Health, Wealth and Happiness

I have spent a long time thinking; “I’ll be totally happy when…” 
Don’t get me wrong, I was happy, but I believed I’d be MORE happy when I had more money for clothes, more money to fix broken things, more money for anything. 
I thought my problem was money. I knew it wasn’t the answer but something deep in me ached. A dissatisfaction. 
Today as I type this, my blender works but I have to cover the top with my hand as a piece broke off (I don’t pay for things until they’re completely and utterly irreparable) the magic bullet died, the coffee machine is dying, our TV is second hand and shuts off occasionally, I own 2 pairs of shorts and 6 pairs of underwear. 
All very MINIMAL first world issues that used to feel HUGE. 
I would feel crushed under the weight of all that we “needed” to pay for and here I sit today, content. 
I have found wealth in the strangest of places; in my own heart. It has been building, and will continue to build even greater and the funny thing is, with that builds income. It just comes. 
I HATED when people said true wealth starts inside. Shut up Tony Robbins I want to fly to Tahiti with nothing but my purse and buy everything on my trip! That’s wealth!
And then my eyes were opened. Slowly. Pried maybe. But opened none the less. 
Now I see, truly that wealth is gratitude. Wealth is the daily practice into self. 
Because when I’m connected to myself, I can still my mind and connect to God. Wealth is connection. 


Wealth is the ability to not care about the now in a sense of dread because I am connected to the knowledge that we are on our way up, that God has taken care of us already and that coffee machines don’t matter. 
Lives matter. 
I’m working with people to change deep seeded disbelief  in their value, their ability, their image. 
Getting up early every morning and taking time to run my dog is the single best part of my day, and it allows me to FULLY enjoy the rest of my day. Ok not always fully, but I’m more present and connected with as a mom is a huge gift to my children. 
This practice of biking, not being touched by another person, having the wind in my hair and the smell of the day freshly starting, this is what I have needed for so long. 
This time invested in me, connected to me, has allowed me to see clearly all I have. And that I have all I need and more. 
I’m so excited about this act of getting up and spending time on myself away from everyone and everything that I’m actually developing a 5 day morning boot camp for my team of coaches who are looking to elevate their own lives. 
I believe it’s time to rise; that it’s possible and tangible. 
I believe for the first time in my life I can have it all, and I can give it all to others. 

I’m grateful for the morning, because with it comes two little miracles that give me a reason to invest in myself more than ever. 
Now is the time friends; if you’ve ever considered being a coach on my team now is the time. Just hit contact me and let me know where you’re at, because this training for now, will be  exclusive to my team. Those that have said yes, I’m ready for change; I don’t know how, but I’m willing to try. 
That’s all I need. A small seed of belief that says yes, I think I can. 
With that, together we can change it all. 


On my inner mean girl

“I wish I looked as good as I feel” I said to myself this morning. 
“When people meet me, they’re probably disappointed that I don’t look better than I am” 
These are the thoughts rambling about my head today, and it’s not ok. 
I’m a firm believer that body image affects us all, big or small, because we haven’t dealt with our inner voices that tear us down. 
You can lose all the weight in the world and build all the muscle in the world but if you can’t speak KINDLY to yourself and love yourself in your current imperfections, how on earth can you expect to love yourself when you’re at your goal weight? 
The truth is you won’t. 
The truth is you’ll be disappointed that the girl staring back at you is the same girl, and you’ll be sad. 
You’ll feel good, you’ll have more energy and you’ll have all those things you hoped you’d have, but you’ll still feel not done yet. 
You’ll still feel incomplete. 
Because the real work starts in the heart. 
The real work starts with strengthening your MIND. 
I should wake up and tell myself daily that I look FREAKING AMAZING but instead I’m brought down by this little layer of fat? Maybe it’s just skin? My mind is so bent I can’t even tell you what it is. 
The truth is exercise is important. Eating healthy is important.
But if you lose the ability to move your legs one day and suddenly you have it all ripped from you and you have to sit with yourself every day and you gain a few pounds, are you less worthy? 


Are you less worthy? 


No! You’re freaking not! 
You should wake up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror and think I’M A FRICKEN GODDESS YAAAAAS!  
This is not a mindset reserved for the fit and thin! This is available to everyone right freaking now if you just CHOOSE IT!
Yes still work towards a healthy lifestyle, have strength goals, have Self LOVE goals but for fricks sake love your life and love your damn body. 

What’s wrong with the world where someone like ME has tears in her eyes as she takes these photos? 
If you’re overweight let me tell you, SKINNY ISNT THE CURE TO YOUR LOATHING. 
It’s just not. 
You have to work on you. You have to fight more than weights. More than food. More than sore muscles. 
You have to fight your inner demons. 
And that why so many fail, and that is why so many of my clients succeed. I’m here to tell you, we are worth more. We fight these vicious thoughts. 
We fight. 
I won’t find the love I desire by cutting 700 calories and carb cycling. 
I’ll find it by telling myself every day I’m freaking powerful. 
I’m strong. 
I’m beautiful. 
Here’s to living loved. 

I Am Braids and Brass

My truth:
I am a mom of two! One beautiful 2 year old and one hilariously happy 9 month old.
I workout 30 minutes a day MAYBE 45 depending on my kids moods.
I eat mostly clean and swing in and out of being a total zealot and not caring.
I have gone from results focused, to healthy living focused, back to results focused and am finding my way back into a happy heart focus.
I’ve gained a booty in two months, muscles I’ve never seen on my arms before and quads that are noticeable. I search for more but am pulling back that search for being happy and content while still striving for those goals and not getting lazy in my eating habits.
That is my balance.
I am imperfect and insecure but at the same time strong, mindful and powerful.
I don’t have a lot of money.
I shop sales racks, I buy groceries based on sales and I use coupons.
I shop at thrift stores partly because it’s cheaper and partly because I love finding unique clothes no one else is wearing right now.
I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt in my entire life and I’ve only been lifting weights for two months while expecting the results of someone who’s been doing it two years.
None of my pants fit.
Sometimes I yell at my children when I don’t mean to.
Sometimes I’m the most loving calm mother ever.
I drink Shakeology every day and another protein from a local store that isn’t related to beachbody at all.
I love home workouts, I love going to gyms, I love hot yoga and all things outdoors.
I love getting my nails done when I can afford it, but stick to French tips or clear because I hate nail polish; having my hair the perfect colour is always a must.
I love lipstick, I hate mascara.
I love getting dirty playing outside with my kids, I hate getting my hair wet when I go swimming.
I do not fit in a box.
Accepting that is my transformation.

It started with a dumbbell.
I am Braids and Brass.

I said yes, while my whole being said no…

 

I said yes. I gave my full consent. As the needle went in, as I was cut open and unknown hands entered my body, I felt completely violated even though I said yes.

I’m talking about my c-section on July 30, 2014 when my first son was born. It was to be a day I recalled as the most joyful day of my life, and one day I will not only say it was, I will feel it.

But today is not that day.

Today is my first step towards that goal, by speaking out what I’ve hidden so long in my own heart that it remained a mystery even to me.

I wanted a natural birth. Not for the glory or accolades that come with it from other so called birth hero’s, but simply because I believed it to be the first gift I could give my child; life born uninterrupted.

I was OK with the thought of a life saving c-section. I knew it would devastate me, but not more so than the loss of my son. I had no grand illusions of fighting for an ideal, but what I didn’t expect was to be pressured by those deemed more powerful than myself.

I was told my son was SGA (small for gestational size) and that at 40 weeks it looked like there was low fluid in the womb and I was told he had to come that day by emergency C-Section.

As long as I go into labour, the outcome doesn’t matter.

Understand that I love and respect so much of the medical community, and I believe they had the best intentions for me and my son, but our beliefs on what that looked like differed greatly.

I knew in my heart he was fine. I knew he could stay. He was reading perfect on all NST’s (non stress tests). I could feel my intuition kicking in, my fight. I would not be pushed into this.

My Dr, God bless her, stayed and talked with me for 2 hours. She gave me all her information from her side. Numbers. Statistics. Tests that aren’t proven accurate.

I was set on no. We were headed that way, and then they said something to me that stopped me in my tracks.

He’s fine now, but he could be dead in 24 hours.

Now looking back, I see what that was. Their fear. Not fact, fear.

I was a scared new mom who only wanted my child’s life, and I felt that I no longer had a decision, for if I didn’t do what they said I would be held responsible for the death of my baby boy.

I didn’t have the resolve, the nerve and the self trust I have no to say no.

So I did what I can only describe as complete and total sacrifice of my body, my choice and my rights, for my son.

You see, the entire thought of being cut into and having my baby removed from me was a terrifying thought, and one my entire being screamed no to, and so while I was saying no, I said yes.

I cried for 4 hours leading up to the surgery.

I cried walking down the stairs, into the elevator, sitting in the chair waiting and finally walking into that sterile lonely room alone.

I couldn’t describe it then but I can now; I didn’t cry out of fear … I was crying because what was about to happen to my body was not my choice.

I know that seems contradictory, and consent is a funny thing that way. I signed the papers, I nodded my head, but the answer was no the entire time.

I can only call it sacrifice.

I was willing to let someone violate my body for fear of my son’s life.

I use the term violate because that is completely the feeling I have to this day. I am repulsed at the thought of “a little pressure and tugging”. I was open. My insides were on the outside. If it’s no big deal to you, that’s fine, but to me it is nothing short of violating.

I’m sure had I had a week to really sit with it and make a yes and let that settle in my heart, I wouldn’t have felt this way. But I had 2 hours. I had no time to research.

I had fear.

And then it was over, and as my body recovered, my mind deteriorated. I know now that this was the cause of my anxiety, my spiral into depression. In pictures I smiled, love was there, joy was there, but so was something darker.

It’s why I now (among other things) can’t handle a loss of control; a crying baby I can’t stop and why cutting my finger open 3 days ago and having a Doctor aggressively and against my hearts will dig into my cut sent me hurdling backwards to that sensation of being “done to”.

Because my ‘no’ was perceived as a momentary lapse in courage, not a cry for a discussion of my options.

Because my choice wasn’t real to me.

The only reason I have the courage to write this, is because my husband who sat beside me the entire time for both occasions, who saw me say yes, who held my hand as I cried, completely and entirely validated my hurt. I could never say this without that support.

And after it all, going back to that day almost 3 years ago, I can say truly that I would give myself up to it again and knowingly go through the same demons I fought for a long, dark two years.

And that, according to my husband, is what makes me the bravest woman he knows.

And he is proud of me.

And now I can heal.

I can be proud of me too … because I can look back on it as a mark of courage. I can look at my boy and tell him of the day I gave up my own perceived safety for his.

And that my friends, is a beautiful day indeed.

 

 

**I was able to give birth to my second vaginally on July 8th, 2016; I fought through very similar circumstances which helped form and confirm my feelings on my csection; if you’d like to read the birth story of my second, visit here **

On Body Fat and Self Love

I would like to talk about this as I posted earlier talking about finding my IDEAL, and I want to invite you into my world a little bit more. 

You see, in 2009 I was 40lbs heavier. Yep. 40lbs. When I say I have been into fitness for for almost a decade, this photo on the left is me 7 months before it started. I was happy ish with how I looked. There is nothing wrong with my before, but I had a horrible relationship with food and myself. I had many demons. 


A few years earlier when I was even smaller than my 2009 photo, I dated someone who, when I ordered a BLT bagel at McDonalds asked me “really? You sure you don’t want a salad?” 
And so it began. 

Did I need a salad? I honestly hadn’t thought about it much before. Isn’t it amazing how one comment, that grows to many comments over the course of a relationship turns into your inner dialogue for years to come? 

So for a long time I felt I had to build myself up in my head to be the best, because I believed my only worth was in my body. I didn’t believe I held any value outside of my looks. And if that was true, my value had the ability to be lost. 

So I talked about how healthy I ate, my abs, and I searched from validation from everyone. I seemed arrogant and no one would have guessed I was struggling with my self image; I put on a very strong front. I didn’t know who or whose I was. 

Fast forward to 2017; I have two little boys who love me regardless of what I look like, eat or do, and this is the healthiest, fittest I have ever felt, but not the smallest. 

I have been much smaller, tighter and more muscular than I am now, but the difference is now my mind is at peace with who I am and whose I am; God’s love for me knows no numbers or sizes.  

I no longer define myself by scales or muscles; I can celebrate them without being owned by them. So something like 20% body fat holds no joy or sadness for me. It’s merely a number, a gauge, a baseline. It allows me to track my progress but it does not and never will define who I am and how much I love myself. 
It simply is. 

And 20% body fat on me looks different on you. It might be healthy for me, and not for you, and my goals to lower my BF % are short term and will reflect a healthy loving relationship with my body. 

I write this for the young girls watching, that you owe it to no one to be a certain body fat percentage. That my journey is my own and meant to inspire, not to add to the incredible amount of insecurity. 

Both of these pictures I am beautiful on the outside, but the me on the left is struggling deeply inside. 

The me now is strong. Has a healthy mind and lifting weights gives me a feeling of accomplishment and power. 
I can do anything. 

And so can you, but you are not the sum of your body fat. You are not the sum of the scale. 

You are not a number, and fitness is not a size. 

If you want to be surrounded by other women on this journey of self love and strength, I am here for you. 

Competing and Comparison

I keep forgetting that I’m doing this for ME. Not for anyone else. That this was a goal I set to push me further and do something uncomfortable and reach a goal I otherwise thought was impossible. 
Posing in bikini?! Walking the stage in heels in front of EVERYONE in my company to show how hard (or not) I worked…it’s extremely terrifying and humbling. I’ve realized I can only be me. I can’t pretend to be someone else.

So, I took some updated pictures last night and I was SO disappointed I didn’t look like what I envisioned in my mind I should look like as someone getting ready for a competition. 
I felt so much fear and doubt creeping in from a moment of comparison and it nearly crippled me. 
Maybe it wouldn’t have so much if I hadn’t put it all on social media, because suddenly I was left wondering what if everyone else was having the same thoughts?
“She doesn’t look good enough yet…” 

“She doesn’t really know what she’s doing” 

“Her form isn’t really the greatest…”
And I could let those cripple me or I could embrace them, and that’s what I’m choosing. 
I look and feel great but I am NOT where figure competitors are, and that’s ok because I’m 8 months post partum and started lifting light weights 2 months ago 😂 let’s be real here. 
What I am is shooting for the stars and even if I don’t make it there by July, I’ll be a lot closer than I was if I didn’t try. 
I also do not know what I’m doing haha I’m learning a LOT, and it’s hard because there’s a lot of friends I have who know a LOT more than I do and it can be super intimidating to put my “newness” out there. Like terrifying. 
But even they started somewhere, with little knowledge and a LOT of hunger for more. And I own my journey and I love my journey. 
Form and strength will all come. I focus on learning form to protect myself and I don’t lift heavier than what my form can handle, which means my transformation will be slower for now, that’s OK with me. 
And then lastly, remember to just beat the girl in the mirror. So I grabbed some pictures from January and immediately realized I am stronger than that girl, I have more energy than her and I make it through more of my workout than her.
She is my greatest competitor and she is the only one that matters; I will not be trying to compete with the amazing athletes I’m friends with, I will compete with myself. 

And I will win. 

**If you are interested in joining me for my next challenge and you are READY, I mean ALL IN, hit that contact me button and I will coach you through my exact process** 

Dear Mommy; let me hold you 

Dear mommies, please don’t uncomfortably spin away from tiny hands touching your tummy. They don’t see fat or rolls. Regardless of your level of self love, let them love you. It can be so healing to see those eyes light up as they play with your extra skin ❤ it’s just an extension of you. 
Sure I don’t have a lot so what do I know right? But I’m a woman with insecurities. Just because we’re different doesn’t mean we can’t be united in that. 
I’ve had babies and my body doesn’t look like it did before and no matter your size, society affects us all and the only way to positively influence society … 
is to let our kids love us. All bits of us. And to never show them we don’t love parts of us. 
Let us show them what strong, beautiful and confident looks like. Let us show them that we will not be defined by our bodies but by the strength of our hearts that beat within them. 


Dear mommy, let them hold you. Let it heal you.