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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How did you get here

How Did You Get Here: Carrie Grace

We have a new story of transformation, empowerment and moxie today as we continue our How Did You Get Here Series. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Grace. Some of you may follow her on Instagram, and if you’re not following her we recommend it. She is a ray of sunshine in the a sea of selfies and negativity. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have received or have been gifted her Kindness Box. These are no longer available for sale, BUT she does have something new on the horizon. Carrie is a former teacher turned motivational speaker, who is on a mission to inspire others to spread joy and kindness, in hopes of people making the world better than they found it. She believes that no act of kindness is too small or ever wasted. She currently travels the country to inspire others and has she’s been featured on major media including USA Today, Huffington Post, His Radio, and many more. Carrie stays busy encouraging us all to push through our fear of rejection, but we are most thankful she made time for us this week.

What is the most rewarding thing about your venture?

To be honest, it’s the people. I’ve had the chance to interact with so many different people, and to hear their stores…lots of different people. I love the storytelling aspect of this, hearing what others have to share. It’s always been about the people.

How and why did you start your journey?

I am not someone who thought I would have a career as motivation speaking or who particularly enjoyed public speaking. My journey into this career began when I was invited to speak at my friend Lara Casey’s Making Things Happen Conference in 2014. If I’m honest about this, I hated it. Not the conference, but the speaking part. I loved being the one welcoming the attendees. Forming relationships with those attending was the best for me, but one day, Lara said that I needed to be a speaker. She said I had something to share and I had to get comfortable being the one speaking. It was after this experience that I realized I had to have a mindset shift about making speaking a career. After having opportunities speaking, I had people telling me that I could make a career doing this, but at first it wasn’t profitable. Initially, I was bartering and trading things for my time speaking. BUT trading things doesn’t pay the bills! I had others encourage me to find people with a budget to pay me to be their speaker. It was after this that I began reaching out to various groups and businesses to be the speaker for their events and training programs.

What was the most challenging part?

I’m thinking it’s finding the right events. Being my own marketer. Keeping up with the travel. Right now it’s been in the United States, but it’s expanding to Canada later this year.

What have you learned?

Everything. I went from products to service, and it’s a totally different world. Figuring it all out. I’ve made some mistakes along the way. I’ve had some speaking engagements where afterwards you say, “hmmm, that wasn’t my best.” There’s always a  learning curve.. It’s can be scary. There are days that I want to quit, but it all comes back to the people. You get to have an impact telling a story and people continually find a point they can relate to and grow.

What advice would you give someone else on this path?

If you don’t have a risk-taking in your blood, it’s very hard to do. You have to be good at rejection. That’s why I speak on rejection. It’s not about who you know, it’s more about your willingness to know someone. Are you willing to send that email? Are you willing to pick up that phone? My mind is wired that way, maybe to a fault. I know that not everyone is like that, as we tend to think we can’t do it.

How has it changed you?

This is not what I  expected my life would look like. For me, it’s what I’m proving to myself. In the beginning, I gave a commencement speech in front of a thousand people with a cap and gown on. Once I did that, I think it made it easier to be honest when I’m speaking. I went real big, real fast. Never in my life have I been in front of that many people. There’s nothing that can prepare you for that, but it’s probably one of my top ten favorite moments. I can sit here and say, “Gosh, I did that.” Even if it wasn’t my best or if you could tell l I was nervous, I can say that  I did it. Not only did I do it, but I got up there, I didn’t run, I didn’t throw up, I didn’t trip. I can do hard things.

What has surprised you the most?

Honestly, I’m surprised that people have a lack of faith in humanity. I’m amazed that people have such low expectations. The world isn’t great right now, I get that, so their view is skewed that the world is out to get them.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Don’t give up until you have heard one hundred ‘no’s’. That’s really hard. Don’t stop going after things until you’ve got a hundred, then take a break. Sometimes after two no’s we’ll give up, go sit in the corner, and cry.

I always tell people there are two kinds of people in the world. One is the person who only sees the finish line. The other is the one who only sees the obstacles in the way of the finish line. If you cannot train your brain to see just the finish line, you will stop at the second obstacle you encounter. There will always be obstacles. You won’t make it to the finish line if you don’t have the stamina to keep going up hill…If you cannot keep your eyes on the finish line, you might still get there, but it’s going to be a much harder thing. Sometimes you have to take a detour to get to the finish line. People tend to focus so hard on being in the race, that their eyes aren’t on the finish line, so the second their eyes come off the second it becomes really hard.

You start small. I’m a runner, and run about 90 miles a month. 3 miles a day isn’t hard, because if you do something everyday, it adds up.If you send 3 emails a day, you’ll send 90 by the end of the month. Out of those 90, someone is probably going to say yes. AND you haven’t even hit 100. We like to think it’s all or nothing, but I like to look for opportunities of all kinds.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us Carrie.

If you’re interested in learning more about her, you should check out her website, follow her on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), and/or subscribe to her newsletter. If you’re looking for a speaker for your business or school, consider bringing Carrie in to talk about empathy. Did you know that empathy is one of the most important skills we can learn? Empathy teaches us to cherish our humanity and value one another. We develop better relationships through empathy, not just with our family and friends, but with our co-workers and everyone with whom we come in contact. If we can be more empathetic, we can have better customer service, better work relationships, and stronger leaders. Sounds like a win right?

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taking care

when volumes speak #metoo

I have to take a moment to appreciate the gesture of those tiny words. As I’ve scrolled through my social media feed over the last week, I see countless women (and men) coming forth in brave solidarity. These people are my family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors; and for many, this is the first I’m hearing of these events. This movement is not about trending or gaining new followers. It’s not about one-upping or getting attention. It’s not even about righting the wrongs of the past. It is simply about awareness. This is a demonstration that encourages volumes to speak two little words…me too.

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HebrewDawn: when volumes speak #metoo

Some of you have courageously shared the details of your experiences, and I commend you for this because I couldn’t do it. To be honest, I still feel like the times it happened to me were my fault. I still feel like I let it happen; although, the throngs of you who are bravely acknowledging that you too have had this experience is slowly chipping away at that feeling. Seeing all the #metoo posts are slowly helping to alleviate the shame. 

Brene Brown a renowned author and research professor suggests that empathy is the only way to eradicate shame. In one of her videos she explains empathy with a powerful example. An example that epitomizes #metoo  and why it is, in fact, a gesture of empathy.

I thought for a great while about not “fessing up” and posting the #metoo status, but I chose to speak. Besides, what has silence brought me but shame and torment? In truth, the way I’ve handled my shame is by isolating myself. I stopped living my life because I was afraid of repeating “mistakes”.I considered the situation to be something that was my fault so in attempt to gain control, I removed myself from the situation. I stopped drinking with my friends, I stopped dating, I thought twice about what I wore and how it made me look, I chose my words more carefully. I built a wall around myself.  I thought it was to keep bad things out, but it has only served to keep the shame close. You see, we can try everything in our power to “remove ourselves from the situation”, but it will only do so much. When we stop living our lives, we are giving in to the shame.  At the end of the day, the only thing that can ease our shame is the awareness that we are NOT actually alone.

The truth is this; if any person has tried to engage you in any sexual activity (conversations, touching, name calling, photos, etc) to which you did not provide consent, that is WRONG. It doesn’t matter if that person is your boyfriend or your boss or your coach or whatever. Taking advantage of someone by force or leveraging shame IS WRONG. The assumption that a woman is promiscuous due to her dress or behavior or that she gives consent by default of these attributes is WRONG. Consent is quite simple. It is a clear YES. Any response other than an emphatic  YES is a f*cking NO.

Excuse my language, but this is a very serious thing we are dealing with. Last Monday tons of people came forward to say “me too”. To crawl down into the pit with those who are hurting and say we are here and we understand. This gesture has helped me to feel a little less shame, and a little more brave in standing up for what is right. I  hope it does something similar for you, too.

In love and kindness…