"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness." ~Henry David Thoreau (more…)
"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Do you accept yourself for who you are, or are you the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin?
Does it kind of feel like you're always in self-improvement mode? Like you are always trying to be someone else?
Feeling comfortable and accepting yourself is important if you want to lead a fulfilling and happy life. More than that, if you constantly focus on what's wrong with you, you're definitely going to find more things to complain about.
Try loving yourself instead - that makes it much easier to be happy as well as to manifest the good things you want in your life.
Here's the thing - you might be ready to quit reading this post about now, ready to chalk me up to being another one of those quacks. But hold up! Not so fast.
It can happen. You can learn to make things go your way. And it all starts with one simple thing: the ability to fall madly in love with your very own self. No joke.
I promise you, you've got to love yourself before anything is ever going to change in your life. You might have to fake it a little at first. That's okay. Just do it - because it's totally worth your effort.
Ready to start changing your life?
Let’s take a look at how you can learn to know and love yourself like never before.
Self-Assessment: What Do I Want?
Start by reading over the following questions. Take a few minutes to jot down the answers in a notebook or document.
- Who is the person that you want to become? Describe the ideal you in detail.
- What are the things that you really care about?
- Is there anything or anyone who you may lose if you start to live the life you truly want?
- What one step can you take today to get closer to becoming the best possible version of yourself?
Write your answers out in detail. This way you have a full description of the person you want to become and why.
What to Expect When You're Accepting (Yourself)
During this journey you also need to understand and accept that nobody is perfect - and that means all of us. We've all got our faults, and we've all gotta learn to live with them.
So, now that you've made the decision, it's time. You're finally ready to begin living your life the way you want to, and the way you deserve to!
Learn to Love Yourself
Sure, it sounds like it's easier said than done, but what would the world be like for you if you were totally, madly, head-over-heels in love with yourself?
Maybe there are parts of yourself that you are extremely happy with, and of course, there might also be those that you hate.
Love Your Quirks
You have to stop hating on yourself and get busy changing your perception.
If you have habits that can be changed, great! That means you've got a place to start.
If you just have quirks, they're just part of your personality. They identify what is unique about you, as a person. You need to accept and love your quirks!
I always say they're just part of my charm.
In daily practice, the best place to start is to do the things that you can do - and to focus on the things that really make you feel awesome. Those are also the things that kind of show the world who you really are.
So if you're itching to speak on something - then speak on! Never let the approval or disapproval of others stand in the way of your speaking your mind. You've got to be true to yourself if you're ever going to be really happy.
Each night before you go to bed, ask yourself the following questions.
- Was I the best possible version of myself today?
- Did I make the right choices?
- What could I have done better?
- What was the brightest moment of my day?
- What is the perfect vision of my perfect tomorrow.
Fall asleep with your perfect tomorrow in your mind's eye. It'll help you to begin to manifest the life you really want, because you'll be drawing that beautiful, positive energy toward yourself.
Remember to be brave - don't let fear prevent you from speaking your truth or doing what you need to do to be happy.
But that doesn't mean you have to be rude about it - and you should always speak in love, whenever possible. Hate doesn't foster the kind of change any of us really want.
Like I said, you might have to fake the whole "OMG I'M SO IN LOVE WITH MYSELF!!" thing for a minute - and that's okay. Because once you master the art of "faking it," you'll be on the way to MAKING IT.
Maybe you won't do the whole screaming it to yourself thing, either. But you've got to find a way to realize that YOU are a person who is worth that kind of love, and you've got to give it to yourself before you can get it or give it to anyone else.
I promise you, it won't be boring, and it'll be worth it when you see your life begin to resemble the one you really want. Don't you think?
What do you say? Share your thoughts in the comments, below.
Check out Angela Atkinson's books at BooksAngieWrote.com.
"It’s tedious and time-consuming. It tethers you to your phone or computer and can trigger anxiety and obsessive behavior in people who get overly hung up on numbers. Yet research repeatedly demonstrates that people who keep food journals are more successful at weight loss and weight loss maintenance than those who don’t." ~Tamara Grand, FitNitChick.com
Listen. If you've been reading my stuff for long, you know that I pretty much tell it like it is. With that being said, you'll know where I'm going with this.
There are some things we have to do if we want to meet certain goals in our lives. And sometimes, those things aren't fun, at first, but once you get moving, you realize they're totally worth your time.
I've Got Bad News...But Not THAT Bad.
Here's the bad news. Food tracking is one of those things when it comes to losing weight - if you want to do it successfully and long-term, you've got to figure out what you're doing wrong and what you can do better. Plus, you've got to retrain your brain - stop thinking those "fat person" thoughts and start thinking like the hottie you really are.
The good news is that you can do it, and even if you're lazy and don't like to feel uncomfortable (like MOI), you can STILL do it.
The Harsh Truth About Food Tracking: It's a Pain in the Ass.
So yeah. Tracking your food is TRULY a huge pain in the ass. I'm not gonna lie.
But if you can do it for a month, you can do it for six months.
And often times, if you do it for six months, you don't have to keep doing it all the time. That's because you can train your brain to actually WANT to eat healthier foods and in healthier ways. I swear.
Here are some super simple food tracking hacks that will help you make it happen, too.
Food Track-Hack #1: No Cheating (At First)
I had to be very strict about tracking during the beginning in order to lose the weight.
I had to track LITERALLY every single day for at least six months before I felt like I was ready to try going track free.
I tracked every single thing I put in my mouth--even if it was just a handful of peanuts or a bite of a cookie. It mattered, and it changed my life.
Food Track-Hack #2: Okay, Cheat a Little (Within Reason)
Some people do well with a "cheat day" each week, others need two. My suggestion is to do one or less "days" of "freedom" at first.
Instead, I suggest a "cheat meal" option or a "cheat dessert" option once a week.
For me, the Weight Watchers bonus points (aka cheat within reason option) made it easier to understand what an appropriate amount of cheating looked like, and tracking taught me how to eat right and still live in the "real world."
But even when you cheat, you should still track every single thing you eat. It will help to know exactly what kind of damage you're doing--in more ways than one.
Food Track-Hack #3: Why Tracking Is Seriously Worth the Trouble
Look, I know what you're thinking. Tracking food? Boring, waste of time, annoying, restrictive, waste of energy--doesn't work anyway. Right?
Wrong. So wrong. And trust me, I know what I'm talking about - I learned it the hard way.
Don't believe me?
Look at this - a rare "no makeup" side-by-side of me before and after losing 100 pounds. (I even wrote a book about how I did it without starving, sweating or surgery so that other people could do it without having to learn the hard way.)
For me, tracking everything I ate and drank was a pain at first and felt really restrictive, but that short period of restriction ultimately led to freedom.
It will be for you too, I promise--so just do it! It is WORTH it. Now I get to wear stuff like this. Way more fun. 🙂
Food Track-Hack Tip #4: Find Your Inner Gamer (Dig Deep If You Gotta)
So listen, I'm not a gamer. Honestly. But tracking sort of became a game to me, eventually. I actually (don't tell anyone) sort of had fun with it.
I wanted to see how much I could eat while still staying within my points allowance, so I'd figure out different menu options and play with the numbers until I had the most satisfying options possible. Give it a shot!
And Freedom From Food Tracking Looks Like This
These days, I don't track on a daily basis. But through tracking, I learned what portion sizes are healthier, which small adjustments to which dishes can reduce your fat and calories but still retain the flavor and more.
But the biggest and most important thing that six months of tracking my food helped me to learn was how to listen to my own body's cues.
Now, I just eat what I want and nothing more or less. I pay attention to my body and feed it what it wants--and nothing else.
How the Food Tracking-Game Changed My World
Within the confines of my little game, I naturally leaned toward healthier foods. Fruits and veggies were mostly free--so I could eat a HUGE and awesome salad with a few ounces of chicken and a couple tablespoons of dressing for seven or eight points, max.
This kind of game-playing led to a change in my taste preferences. Eating greasy, cheesy, creamy, fried or otherwise bad-for-me foods suddenly became less attractive.
Now, I wanted fresh, cleaner-tasting stuff.
These days, I am able to literally eat anything I want, simply by eating healthy MOST of the time and by allowing myself to indulge on occasion.
And since I'm still working on getting those last few pounds off, I am still keeping an eye on my scale. If I notice that I plateau for too long or even gain a pound or two, I'll go back to tracking for a few weeks so I can regain balance.
I promise, tracking your food doesn't have to (totally) suck. You might be surprised to find out how much (or how little) you're really eating and how small changes in your choices can lead to big changes in your health.
Do you track your food? Have you in the past, or will you start food tracking now? Have tracking tips that worked for you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Who doesn't love to snack? But if you're not careful, doing so can cause big trouble for your diet. If you frequently eat between meals, those extra portions could have a big impact on your health - either positive or negative. They will definitely play an important role in helping you to manage your weight and take in all the nutrients your body needs.
So why do so many people find that when they snack throughout the day they’re actually heavier at the end of the week? Well, it’s quite simple, really - they’re eating more calories overall. Right?
Well...sorta. See, USDA studies show that many Americans who snack are taking in about one-third of our daily empty calories from those afternoon candy bars and late night refrigerator raids.
Do you know what that means??
That adds up to most of us are consuming two to four times the recommended limit in solid fats and added sugars. TWO to FOUR times!
It's enough to turn your stomach (to flab!). So what are you gonna do about it?
The Mayo Clinic suggests keeping snacks below 100 calories. "Generous portions of fruits or vegetables can easily help fill you up while staying below that calorie count. All of the following servings have fewer than 100 calories:
- Medium apple: 95 calories
- Small banana: 90 calories
- Two kiwis: 84 calories
- 20 medium baby carrots: 70 calories
- 20 grapes: 68 calories
- Medium orange: 65 calories
- 20 cherry tomatoes: 61 calories
- Medium peach: 58 calories
- Medium red pepper: 37 calories
- 20 pea pods: 28 calories
For comparison, one reduced-fat cheese stick has about 60 calories to 100-calories, but it also has 4.5 grams of fat. While the protein and fat may help curb your appetite, a single cheese stick may not be as satisfying as, say, 20 baby carrots, which add up to nearly 10 times the weight of the cheese stick, and have 70 calories and less than 1 gram of fat."
Blissfully Healthy Ways to Eat More and Still Lose Weight:
The Magic of Snacking
I say we revolt! Let's turn those numbers around! But how? Oh, don't worry, as usual, I've got a plan for you. See, by learning how to choose smart snacks that are good for your health and well-being. Try these blissed-out tips to get started.
Blissed Out Eating - How to Make Better Food Choices
- Focus on whole grains. Bake your own treats or look for packaged food that lists whole grains as the first ingredient. Whole wheat flour has more nutrients and fiber than white flour.
- Take the sweet and the salty down a notch. Reduce sugar and sodium. Many junk foods are loaded with sugar and sodium. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead.
- Balance it out. Plan a balanced menu. Think of your snacks as miniature meals that need to include all three food groups. Along with complex carbohydrates, add in lean proteins and healthy fats.
- Eat the WHOLE thing! Opt for whole foods. You may be tempted to simplify things by just grabbing an energy bar or buying cookies that are labeled low fat or low sugar. In fact, many convenience foods are less healthy than the label suggests. Buy natural foods like raw nuts and plain yogurt. (Then again, if it's a matter of convenience, don't beat yourself up if the energy bars work best for you. Do what you need to do, yo!)
- Drink up. If you're pressed for time, you can snack on healthy beverages. Tea contains antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients. Water will keep you hydrated and feeling full. For heartier fare, whip up smoothies in minutes with vegetables, natural peanut butter, or other goodies.
- Eat more produce. On average, we're eating 3 servings of fruits and vegetables compared to the recommendations for 7 to 13 servings. Snacks can help you fill in the gap.
- Find substitutions. You probably have certain snacks that you crave the most. If they're high in sugar or saturated fat, consider how to adjust them. Oven-baked fries are much slimmer than the fast food version. A square of dark chocolate is lighter than a doughnut.
Smart Tips for Blissed-Out Snack Habits
- Keep an eye on your portion sizes. It's easy to consume as many calories as a full meal if you're scarfing down potato chips or cheesecake. Measure out a single serving instead of eating out of the container. And if you’re good at eyeballing, check yourself every now and then, especially if you see something crazy happening on weigh-in day.
- Don’t eat mindlessly. Stay in control by giving your full attention to your food while you eat it. Enjoy the process of cracking nuts and eating them one by one instead of wolfing down a whole package while watching TV. Spoon out leftovers onto a plate and pull up a chair rather than eating with the refrigerator door open.
- Take it with ya. Pack a bag. Carry sensible treats around with you to avoid desperately searching for something wholesome in vending machines or gas stations. Pack a cooler with carrot sticks and yogurt drinks.
- Don’t get hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Manage stress and boredom. Distinguish between true hunger and appetite. Do you eat for entertainment or to comfort yourself when you feel blue? Pick up a hobby or invite a friend out for a walk instead.
- Keep a journal. If you need more help, a snacking journal can track how much you're really eating. Spot the triggers that make you want to overindulge and develop strategies for dealing with them.
Choose healthy but yummy snacks that stabilize your blood sugar and give you the energy you need to cruise right on through your busy day. Good-for-you, whole foods and advance planning will help you to stay fit and healthy while you graze between meals.
Project Blissful is a whole-life makeover that helps you become the best possible version of yourself. Author and certified life coach Angela Atkinson has herself lost more than 100 pounds without surgery or hard-core weight loss drugs. In this book, she shares all of the intimate details on how she lost the weight and what she does to keep it off.
Plus, you'll learn:
How to start losing weight today (and without feeling miserable in the process)
- How to love yourself healthy and thin
- How to find your ideal weight and reach it without pain
- How to lose weight without traditional exercise
- How to baby-step your way through small habits that add up to big results
"Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance." ~Tara Brach
Something kind of awesome has been happening to me lately. The older I get, the more comfortable I become as a person and with who I am.
Truly, these days, I don't honestly care what other people think about who I am. Now, I don't mean that I don't care about how they feel or whether they are decent people - just that I don't care if they don't like me. Because these days, I like me, and I understand that it's okay to be who I am.
What do I mean by that? Well, I wasn't always okay with who I was. There was a time in my life when being "me" was a serious problem. The messages of who I was "supposed to be" were so loud that I could never really "hear" my own mind, if that makes sense.
I remember so many years of doubting myself, feeling "not good enough" and generally just feeling like I wasn't really a "real" person in the sense that other people were. I was just going through the motions of life, and it kind of seemed like anything I loved wasn't really "okay."
This was because I allowed people other than myself to define me. But as I've grown older and more secure in myself, I have learned that not only am I "okay" as a person, but I'm actually kind of cool.
It wasn't until I began to start seeing myself as a whole, real person (and not some failure who couldn't meet the world's expectations of me) that I really understood it all, but it comes down to one big thing.
You have to define yourself, and if you allow anyone else to do it for you, you will never be truly happy and fulfilled. So, to that end, today, we're going to talk about what it takes to become your own person - even and especially when you've been in a toxic relationship that has caused you to have a skewed perception of who you're supposed to be.
Really 'DO' You - How to Define Yourself
A lucky few of us are charismatic and comfortable in all social situations. However, most people suffer from some degree of self-consciousness at times and alter their behavior in an effort to appeal to others. This begins in childhood and becomes a habit we carry throughout our lives. The pressure to conform resides in most of us.
How much are you pretending? How much of yourself are you giving up in order to gain approval from others? Interestingly, the people we admire the most are those that make no effort to conform. We admire individuality.
Define Yourself: 7 Ways to Figure Out Who You Really Are
1. Pay attention to others. It's much harder to feel self-conscious if your attention isn't on yourself. The key to being self-conscious is to focus on your appearance, clothes, posture, and words. Eliminate this self-scanning behavior and you'll feel much more comfortable.
Look around you and notice what's happening. If someone is speaking to you, focus on their face and words. Your ability to focus outside yourself will grow with practice.
2. Give your self-esteem a boost. Pretending to be something you're not suggests that you believe you're not good enough in some way. However, you've done some amazing things in your life. Focus on your positive qualities. Remind yourself of your successes. Most importantly, leave your failures and regrets in the past.
3. Radically accept yourself. Remind yourself that no one is perfect. Even your best friend has numerous flaws that you could quickly list. You still love them anyway.
4. Stay cool. There are many tools to reduce your own anxiety, but it's most effective to use them the minute you feel the first sign of stress. At the point where you're already under pressure, it can be far more challenging to get your emotions back under control.
Tip: When you first notice yourself becoming uncomfortable, focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Redirect your focus to your breath and your environment. Your previous thoughts resulted in your anxiety, so change them.
5. Figure out what you're meant to do and be, and then do that. It could be argued that you're not bold enough to be yourself because the stakes aren't high enough, yet. When you have enough motivation, anxiety rarely shows up. You might be too bashful to raise money for your new business, but it's no problem if you're raising money to save your child from cancer.
Do you know your purpose in life? When you can answer that question definitively, much of the social pressure in your life will disappear.
6. Imagine your parents are gone. Even people in their 50's and 60's are still worried about disappointing their parents. What would you do differently right now if your parents were gone? A parent's influence is never gone completely, but most of us give them more power than is reasonable. As adults, parents only have the power we give to them.
7. Do one thing you've really wanted to do, but have been avoiding. It can be something small, but jump in the deep end and do something new. It might be getting a tattoo or singing Karaoke. Maybe you've always wanted to take ballet lessons.
8. Realize that your time is limited. It will all be over someday, so there's little reason to worry. Anything you're worried about now will be meaningless in the distant future. Have fun and enjoy your life.
The people that you admire the most have many detractors. Break free of the social pressure to conform. Share your thoughts and ideas. Enjoy your life. Discover how you can be your own person and still be loved - from the inside out.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." ~Dalai Lama (more…)