Does fear of judgment or shame about your body ever keep you from getting out there and breaking a sweat and becoming fit? One of the biggest fitness/health hurdles for so many people is being judged or feeling shame about their body. Because perfectionism has a strong grip on so many of us, you may feel like you have to be perfect at the studio, too.
So many of us are guilty of this. How many times have you passed on a particular class or instructor at Lithe or on a swimsuit because you're "too fat"? The entire first year after I had my son, I refused to buy clothes until I fit into my old ones! Have you passed on a particular sport because of shame?
Check out the video above. Sport England set its This Girl Can campaign to the classic 2001 Missy Elliot jam “Get Ur Freak On." It was created to inspire women to wiggle, jiggle, move, and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome.
1. Your body is your ally
Our bodies change through aging, pregnancy, illness, weight loss, weight gain, the list goes on. One thing we must learn to do is love our bodies before, during, and after. Be loyal to your body and love it. It’s the only one you have! Use it to help you win battles, not create them. The sooner we conceptualize our bodies as allies instead of enemies, the sooner we learn to mend the split between what we want and aspire to be, versus what and who we are.
2. Choose love not fear
Don't let the fear of not being perfect or accepted hold you back from living the life you want. Instead, live your life by loving yourself and others. Going to the studio and popping your hips might feel embarrassing, but fear isn't running your show anymore because you love yourself, right? Six months from now, you'll be surprised how quickly you started Lithing up a storm. You'll also be amazed at your strength and stamina and it’s all because you said goodbye to fear.
3. Don’t let others tell you how much you’re worth
So many of us have a habit of letting other people’s opinion run their feelings and choices. Can you relate? Here’s the thing though: those people don’t know your story. They can never know the depth of your journey or the beauty of your mind, body, and spirit. If people try to tell you otherwise, walk away. When your best supporters tell you that you're awesome, believe it.
4. Slow and steady wins the race
One of the things that can trip you up while getting fit is lack of patience. We do not like to wait for things. You want to give up because it seems too difficult. Try to remember that the course of our life is not a straight path, but a winding one. We all make wrong turns and double back on ourselves. The best thing we can do is not beat ourselves up, but believe that we are worth it. Then just put one foot in front of the other. A Lither recently told me that she started Lithing a few minutes at a time, then 20 minutes, then 60 minutes. Three weeks ago, she completed her first 6x/week since she started three months ago. And it’s all because she stepped into the studio. Set a small goals and try to work at it in small ways every day.
5. Ignore the Competition
It seems counterintuitive, but when setting up for your sweat session, plop your gloves and props down near a mat in the front of the room (you don't have to be in front of the instructor). This helps you focus on YOU instead of others in the room.
6. Character matters
Our bodies take so many shapes during our lifetime. It is our character that matters the most!
7. Chat up your instructors
Let your instructor know that you are nervous, don’t know what to expect, etc. What you perceive as a weakness is actually strength. Asking for help when you need it is hard, but that's how you learn and grow which will improve your practice and break down barriers.
Of course, now the question must be asked — does fear of judgment or shame about your body ever keep you from getting out there and breaking a sweat for your health? Let’s talk about it!
Lithe Instructor Diana K. via Lauren
Spring has (finally) sprung! Spring is the season of new beginnings when nature awakens and the world comes alive. It’s also the time when our bodies come back to life after months of hibernation and heavy eating.
Changes in the weather effect our moods, our bodies, skin, hair, and the clothes we wear. I know that I feel different than I did just one week ago. Being that the pattern of weather really effects us, tapping into its rhythm can guide us towards better living.
Spring is the perfect time to be reborn physically (you're probably moving more these days) and to establish a self-care routine. Self-care doesn’t have to mean a luxurious day at the spa or come with a heavy price tag. It can be very simple. For example, I've been enjoying this Matcha Beauty Tonic every day with my phone and computer turned off.
I love matcha. It provides a delicious nutrient-rich energy boost before and after Lithe. And it has so many amazing benefits. It gives you the zip of coffee without raising your heart rate. It also keeps you satiated and works as a fat blocker by blocking the ability of digestive enzymes to break down fat, a step necessary for fat to enter our cells. So instead of absorbing and storing the fat, it gets passed through the body. Matcha is also rich in chlorophyll, which alkalizes and detoxifes the blood. By increasing its pH, the body has a better chance of getting more oxygen and nutrients to cells for healing. I notice that my skin looks more radiant and I feel revitalized when I drink it.
Spring Matcha Beauty Tonic
1/2 tsp. matcha
Coconut milk to taste
1 tsp. coconut oil
1/4 tsp. ashwagandha (adaptogen/stres relief)
1/4 tsp. reishi (superfood/immune booster)
1/4 tsp. mesquite (superfood/blood sugar stabilizer and protein)
Scoop matcha powder (start at 1/4 tsp. then adjust according to your taste), ashwagandha, reishi, and mesquite into a cup. Fill cup with hot water, and then whisk in the coconut oil and milk until it starts to froth. Cup the bowl in your hands before bringing to your mouth to sip and enjoy!
Images via Celia Ragonese / Antrim + Spruce Photography
A few nights ago around 9PM Jordan snapped this photo of me finally sitting down (my glass of wine was just outside the shot) right after we got Mars to finally go to bed. He said, "Laur, stay right there, the lighting is so good on your face." I actually don't love this photo – I had taught three classes, was half asleep, and my smile was not genuine. I wanted to just stick my tongue out at him and scream.
At the risk of oversharing, I have had a few very difficult weeks. I like to think of myself as a pretty positive, even-keeled person, but the last month has thrown me into total overwhelm mode. I would love to tell you that I have been riding it out gracefully, but I really haven’t. I have not been myself. I’ve been cranky, pessimistic, aloof, and questioning every part of my life.
I put off writing this post because I didn’t want to spread my Negative Nelly vibes across the Internet and into the studios, so I internalized it (I’m really good at that), and then I decided to just do it because I think there is something to be said for sharing my current struggle with you. I would be upset if, from reading the blog or what you read about me, you gathered that I am an invulnerable health and fitness guru who always has it together. Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful life and I can usually juggle a zillion balls in the air, but I am having a messy moment.
I'm struggling with running a company and caring for a child. And I have to tell you that doing it all is totally overrated. I'll be honest, guys, I'm spent. I feel like I need to go to rehab for exhaustion. My life — both work and personal — has changed so much over the past year and the juggle has become more difficult. I've since taken on more staff (salaries to pay), I'm expanding Lithe, and have a few large projects in the future (greater expectations on myself), and I have a child who needs and wants me, but also makes me feel torn.
We currently have a part-time nanny and Mars is in school part-time, so I'm basically a very part-time stay-at-home mom with two full-time businesses. I love having the ability to work from home and be with Mars when he's home but it doesn't really work out, so for the past three-and-a-half years, I worked around the clock, all day, in the evenings while Mars was in bed, on the weekends, and whenever he napped. And now he no longer naps, so things (and stress) started to pile up in every area of my life.
My days are crazy. I teach, train teachers, blog, shoot content for Lithe, FHH, and Lithe Foods, and cook meals for my family. I take Mars to school, soccer, art, and to the playground while checking in with my teams, managing projects and people, developing product, planning, programming, streamlining Lithe, and responding to a gazillion emails (and feeling guilty for being on the phone around him and also feeling guilty for not being there for my staff as much as I should/could).
Sometimes I feel like I may explode over this constant battle of being pulled in a zillion different directions. And I hate the constant combination of being stretched so thin while feeling guilty. I feel guilty that I have to leave work to pick up Mars, I feel guilty when I can't put more time into something at work, I feel guilty when I have to leave Mars, and I feel guilty when I get snippy (or go completely internal) with Jordan because I'm taking my stress out on him. I love my job, I know myself well, and I know that I need (and want) to work, and that my creative brain really thrives when doing so many things. I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I also know that my son will only be little for so long and I want to spend more time with him.
Why am I telling you this? Because people ask me all. the. time how I do it all. I say that I have a stellar team, I try my best, and I pick my battles. There are so many moving parts and I've had incredible success and some amazing failures, but mostly I am a work in progress. I'm still figuring it all out. Oftentimes I find myself pushing and working so hard that I forget to be present. This whole working while parenting experience has made me reevaluate my life. I know that it's okay not to always be okay and right now it feels really good to slow down, be mindful, appreciate idleness, and live in the moment. I hope that my struggle with the juggle helps some of you working (and non-working) moms (and non-moms) out there. We're all in this together!
Image of Lauren via Jordan
Dear Lithe Community,
As some of you have realized, I have had to take a personal leave from Lithe and haven't been in the studio recently. I wanted to share what's been going on with me and also hope that it might inspire you to start your New Year with a fresh perspective like it has done for me.
Earlier this fall, I started to have trouble with my vision. It started gradually, but by November it was quickly deteriorating to the point where I could no longer read, drive, differentiate colors, or see my husband's and daughter's faces clearly. I went to an ophthalmologist about six weeks ago and was sent for an emergency MRI. They found a tumor on my brain that was pressing on my optic nerve, causing the changes in my vision. Making things a bit more complicated, I am also 14 weeks pregnant. The hormones from my pregnancy were stimulating the tumor, which the doctors believe led to my sudden loss in vision. The tumor was thankfully benign, but it was large and growing more quickly because of my pregnancy, so the doctors wanted to move fast.
About three weeks ago, I underwent a craniotomy to have the tumor removed. It was a long procedure that lasted over 10 hours, but fortunately my neurosurgeon was very happy with the removal and everything went well. And, even though I have not had any official testing yet, my vision appears to have fully returned or, at the very least significantly improved, and I can see more clearly than I have seen for a long time. The doctors believed that I was at a serious risk of being permanently blind and had told me that it would be "something of a miracle" to wake up from surgery with my vision fully recovered, so I feel extremely fortunate. I have also had three ultrasounds since my surgery, and my baby is doing well and growing right on track. For these things, in particular, I will forever be grateful.
Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling better and my recovery has gone about as well as it could be. Less than 48 hours after my surgery, I was able to move around, take short walks, and even managed to make it up and down a flight of stairs on my own. My doctors and physical therapists at the hospital were impressed with my strength and stamina after such a major surgery and had told me that it would be a game-changer in my recovery. I am thankful that I am in good shape, and know that it has made such a difference in helping me to overcome so many of the challenges my body has faced since my surgery. In the past, I've worked out with intentions of "fitting into that smaller dress from a few years ago" or "getting bikini-ready for summer", but this experience has helped me to realize how important it is to be active and fit, for no other reason, than to simply be healthy.
When the doctors found my tumor, I was told that I could no longer exercise because they didn't want me straining in any way. While I knew that I would miss it, I was not prepared for the void I would feel by not being active. I miss moving my body, taking walks with and carrying my daughter, and, of course, lithing, more than I could have imagined. For me, it has truly been the hardest part of my recovery; trying to just relax and forcing myself to do less and rest more. Once I return to a more active lifestyle again, I know that I will not take it for granted, and that I have found a much greater appreciation for it.
As anyone can imagine, receiving the news of my initial diagnosis was a life-changing shock for my family and me. And while I definitely can't say that I'm thankful for it, I am grateful for the new perspective it has given me. In the beginning, I kept thinking this can't be for real...this can't be happening. I'm not sure if it's even fully sunk in at this point. It definitely was a jolt that shook me to my very core. How quickly life can change in a matter of seconds. For me personally, it has always been easy to over-think minor details, to let my to-do lists run too long, and to get caught up in "keeping up," to the point where these things take over and cause me a great deal of stress and worry. But in the face of a situation like the one I've just been through, I realize that so much of this doesn't matter and that life is just too short. Now I can appreciate that, at the end of the day, there are very few things that truly matter aside from health, family, and friends. My New Year's resolution is to keep this new perspective in mind each and every day, and to be there for others during their time of need, just as I’ve been lucky enough to have so many people here for me.
I am looking forward to regaining my strength and getting back into the studios and seeing all of you over the next month or two. Wishing you all a very healthy and Happy New Year!
What a great year! Thank YOU for all of your hard work and dedication: We completed 3 challenges, 2 Lithe Escapes, traveled on tour to Seoul, NYC & LA, celebrated a decade in Philly, Welcomed 11 fantastic new instructors (Meredith, Cate, Jen L., Maggie, Jenn B., Annette, Liz S., Kalika, Jonathan, Alicia, Katie B), 3 veteran instructors became Masters, debuted 7 new workouts (Rah, Lithe Beach, Hi-Top, All That, Sideline, Mercy & Lithe Lab), 2 WKND's and have seen the most killer camaraderie and results than ever before! Here's to 2015! Check out some of our favorite posts...
Lithe Escape Jamaica, Lithe WKND, Lithe Escape Tulum, Love Letters, Kristy's Before & After, Lithe Tour Philly, Seoul, NYC & LA, Because I'm Perfect, Lauren's Gym Bag Essentials, Beauty Tips for a tired face, 3 Days to Flat Abs, Lauren for Prevention, Breaking the Mom Cycle, Talking biz with Forbes & Jon Oringer, Fall Transformation Results, Elizabeth Tomkins x Destination Maternity, Lithe Foods x Art In The Age Skinny Heathen series, Sayeh's Living Lithe Tips, Earned in Winter Challenge, Results, T-Minus 30 Challenge, Mission: Lithe, Mama Says, Lithe Spice No.1, Meg G. & Lithe on BLDG 25, love from the Press & Eating Lithe,
Baby, it’s cold outside! As the temps cool down outside, we challenge you to heat things up inside ... We mean in the bedroom, of course. Are you up to it? If so, you and your man will be in good company. Did you know that winter is the season to get it on? A 2008 study found that men are most attracted to women’s bodies in the months of December, January, and February. In particular, December is the most popular month for couples to slide between the sheets.
Before you get it on, come get it on with us first! Why? Because working out actually primes your body for sex. Besides the physiology of increased blood flow (everywhere!), the female body is more responsive to pleasure and physical sensations are experienced more intensely. The take home message: Fooling around isn’t so foolish and your big “O” is even bigger.
Need motivation to step straight from mat to bedroom? Think about this: First, you are putting yourself in the position (pun absolutely intended) to enhance your after-burn: keep busy for at least 30 minutes and you can conservatively add an extra 85-100 calories to your total count (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Second, there is no greater time for a gal to feel better about her body than right after she has just killed it in the studio! Women who feel physically fit think more highly of themselves on levels of sexual attractiveness and performance. When we feel good about ourselves, we’re more confident and less inhibited. This paves the way for spontaneity and creativity …
Third, you already look the part! You know that natural flush in your cheeks after a perfectly satisfying sweat session? This peaks male interest and promotes interpersonal closeness. Lastly, your still-warm muscles and joints allow for increased flexibility and generous range-of-motion. Amen.
Hurry home, though! Your period of increased sensuality only lasts for about 15-20 minutes post-exercise. On that note, don’t bother showering: your natural sheen gives you a dewy complexion, highlights all the right places, and sends pheromones into the atmosphere that will draw your man to you like a moth to a flame.
Lithe Instructor Annette Kaplafka in Target via Dom
Lithe Instructor and trained chef, Danielle Ingerman is debunking common food and nutrition myths by giving you facts about sugar, fat—even comfort food — and more, so you can feel good about diggin' the foods that you love. Danielle is studying to be a Registered Dietitian at Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions. Her favorite class is Micronutrient Metabolism, and she's currently interning at CHOP and at a private practice in Trenton, NJ. I'm thrilled that she's shedding some fresh and passionate "Eating Lithe" insight here on Fit.Hip.Healthy! Today she's talking post-holiday self-care...
It’s the time of year all of us look forward to, the holiday season. Finally we get to put our busy B.S. aside for a moment, spend some time with family (hopefully more pros than cons there), see friends from out of town, and relax a bit. For me and many others, most of those special events revolve around one thing … food. A lot of us look forward to holiday traditions centering around meals and there’s no reason not to. Most of our favorite foods evolve from a feeling, a memory, some emotion that brings us to a place of comfort and happiness. More than what we “crave” our minds take us to an emotional place each time we reach for one of our favorite treats. What I hear a lot and what is expected in the field of dietetics, is that most people use these occasions as cheats. I’m all for holiday gluttony, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit to it, but what I’ve learned to manage over the years is the post-gluttony guilt.
I’ve previously written about how we can be so hard on ourselves when we are trying to clean up our lifestyle, that any bump in the road makes us throw our hands in the air and say we “give up.” I hear women that have lost 50 to 100 pounds come into offices where I work and say after the holiday one thing led to another and they gave up. But then they step on the scale and have only gained 5 pounds. We are SO much harder on ourselves than we even realize. We quickly throw away all of the progress we’ve made based on what we view as a couple of hiccups in our path to wellness. As a future dietitian I am required to say that there ARE tips for avoiding total blackout eating at these times, such as not going into meals hungry, focusing on filling your plate with greens, focusing on the protein, putting your fork down between bites, etc. However, as a food lover and enthusiast, I think I’d like to focus more on the food forgiveness in the holiday aftermath. Enjoy yourself, your holidays, your family and friends. When the workweek hits, get back to your fit.hip.healthy. We are human, not robots, sometimes we really need this time, so take it. Just remember to always take care of yourself and your body. We’ve only got one!
Happy holidays to my Lithe family!
Lithe Instructor Danielle Ingerman via Dom
I can't believe it, but today is my FIFTH wedding anniversary and this morning Jordan gave me this sweet photo (above) of Mars in a frame. Right before I left for Lithe Escape, the two of them went to Love Park and took this picture. I can't believe that they planned it and that Mars kept it a secret! I love all that it stands for.
Five years has seriously flown by and I've never been happier and more grounded. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about commitment in all areas of my life: the level of commitment that it takes to sustain a partnership, a business, a healthy body and mind, being a good mom to my son, eating well, and staying fit. To me, commitment isn't about giving up anything – it all boils down to homing in on what you're going to gain in the long run.
Commitment totally goes hand-in-hand with health and fitness and I believe that you need to be committed in nearly every other aspect of your life to be truly committed to your health. We all know that fitness and healthy living (being fit.hip.healthy) takes time and motivation. I'm motivated by knowing that I am doing everything in my power (most days) to stay committed to being healthy. I think that we can all agree that when you love and look forward to your workout, you really don't require the motivation to stay committed.
If you make your food and fitness fun, it becomes a part of who you are and it will be something that you actually look forward to! For example, my co-workers and I make healthy lunches for each other during the week, so that we stay on track. Since August, I've committed to walking first thing in the morning or during lunch with a friend, so that I can catch up (sexier in six!) with her and cross-train.
One thing that I love to do that translates right down to how we program our schedules at Lithe is map out my own workout and eating schedule for the entire week ahead of time every Sunday. Having a plan keeps me committed and gives me a sense of accomplishment and control.
What do you guys do to stay committed?
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