Don’t Let The Mirror Steal Your Joy

Real talk tiiiiiiime.

Last week, I completed a fun workout outside. I think it was this one:

5 rounds
  • run the cul-de-sac (~200m)
  • 60 sec squat jump with knee up twist (15#)
  • 60 sec v-ups
  • 60 sec down dog spiderman pushups
  • 60 sec reverse lunge with kick (30#)
  • 30 sec side plank right
  • 30 sec side plank left

It involved running, so you know I felt extra accomplished when I finished. I was hot and tired, but I also felt energized and strong.

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But then I looked in the mirror, and all of a sudden I didn’t feel as satisfied with my workout anymore. I honestly think I’d been watching too many Crossfit videos that weekend, so all I had been looking at were bodies like Stacie Tovar’s:

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I’m obviously not as fit as a Crossfit Games athlete (or almost any Crossfitter, for that matter), but when I looked in the mirror, I subconsciously compared my body to fitter, leaner bodies.

And that stole my joy.

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We’ve talked about the comparison trap 1000000 times on this blog, but it never seems to fade away (for me at least). Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that I am in a healthier place than ever, mentally. But it’s still important to realize that aspiring for thinness OR fitness can be dangerous (← great article from Spoon University).

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In other words, aspiring for another person’s body (seeing someone else’s body as #goals) is denying yourself the opportunity to realize the amazing things about your body and what you can do.

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If I let myself define my workouts by how I look afterwards, I will end up miserable, and working out will become merely a means to an “end”— to have a certain physique (which is actually not an end because physical aesthetic alone is never fulfilling IMHO).

This doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t set goals, but I think there’s a difference between setting goals to be like someone else and setting goals to be the best version of yourself at this stage in your life.

Even with that perspective though, how can you tell what “your best” is? Am I not doing “my best” right now just because I’m not pushing myself to lift the heaviest weights possible, to run more, or to eat less sugar? Maybe. But I’m going to say that I am doing my best, because I have other priorities ahead of fitness (that is, fitness that goes above and beyond basic fitness for health) towards which I devote my time and energy as well.

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Since I’ve been working out when I feel like it and in a way that feels right for my body on each day, I’ve truly come to love working out. When I started this blog almost three years ago, I probably said that I loved working out, but I don’t think I truly did. I was still forcing myself to work out when I didn’t want to and to do workouts that were way too intense for what I needed that day.

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throwback to when I went to New York Sports Club in high school

This also doesn’t mean that you should never work out if just because you don’t feel like it. However, if there is one Pinterest quote I am willing to share over and over again, it’s this one:

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So cheers to moving and grooving…

…whether that’s running or walking…push-ups on your knees or clapping push-ups…air squats or heavy squats.

…whether you have a cut six-pack or a “muffin top” with those spandex capris…a perky butt or a cellulite-dimpled butt…biceps or no biceps (I happen to have the latter on all three of these)…

Don’t let the mirror steal your joy. Let exercise itself be your jam, not just “the body” (whatever that is to you).

So tell me:

Have you ever let the mirror steal your joy after a workout?

Other thoughts! 

Being Extraordinarily Ordinary

Do you ever have those days where you feel a little too proud that you were able to accomplish the most basic tasks?

For instance, sometimes I feel overly accomplished when I can do things such as…

  • get out of the house on time instead of three minutes late
  • remember to put the trash on the curb
  • park between the lines on the first try
  • make a doctor’s appointment
  • answer an email right away (I’m skeptical/in awe of anyone who answers all emails right away all the time)
  • manage to ease the brakes and come to a beautifully smooth stop in the car (even though no one is in the car with me, so it’s not like I care)

Yes, it is something to be grateful for that I can do these things in the first place (car, home, opportunities, hooray). But I’m talking about the fact that on some days, I feel like giving myself a pat on the back for doing these absolutely ordinary things.

Like, why?

Let me backtrack a little bit.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had dreams of being a superstar of sorts. When I figure skated, I wanted to be the next Michelle Kwan. When my brother won the school geography bee, so did I. When I was in middle school, I wanted to write songs and be like Miley Cyrus (LOL). When I danced, I wanted to be like Alvin Ailey dancers. When I read some of my favorite blogs that have become so successful, I want to improve my blog to maybe become like theirs. When I see people doing handstands on Instagram, I want to be able to do a press handstand, like, yesterday.

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[source]

The point of me sharing my deepest darkest secrets (not really) is to exemplify our desire to be extraordinary. According to dictionary.com, the definition of extraordinary is:

exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.; noteworthy; remarkable

And who doesn’t want to be any or all of those things?

I’m generalizing here, but I think when most people consider an extraordinary person, they think of someone who can do what the majority cannot do, or someone who possesses what the majority does not. Therefore, by nature of the word, not all of us can be extraordinary on a large scale.

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excuse the language, but this made me laugh

However, as I have matured (slightly), discovered more about myself, and learned to love who I am, I have accepted that maybe I can just be extraordinarily ordinary.

That sounds like it’s coming straight out of a sob story, but I mean this in the best possible way.

How would I define “being extraordinarily ordinary”? I would define it as going about my daily activities and endeavors with my best effort, a willingness to improve, and a greater purpose.

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Of course, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice are involved in becoming extraordinary. The saying goes something like: If you set your mind to it, you can do it. But I kinda need to tell myself that every day for the littlest things.

I don’t have to be “extraordinary” at anything in particular. I don’t even have to be good at ordinary tasks all the time (um, someone help me learn how to pay taxes…and stuff). I just have to do little things with a purpose in mind, no matter how insignificant the purpose may seem in the grand scheme of things. In God’s time, being extraordinarily ordinary can turn into being extraordinary.

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[source]

A lot of the improvement, discovery of self, and truly joyful moments happen when no one is paying attention— when you’re just being an ordinary human (cue this song). That’s where being extraordinary starts anyway.

So tell me:

Do you relate!? Am I the only one who sometimes feels accomplished for doing the most minuscule things right?

How can you be extraordinarily ordinary? I try to pick a personal development goal to work on each day (ex: holding my tongue when I want to be snappy, meditating, smiling more, conversing with more people, etc.).

Boston-Bound + Fascinating Friday Links #41

I’ll try not to be dramatic…

…But this is the last post I’m posting from my New York home before I go to Boston. From now until Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting from college— sometimes via ethernet cord, sometimes from a library, often when I’m procrastinating work. YAY!

I’m moving in on Monday, but I actually don’t start classes until September 2nd. Next week I’m participating in a volunteer program for freshmen called FYSOP➔ First Year Student Outreach Project. It’s an optional program during which you get to volunteer in a certain focus area with some of the current Boston University students and of course, fellow first-year students.

My roommate and I are both doing the “Hunger” focus area (hmmmm…wonder why I chose something relating to food), which explains the #NOMaste I posted at the end of this week’s WIAW. They want us to use that hashtag along with #KungFoodFighting on social media. I love these people already!

So that’s what I’ll be doing this coming week. I’ll do my very best to update you all on what I’m doing and eating sometime! If you don’t hear from me though, you’ll know what’s happening.

Alrighty! I’ll catch ya on the flip side, but in the meantime, check out some of these awesome links from the blog world!

Since there is a slim chance I will be doing these Fascinating Friday Links every week from now on, I’m making this week’s roundup slightly longer! (I also just found a ton of great links I needed to share with you all.)

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Health and Fitness

[Assess your workouts] Top 5 Reasons Your Workout Isn’t Working via Eating Bird Food

[Drastic restriction just does not end well] This is What Dieting Does To Your Body via Better With Sprinkles

[Drop it lowwww] 40 Squat Variations You Need to Try via Greatist

[Core strength is essential] 5 Core Exercises That Will Take Your Adventures to the Next Level via Sierra Social Hub + Your Trainer Paige

[For mind and body] 6 Easy Ways to Be Healthier via I Heart Vegetables

[We all wonder this at some point] WTF Does It Really Mean to “Listen to Your Body?” via Greatist

[Move and groove] 30 Minute Dumbbell Workout via Your Trainer Paige + Dumbbell Circuit Workout with 10 Min. HIIT via Fit Foodie Finds + Cardio Core Circuit via Run Pretty

Food for Thought

[“Yes” isn’t always good for us] The Small But Soul-Crushing Word You Use Every Day via Goins Writer

[Life.] 25 Things to Remember When Life Gets Tough via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[You absolutely cannot judge a book by its cover] Rethink Homelessness via LifeBuzz

[Fitness for life, not looks] Fitness Isn’t About Building a Better Body, It’s About Building a Better Life via Peanut Butter Fingers

[For new moms and dads] 12 Things I’ve Learned in My First Year of Parenting via Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Food for Belly

[Who wouldn’t like these?] Healthy Cookie Dough Bites via Yeah…Imma Eat That

[Heck yes] Gluten-Free Peach and Oat Pancakes via Cookie and Kate

[Flaaaavor] Garlic Butter Salmon with Caramelized Shallot Relish via How Sweet It Is

[Brunch at its finest] French Toast with Pear Chutney and Mascarpone via Pinch of Yum

[All of it] 9 Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipes That Are Totally Easy to Make via Greatist

Miscellaneous Fun

[So…don’t go to a club?] Admit It: Clubbing is LAME via Youtube

[For real?!] Can You Grow Oats at Home? via Kath Eats Real Food

[Gotta get me some mason jars] Ways To Use Mason Jars in the Kitchen via The Lean Green Bean

[Build a business] How to Grow Your Blog and Make Money via Peanut Butter Fingers

Ta ta for now, folks!

 

Fascinating Friday Links #36

Hey!

The AP Bio exam is today at 12PM, which is good because I got to sleep in, and not so good because…I have to take the test. But once this AP is done, a great weight will be lifted off our shoulders— LAST AP EVER.

I guess I haven’t been sharing my moves with you much this week, so here’s what I’ve been doing:

Monday: 5 min row + TRX arm workout (something like this or this) + random ab exercises + plank

Tuesday: rest + Blogilates

Wednesday: rest + some burpees and walking in there

Thursday: ~60 air squats, pushups, and sit-ups (I had been chipping away at the 100 challenge while studying) + modern dance class

Friday: We shall see!

Alrighty then! While I’m scavenging my noggin for my knowledge on cells, DNA, and evolution, you can all read some of this week’s Fascinating Friday Links. Enjoy!

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Health and Fitness

[Healthy eating doesn’t have to make your wallet cry] Healthy and Affordable Pantry Staples via Kath Eats Real Food + Veg Girl RD

[Don’t underestimate the dumbbell] 5 Dumbbell Moves You Should Do via Nutrition Nut on the Run

[Get the most out of your lower body workouts] Tips For Lower Body Training via Fitnessista

[Group fitness etiquette] Confessions of a Group Fitness Instructor via Snack Therapy

[Just don’t trust what cardio machines say] Mythbusting: The “Fat Burning” Zone via The Skinny on Health

[Fuel and refuel] 50 Awesome Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks via Greatist

[Move and groove] Squat Overload Leg Workout via Peanut Butter Fingers + Wild and Crazy 15 Min AMRAP via Purely Twins + Core and Cardio Interval Circuit Workout via Your Trainer Paige

Food for Thought

[We attack looks because it’s the easiest thing to do. That needs to change.] Stop Attacking Looks, Start Attacking the Problem via Olive to Run

[Not a perspective we often see] What It’s Like to Wait Until Your Wedding Night via Perfection Isn’t Happy

[I can relate] Things to Never Say to a Person With Anxiety via The Lunchbox Diaries

[Getting from “pseudo-recovery” to “true recovery”] Choosing True Recovery via The Story of a Girl

[It takes time to develop a strong relationship] 9 Things Happy Couples Never Think via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[“Prayer works”] Humans of NY Photo on Instagram

Food for Belly

[Cheeeeeese] White Pizza Quinoa Casserole via Edible Perspective

[5-star restaurant status] Crispy Avocado Wedges with Crab Salad via Family Fresh Cooking

[Brownie love] Coconut Brownies via Two Peas and Their Pod + Banana Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting via Taste and Tell

[Need to make these] Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars via Oh She Glows

[Genius] Waffle Iron Eggs via Weelicious

[Can someone make this for me?!] Gluten Free Carrot Cake via The Healthy Maven

[Oh.] Grilled Lobster Tails with Sriracha Butter via Fifteen Spatulas

[Want this so badly] Coconut Chai Ice Cream via Minougirl

[Red, white, and blue] 30 Light Memorial Day Recipes via Skinnytaste

 

Miscellaneous Fun

[Bloggers] Food Photo Tip for Capturing Motion via Edible Perspective + How to Start a Blog via Running with Spoons + Social Media for Newbie Bloggers via The Healthy Maven

[Important skill] How to Choose a Perfect Avocado via According to Elle

[“Reverse progress” can mean a happier person] This Fitness Gained 14 Pounds and She’s Never Felt Better via Greatist

[Inspiring, especially for an ex-running-hater like me] My Journey: Becoming a Runner via Nut Butter Runner

[Also inspiring and so funny (her running buddy is my brother!)] The Real Life of a Newbie Runner Part 2 via I Think In Comics

Hope you enjoyed some of these links! Happy Friday, and I hope my fellow Americans have an awesome Memorial day weekend!

So tell me:

What are your plans for this weekend? 

We’re going to visit Ben on Sunday!

Which links did you enjoy?

 

 

 

 

 

Fascinating Friday Links #35 + Hunger Monster

Hiya!

(HIGH-ya, not hi-YAH! Although, I am a ninja, so I guess the latter would be appropriate too.)

I really wanted to have Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie this morning, but since our AP Calc class is having a celebratory breakfast party today (seriously, that class is just about food from here on out), I decided to have the smoothie for dinner last night. Satisfied the craving. 🙂

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Using Amanda’s no-fail recipe with added spinach, ⅓ c. oats instead of ¼ c., and peanut butter instead of almond butter. With Greek yogurt on the side for dipping, of course.

*Adding this at 5:30 in the morning: Apparently, as filling as this smoothie was, I guess it was not calorically sufficient for me, considering I just woke up STARVING at 5 AM. That hasn’t happened in a long time! (Don’t fret—I’m not revisiting any old habits. I just wanted the smoothie last night, and I’m paying the price for such a light dinner.)

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The typical snack. Plus another spoonful of peanut butter after I finished this. The hunger monster attacked me.

{Alright, back to sleep…hopefully}*

Oh and here are this week’s moves!

Monday: 5 min. stair master + 3 rounds of: 10 pistol squats each leg, 15 bulgarian split squats each leg, 1 min. wall sit, 25 hamstring ball roll-ins + 8 minute ab tabata

Tuesday: Ballet

Wednesday: 5 min. row + arm workout (that involved TRX tricep extensions➔ soreness!) + 8 minute ab tabata

Thursday: Modern {dance}

Friday: Dance company auditions for next year. Current company members do not have to re-audition, but we still have to go to lead my example! So sad that this is the last one for seniors though… *Tear*

My mom cancelled my gym membership this week, so I have one more month left to attend. It works out well because dance will be ending by the beginning of next month too, so after that, I can truly just focus on REST!

Anyway, onto the link love. Enjoy this week’s Fascinating Friday Links!

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Health and Fitness

[Stress could be the culprit] Is Stress Sabotaging Your Health and Fitness Goals? via Your Trainer Paige

[Because there is nutrition advice EVERYWHERE] Why Registered Dieticians Are The Best Source of Nutrition Advice via Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen

[I need these] 3 Running Mantras That Work Every Time via Greatist

[But if you don’t want to run…] 5 Metabolic Interval Conditioning Workouts (Without Even Stepping On the Treadmill!) via Your Trainer Paige

[Awesome tips] How to Stick With Your Workouts: Tips From Consistent Exercisers via Carrots n Cake

[Plants don’t get enough credit for their protein content] What’s The Deal With Protein? via The Real Life RD

[Move and groove] HIIT the Hill Workout via Fitnessista + TRX Circuit Workout via Peanut Butter Fingers + 12 Minute Interval Workout with an Equalizer via Purely Twins

Food for Thought

[Ask yourself] 20 Questions That Will Free Your Mind From Negativity via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[Important to remember these things] Building Self-Confidence via My Food N Fitness Diaries

[Interesting] White Privilege via Snack Therapy

[Honest] Truth About Pregnancy Exercise via Tiny Blue Lines

[I’ve been on both sides of this] Now We’re Questioning Encouragement? via Olive to Run

[I don’t have a furry friend, but these are awesome] 8 Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dog via Better with Sprinkles

Mother’s Day

15 Healthy Mother’s Day Recipes via Chocolate Covered Katie

10 Easy Brunch Recipes for Mother’s Day via Greatist

Gift Guide via Peanut Butter Fingers

Food for Belly

[Mhmm] Super Easy Coconut French Toast Bake via Pinch of Yum

[So many flavors!] Roasted Spring Vegetable Cobb Salad with Honey Herb Vinaigrette via Iowa Girl Eats

[I’ll take both pans…] Peanut Butter Butterscotch Skillet Cookies via Bake Your Day

[Clouds of sweet delight] Fluffy Lemon Cupcakes with Whipped Coconut Cream via How Sweet It Is

[Summah] Blueberry Lemonade via Damn Delicious

Miscellaneous Fun

[Is this real life?] Kids Absolute Crush Salsa Routine via Huffington Post

[THIS is real life] 10 Signs You’re An Exceptional Procrastinator via Thought Catalog

Happy Friday, everyone!

So tell me:

Do you ever just want a smoothie for dinner?

What is the strangest thing you’ve had for dinner recently?

Current exercise?

Favorite links?