Spring has sprung. It is finally warm in "Hot"lanta and Chicago. I am sitting by our pool typing this blog while "watching" the Hawks games. (I don’t like sports. Paul does though!) It's not exactly warm enough to swim, but it is amazing sitting out here. Oh yeah, there is a bar and TV by our pool. (When are YOU visiting me??)

 

Spring used to be my least favorite season because I'd feel so uncomfortable in shorts, tank tops, and dresses and hated the idea of wearing a swimsuit. Fall and winter were comfort seasons because I could wear bulky sweaters and extra-long scarves, hide my body, and not feel bad for not working on it. This is probably the first time in my adult life that I haven’t hated spring. I am wearing whatever I want to wear and not worrying about how I look. It is a mix of two things: 1. I’ve lost some weight. 2. I am more confident than ever. Is my confidence from my weight loss? Yes. And also other stuff. Along with the working out and eating well, 1. I’ve dedicated a good amount of time to personal development. You know those cheesy life books people make fun of? Yeah, I read those and listen to those and preach those. And 2. I talk to women who are going through the same things as me. I lead accountability groups where I coach other women on health, fitness, and confidence, AND I still work with my Beach Body coach. And it’s amazing. I still have days every now and then where I feel like crap and have pity parties, but I bounce back a lot faster than I used to. I talk with my coach, and it sets my head straight. I pass that positive energy on to the women I work with. It is amazing to actually team up and work with women rather than feel in competition with them. I’ve found we are all going through similar things with food, exercise, cravings, lack of time, confidence, and body shaming.

So Spring. It’s here. Summer will be here soon. This is about the time we will be inundated with “Bikini Ready” ads. “Bikini Ready” can mean whatever you want it to mean. Can it mean rocking a six pack and strutting your stuff at a pool in Vegas? Sure!  Can it mean wearing a 1 piece and enjoying the family pool? Sure!

I am not one to pass shame on to anyone. There is a lot of shaming that happens on the internet: Fat shaming. Skinny shaming. Busy mom shaming.  Everything in between shaming. If you want a six pack? Cool! There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to change your body. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else says about the goals you have for yourself. If you want to feel confident with how you are now? Cool. I love it. I am 100% with you, and I have some book, podcast, and self-affirmations suggestions I can give you.

Here’s where I am coming from: as I’ve shared my health and fitness journey, I’ve gotten some comments about me wanting to change myself. Not necessarily criticisms. I’m sure they come from love and people just wanting to let me know that what my body looks like does not matter to them. That’s cool.

But what my body looks like does matter to me. I am still working to lose a few pounds and slim a few areas on my body. I am not trying to be extremely SKINNY, and I want to stress that. I am working on my body, my overall health, my happiness, my confidence-ALL OF THAT. I am working on being physically and mentally strong and losing weight in the process. And that’s okay. My goals are for me, and it doesn’t matter what other people think about my goals. Yes, I’ve opened myself to comments and criticism because I am sharing my journey on social media, but I’ve also received a ton of support and encouragement and have had hundreds of conversations with other women struggle with the same things. That’s why I became a coach.

Most of the women I work with come to me because they want to lose 10+ pounds and haven’t been successful with what they’ve tried in the past. And we work on that! We talk a lot about food. I share recipe tips and how to eat healthy without spending a lot of money on food. I also check-in with each of my clients to ensure they worked out and are staying accountable to their goals. BUT…

We can change our bodies and lose a bunch of weight, but if we still hate ourselves, what’s the point? Life should not be about being skinny. Life should be about happiness- our own first and then spreading happiness to other peoples’ lives. I work with women, busy women who are always putting others’ needs first and run out of time for themselves. MOMS, teachers, nurses, social workers, counselors, doctors, lawyers. Women who have time and energy-consuming careers. Here’s the important stuff: I help these women realize that their happiness, their personal goals, and their health are important, and they DO have time for themselves. (And If they don’t, we figure out a way to MAKE TIME. It’s there! We all have 24 hours. It’s just how we choose to use those hours.) When my clients say crap about themselves, about their bodies, about their failures, I call them out on it.  A lot of- “You wouldn’t talk to a friend like that, so why are you saying that about yourself?” When they put everyone else first and forget to take time for themselves, I call them out on that too! We work on weight loss goals AND being a friend to ourselves.

Bikini Ready

What does that mean to me? I have missed out on a ton of pool parties and vacations because I didn’t want anyone to see me in a swimsuit. (Hoover Alum- You may or may not remember that I was on the winning team at the D.A.R.E. game show. We won a pizza and pool party at the CRC. WHHHHHHHHHHAT!!! Ok, so even if you don’t remember, that’s ok. Even in 6th grade, I did not want anyone to see me in a swimsuit and I skipped the pool party. It makes me so sad that 6th grade Jaclyn hated herself so much she skipped a party she helped win.) I never went anywhere in college for spring break. I did go on a cruise one time with friends. Here is the 1 picture of me in a bikini that I didn’t untag.

 

 

And then I have these photos that I don't usually share on Facebook. I bought this yellow string bikini for our trip to Mexico 4 years ago, but I didn’t wear it and still have not worn it out. I am not sure I am a string bikini kind of girl, but I do wear it when I take progress photos. Here is a before and after photo of me. Notice my posture in the first photo. Yeah, I’ve always had a problem with standing up straight. My pediatrician used to make me walk around the exam room and practice my posture. Here is what I love about the second photo: I am standing up tall and flexing because I know I am strong and confident. Well, more confident than the first photo. I am still working on the confidence piece.  

 

Even as an adult in a steady relationship and not looking to attract male attention, I’ve skipped friends’ house parties because of this whole swimsuit issue. I’ve never worn a bikini or any swimsuit and been like “Yeah, I feel good about this decision.” So here’s what “Bikini Ready” means to me this spring. I want to wear a bikini and think, “This was a great decision. I am so happy I am at the pool/beach/whatever and I have little worries about my decision to wear a bikini.” (Or even just a one piece. No shame on one piece suits. I have a super cute one piece swimsuit from last summer that I will be rocking this summer too.) I want to wear a swimsuit and enjoy whatever event I am going to. That’s it.

 

Does that mean I need rock hard abs? No, but I wouldn’t be opposed to them.

Does that mean I need to spend hours in the gym every day? Absolutely not! 30 minutes a day.

Does that mean I can never eat carbs, drink booze, or make desserts? Hells. To. The. No. I plan on eating carbs and dessert every day and drinking every once in a while.  (Sorry guys, I am not much of a drinker!)

Does that mean I can eat whatever I want? No. I am still going to follow my meal plan because eating clean actually makes me feel good. Eating clean helps me stay happy, energized, and confident. Eating clean helps me work on my goals, and the food actually tastes really great.

So what about you? Are you ready to be “Bikini ready”-whatever that means to you? Do you need some help with your goals? Do you need someone to remind you that you are strong, beautiful, and AH-MAZING? Do you need someone to help you stay accountable to your health and fitness goals? Does the idea of a community of women helping you with your goals sound like what you need? 

Here's what you can expect when you work with me as a coach:

+Daily motivational posts and accountability check-ins

+Emails, texts, Facebook messages, and LOVE BOMBS to keep you going

+Flexible meal plan that includes protein, veggies, fruits, CARBS, fat, treats, wine, CHOCOLATE (Learn to eat. Not starve yourself)

+30 Day supply of Shakeology

+Different accountability groups with a range of support starting at $0-$160 a month

 

I’d love to hear from you! Contact me here: http://goo.gl/forms/0OyuzKRuxa

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