of my darker moments.

This probably comes as something hard to believe for a girl who shares half naked before and after photos all over social media, right?

That thought has crossed my mind a time or two as well. To be honest, it baffles me somedays. How on earth I am able to share some of the most VULNERABLE moments of my life (i.e. weight loss photos, deepest thoughts, hardest mental battles, my eating disorder struggles) with strangers on the internet but somehow keep such a small circle of “friends”. Honestly, I feel like sharing my story and struggles with the world is easier because I know someone out there is struggling with what I have been through or am going through. It makes the thought of being so transparent more bearable when I can believe that someone may benefit from hearing what I share. Meaning, if just ONE person gets inspired, is motivated or finds what little ole Lauren Berryhill has to say helpful in any way, then it is all worth it.

You know, thinking back on my high school, middle school and even elementary school days, I never recall being one of those people who felt like a big group of friends was what I needed. I most often gravitated to the “only having one best friend” mentality. I valued pouring myself into one person. I enjoyed being able to confide in a single individual and trust that they would keep what I shared between us. That’s what true friendship looks like, right? … I gathered early on after a few failed “best” friendships that maybe this wasn’t the best approach to socialization. Maybe I shouldn’t confine myself to just ONE friend. Putting all my eggs into one basket, as some would say.  I learned some hard lessons when it came to having this preference on friendships; about myself and others. But the few times I attempted to be “apart of the crowd”, it felt wrong. I always felt like the relationships weren’t as valuable. As if it was just about the “looks” of having a big group of friends instead of focusing on the connections I was making (which was little to nothing). After a while, I came to the realization that no matter how hard I tried to force myself to be apart of the crowd, I was simply just a different bird.

Unpacking all of these thoughts is crucial for you as the reader to understand where I’m coming from as I further explain why I’ve found it is so important to love yourself along the way … of ANY journey. After years of dealing with self hate and body dysmorphic disorder, I NOW realize that the issues I faced early on with friendship (and pretty much through all of my young adulthood) was something truly internal that I was simply unable to recognize prior to my weight loss journey. Let me explain…

For years, I struggled silently with body dysmorphia or better known as body dysmorphic disorder as well as self hate. It intensified the older I got but started at a very early age. I get asked often why I felt such pressure to look a certain way at such a young age and my response is always the same.

The media. I blame the media.

Commercials constantly flashing photos of super skinny, rail thin females as their models or cast as actresses. The singers of my day were Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Mandy Moore (am I making you feel old? … oops). But in all seriousness, the older I got, the more sexualized these females became. Their skimpy clothes were designed to show as much skin as possible. The images of them and how they looked made me constantly critique myself and my appearance and wonder why I wasn’t small enough. Thin enough. Skinny enough. Why my hair wasn’t pretty enough. Why my skin wasn’t clear enough. Why I wasn’t ENOUGH…

It wasn’t until I started my weight loss journey, healing my eating disorder, working on my body image issues and developing a TRUE self care practice that I realized something that was evident all along: I’ve always been enough. ALL ALONG THE WAY, I was capable of loving who I was because I am something no one can say they are. I AM ME.

Now… One could look at me negatively for sharing “half naked” photos of myself on the internet and say that I am fueling the very problem that formed my self hate issues. You are entitled to your own opinion but let me be clear, I feel very differently. I will never feel the need to explain to ANYONE why I share the things that I do, because those who it impacts, understand why. Those that my posts resonate with, see it clearly. Justification for me sharing inspirational transformation photos will never been needed but for fun, let me enlighten you. My reasoning for sharing the most vulnerable photos of myself isn’t for pride. It isn’t for compliments. And it most certainly isn’t because I want to make anyone feel bad about themselves.

It’s about transparency. It’s about being seen as a REAL person. It’s about sharing the not so glamorous side of a 100+ lbs weight loss journey whether it be showing my stretch marks or loose skin that resides. It’s about spreading AWARENESS to women, girls, teens like me who have struggled their entire lives OR who are just beginning to struggle with body image issues. It’s about TALKING ABOUT IT. Getting comfortable sharing about a topic that for some reason, society feels like we should stay silent about. It’s about showing other people that they CAN achieve their goals if they stick to them. It’s SO much more than just a “half naked” picture.

All of these things…all of these reasons….It all comes down to one thing that I want each and every person who see’s my photos, videos, posts, etc to implement RIGHT NOW before they go another day hating their body:  LOVE YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY. 

You are a force. You are strong. You are YOU. And no one can take that away. If you are in a place where you are unhappy with your body, your job, your life. Whatever it may be…The process of growth and of change is MUCH simpler if you love yourself and who you are along the way.

The Dreaded Scale…

If there is one thing I think every woman (and more men than will admit) get the most frustrated with while on a diet or while watching what they eat, it’s that dreaded scale.

Picture this: You work SO hard all week. You count every single calorie, every single macro, every single gram of food that enters your mouth. You weigh out the heavy cream that goes into your coffee and the nuts you pack for your mid day snack. You chug that gallon of water daily while also running to the bathroom every twenty minutes. This  often leaves you pondering, “how on earth does it take an hour to drink 12 ounces of water but it runs right through you?”  You make an effort to get to the gym after a long day of work to exercise when you’d MUCH rather go straight home, slip into your pj’s and binge watch something like Grey’s Anatomy while you mindlessly scroll Instagram.

And then it comes…. Weigh in day. 

Now, envision that moment. Think about that very moment you look down at the number on the scale. You’ve done it before and you know it all too well.  You have a small flicker of hope as you shift your eyes from the ceiling to the floor and you re-think all of the GOOD things you did the past few days. SURELY you’ll see a new low weigh in, right?

You close your eyes, inhale deeply and shift your focus to the floor. Within an INSTANT your mood (good or bad) is completely determined by what the number blinking back at you reads.

That stupid, mood controlling, day ruining NUMBER. 

Let’s run through the possible scenarios, shall we?

YOU LOSE WEIGHT. Whoohooo!!! When the scale does down, you most likely feel a sense of accomplishment, as you should. You’re hard work the past week seems to have paid off. Your dedication seems to have rewarded you. I agree, it is very gratifying seeing weight loss happen after you put in the effort! I will shamelessly be the first to admit, I am one of those people who does a little happy dance when I realize I’ve lost a pound or two! 🙋🏻

YOU MAINTAIN YOUR WEIGHT. Okay…Not terrible. BUT, not what you wanted to see. Your mind wanders to all the things you could have done differently. Did you weigh out absolutely EVERYTHING and was it accurate? Was that piece of chicken you ordered at the restaurant that you input into MyFitnessPal REALLY 4 ounces? Was it REALLY wise of you to have skipped that cardio session after work and head out for a drink with your coworker instead. Hmmm…. 

YOU GAIN WEIGHT. I can hear you now. AWW HELL NAW. Okay, maybe that’s me I hear coming through with that southern twang again. Oops. But regardless of your choice of words, you INSTANTLY feel some type of way. Usually the feelings that you may experience are as follows: frustration, disappointment, anxiety, sadness, annoyance and sometimes, just down right PISSED OFF.

The moment you see your result, this is the moment MOST people decide how their day will play out. More so, how their mood and actions will be determined for the day. If you see a loss, you’re more likely to keep that good momentum going and stick to plan. If you maintain, it could go either way. Meaning you get annoyed and you slip up a bit OR you begrudgingly keep on trucking. If you see a gain, you get frustrated. You want to give up and sadly, most people do when that is their result. They throw in the towel, not realizing that this sets them back even FARTHER. If you’re anything like me, this result may even trigger you to binge.

I can say I have felt ALL of the emotions listed above. I can also say that I have done all of these things as well. Because of this, I felt compelled to write this very blog in hopes that maybe, just maybe someone WON’T throw in the towel.

I posted the photo below on Instagram and felt like it fit for not only this blog post BUT for what I’ve been dealing with lately as well.

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I’m no different than the next person when it comes to allowing the scale to control my emotions and mood for the day. I don’t claim to ever be fully healed of my obsession with the scale. Though my relationship with it has improved, even after losing 100+ pounds, I still feel anxiety every single time I step on it.

The past few weeks of dieting while on my prep, I’ve gotten so frustrated with that number. I’ve been the same exact weight OR I have seen my weight fluctuate UP for a solid two months. Talk about frustrating! All my hard work. All my consistency. All my effort seemingly POINTLESS if the scale the only way I measure progress. But thankfully it’s NOT the ONLY way I track my progress.

You see, the scale is a TOOL. And when you start to recognize that it just ONE measure of progress and not the SOLE way to measure success, things get a (little) easier. There is SO much to take into account when you weigh yourself. Weight is naturally going to fluctuate for various reasons. Just to name a few… How is your water intake? How is your electrolyte balance? Is your calorie intake too high (better yet, could it be too low?) Did you eat late at night? How is your stress levels? How is your sleep quality? If you’re a woman, where are you in your cycle? HAVE YOU POOPED RECENTLY? In all seriousness, if you haven’t had a bowel movement in a few days, OF COURSE your weight will increase.

These are all questions I ask my clients frequently when they report back to me with their weigh ins and feel discouraged. MOST of the time, there is an explanation for an increase in a person’s weight. In addition to these questions, I also remind them that they have to pay attention to how their clothes are fitting, how their measurements are looking and how they are feeling. It’s crucial to understand that there is SO MUCH MORE that goes into weight loss and more importantly FAT LOSS than just what the scales reads.

Moral of the story?

I’m not saying ditch the scale all together contrary to the “SCREW THE SCALE” activists you see on social media. I’ve said that phrase a time or two before BUT  I don’t believe in not utilizing it for what it truly is: A MEASUREMENT. A TOOL. It is still a valuable tool to use when on a weight loss journey. It’s a tool that should be used carefully and one that absolutlety should NOT impact your mood, your thoughts, your feelings or how you view yourself.

There is no easy way to break the emotional connection with the scale but it takes work. Daily, weekly, monthly. However often you weigh, remind yourself that the scale does not define you. That number blinking up at you from below your feet is just that…a number.

YOU are worth much more than a number. Believe that.

Working From Home & It’s Woes

Working from home seems so glorious to some. Okay, okay, to MOST. That of course, is usually the thought process to those who currently don’t work from home or never have. <insert outrageous number of gasps from the ever so offended society we live in> Oops.

Before you close the tab and unsubscribe (for me merely sharing my personal experience) hear me out on this ….

There are only a select few in this large world who KNOW me and know me well…

(small circle, less drama. ya feel me?)

….But those who DON’T know me well get a glimpse of my life through my social media platforms. They see my day to day InstaStory. They see my motivational/inspirational posts. They see my “perfect” little family, my “well behaved” son and my weekly (sometimes daily) trips to various coffee shops. They see the “freedom” that I have being a work from home mom (excuse me while I LAUGH OUT LOUD) whether it be getting groceries at 11 am on a Wednesday morning or going to the gym at a later than usual time on a Tuesday… Or simply just chilling on my couch in my PJ’s at 2p.m on a Friday working from my computer doing my weekly client meal plans. These things that you see in my stories, my posts…that’s what we call a HIGHLIGHT REEL. Read that again…

You see…As transparent and real as I aim to be on my social media outlets, I find that even I sometimes will document just the HIGHLIGHTS of my day. I mean, those are the parts of life we want others to actually see, right? The good moments? The easy going days. The “LIFE” so people say I have. I get it….Seeing someone’s highlight reel can trigger quite a few emotions. Jealousy…resentment…frustration…envy…just to name a few.

Because of this (the tendency to display only a highlight reel), others feel bitter towards someone like me. And yes, I speak from experience. I’ve lost many a friends for this very reason. And that’s okay… I’ve learned people will only see what they want to see when their heart is conflicted…

But if you KNOW me…and have KNOWN me…You know that being a stay at home/work from home mom was NEVER apart of MY plan. Lean in…..

I’ve worked SOME kind of job since I was legally able to. When I was FINALLY able to get a workers permit, I got it. And before that I did all the “under the table” jobs… babysitting, cleaning up yards, making crafts/things to sell. I’ve ALWAYS had an EARN MY WAY mentality. I will be forever grateful to my parents for raising me this way. They are the real MVP’s. But seriously, I am a go getter by design. My first real job, I was an activity assistant in a nursing home. I found so much value from this job. Caring for the elderly and their well being early on is where I attribute my ability to truly empathize with people. This job allowed me to form connections with people on a whole new level (at the young age of 15) that I fully believe is where my passion for simply wanting to HELP people developed. I stuck with this job for 5 1/2 years and loved every moment of it. I worked late nights and weekend after weekend, saving up most of my income. I kept this job all through college- the whole ONE year that I went. Let me explain…

If you didn’t know, I went to UNC Chapel Hill for Dental Assisting. These programs are typically only a year in length but are VERY intense. I loved every minute of it. I graduated high school mid June 2010 and started my college studies in early July 2010. While all my “friends” were partaking in senior week and enjoying the last summer before heading off to college or moving away, I had a mere two week break between high school and college. Not only that, but I didn’t get the typical experience of moving away for college- and please note, in no way am I salty about that! The fact that my mom and dad allowed me to live at home (rent free), save the money I earned AND paid for me to go to school, was reason enough for me to feel the highest level of gratitude. – And mom/dad if you’re reading this, I’ll never be able to say this enough but THANK YOU.

I commuted 30 minutes to school everyday. I rode the bus from the park and ride to campus and attended class Monday – Friday’s all whilst continuing to work my nursing home job nights and weekends. I was doing just what I had planned I would do. I was going to college for what I had always dreamed of being – a dental assistant. From the age of 13 I knew this was what I wanted to do…I thought it was my calling.

After graduating college and landing a job right out of school, I felt unstoppable. Not only was I working a full time job, I kept my part time nursing home job AND picked up a retail job at Ulta! What…Why?!

I had this crazy goal to buy a house by the age of 20 and I was going to do whatever it took to make that goal a reality. My parents always taught me the value of saving my money…(thanks again mom and dad) and within 12 months of working 3 jobs, I saved a little over $10k. Quite the hefty down payment for a first time home buyer, wouldn’t you agree? I was proud...

Oh…But I forgot to add one teeny important detail.. Three months after landing that first job as a DA, I was let go. Yep… it happened. And honestly, I look back now and totally know why. I will easily admit that I’m was a bit headstrong (okay I still am) and back then, I was a very quick to rebuttal anyone who tried to critique me or tell me I was wrong. (thankfully I can say I’m MUCH better at taking criticism nowadays). .

I was young..new to the “professional world”. And keep in mind, my job of playing board games with the elderly as a teenager wasn’t quite the job to prepare me for working in a dental office along side seasoned dental world peeps. I had ALOT to learn…I digress...

But God never fails and within a month of being let go, I was accepted to my “dream job”. A pediatric & orthodontic office where I spent the next four years working, learning and perfecting my trade. If you have heard my story via YouTube or Podcast, you know that though I was doing a job I enjoyed and pursing the career I loved…the atmosphere was not healthy for me…and when it came time for me to decide whether I was going to go back to work after having my son OR stay at home to raise him myself, my husband and I knew without a doubt that staying home was the best option for me at the time.

You see, staying home..working from home…WAS NEVER IN MY PLANS. I never had the desire to be a stay at home mom. I never wanted to give up my steady income or career…my security. And as I have stated in many podcasts/videos, I LOST MYSELF when I gave up the job I worked so hard to obtain…when I assumed my new roles of mom/wife/homemaker. As someone who had ALWAYS earned her keep, I viewed quitting my job and losing my income as a weakness. And I shut down…..

But through my weight loss journey…through finding keto…through finding my love for fitness…I fully believe I found my TRUE calling…I’ve found my true PASSION.. and I also fully believe in divine intervention. I am so thankful I lost myself amidst the weight gain, career loss and depression as it has allowed me to find who I was destined to be.

And I say ALL of this in hope that to those of you who look at my life and think I have it “made” as a work from home individual… This career path was never in MY plans. I didn’t set out to own my own business and surely don’t have nearly the experience that is required to do so BUT I am grateful for the opportunity to learn a new trade. I’m thankful for the ability to educate myself and gain new certifications that allow me to do this crazy entrepreneur thing. Understand this: It ain’t easy, y’all! (sorry not sorry for the pour southern grammar and twang) but it’s the God’s honest truth!

Working for yourself is HARD. Working from home is HARD. You spend countless hours doing what you love BUT you can NEVER escape it. Entrepreneurship has no closing hours. You don’t get to leave work AT work when 5 p.m hits. You can’t shut down for the weekend and pick back up Monday. Vacations aren’t “normal” vacations. I mean seriously,  I just bought the Wifi package for my family cruise in April because my job requires it. There is no FULLY disconnecting on the day to day grind of being a #girlboss. And that for me, that is okay. Because I’m learning everyday how to time manage better…I’m learning how to balance tech time and family time more efficiently. And I am also learning that the dirty dishes in the sink CAN wait until after I check in with my clients. (This is a true struggle for me as I am SO type A and OCD about clean house; sigh)

Working from home has it’s benefits, absolutely. I am blessed to be able to earn my income as well as be present in my son’s life as he grows. I am honored that so many people make this life possible and I would not be able to do this without my followers and clients.

BUT like Gwen Stefani said, DON’T GET IT TWISTED. You only see the highlight reel of my life (most of the time) though I try to be as transparent in my day to day as possible. But often (especially lately) you’ll see me working from home with a sick child wearing yesterday’s hair/make up OR you’ll hear about me having to cancel Podcast after Podcast because play school was closed OR you may catch me working at a coffee shop on my days where I DO have reliable childcare because being at home 24/7 can sometimes drive you bonkers. Work from home life has its benefits, no doubt. But don’t judge someone by their highlight reel… even me 🙂

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This Weeks Struggles on Prep

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am in a cutting phase with my body goals….

If you are new here or have no idea who I am then in true Missy Elliot fashion please PUT YO THING DOWN, FLIP IT AND REVERSE IT! 

But seriously…For you to understand WHAT I am doing and WHY I am doing it, I highly suggest you visit my YouTube Channel HERE and catch up on my vlogs. I’m not some crazy amazing daily vlogger (though I did a daily vlog for like 22 days and I in turn hated my phone and iMovie for a few weeks..I digress.) NONETHELESS, I try to share a video weekly and sometimes I get behind because #GIRLBOSSLIFE ….Jk it’s more like #momlife #wifelife and #keepmyshittogetherasbesticanlife. Real talk! But anyways, check out my YT channel if you want to understand who I am and what I do.

Back to confession time. So this week is hmmmm like week 13 I think of this “prep” or “cut”…whatever you want to call it. And before you ponder.. NO I don’t have a bodybuilding show scheduled. I’m doing this purely to see how far I can push my body and mind as well as see what body type I end up with so that I can POSSIBLY do a natural show in October. All loosely tentative and I mean LOOSELY.

So this week…has been by far the HARDEST, I feel. Between balancing mom life, wife life, meal prepping, my workouts, self care, managing my stress levels, meditating, a child whom is sick CONSTANTLY, my one on one clients, my group clients, my social media (honestly my business as a whole) and maintaining an active online presence, I FELT DEFEATED this week. To the naked eye…or rather I say, to the Instagram viewer, my life can look pretty dang easy. In fact, the terms/phrases I often hear are “You got it made.”, “Must be nice to work from home”, “You must have so much freedom”, “Working from home must be fun”, or the ever so assuming “So you work from your couch in your Pj’s all day?”…….. <Insert eye roll emoji> .

While I would LOVE to go into detail about what it’s REALLY like being a work from home mom who also is a stay at home mom, we will save that for a different Girl Boss confession time.

SO. This week has been difficult, to say the least… And boyyyyy have I felt the Binge urges BAD. (again, if you are new here, I’m a recovering binge eater). Aside from the binge urges, my body image has been down right SHIT. Body dysmorphia has reared its ugly head more than a time or two this week. My coach (yes, I’m a coach who has a coach  because I’m human and need support too) had me put away the scale for the week and banned me from testing ketones, glucose, breath AND I was also banned from taking progress pics. Which if you know anything about body dysmorphia, you know that pictures are one way to stay sane. You can compare previous weeks to your current composition and in turn, makes you feel hella better (most days). But this week…I haven’t done a single comparison. AND I’M DYING….

Okay that is exaggerating a tad… but when I walk past a mirror or see a photo of myself, I go into panic mode. Wanting to stop and knit pick myself for a few quick seconds. Wanting to see if my arms look smaller or my waist looks tighter. Wanting to see SOMETHING. Some glimmer of progress. Something to encourage me….

Along with all the normal stressors of my day to day with home, business, diet and such… I received yet another NASTY email from someone who inquired about my services BUT because she didn’t get an IMMEDIATE response, she decided to let me have it. This happened mid week…on a day I was actually feeling pretty good. I had met up for coffee with two fellow Keto peeps and really just had a great time. Was in a fabulous mood and then BOOM…that email instantly shot me down. And you may not be aware but when you put yourself out there into the social media space…when you open your life up for people to peep in… when you share the slightest bit of vulnerability with the world, it makes you an EASY target for those who are LOOKING FOR A FIGHT. I was reminded of this quickly when I reached out to a mentor of mine. There are people out there scouring  the Internet for someone to engage with in a negative way. Someone to place blame on. And sadly, I was that for this human.

I recovered from that event….but was still affected mentally by it nonetheless. Just another piece chipped away at my self esteem to add to the weekly count. The following day I woke up, worked out and felt in control for the first time all week. I made self care a priority (working out and getting myself dressed, doing my make up and hair). I find that the acts of self care are key when I’m feeling super down on myself. I talk alot about this on social media but never fear, I’ll share more about self care on future girl boss confession blog posts.

AND THEN IT HIT ME….The cravings. You see…My cycle is due to start at the end of this week. So ON TOP of everything I’ve been dealing with and experiencing… my senses and emotions are heightened (as well as the dreaded bloating) because of this evil monthly visitor. Now, I know better. I truly do. I’m 100% aware of my body, my urges and how to be in control of them. It’s taken time, practice and tons of patience but I feel I have (mostly) mastered being in control when this time of the month hits. BUT…this week I gave in…

I didn’t “binge”…I didn’t (totally) over eat on my macros…however I did give into a craving that I’ve been avoiding on purpose for gut healing and what not. I ate a SALAD (gasp)… Wait… Lauren…salads are keto approved. What are you talking about?

Okay okay okay….so I might should confess that for the past 3 weeks I’ve actually taken a more carnivore approach with my eating. And yeah, if you just returned from my YouTube channel and caught up on my Carnivore experiment, you’re probably scratching your head going SAY WHHHHAAATT? Lol… Let me explain.

My macros are super low…and my carbs are at 10 total grams. And while I CAN fit in a salad or a veggie here and there, I have opted to just nix them altogether for gut health and bloating sake. My macro ratios are also PERFECT compared to what I experienced on my last carnivore endeavor… I just didn’t have the correct approach back then (I assume). And I’d like to add that my mood/ skin has improved quite a bit since doing so. All around win so far!

BUT…I gave into my craving this week. I ate a HUGE salad. And boyyy was it good. It was delicious…it was amazing. Until I came to the end of it and realized just how bloated I already was. I felt HORRENDOUS the rest of the night and into the next day. And aside from the physical pains….I emotionally was a wreck.

I contacted my coach first thing and let it all flow. My reservations, my disappointments in my self, the failure I felt I had for myself and for him. Word vomit as I blew up his Insta DM in true freak out fashion. And once the word vomit was over…once my fingers stopped the frantic taping to form words on the screen. I let out a huge sigh of relief. I felt SO much better (though still upset and disappointed) by just letting it all come out. If you take away NOTHING from this confession, take away this: HOLDING IT IN WILL NOT HEAL YOU. HIDING YOUR FAILURES WILL GET YOU NO WHERE.

You see, this is why I love coaching. This is why I also love having a coach and I am NOT afraid to admit that sometimes even COACHES NEED COACHES. My entire weight loss journey, I didn’t enlist a coach. I refused help. I did it all myself. Not because I WANTED TO. But because I was scared….I was too proud. I didn’t want to admit that I may be doing something wrong. I didn’t want to admit that I needing another person to keep me on track. I was STUPID…

One thing I’ve learned over the course of my own journey and even the road to becoming a coach myself was that there are people out there to help you for a reason. Having HELP does not make you weak. Enlisting someone to keep you accountable isn’t at all failure on your part. In fact, how encouraging is it to know that the person you hired (depending on the “coach” because we all know there are some imposters out there) wants to see you hit your goals just as much as you do and PROBABLY MORE than you want for yourself! Cool, right?

When a client comes to me with their goals…their hopes..their ambitions. I write them down and take them into my heart. I adopt my clients’ goals as my own. And I always ensure I will do everything in MY power to see/help them succeed. After all, that’s what you enlist help for, right? You want someone in your corner. To help push you through your toughest points. To encourage you that you CAN achieve what you desire as long as you set your mind to it.

There is noting like having a strong support system. Whether you have strong support within your family or you seek support through external sources such as a coach…Support is what gets you through the TOUGHEST points in your journey. And I am beyond thankful for the support I have at home, through my coach and through the tight knit keto community I’m so proud to be apart of on social media.

So to conclude this confessional…I hope, maybe, in some way…you see that we all have weakness’ but they don’t make us weak. We all cave at some point..but that doesn’t make us unsuccessful. We ALL struggle…but that doesn’t mean we have to do it alone.

Reach out to someone. If not me, SOME ONE. Remember… Everybody Needs Somebody…atleast… that’s what the Blues Brothers taught me.

And Yeah..I’m 26 and know who they are 🙂 Great-Quotes-about-Going-through-Hard-Times-and-Staying-Strong-2