My goal was simple. I wanted big visible muscles and a body fat level lean enough to be fitness magazine cover ready every day. Its what I wanted. I desperately wanted it. Why was this so important for me? Because I didn’t feel like I was ok if I wasn’t that image I had in my head. I have never been close to being that lean and so I never felt ok. I used to chase being super lean because I was deeply unhappy with myself. Each New Year’s Day for years, I would declare that this year for SURE would be my year of the abs. I hated waking up every day thinking about what was wrong with my body. I felt inadequate. I chased being lean harder and harder and made myself more miserable and unhappy with who I was in the process. I was trying to find peace in all the wrong places.
I remember the moment when I finally declared to myself that I was done with all of that. I was tired of suffering, of being depressed, and having no peace with my body. It happened one ordinary afternoon when I was out walking with my husband. After thinking about it internally for a bit, I turned to him in the middle of our walk and said that I didn’t want to keep chasing something that made me miserable. I needed to change. I completely broke down on the street outside my house. The tears were of relief, fear, excitement and exhaustion. It was thrilling and terrifying.
In those initial few months after that declaration, I struggled. I believed that I only had two choices: being super lean or sitting on the couch doing nothing. I felt like I had to justify to everyone (and to myself!) that I wasn’t just deciding to be lazy. It turns out there is a whole world of awesome in between the two options I thought I had. We are made to feel like we are the problem. If we could just try harder, do more and be more disciplined, we can have it all or so we are told. It puts us in a constant state of believing we are not good enough, which simply isn’t true.
I had to work to find peace with myself and believe again that I was enough exactly as I am right now. Here are some steps I took to move towards peace with my body and loving who I am:
- I worked on my inner monologue and learned to talk to myself like I would to someone I deeply love.
- I practiced gratitude which humbled me and shifted my whole perspective on my life.
- I committed to moving in ways that brought me joy and not just showing up in a gym because I “have to”.
- I got curious about and stopped believing every thought running through my busy little head and began to gain deeper understanding of myself.
- I fed myself in ways that made me feel nourished and fueled with no food shaming or good and bad food.
I worked on small practices mastered over time that lead to big changes in my life. While all of that is an ongoing process, I can honestly tell you that I have peace. I love who I am in the world. I strongly believe that all women need peace with themselves and to love who they are in order to lead amazing lives.
Why Zen Barbell?
This page began as a great place to share about my experience around lifting weights (from regular gym to CrossFit to Weightlifting, with some strong man training in there too!) and my journey of working to transform my inner life. It is the experience in these areas that help me to guide women to learn confidence and strength in and outside of the gym so they can take it into their work, relationships and communities.
I am crazy about lifting weights. I am a certified personal trainer (ACE) , CrossFit Level 1, weightlifting coach (certified through Catalyst Athletics and USAW) and nutrition consultant (Precision Nutrition and Metabolic Effect). I coach several barbell clubs for women where we not only lift weights but talk about and work on loving who you are.
My family includes my fabulous husband, a wonderful daughter and three cats, who I regularly post about on instagram. I love traveling, meals that make my toes curl and my booty shake with delight, and sitting on the beach with a book. I am based in Richmond, VA.