taking care

A Picture of Good Health

So we reposted a powerful image a couple of weeks ago, and judging from the number of likes, it really resonated with a lot of folks. Today, I would like to start a conversation about body positivity. I’d like to share my thoughts and experiences on the topic, beginning with some simple food for thought: What does it mean to be healthy? Can you define it in words? Can you capture it in an image? What is a picture of good health?

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty vain…

I like to feel good about the way I look and work very hard so that I can feel good. I do spend a lot of time worrying about it though. I follow a number of so-called “healthy lifestylists” on Instagram, too. They are outwardly attractive, scantily clad, Mt. Olympus-looking people who’d like for us to believe that they LIVE to work out. They eat nothing but kale and maybe boiled chicken breast. They even take exquisitely choreographed candid photos. Are these people healthy? Who can say? I suppose they look like it.

I also follow a lot of amazing people society would call fat activists, whose accounts brandish hashtags like #breakthestereotype, #fitatanysize, and #everyBODYmatters. These people accept themselves- no, they love themselves despite criticism by the truckloads. They refuse to be defined by other people’s opinions and inspire me to be bolder in defining myself. These people live their truth and embrace their unique experiences without shame. Are these people healthy? Instinctively we are taught that bigger bodies are undesirable, but does that mean that they are unhealthy? I don’t know. How could I possibly know?

When I think about myself, I know exactly how hard I work to counteract all my terrible habits.

I eat a lot of sweets, but I work out a lot. Is that balance? On the one hand, my “numbers” are great – you know – blood pressure, cholesterol, waist circumference, blood glucose, etc. I’m not at risk for anything, so does that mean I’m healthy? You may think the answer is yes, yet every time I step on the scale, my doctor reminds me that I’m overweight and my BMI is high. I have a career, hobbies, and the ability to support myself. But still, I struggle. I struggle with anxiety and depression, substance abuse, body dysmorphia…the list goes on and on. Does that mean I should spend more time in therapy and or more time dieting and exercising? Which is more important? Physical or mental health? How your body looks or how it functions? Again, I don’t really know.

Unfortunately, pictures don’t always show you the whole story.

I drove by a place of business the other day and saw something shocking. I won’t name names, but it’s a kickboxing gym. There was a gigantic sign out front with the studio namesake and the words, “Fight the Fat”. I work in marketing and let me tell you that I love advertising, especially when it’s clever. This, however, was not clever. It was the opposite of body positivity. It was shame mongering and it turned me off.

To me, this Fight the Fat mantra is negative and exclusive. It is not welcoming to a person beginning their fitness journey. It says, “hey fattie, you don’t belong here, we are against you.” I’m quite sure that this business did not intend to lose customers with this slogan, but how could someone feel inspired by this message? It got me thinking about health and wellness. Not just my personal feelings about the topic, but the way health is viewed by society, and the way people are treated in the health and wellness space.

The motivation to improve oneself is not enough to sidestep judgement. It doesn’t matter that a large body goes for a run, or a chronically depressed person goes to therapy, or that an addict seeks counseling or support The mere need for these things illustrates imperfections. Aside from the rampant negativity in that logic, it’s just plain bad business.

Health and wellness is for everyone.

Deciding to change your lifestyle is hard enough. What is the value in further intimidating people by making them feel less than? Fitness is not just for those who have already demonstrated aptitude. It’s not graduate school. It’s living your best life, and we are all worthy of that.


Shame is a powerful tactic in selling health and wellness.

There are products, companies, and entire industries that prey upon our shame. Again, I don’t want to name names, but you can guess what I’m talking about. These entities remind us that our feelings of inadequacy are valid and suggest that solutions to our problems can be bought for a small monthly auto payment. This is simply not true. You cannot capture health in an image. A healthy life is the combined effort of how we take to care of ourselves—inside and out. It’s not just what we eat, or how we exercise. It’s how we talk to ourselves, it’s how we sleep, and the people we associate with. It is so much more than how our body looks.

The same goes for body positivity. You cannot see a person’s life story, their intentions, their dreams, their struggles from a single image. There is no picture of good health. Who are we to judge which bodies are worthy of appreciation? There is nobody and NO BODY that deserves to be shamed. Bodies belong to people and I think we can all agree to support our human race.


Next time you feel compelled to assess another person’s lifestyle, take a look at your own. If we’re honest, we can all find a little room for improvement. With that in mind, lend your encouragement and positivity to EVERY. SINGLE. BODY. We are all on a journey, the depths of which cannot be seen from the outside.




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taking care

Just keep showing up

The a-MAY-zing run streak is still going, but…

it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been running a few times a week for years now, but this whole running-every-day thing is quite an experience. I’m finding out that this challenge is more mental and less about exercise or burning calories or anything else. Why is it so hard? Well, because there’s only one way to do something every day. And that is to simply do it. To decide, no matter what, to …


There have been a few days were I ran around the neighborhood in the dark. There were days that running one little mile seemed like a marathon. For some reason, every day I complete my goal (to run for at least 10 minutes or 1 mile), I feel a tiny victory. Each little success gets me excited to keep pushing forward.

I absolutely LOVE making lists and checking boxes, y’all. I am BEYOND thrilled to have 16 (at the time of this writing…I know it’s day 17 but I haven’t gone for my run yet today!) little check marks to show for my efforts. I wonder how many more I will rack up as the streak goes on.

This whole experiment has me marinating on what it means to be accountable

and how we define commitment. In so many cases we use these words—accountability and commitment, to illustrate how we interact with and support other people. We want people to be accountable for their actions and honor commitments. Not just talk, follow through. Sincerity and integrity foster trust.

When people do what they say they will do, we can rely on them. When people follow through on a promise, we can have confidence in what they say next time. We feel warm and fuzzy when we can trust people; it is a beautiful thing and helps to deepen our relationships. Conversely, when people are flaky, it makes us feel not so good.


What about our relationship with ourselves?

The way we treat ourselves informs the way we treat other people. We may not like to think of it that way, but it’s a fact. So how do you practice accountability? How do you manage commitments you’ve made to yourself?

Often times we are tempted to blow things off when no one is looking. The more we show up for ourselves, the more confidence we build. By doing what we said we would do, even when no one is watching, we empower ourselves. We learn to trust in our own abilities and our confidence grows.


I couldn’t agree more. First, you have to commit; to decide the thing is worth doing. Second, you must hold yourself accountable. This is where creativity, flexibility, and forgiveness are key because things almost never go as planned. If you can bond these two things; if you can hold yourself accountable to your commitments, results are sure to follow. 

When Crystal and I started brainstorming this aMAYzing month we both wanted to try something new and a little out of our comfort zone. I had no idea I would be stepping into such a dramatic transformation. Running every day is teaching me that I am worthy of my OWN investment. It’s helping me to find confidence in myself and my ability to stick to something. The results are over two weeks of checkboxes and for me, that is enough to keep me going. How many will I get? I still don’t know, but I’m going to keep showing up and see what happens.