The Comparison Trap: Social Media versus Reality

“Wow. She looks amazing. I wonder what her secret is!”
“Look at how beautifully happy her and her husband are. What a perfect relationship.”
“Have you seen her house?! It looks like it was decorated straight from a Pinterest board.”
“She has multiple jobs and is quickly climbing up the career ladder. She has it all together!”
“She’s such a great blogger. She’s a mom, has a full-time job, does her own workouts and still finds time to blog.”

Sound familiar? Yep. Unfortunately, they sound all too familiar to me as well.

It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and imagine that they have it all together. The perfect job. The perfect relationship. The perfect friends. The perfect house. The perfect car. I mean hey – that’s all we see on social media, isn’t it?

Social media has turned into somewhat of a bragging platform, in its own right. People (myself included) often only highlight their greatest accomplishments. And there’s nothing wrong with this! I love celebrating my friends’ accomplishments and love to see people achieving great things in life. It motivates me and inspires me to better myself.

But, you must remember people are only showing you their HIGHLIGHT REEL. They don’t show you everything.

For example, let’s examine how my life may appear to some via social media, versus what it’s really like:

My Facebook profile picture: 

juliepicCaption: “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” or somethin’ like that…”
Reality: I do work every day of my life. Really hard. I have three jobs and go from one job to another, often all three in one day. Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth it? You betcha. But pretty sure the former makes for a more interesting caption. Oh and as far as frolicking on the beach in a sports bra and little tiny shorts in front of a high-quality camera is concerned… I have to consistently remind myself to love the skin I’m in (<- just to extra embarrass myself I had to throw that one in there) since society seems to love telling us otherwise! 

A recent HealthNutJulie Facebook post:

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Caption: “There’s a healthy recipe for everything, I tell ya! Making these ASAP (and currently drooling on my desk)….”
Reality: Yep, probably drooling on my desk from falling asleep because I’m an idiot and stayed up til 12 last night when I promised myself I’d be in bed by 10 p.m. every night. And making a recipe ASAP? Sure, let me jump right on that. I’m sure if I left work, they’d understand….(Hey, I would for cinnamon streusel protein muffins).

A recent HealthNutJulie Instagram post:

Health Nut Julie Instagram

What it looks like: I am so organized. I color coded my clothes and neatly packed them in my gym bag the night before, along with each of my healthy meals.
Reality: I was running around my house, forgot my socks, had to run back home to grab a tupperware because I didn’t want to spend money on lunch (have three jobs and still frugal lol), took a shower but didn’t have time to blow dry my hair so I went to work looking like a wet dog.

See what I mean? And these are only just a few!

By no means am I saying that what I post on social media is fake. In fact, I try to do the opposite! And that’s why I’m showing you what really goes on in my life – I don’t want you to feel bad because you don’t think you have it “all together.” NONE OF US DO!

I wrote a blog post about this because I’ve caught myself doing this a lot lately – comparing myself to others – when in reality, I don’t know half of what they’re going through. I see my married friends in “perfect” relationships and envy that, but I don’t see what goes on behind the scenes. I see “fitspos” with the perfect bodies, but I don’t see the hard work they put in to get those bodies. I see seasoned trainers with 15 clients, living the dream of working as a personal trainer full-time, but I don’t see when they were first starting out and had one client.

We don’t see the struggle – we only see what others want us to see. 

So next time you’re scrolling through social media, becoming envious of someone who looks like they have it all together, just remember: you can’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.

The only person you should be competing against is YOU, trying to be better than you were yesterday.

:)

Your Girl is Officially a NASM CPT

My website is about to go live soon… until then, here we are!

I call myself many things: an advertising copywriter, a group fitness instructor, a lover, dreamer, friend, sister, daughter, awesome (hehe), but I added one thing to that list on Saturday, August 30, 2014.

I’m a National Academy of Sports Medicine CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER!

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I mean honestly, would you expect a normal picture? 

If you told me a few years ago I would hold a personal training certification, I would’ve probably laughed at you. I was the girl who couldn’t make it through a whole bootcamp class in its entirety (right, Elizabeth?!).

Now, I’m stronger than ever. I’m happier than ever. I can’t wait to share with you guys my plans for the future (in due time)!

I plan to start posting more again soon, which I am so so so excited about!

Stay tuned. Many exciting things are happening for this girl. :-) 

So much love, joy and happiness to all of you! I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!

Yoga Beyond the Physical Limitations

YogaJulieThere comes a point in exercise — whether it’s yoga, strength training, running or whatever you enjoy doing — that we reach a point of physical exhaustion. What fuels you to keep going? Maybe it’s be a mantra, an inspirational quote, remembering the reason you started in the first place… whatever it may be, there’s a reason you keep coming back.

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When I started yoga a few months ago, I was such a newb. I always loved yoga because I’m naturally pretty flexible from dance, but I soon learned yoga is about WAY more than flexibility. (Note: I THOUGHT I was flexible until I saw the ways some people are able to bend their bodies…. Holy cow.)

I never understood why people were so obsessed with yoga, honestly. “Yeah. It’s a good way to stretch, but it’s not even really a workout,” I used to think to myself. Kind of like when I never understood why people were so obsessed with their dog until I adopted Cocoa.

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And like I never understood the obsession with animals until I met a giraffe.

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Yes, I’m a weirdo.

But, like what’s listed above, it’s one of those things you have to experience to understand.

How did my perception of yoga change? I found a fabulous yoga studio that challenges me physically and mentally. But you know what? It’s not solely a physical practice for me anymore. Obviously it challenges me physically (still waiting for the day I can hold a headstand/handstand/arm balance and be “at peace” like devoted yogis claim). But it also challenges me mentally.

I use my practice to connect to the universe. Honestly, I’ve never felt stronger in my relationship with God than I do right now. I set an intention for my practice — gratitude, grace, acceptance and I flow with it (quite literally).

So, what keeps me coming back to my mat?

Gratitude, strength, wisdom, peace of mind, mental clarity, JOY, peace, love, positive energy, the challenge, the ability to focus on the present, a room filled with people who are trying to better themselves, the rush of feeling things I’ve never felt before (physically and mentally), the ability to FINALLY love my body for what it’s able to do rather than how it looks, to honor God and to better myself.

Don’t let the fear of being inflexible scare you away from doing yoga. Trust me, if my dad can do it and love it, so can you :-P. As one of my instructors told me, there’s no such thing as a “good” yogi. Just when you think you’re good, someone comes along and makes something you struggle with seem effortless.

And yes, taking yoga classes at a studio is a bit more expensive than the free ones that come with your gym membership. Trust me, I get it. But unless you have a wonderful instructor at your chain gym that challenges you in the ways I’ve learned above (which I’ve never run into in all my time there. Generally that’s not their purpose because they’re looking to serve the masses and people who consider yoga just to be “stretching,” at no fault to them), it’s worth it to try a studio!

I see it as an investment in myself: the more I learn to understand my body and the way it works; the more I practice gratitude, self confidence, love, joy, grace and understanding; the better I’ll be able to serve others I’m in relationship with, especially my future personal training clients.

We’re all on this journey separately, but together. Humans are wired to crave a deeper connection beyond anything the physical world offers. I’ve found connection to the only One who will ever truly satisfy through yoga and meditation.

 

I hope you will, too. :-)

Being Healthy is a Way of Life: Is Your Soul Happy?

There’s so much more to being healthy than just eating whole foods and working out. Being healthy ultimately stems from our mindset.

BeingHealthyBeing healthy is about more than what you feed your body. Sure, it’s important to eat healthy. It’s important to work out on a regular basis for cardiovascular purposes. Let’s say you have both of these things in check, but you still aren’t seeing the results you want — you look the same, feel the same and start getting discouraged. Because you’re discouraged, you turn to your vice for comfort, whatever that may be (for me it’s food). I’ve been stuck in that cycle… it’s frustrating. But there was one IMPORTANT question — perhaps the most important of all — that I was forgetting to ask myself:

Is my soul happy? 

Happiness does not stem from the time spent in the gym. Sure, you get momentary satisfaction after a good sweat sesh or after you weigh in a few pounds lighter. You feel great at the end of the day after sticking to your diet. But this happiness is fleeting. Oh so fleeting, my friends.

Is your soul happy? Really. Ask yourself that question right now.

Take a good hard look at the relationships in your life. Are they thriving? Are you doing everything you can to make the lives of the people you love a little easier?

Are you living your life? 

What do you do in your free time? Are you sitting around on the couch, wondering why you don’t have friends, relying on social media as your crutch for social interaction?

If only I had asked myself those questions while I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself, wondering why nothing in my life was getting any better. Why am I gaining weight? Why do I binge? Why am I so depressed? What happened to all the friends I used to have? These are questions I’d ask myself on a daily basis instead of the ones above. Do you see why I wasn’t getting anywhere?

Being healthy is a way of life. It stems from your mindset — the way you think, feel and interact with others. If you’re a positive person who strives to find joy and happiness in the simple things, chances are your time in the gym, eating habits and results will reflect that. To the contrary, if you’re sitting around eating junk, not doing anything besides going to work and going home (and wondering why you lost friends like I did), your results will also reflect that.

Our journey to be fit starts with the effort to change our mindset.

When you change the way your mind works and make a decision (you have to make the decision, it doesn’t just come naturally) to be happy, you’ll reap the benefits of this happiness in your physique, self confidence and relationships.

I challenge you today to dig deep down and ask yourself: Is my soul really happy? If so, keep on keepin’ on my beautiful friend! If not, make a decision to change it.

HUGS AND KISSES and all the love in the world to you beautiful friends of mine! xo

Weekend Highlights: Zoo, Farmer’s Market and All Moved In

This weekend was a blast!

It started with dinner with my dad and roommate, and we eventually found ourselves at World of Beer sampling beers from around the world and taking embarrassing pictures (it never fails, does it?)

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It’s all about balance, right? :-)

Then Saturday was spent moving, which surprisingly didn’t take as long as we anticipated. We were completely done moving everything by early afternoon. I promise I’ll share pictures later! I want them to be high-quality and I need to finish unpacking/organizing/decorating before you get to see the finished product :-).

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This weekend definitely had one common theme: beer.

Saturday night my friends Maddie, Bailey and I went to Brews Around the Zoo at the Central Florida Zoo. What an amazing night!

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There were tents there with food from Seasons 52 (they served their desserts — let’s just say we went back for thirds), Tijuana Flats (chips & salsa), plenty of pizza, cheesecake, BBQ and obviously lots and lots of BEER!

photo 2 How cool are these glow-in-the-dark souvenir cups? photo 1

My inner fat girl was so happy. 

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Tickets were a bit on the steep side — $40 — but I can assure you we definitely got our money’s worth… PLUS more. We will definitely be returning next year :-)

Then, to balance it all out, we attempted to buy some fresh fruits and veggies at the Lake Eola Farmer’s Market on Sunday. Turns out half of Orlando got the memo that it was the 25th Annual Spring Fiesta in the Park, and we joined thousands of people for a beautiful day in the Orlando sun. So much fun!

photo 13photo 23We also saw people doing yoga in the park and I swear I could’ve watched them for hours. This definitely piques my interest! Perhaps it will become a regular Sunday activity, followed by the Farmer’s Market. (Yes, Bailey???) :-)

I bought Cocoa the cutest dog collar there. How fun is this? It was custom-made by a brilliantly creative designer, Brooke from Dog Days Bowtique. I’ll definitely be paying her a visit again in the near future!

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Also, some of you may have noticed that I stopped posting the workouts for my challenge. I’ll go into further detail about this in another post, probably tomorrow. Let’s just say I had a big ole slap in the face by reality. But I wanted to share some of the highlights of my weekend today!

What were the highlights of your weekend?! 

Life Without Social Media: Pros and Cons

As many of you know, I gave up social media for Lent.

For those of you considering it (or wondering if you could ever live without it), I’ll give you a run-down on what I’ve experienced thus far and how it feels.

I primarily gave up social media because I found it was taking up huge chunks of my time. I’d get sucked in and scroll for hours, usually before bed. I was living for the future and recording memories, versus actually living in the moment.

LifeWithoutSocialMedia

I’ll start with the cons, since I must admit, I do miss it.

  • You can’t cyber stalk people you meet (don’t act like you don’t do this). How am I supposed to know if you’re the guy on Facebook with one friend and a Myspace mirror picture? Hopefully my intuition leads me far away from those types to begin with….
  • I can’t remember anyone’s birthday besides my best friend and family members. It’s nice to have Facebook tell me when I need to wish someone a happy birthday.
  • I can’t use it to advertise my blog or promote things via Twitter or Facebook. I knew this going into it, but sometimes I’ll see that people have RT my posts via the blog and I can’t even say thank you! (So here’s my virtual thank you!!)

However, in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the cons:

  • I’ve experienced better sleep because I’m not scrolling through my newsfeed mindlessly for however long before I’m going to sleep.
  • I’ve done a lot more reading, especially before bed.
  • I feel more present in the moment and can focus my attention on bettering myself and building my dreams, goals and ambitions.
  • I’m not sucked into the drama/jealousy that social media possesses (Ugh, what she’s doing looks so fun. Um, another vacation — why isn’t my life that exciting? Why isn’t my boyfriend that cute? Do guys like that even exist? haha)
  • It forces people to contact you via text or phone call. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been “hit on” via Facebook message. WHY IS THIS A THING?! Stop it!
  • Perhaps the biggest “pro” is that it forces you to become social. Sometimes we have this false sense of inclusion, like we actually have a social life when in reality, all we’re doing is sitting there scrolling through a news feed. Some of us (myself included, from time to time) use that in place of real social interaction, perhaps because we’re too busy, exhausted or whatever the reason. In turn, we just end up looking to social media to feel included, instead of forming meaningful friendships and relationships with those around us.

Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve grown accustomed to using social media almost like a barrier. We forget what it’s like to participate in real life experiences – actually touch someone, hug them or tell them how you feel IN PERSON. It breaks my heart to see people, kids especially, sit and play video games ALL DAY instead of going outside and experiencing what life has to offer.

When’s the last time you went outside and just looked up at the sky? Watched the clouds go by? Pondered the meaning of life?

When’s the last time you saw something beautiful and just soaked in all it’s glory, versus taking a picture of it to upload to Instagram?

If it’s been a while, I would really encourage you to take a step back and reevaluate how much time you’re spending on social media. I’m not going to lie and say I’m not looking forward to having it back in a few weeks, but I’m going to use it much more carefully.

I’m going to use it to enhance my life versus take away from it. 

We’re blessed to be able to document memories so easily, but don’t let that take the place of actually ENJOYING those memories.

beautiful-live-moment-wallpaper-favim-com-520574Of possible interest:

Unplanned Rest Day: How do I Deal?

Today was a HUGE step in the right direction for me! Here’s the story:

I was house sitting this weekend and didn’t get much sleep, plus I’ve been working out on top of it all. On Monday, I could barely see straight and ended up taking a SIX HOUR NAP in the middle of the afternoon (red flag #1). So, Tuesday rolls around. I woke up feeling slightly refreshed, but knew I had a workout on the books.

Here’s where the change in my mindset comes in:

Old me would’ve said: “Just push through it. You don’t need to rest. You’re going to blow up into a Beluga whale if you don’t go to the gym.” (lol)

Isthisreallife

Balanced Julie said: “You need to realize that you’re probably doing too much. When even the THOUGHT of working out sounds miserable, and you can’t imagine gathering the strength to push through a workout, PLEASE give your body rest!”

I started noticing myself slipping into old habits of overexercising and being addicted to exercise, which I wrote about here.

As you know, overexercising is in my nature. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because I’m a 100% kind of person (in everything!) With food, I’m either eating ALL THE THINGS or not eating enough. With exercising, I’m trying to do my own workouts on top of teaching classes, when in real life my classes should suffice (two total body weights classes and a boot camp, currently) with maybe a day or two of cardio or targeted weight training added in.

Sometimes we just need to listen to our bodies and give them rest when we need rest. Am I going to gain 40 lbs. if I don’t workout for one day? No. Two days? No. Three? No. You get the point.

It’s all about balance and quieting that voice in your head that tells you that you absolutely NEED to be working out, when your body is telling you absolutely NOT! More change actually happens when our bodies are resting and repairing themselves, along with many other key points:

  • Our muscles build themselves through rest! We NEED IT in order to see the changes we want. Alternatively, if we’re overexercising, we can actually reach a plateau in terms of progress. No rest = no repair = no results.
  • The body adapts to the stress that training requires. Weight training especially is stress on the body, so just as we need rest from stress mentally, we need rest from physical stress as well.
  • Overtraining can lead to exhaustion; trouble sleeping; lack of motivation to do ANYTHING, especially going to the gym; and in some cases, lack of menstruation in women (amenorrhea).

So, today I will be doing nothing that involves any kind of activity.

restdayAnd I am starting to be OK with that :-) 

Of Possible Interest:

The Root of Emotions and a Shoulder Workout

RootOfEmotions

“No one has direct power over your emotions except for you.”

I’ve been told this many, many times, but it’s not exactly comforting to me. What if someone is rude to me? What if I’m criticized? What if everything seems to be going wrong and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to control it?

These are all outside factors that have the power to affect us internally. But here’s the key: only if we left it. 

We have no power or control over what happens to us; what others say about us; the words that come out of another person’s mouth, with or without malicious intent. All we have control over is how we react to it. Ultimately, we’re responsible for our own emotions. No one has the power to make us feel sad, happy, guilty, worthless, inadequate, etc. Those emotions are rooted within.

Think of your emotions as a tree. The fruits of the tree are the emotions that you outwardly produce. These emotions stem from deep down in the root of the tree — your heart, your soul, your values. That’s why we’re more likely to talk bad about others if we feel bad about ourselves. Alternatively, we’re more likely to give others compliments and fill them with joy if we’re internally happy.

This is why it’s so important to spend time on self care — giving ourselves love and nurturing ourselves. We can’t take care of anyone else if we’re feeling down about ourselves.

Sometimes (actually most of the time) as I’m writing these posts, it’s like I’m speaking directly to myself. There have been a lot of things going on in my life lately that I’ve let steal my joy and happiness and who I am at the root of my being. I’m producing some rotten fruit because I’ve let outside factors affect the deep-seated roots I’ve worked so hard to build over time.

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with our lives, we need to focus on what’s right with our lives. Negate any negative emotion by replacing it with a positive:

“Joe said I don’t produce good work.” –> “I’m well able to create great work. I am talented in what I do.

“I look fat today.” –> “My self worth is not defined by my appearance. I’m going to focus on the way I love others, my passion and ways I can contribute to make others’ lives better.

“I’m spinning my wheels because I’m taking on too much.” –> “I’m blessed by all the opportunities in my life. Is there anything I can get rid of or spend less time doing so I can have more time to care for myself?

These are easy to say, but you actually have to believe these positive reinforcements in order for change to happen within. And the more you repeat these, the more you will start to believe them. It may take time, but eventually the truth will seep down into the roots of your soul and you’ll begin to produce healthy, beautiful fruit on your branches. :-)

PHEW!!! That was a deep one.

Do you feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders? Not for long ;-)… Physically, at least. This shoulder workout will leave your arms burning and looking sculpted in no time!

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I hope you take some time for yourself today. In the end, you must love and take care of yourself in order to do the same for others.

Love you guys. MEAN IT!

Arms and Abs Workout

Hey, lovelies!

Here’s a killer arms & abs workout that will really make ya feel the pump!

On the sets you’re performing 10 reps, challenge yourself with heavier weights. Also, the cardio can be done on ANY machine, just do 30 sec. at high intensity (about a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10) and 30 seconds medium intensity (4 or 5 on a scale of 1-10). For example, I did this on the Arc Trainer this morning and put my resistance at 45 for 30 sec. and 15 for 30 sec. (the resistance went up to 100). I was a super sweaty mess by the end!

armsandabsday4Happy, happy Thursday!

Leg Workout and One-Word Survey

Happy hump daaaaay!

Can you believe it’s already Wednesday? This week is flying by. Before I know it, I’ll be all moved out of my house and into my condo with my friend Bailey!

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My plans to stay in Orlando have officially been extended. I always pictured myself living elsewhere and even planned to look for work out-of-state when I graduated in December, but God has me here at this time in my life. Don’t know exactly why yet, but I’m going to trust His plan. Can’t argue with the Big Man Upstairs, can I?

Speaking of Florida, shorts season is upon us! (It’s coming soon enough for you too, northerners.) Either way, it’s time to shape and sculpt the booty and the legs! What better time to work our lovely lady (or male) humps than hump day ;-)?

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Annnnd for some Wednesday trivia… Here’s a little survey I found! I used to love surveys back in the day and I still do. The rules for this one? Answer everything in one word. Ready…. GO!

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk

2. Your hair? Natural

3. Your mother? Amazing

4. Your father? Wise

5. Your favorite food? Mexican

6. Your dream last night? Weird

7. Your favorite drink? Water

8. Your dream/goal? Happiness/Joy

9. What room are you in? Office

10. Your hobby? Fitness

11. Your fear? Moving

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy

13. Where were you last night? Gym

14. Something you aren’t? Energized

15. Muffins? Nope

16. Wish list item? Heart rate monitor (oops… three words, one item)

17. Where did you grow up? Orlando

18. Last thing you did? Meeting

19. What are you wearing? Jeans

20. Your TV? Untouched

21. Your pets? Adorable

22. Your friends? Awesome

23. Your life? Changing

24. Your mood? Sleepy

25. Missing someone? Family

26. Vehicle? Toyota

27. Something you’re not wearing? Necklace

28. Your favorite store? Grocery!

29. Your favorite color? Mint

30. When was the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Lastweek (lol sorry for cheating!)

32. Your best friend? Far

33. One place that I go over and over? Gym

34. One person who emails me regularly? Grandma

35. Favorite place to eat? Season’s 52

Now it’s your turn! Answer 1-2 of the questions below, or if you’re a blogger, take the whole survey! Do we have any similar answers? Any completely different?

Love you guys!!!