Arbonne 30 Day Cleanse

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I am starting a 30 Day Cleanse with Arbonne’s system of vegan, allergen-free products in addition to clean eating. Why Arbonne and why a cleanse? Arbonne has products that I believe in (allergen-free, vegan, tasty) and a system that is very easy to follow, which includes plenty of good food and shakes so I should not feel too hungry nor deprived. The cleanse is about detoxing and righting the gut flora in my body rather than on losing weight; however, the likelihood that I will lose some weight is almost guaranteed if I follow the program (correction: WHEN I follow the program). Following the program is not about perfection but about giving my body a chance to reset and start to heal.

During the past few years, there has been increased stress in my life from life changes, such as finishing my master’s degree, transitions in my career, getting married, building a new community in a new city, etc.  Throughout all of that, I have “self-medicated” by eating high carbs and tons of sugar and caffeine. I feel tired daily. I don’t fit in the clothes I wore a few years ago (my weight gain has been steady and has plateaued at a much higher weight range than is probably healthy for my bone structure, especially with regard to what I enjoy doing, which is endurance races, running, etc.). In addition to the weight gain and unhealthy eating, I had to have my gallbladder removed through an emergency surgery in January 2018.

Ok, so before I continue, I want to take a quick moment to say a few things about weight gain, body image, etc. I believe STRONGLY that every body is beautiful! I do not believe that people need to lose weight to be valued, loved, and/or thought of as sexy or beautiful. We are amazing people with gifts and strengths and purpose, and how we look is just one small part of our being. We are meant to live fully as the people we are and were created to be. Diversity in body shape is a gorgeous, amazing, and wonderful part of being human.

So for me, this cleanse is a way to start to live my best life. If I’m honest, the self-sabotaging with food has been a real negative aspect of my behavior. Not only have I gained weight, but I have literally beat up on my body from the inside out. Why do I do this? Food has been a source of comfort for a LONG time. Without going into too many details from my past, at a young age, “junk food” became a source of comfort and distraction when painful things were going on in my life. So when I am experiencing moments of high stress, sadness, anger, boredom, anxiety, I tend to reach for highly processed carbs, such as chips, candy, pasta, warm, chewy bread as a quick fix for a spike in energy to feel better about things in my life. The result is my energy will crash, I gain weight, I have dark circles under my eyes, and I feel tired most of the time.

So again, why the cleanse? I am tired of beating myself up with food. I’m tired of being tired. I have big dreams and big goals for my life and I want the energy to go after them. A cleanse seems like a way to start taking care of myself in a way that will allow me to have the focus and the energy to be my best self. I am worth it. Since time is a factor for me in eating healthy, I was attracted to the Arbonne program because you take different supplements during the day as drinks, make 2 shakes a day (with the Arbonne vegan protein powder and real fruits, veggies, good-for-you fats, and fiber), and one clean, whole food meal a day (eaten either for lunch or dinner). If eating better leads me to feel better internally, then AWESOME and GOAL ACHIEVED.

I will be journaling about this process, my results, how I feel eating the food, etc. If you are interested in learning more about the cleanse and/or wish to join me, please do not hesitate to reach out: livingsolutionfocused@gmail.com

I hope you are living your best life, and if you are not, then find out what you need to do to start living your best life: You Are Worth It!

Love They Self: Day #26

I am almost through this challenge. I have four more days to go! Doing a little reflecting, I think this exercise has been helping me evaluate a few things and feel better about myself overall. I have been focusing on enjoying healthy and whole foods and not beating myself up when I eat something that may not be so nourishing to my body. I am working on challenging my inner narrative and changing my story to be more in line with my truth. I am taking time to celebrate my body by wearing clothes that make me happy and feel good, even though I have not lost a single pound. And I am taking time to have fun and do my hair and makeup because it makes me feel good, not because I have to or because I feel any societal pressure.

Overall, I am happy to be me. I am starting habits by doing this challenge that will help me to continue to work on being happy and healthy because I’m worth it.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #25

In addition to learning to love all of me, I am also learning to believe in myself and celebrate my dreams and aspirations. I LOVE this video. I hope it inspires you today as well. We all have our own challenges, but this video reminds me to not give up on my dreams or the things that make me happy. Sometimes the things in our lives that feel or seem impossible, are absolutely possible if we just try…and not give up.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

 

Love Thy Self: Day #24

I am slowly getting through this challenge with a few breaks in between each day. Today I am thinking about the messages I tell my self about who I am. I keep saying things like “I’m a slow athlete,” as just one example. I was recently listening to the Rich Roll podcast, episode 290 with David Clark. In the episode, David Clark talks about how he went from being over 300 pounds and struggling with an addiction to becoming a world-class endurance athlete, who won long-course races. He said for the longest time, he lived out of a certain image, such as “I’m 300 pounds and I am not an athlete.” So he started to challenge those beliefs and started to run. He said he had to fake it at first (his motto was to just do what he thought an athlete would do). He finished a marathon and found himself saying “I’m a slow athlete and I will never be at the top of the pack.” So he started to challenge those self-imposed restrictions, and he started to train and run faster until he started to win.

I have always defined myself as a slow athlete. But I need to start challenging the ways I define myself. I can be who or what I want to be! I am awesome! (I strongly believe in faking it until you make it – tell yourself amazing things until you genuinely believe them.)

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #23

One of the reasons I love the statement “I am enough” is that the message implies that there is nothing I need to add or takeaway in order to be loved, valued, or whole. I just started reading Emergence by Derek Rydall, and so far, the book is speaking directly to where I am at and why I started this challenge: to realize and know I am perfect as I am.

Rydall compares each of us to an acorn, which has all it needs inside of it to grow into an oak (it just needs a little nurturing to grow). He goes on to ask us to imagine that we are holding a baby as she snuggles into our arms. How do we feel about that baby? Would we say things like, “gross, that baby is so fat?!” Or “Yuck, that baby hardly has any hair and cannot even walk. What a loser!” Yet, we say horrible things to ourselves.

“In contrast, when we recognize that everything we need is already within us and begin to reconnect to that feeling of innate wholeness and perfection — the way we felt toward that baby — we lay the foundation for the Law of Emergence to operate a process that is about becoming (or, rather, revealing) more of who you truly are, unleashing your infinite, often imprisoned potential” (Emergence, Rydall).

In some ways, I think I have been searching for this idea. I have always been in love with self-help because I am always looking for a way to heal or fix myself. I go through work and other aspects of life thinking I’m less than or not good enough. It is why the statement “I’m enough” resonates so much with me. We are all perfect creations waiting to grow and fulfill our destiny. The code is written into our DNA, like an acorn knows to grow into an oak tree. And yes, not all oak trees are the same or have the same conditions, but they still know what they were meant to become.

There is more than enough good in this world for all of us! When we live out of a place of inner love and peace, we are free to live the life we are meant to live.

I. AM. ENOUGH.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #22

Today I want to share two stories that are beautiful and worth sharing (they make me happy to be me and to love ALL of me, flaws included):

  • The movie Embrace is on Netflix!! The movie is about loving ourselves and stopping the body shaming.
  • “Wear the Damn Swimsuit”, which is a great reminder to live life and stop worrying about appearance.

The picture above also makes me smile today. I took it at the college where I am working on my graduate degree. I am proud that I have continued to work toward getting my master’s degree.

Go out and live life: screw the bullshit!

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #20

Know your why.

So this post will probably be a bit random and a bit bumbling (bee pun intended). I have recently been introduced to LuLaRoe. I have a few friends who are selling products on Facebook and I have been so curious about the company. One of the things I have loved so far is that when I Google “LuLaRoe,” my web browser is instantly filled with bright pictures of women of all different shapes and sizes wearing clothes that clearly make them feel good. I love that the sizing changes per item: you can size up or size down, which makes the whole notion of “I’m a size ___” feel obsolete. Basically wear what makes you feel good in that particular style. A number no longer needs to define who we are or where we want to be. Notions like “I am a size 14 but want to be a size 10” do not really matter. I also love the bright patterns and the mixing that people do (traditional fashion rules be damned). I recently purchased some items from a friend (the items have not arrived yet, so I cannot vouch for the quality or fit), so I was curious to learn more and found LuLaRoe’s all the feels page with videos from retailers. Most of the women talked about “their why” or their reason for doing what they are doing. Their stories range from wanting to help women feel good about themselves to wanting a lifestyle that allows for more quality time with the people they love most. They have a defined purpose or why and selling LuLaRoe matches up with their vision.

In my first Love Thy Self post, I talked about trying to figure out my why. One of the things that has become clearer is that I love the idea of helping people feel loved and accepted. I love the idea of spreading validation and hope. I love the idea of living boldly and authentically. I also love the idea of feeling good in our physical bodies, no matter our shape and size. So how does LuLaRoe fit? I think learning more about the company and watching their videos has resonated with something deep inside that is still trying to find a voice and take shape. My counseling internship is going to be at a women’s recovery home, which feels a bit like divine intervention because I was not actively looking for a specific population, but I have a lot of empathy and heart for women’s issues (are you seeing a common thread yet? I think I am). I am learning to stop and take notice when something excites me, like the fact that LuLaRoe is empowering women all over the nation. All of these pieces are helping me put my own puzzle together.

Sometimes I wish life could be simple: a bee flies around collecting nectar and pollinating plants, which to me is a very clear “why.” Some days I wish I was a bee (in a metaphorical sense), and other days, I am so glad to be complicated. I kind of feel like I am on a treasure hunt to discover my why.

On a more “love thy self” note: since I have been on this journey, I have been working hard to be more positive. I have noticed that I am trying again to do my hair and makeup, eat healthier, and take care of myself out of love and appreciation (I do not feel like I “have” to do these things, which is really freeing). I have also been taking a multivitamin that is supposed to help with skin and hair, which I think is working (and I am TOTALLY ok if the vitamin is just a placebo!). The overall effect is that I enjoy looking at myself in the mirror again. I feel beautiful and I have not lost a single pound. YAY! I think that might also be why I am so fascinated with LuLaRoe. Fashion has always been intimdating for me. I have always thought that I would love shopping once I lost a certain amount of weight or was a certain size, but LuLaRoe is helping me feel excited about fashion and the creativity that it can represent no matter what size I wear.

Anyway, I am going to buzz off and get on with my day.

Lots of love, peace and joy to each and every one of us!

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #17

Yesterday I was listening to the Rich Roll podcast (episode titled “Growth is our Mandate”). His journey is one of recovery: He was a collegiate swimmer and became a successful lawyer all while struggling with alcoholism. Eventually he obtained sobriety, went on to adopt a plant-based diet, and ended up racing in long-course triathlons. Because of his diet and success in long-course triathlons, he has written a book and has taken on a completely different career path than any he could have imagined for himself, which he absolutely loves. One of the things he mentioned in that episode was that he did not end up where he is today because of a road map, vision board or any real planning on his part. Instead, he followed the subtle nudges in his life and took advantage of opportunities when they showed up. That message really resonated with me because I hear so much these days about the planning or attracting that people do to bring about good in their life, and I just feel so much pressure to do the same, but I am not really a planner.

I felt so encouraged by his message because I have been struggling a bit lately. I am not in love with my current job but feel stuck when it comes to transitioning to whatever might be next (vision boards have not been helping). I think I mentioned in a previous “Love thy self” post that I was feeling pretty down recently because I have not been able to find a counseling internship (I have taken the rejection personally as a sign that I might not be pursuing the right field). Well, as of yesterday, I got an internship! Now, I can look back with more gratitude that the former opportunities I pursued did not work out because this one is ideal with regard to the location, flexible schedule, supervisor, population I will work with, etc. Things worked out pretty amazingly, I just needed a bit more faith.

I think that last statement is true with myself too: I just need a bit more faith. At the end of my interview yesterday for the internship, one of the counselors reflected that she thought my work experience and the fact that I am in a career-transition, gives me a wisdom and maturity that I did not see as a strength originally. She also pointed out that I had empathy for the population I will be working with, which I did not fully notice until she made that observation. I have been looking at my skills and lack of experience in counseling as a detriment, but I think I just need a bit more faith in myself. Of course I have much to learn, but I also need to give myself and my experience more credit. I tend to be someone who is self-deprecating. But instead, I think I want to be like the lion in the above picture: soft, cuddly, inviting, approachable, and peaceful with the potential to be fierce.

I bring a unique perspective, history, and experience to the work I will be doing as a counselor. I need to trust more in my abilities and my path. It is time to reclaim my inner lion.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30DayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #8

I love my muscles! Ok, so maybe they are not very big or super defined right now, BUT they are growing every day. They push me forward as I train for the Ironman triathlon in October. They are transforming my shape and burning more calories when I am at rest. They are AWESOME! They make me feel powerful and capable of tackling any challenge. They help me to see that progress is being made because I can walk up the stairs or up a hill without gasping for breath, AND I can carry more groceries (I am notorious for loading up my arms and trying to carry all of my groceries into the house on one trip).

My muscles are awesome, and I am awesome.

Hey! It is Day #8 and I feel better every day. I feel hope, love, more peace and joy. I am beginning to think that this body positivity journey needs to be a daily practice for me even well beyond the 30 days of this challenge.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #7

Today I am focusing on my eyes. I love my blue eyes! I wear glasses/contacts, and I am so thankful for my ability to see. My eyes make it easy for me to do one of my most favorite activities, which is reading. I LOVE to read. My eyes allow me to see the beauty of a smile and laughter on someone’s face. My eyes allow me to see the gorgeous flowers that are in bloom around Boston right now. They allow my to see the sunshine on the water and through the bright green leaves of the trees. My eyes make it easy for me to bike and run and participate in the activities I love to do. I am very grateful for my eyes.

What I am learning through this process is that the power of gratitude is unlimited. When we turn our attention on what we love and are grateful for, then we allow our hearts to open to joy and love. There is more to celebrate than there is to curse in this world, but we have to have the eyes to see those blessings. Gratitude shifts our perspective to allow us to see the opportunities, blessings, moments of joy and love that are in our lives daily.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge