Beauty?

Have you ever had a moment when you look at yourself and think you are beautiful? Have you ever had the feeling when you look at yourself and think…UGH, how can anyone find me attractive or desirable? If I am honest, I have had both. There have been many times when I’ve looked at myself and thought…you go girl, you are rockin this day or this color or that workout is really paying off. I have also had many times when I have been so disgusted by what I see in the mirror that it made me sad.

That sadness came from deep within and I didn’t realize it at the time. Instead I just felt it was me seeing what everybody else saw and I didn’t like what I was seeing. I am learning that the feeling of looking at myself and thinking I look bad or ugly or feel unsexy or just ugh…that I am looking at one of God’s creations and I am being mean. How can I or anyone else for that matter look at one of God’s creations and say anything other than it is beautiful?

Don’t get me wrong, we can certainly do something about our weight and our appearance if we choose, but let’s not doubt our true beauty. God created us perfectly in His image and since He did this…we are all unique and perfect. If you want to be thinner, then watch what you eat and workout…but don’t down yourself when you look in the mirror and see a size 14 or 16 when you want to be a size 6 or 8. You are beautiful right now. You are sexy right now. Positivity goes a long long way and I can’t lie and tell you that I haven’t looked at myself in the mirror and talked to myself. I have positively affirmed my beauty, strength, sexiness, happiness, etc. It is ok to want to change, but remember you are a masterpiece no matter how big or small you are.

Psalm 139:13-14
13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Ephesians 2:10
10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Another year older

Today I turned another year older, but it doesn’t feel like it to me. I don’t feel like I have suddenly aged. Have you ever had that feeling or that thought? It is your birthday and yes you realize in your brain that you are getting older, but do you feel it?

Everyone has that “bad” birthday. The birthday where you suddenly realize your numerical age. The age when you look back over your past years and ponder all of the things you have and have not done. Have you hit that age yet? Mine was my 30th birthday. I realized that in my twenties all I did was take care of my home, kids and husband. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that…I felt like I wasn’t in the place I thought I’d be at 30. I had always thought I would have a successful job as a doctor and be highly educated. It dawned on me that I hadn’t accomplished those goals and I suddenly felt a sense of shame and failure. Not only had I not accomplished the goal of being a doctor; my real estate career was dangling by a thread due to the failing economy. They say that those who can endure such hard times will surely succeed. I can attest to this because I saw many of my fellow realtors bail on the industry and many who endured and are now very successful.

Everything happens for a reason and although I truly believe that…it is sometimes very hard to tell my emotions that when going through hardships. It’s hard to tell myself that I will be ok and I will be successful and I will make it through it. There is a ray of sunshine at the end of the dark tunnel.

They say you experience your twenties to discover yourself. It is a time to learn about the “real world.” One of the many articles found on the internet regarding lessons to learn in your twenties…

20 Harsh Life Lessons Everyone Should Learn In Their 20s

I am a late learner apparently. I learned most of these lessons in my thirties. It was hard turning 30. It was so hard that I allowed my emotional messiness to get even worse by indulging in vices such as food, alcohol, obsessive dieting, obsessive exercising. It has taken me a while to realize the many things I have done to my body, mind, spirit, family and even my kids. It is quite sad, but at the same time so refreshing to learn those lessons. In so many ways I actually feel like I am younger. My spirit feels younger than my annual age. My mind feels wiser. It is amazing what going through those hardships have taught me.

Yes I am another year older, another day wiser and another minute blessed. Now I am a successful personal trainer, aerobics instructor, nutritionist and bodybeach coach. I am a mom to 2 great kids and wife to a great man. I have my dream job and love my family with all of my heart. Thanking God for ALL He has done for me over the past 38 years and looking forward patiently to all He has planned for the next years to come.

Jeremiah 29:11  New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

Taking responsibility!

Responsibility is a big term and one I have often misinterpreted. I’ve always felt that at the end of the day, I’ve taken responsibility for my actions or lack thereof. Umm…it turns out that I didn’t understand the definition of the word. There are actually 3 definitions according to Merriam-Webster…

Responsibility – 1) The state of being the person who caused something to happen, 2) A duty or task that you are required or expected to do, 3) Something that you should do because it is morally right, legally required, etc.

“To Blame” – is to place fault. I got those two definitions confused and found fault in everything I did rather than accepting responsibility. I accepted fault. Let that sink in for a moment. It took me a while to grasp the concept. I am responsible for maintaining my health, I am responsible for cleaning my house, I am responsible for my actions towards others, I am responsible for my job and business growth. Being responsible for something means that it is your duty to achieve what it is you expect or desire of you in all areas of your life. That is truly a hard concept. In many ways it makes me feel like I am responsible for my current status in life. My thoughts, words and actions have ultimately molded my life in some form or fashion.

In my faith I have not diligently sought God. I have not consistently maintained my daily devotional and prayer to Him. I am responsible for this and in order to change my relationship with God, I must take the necessary actions.

In my family, I have not spent the quality time with them enjoying their presence. I have not attended my children’s sports as much as I’d like. I have often felt under appreciated and acted in a mean or unhappy way. I have yelled when the house is a mess or when the kids do something wrong or when my husband doesn’t tell me things he’s done or planning to do. In order to create an atmosphere in my home which is pleasant and spend quality time with my family…I must take action.

In fitness, I have spent entirely too much time running and working out that it at one point was an obsession. I was burnt out and worn down physically. There is a fine line between healthy fitness habits and obsessive fitness habits. I had to take action in order to achieve the health I desire.

“Leadership is taking responsibility while others are making excuses.” – John Maxwell

Using a vice in order to run away or cope with emotional meltdowns or responsibilities has been an issue of mine. I know that drinking wine only made those situations worse and made others arise. I always blamed myself and accepted fault after a drunken episode, but actually taking responsibility didn’t happen until recently. You see, taking responsibility means that you have an obligation to change. In order to accept responsibility, I have to own that it is up to me to make changes so things are different in the future. I am not saying that issues won’t come up where I may want to drink, but how I respond to those issues is my responsibility.

Once I realized the difference between responsibility and blame…my entire outlook changed. I realize that responsibility is actually a gift. It is the opportunity for me to objectively look at a situation and see how my actions may effect an outcome. It is my ability to take ownership and control of how I think and act to any given situation. It is a lifestyle change. Doesn’t that sound great? Are there situations or areas in your life that could use some tweaking?

“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” – John Maxwell
Luke 10:27 – And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Proverbs 28:13 – He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy.

 

Why fitness?

Becoming a fitness instructor was one of my dreams as a young adult. I had gained so much weight during my first pregnancy and then I kept the majority of that weight even after she was born. 56lbs was what I had gained. For a 5’1 small build girl, that was entirely too much. Below is a link with a chart of what a woman should approximately gain during pregnancy based on height and beginning weight. My beginning weight was 111lbs.

https://www.johnmuirhealth.com/health-education/health-wellness/pregnancy-breastfeeding/weight-gain-during-pregnancy.html

Once I realized the weight was not going to come off by itself and after having a pulmonary embolism, I decided to begin aerobics classes. It was horrible at first. I could barely keep up with what the instructor, who was almost twice my age, was doing. The first class I had ever taken was step, then cardio kickboxing. I enjoyed both even though I was fairly certain I looked like Goldie Hawn’s character in the movie Housesitter. At first, I wasn’t losing any weight and I was discouraged to say the least. I was told that being a woman in my early twenties I should have no problem losing the weight and the skin going back to normal. HAHAHA! I guess those rules didn’t apply to me. It took about 2 months of going to classes for 6 hours a week before I saw the scale move. What a victory!!! Then the weight began to come off quickly, for a while. I went from a size 12 to a size 8. Then I had to change things up and look at my diet and add some toning (with weights) exercises into my workout plans. It took a year to lose the weight, but I did it and went down to a size 0 weighing in at 100lbs.

The fact that I lost the weight with the help of instructors teaching classes is what made me want to become an instructor myself one day. I wanted to help people avoid gaining such weight and having such health scares as a pulmonary embolism. I wanted to help people lose weight they had gained and feel the freedom of movement without getting winded like I had. I wanted to help people feel better about themselves and not have people whispering about them when they ate their food. (Yes, this happened to me when I was overweight and it is just horrible) And of course, I wanted to make a career out of helping people.

Weight is just one small factor in fitness. Exercise and diet are ways to help the physical body become healthier and more fit. We don’t have to do everything all at once. I learned that although it takes a short time to put the weight on, it takes a long time to take it off in a proper way. There is no magic pill or magic shake. I tried it all from Hydroxycut to slimfast…those did not work for me. The only things that worked for me was exercise and diet. Even when I plateaued, the change in my diet and the change in my exercise routine is what helped me reach my goals. Take it one day at a time and get the encouragement of others through a group. Studies show that women lose more weight and become more fit when they are in a group…https://news.illinois.edu/blog/view/6367/204477

Here are some more interesting weight loss tips and facts according the womens running magazine. I found this to be very interesting…http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/03/training-tips/weight-loss-fact-fiction_35726

I am not a doctor, but I am a fitness professional and I have been overweight and physically unhealthy. Life is hard being overweight and it is hard to make healthier choices…choose your hard. Whether you have the time to go to a gym and take a one hour workout class or do a 30 minute workout video in your home. There are options available to meet your time constraints. There are programs to help you monitor your food portions. There are so many resources available. You can choose an option that best suits your needs. If you need help, ask.

Here is a link to my beachbody site just to give you some options…

 Team Beachbody® Coach Brandy Alewine | BeachbodyCoach.com/BALEWINE
Welcome to my Team Beachbody® Web site. As your Team Beachbody Coach, I can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Please look around my site, and if you have any questions, click the “Contact me” button.
beachbodycoach.com

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”  3 John 1:2

Finding Faith AGAIN! 

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Psalm 118:6

A LOT! God gave us free will and we make choices that not only hurt ourselves, but others. I once had such a strong steadfast faith that I trusted God completely. I prayed often and leaned on His word. Then the unthinkable happened and my life forever changed. I knew it was changing and tried to refuse it and fought it with my every breath. It was heart wrenching. That is when I began to lose my trust in God. I turned away from Him and leaned on vices such as drinking, running and eating.

Like so many of us sinners, I saw it wasn’t working and began leaning on God again. Praying, seeking Christian counseling, studying His word and leaving the vices behind. Nothing I did saved my marriage. My prayers went unanswered and once again I turned from God. I was so angry and confused. The drinking, eating and an obsession with exercise began. Honestly I was in a downward spiral and turning from God at almost every moment. How could I trust God after all that happened? Did He not see the pain the kids and I were going through?

Then, many years later, an amazing man walked into my life. A man I had prayed for all during this time of turning from God. Yes, I still prayed even without trusting Him. Maybe I was just angry or battling demons or both. I am not saying my now husband “saved” us or anything, but that God was hearing my prayers & He was faithful. Looking back on my struggles I think there had to be a reason the kids and I went through it all. I can see the many times God was present and protecting the kids and I from many other hardships and turmoil which could’ve happened. He held us and hasn’t stopped. Maybe this blog is one small reason we went through that time in our lives? Maybe the struggles will resonate with someone and help them in their journey?

Finding faith again has been a journey within itself. I’m not sure I ever completely lost faith, but waivered. I prayed but I also tried to take matters into my own hands and when that failed…I wanted to run away from the emotional consequences.

I have been and hopefully will continue to make healthier choices physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am human and I am a sinner. I am stronger and a little wiser than I was and am surrounded by His love. He is slowly covering the holes left in my soul and I am learning to trust more each day. Through my small group and my beachbody family, I am discovering who I am in God’s eyes. I am learning that my struggles are other people’s struggles too and we can all help each other. Emotions take their toll on us and we often eventually act out in one way or another. Whether we eat, drink, exercise, or partake in some other vice…it more often than not comes from our emotional struggle. We can help each other get through these times and we can have Faith in our Father. Maybe if we give it to Him and talk with others who understand…then we can survive and possibly even thrive to our full potential. I am on board. Jump on board with me!

“Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” – Ephesians 3:17

 (A picture of me prior to discovering my ex husbands cheating, but knowing something was going on. Weighing 125lbs)  

Ain’t nobody got time for that! 

People think that since I am a fitness professional that I am automatically motivated to workout. HA!!! That must be a mask I wear well. Lol!

The truth? It takes a lot for me to be motivated to workout for myself. Unless I’m trying to run away from an emotional meltdown or burn off the calories ingested from an emotional meltdown…I have to talk myself into the task.

Run 5 miles? Weight lift? There are so many other ways I could spend my time. I have 2 kids who love going to the movies and playing games. I have friends who enjoy shopping and eating. I always have work, whether it’s going over a clients file or prospecting for new clients and of course there’s the never ending household tasks. Finding time to workout is just as difficult for me as it is for anyone else. My schedule may be a little more flexible (I mean my office is a gym), but it’s still hard to find the time and make myself do it.

There are days when I just want to be lazy. It’s like my body or my mind is done and it would just be easier to snuggle up with hot chocolate and a book or a lifetime movie. Let’s face it, we’ve all had those days. Here are a few motivational tips…

  1. Talk yourself into getting dressed for the workout. Once you’re dressed, you’re more likely to do it.
  2. Have a workout plan already prepared. If it’s a 2 mile walk, a 30 minute video or a half marathon. Preparation is key.
  3. Visualize the sweat, the feeling after and the results you want.
  4. Have a playlist ready to go with music that energizes you.
  5. Have an accountability partner. Whether it’s your coach, a friend or a family member. Accountability is what will make you do the workout you did not want to do and push you to do your best when you want to be mediocre.

If you miss a day, don’t sweat it. So many times I tear myself down or beat myself up (so to speak). It’s not worth it. It only gets you down on yourself and then you won’t want to do it the next day because you already feel defeated. Each day is a new start. Each day is a new opportunity to work towards what you want. I promise you the one workout day that you miss isn’t going to ruin your plans unless you let it. Make it a priority and mark in your calendar so the time is already set aside. Nobody has time for something they don’t want to do. It’s kind of funny that I always make time for things I want to do, but when it comes to daunting tasks such as household chores or working out…I often procrastinate. Don’t procrastinate. Make your health a priority. You only get one body. Make time to take care of it.  😉

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:26-27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”

 

 

Why get real?

Is there really any other way to be in life other than being real with yourself? If you hide yourself from the world then aren’t you really hiding from yourself too? God has recently introduced two life altering opportunities for me. One is a bible study with a great group of women which touches on emotions and insecurity. The second is a beachbody coaching life which has shown me that we can be who are in the moment and have faith in who we are going to be in the future.

“So long Insecurity,” by Beth Moore is the book we are studying in my small group. While both men and women share many of the same insecurities, we talk about women because it is a woman’s group. Loss, rejection, personal limitations, dramatic change, instability, personal temperament, pride and our cultural pressures are all topics we discuss. For me, it has been like peeling an onion or cutting an onion open. Each insecurity is a layer opening up and tears fall. It has been like a spotlight placed on my inner most being and I am finally seeing things for the first time. Through these discussions, readings, journaling and prayer…I am finding that so many of us deal with these issues. We are not alone! Isn’t that comforting? Beth Moore wrote a whole book on it and millions are buying it and identifying with it. That means tons of us are in this boat of life and have much of the same messes. YAY!

Beachbody coaching has exposed me to a whole new world. Men and women are exposing themselves and their vulnerabilities publicly. They are showing the world that they have struggles and they have successes. The beachbody world has support groups encouraging one another to reach their goals. They have faith in one another. What? No tearing each other down? No comparing one to another? If so, I haven’t seen it yet. All I have seen is the great support of people showing love and lifting one another up. It is truly eye opening and has been life changing for me. Sure, I have a story of when I was a larger woman. A story of when I was overweight and I will blog about that later. But more importantly I have an emotional story and at the root of all of my eating, exercising and drinking is insecurity and emotions. There are reasons I reach for the pizza, bag of chips, have running binges and drink that glass (or bottle) of wine. I am an emotional mess. I feel like there are more people like me out there. If we can get to the root of our comforts and needs for these vices then I believe we can kick them to the curb! Being healthy isn’t just about eating, exercising or drinking water. It is about so much more.

Faith, family and fitness are my core. My faith has been tested more times than I can count but it is still at the forefront of my life. My family means the world to me and I would do anything for them. Fitness is my passion and something I love. These things are why I am getting real. God only made one of me, I might as well be the person he made me to be. I have to be real with myself to be right for God and my family. This is why I have publicly exposed my vulnerabilities and although I feel completely naked…I also feel it is what I am supposed to do. God says one matters. If I can help one person, then I have done a great thing.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

 

 

 

Almost alcoholic?

Am I an alcoholic? I have asked and many times continue to ask myself this question. How does someone even become an alcoholic? What is an alcoholic? According to Merriam-Webster it is someone with a medical condition in which someone frequently drinks too much alcohol and becomes unable to live a normal and healthy life.

Aahhh, finally I see I have a medical condition and this can be treated, right? One problem, this was not me. I lived a very normal life. I ran, taught classes, worked a full time and part time job, I took care of a house, I took care of my two kids, I paid my bills, I had friends and often went to events or dinners…

Unless I was suffering from a major drinking binge; I was normal. If I am honest, I did not see anything wrong for a long time. I knew many people who had drank too much on many occasions. I was kidding myself! I had a problem. I was and still am what I will call an “almost alcoholic.” I enjoyed using alcohol to end a hard day or to numb the pain when I could. It became even worse when I was moody or sad. I have issues and alcohol is a vice in which I have used. Ever heard of binge eating? What’s the disorder for drinking too many sodas in a day? Can you sleep too much? I am not at all minimizing the issue I have with alcohol. I am simply stating there are many vices out there in this crazy world. Heck! I even used exercise as a vice! Yep, we can use that as a vice too and believe it or not even that can be unhealthy!

Too much exercise can lead to injuries, exhaustion, depression, and suicide. It can also cause lasting physical harm. Your adrenal gland, pumping out hormones as you pound the pavement, can only produce so much cortisol at a time. Suddenly, the heartbeat you’d lowered to a resting 48 is up to 80. You now run for two hours, then three hours.  – according to webmd.com for full article please follow link below.

http://www.webmd.com/men/features/exercise-addiction

Food Addiction? Scientists believe that food addiction may play an important role in obesity. But normal-weight people may also struggle with food addiction. Their bodies may simply be genetically programmed to better handle the extra calories they take in. Or they may increase their physical activity to compensate for overeating. – again according to webmd and you can read that full article below.

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder/mental-health-food-addiction

The final article I am going to encourage everyone to read is also on webmd.com. I have found this site to be a massive magnificent source of information. It is an interesting read on what I am calling the “almost alcoholic.” I don’t have a disease, but I do have a problem.

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20141120/many-people-who-drink-a-lot-arent-alcoholics-cdc

Maybe we tend to categorize too much? I know I certainly do. If I did not fit in the category of alcoholic then I assumed I did not have an issue. WRONG! It has taken me years and now a year of therapy to finally see this revelation. Please do not wait to fit into a category. God made us as individuals. Your issue may not be someone else’s category, but it just might be a page in someone else’s book. I am not healed, but I am not chained. Your issue may not be mine, but you too can be free. Healthy is not a destination, it is a life journey. I am on my journey. Do you want to be on yours?

Ephesians 5:18 – And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

 

 

Coming Clean

I have never actually been open and told my story. Being a wife and mother of 2 always has it’s challenges. Finding my husband cheating on me presented a whole new set of challenges. I went through stages of depression. Who wouldn’t after finding her husband cheating with a 17 year old? I was devastated. I managed to get by with my Heavenly Father’s gracious support and the support of my family and friends. You find out who your true friends are when you go through something like that too, at least I did. The emotions of going through a divorce didn’t really hit me until afterwards. It was as if my body just kept going through the motions of every day life and my heart was on some sort of hiatus. I was a runner and enjoyed races and aerobics classes prior to the divorce and honestly running helped me a lot. I would pretend I was running away from all of the messiness of life. Ha! You can’t run away! It catches up to you, at least it did me.

I began coping by drinking wine and eating food and running. Sounds counterproductive doesn’t it? It was, but those were my comforts. I worked my butt off everyday at several jobs just to provide the basics for my kids. Child support was short and far between in those early days and I couldn’t hide from the financial stresses and the insecurities and pain that came from the divorce. I sound pathetic, but I am not. I know I am not alone.

The divorce caused me to eventually become someone I never thought I could. An insecure woman who drank too much and became the forever victim.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I gave consent. I gave into every horrible demeaning thing said to me by my ex husband, my parents, and anyone else. I became a victim and believed I was a lost cause. I drank. I ran. Sometimes I ate.

Unfortunately for me and for my kids, friends, family and my now husband…the booze drinking didn’t stop when I got remarried. A whole new set of insecurities and issues arose and I continued to cope, or rather not cope. I am embarrassed for all I have done and that is for a whole different post. The point of this one is to come clean and tell you that you can be skinny and look like you have it together and not have it together at all. The point is to tell you that unhealthy has many different looks and many different challenges.

It is ok to have a breakdown and it is ok to feel and it is ok to not have it all together. None of us have it all together. Just don’t use a vice while having your breakdown. Drinking and exercise are not unlike food. Too much of anything can become a vice. It did for me. I can’t say that I am cured of these vices. I am free of them. I am not using them and I am committed to keeping it that way. I will never have it all together and life will always happen, but I am committed to remaining healthy even in the wake of pain. Take the commitment with me if you see that you can relate. We don’t have to be chained. We can change our lives for the better. With the Lord by my side, I will be healthy and happy.

Romans 12:2 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.