Be Deliberate About The Start of Your Day

I met a man recently who starts every day by saying out loud:

“Today is a fabulous day day full of opportunity and potential.”

Wow. How do you think that sets up his mindset for the day? What subconsciously might he be looking for and thinking about as his day unfolds? And how powerful it is that he is declaring every day as fabulous?

It made me realize that I have gotten out of the habit of setting my thoughts and attitude for the day. I sometimes grumble, I sometimes groan, I sometimes don’t think anything particular at all.  I love the idea of being deliberate and positive with my first thoughts.  I am planning on setting a task with a positive phrase that pops up the same time my alarm goes off so I can see it. Then I will see what I notice through out my day. What you pay attention to grows. 🙂

When Should You Feel “Bad” About Your Food Choice?

“I am going to eat X food and not feel bad about it!!”

I hear this all the time. While I love people working to not have hang-ups on certain foods , it makes me realize how programmed we are along the good foods/ bad foods line.. And how that goes even further to being good or bad people based on the food that was just consumed.

For me now, the only times I feel bad about eating a food is:

1) When I eat something that I KNOW makes me feel bad. Kindness is filling your body with foods that bring energy and nourishment. Not ones that leave you doubled over in pain for hours or effect you poorly in other ways. This is important to consider with people who have food allergies or diabetes but I feel like most of us know what fuels us.

2) When I eat in quantities that make me feel sick. This is my one big rule. I don’t ever want to me laying in bed at night feeling terrible because I ate too much. It is not kind to stuff yourself to over capacity. Bingeing is not kind. Kindness is enjoying, savoring and having exactly enough.

What if nothing was forbidden? What if there was no guilt? How might you eat? Would you have food rules for yourself?

On the Edge

These past few months have been full.

Full of energy. Full of fears. Full of busy things. Full of learning. Full of conversations. Full of what ifs? Full of leaps of courage. Full of mind. Full of heart.

I love when I get in these big learning cycles. Sometimes I get those moments where I feel I am on the edge of something huge that I can’t quite wrap my arms, heart and brain around.  But it is close. I can hardly wait to see what all of this learning brings. Where it takes my life, my experiences, my gym, my relationships.

Its exciting.

Are you able to recognize the big learning times in your life? Maybe where you feel like you are drinking through a fire hose? Where you feel off balance most of the time? Where you feel fear but know you are heading in the right direction? Can you relate to that feeling of being close to some bigger understanding but not quite there yet??  I would love to hear about it.

ON the journey, heading towards some new understanding


Three Ways “Enough” Is a Powerful Practice

Enough. I know it is not a sexy word but it is a powerful one. It helped me gain some sanity around food and get on track with loving who I am.

Three ways ENOUGH has been powerful, helpful to me:

  1. The mindset of “enough”. I have talked before about my struggles with binge eating.  Working to remember that there is enough: Enough food. Enough ice cream. Enough peanut butter. Enough cookies. Enough popcorn. Enough chips and salsa. I don’t have to eat it all now. I can have some. Savor it. Enjoy it. There is more if I want it… now or later.

I don’t have to mindlessly shove it all in NOW in case there is none later. There is more available. There is enough especially if I let myself have it whenever I really want it. If I don’t really feel like eating it now? Don’t shove it in any way, there is enough. It will be available later. Breathe. It helped shift my mindset from scarcity to abundance. I didn’t have to eat everything NOW because it would be available later if I needed. There is enough.  When food is not forbidden, when it is allowed, when it is abundant, when there is enough – it loses its power. The magic of the binge is somehow lost. I can calm down. I can slow down. I can enjoy.


2. I have had ENOUGH. Stop. Listen. Pay attention to the food in front of you. You deserve that. You deserve more than a mindless meal zoning out in front of TV or your phone. When you tune in you can feel the moment when you have had enough food. Sometimes you honor this and stop eating there. Sometimes you don’t and have more. At least you are allowing yourself the opportunity to hear your body tell you ENOUGH. When you honor that signal (and it is a practice), I would argue that you rarely overeat again. It just doesn’t feel good anymore once you are aware. But even if you do eat more, you are being mindful and deliberate and CHOOSING. It is a better spot to be in than a mindless cleaning of your plate or a binge.

It takes practice to hear “I have had enough” from your body if you haven’t tuned in for a while. But it is possible. It can even be scary – suppose it tells me to stop too soon? Suppose I don’t get enough food? Suppose I don’t hear it? All I can suggest is just try. Pay attention to what you are eating. By that, I don’t even mean the quality of what you are eating but pay attention to the meal in front of you. Take a bite. Taste it. Swallow. Breathe. Take another bite. And just pay attention to your body. See what happens. Listen for that moment when your body says “I have had enough”. You can decide what you want to do from there.


This is the biggest and most powerful. It is what I wish my superpower could be. I want to touch someone and in that instant they would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are enough.

You are enough…
to be loved.
to be happy.
to exist.
to have goodness in your life.
to have a healthy relationship.
to have a healthy body.
to treat yourself with loving kindness.
to get through whatever life brings you.
to dress in ways that make you feel good.
to do what you want to do in life.
to take care of yourself.
to move in ways that make you happy.
to stand on your own two feet and find your own path.
to deal with the emotions that you are feeling.

I don’t have to compensate for that deep pit of not-enoughness and try and fill it with food. I don’t have to engage in a never-ending quest to fill or cover that feeling of broken, unwholeness. I am enough. Just as I am right now. When I got this (REALLY got this) my binge eating eased. I know you will not be surprised when I tell you that it is a practice. 🙂 and it is SO damn worth it because one day you will wake up and KNOW it to your core.

….and that is a really good day.

See how enough fits into your world and your relationship with food and yourself.

You will be judged.

On the clothes you wear. On how you behave. On things you think. On what or how much you eat. On the size and shape of your body.

Even if you bend over backwards trying to comply with whatever the society/community/group standard is, someone somewhere will judge you.

You have absolutely zero control over what other people think.

So do what fucking makes you happy. Wear the outfit you want to wear. I hear from people all the time who are afraid to wear a certain shirt, outfit, shorts, bathing suit because of what others might say. Be brave and wear it anyway. I can’t tell you how many times while eating With friends I hear the phrase “don’t judge me”. Relax, savor and enjoy what ever is in front of you. Pick the foods that bring you joy and nourish you. Sometimes that is going to be a beautiful salad, sometimes it’s funnel cake. Love to dance? Do it! Love lifting weights? Awesome. Learn good form from a good coach and don’t worry about being judged in the weight room.

Life is too short to hold yourself back in worrying about others judgments and expectations.

It does take practice being brave. The more you do it and stronger you will be come and the less fucks that will be given towards people who may want to tear you down or whose opinions don’t matter anyway.

Love your life. LIVE your life. Be brave. Be your amazing self. You’ve got this!! 👊🏻❤️

Don’t identify with the wave and forget you are the Ocean

Tara Brach talks about the concept of we end up identifying with the wave – the emotion, the situation, the thought, and forget that we are the WHOLE ENTIRE OCEAN. The ocean here being our whole, entire, wonderful being.  Does that make sense?

Sometimes we think we are the number on the scale, the size of our jeans, our belly, our thighs, our identity as gym girl, our depression, our bad day but it is just one little part of who we are. The Ocean, while aware of all of its waves, is not concerned with one little wave.  Whatever arises is ok, we are enough to handle it, knowing too that it will also pass.

52bfdad2fefa39d30c545f24be202c3dI have mentioned Tara Brach many times on this blog and on the Zen Barbell facebook page.  She is a meditation teacher and publishes out weekly talks on her podcast.  I have learned so much from her and am deeply grateful that she is so generous with her teaching.

Just When I Think “I have this”…

I realize there is always more to learn.

It never fails when I sit in judgement of someone else, I find myself doing the exact thing I was judging them for within a short time thereafter.

I was judging my husband for having a low energy day and impacting the schedule that I had in my head for the day. The next day? I can hardly summon the energy to do anything or get anything done.

I am judging a friend for not understanding me. Then in a further conversation about it (after I created some drama around it), I realized I was not understanding them either. 

I am judging someone for going too slow or making erratic moves on the street because they clearly don’t know exactly where they are going. Sure enough, I find myself slowing to a crawl while driving as I am looking for the right street to turn on.

It is a lesson I learn constantly. Whenever I feel like I “have it”, I realize there is always more to learn.  🙂


A friend shared this picture with me the other day. It really made me think about the progress I have made with the relationship with my body. It used to be full of hatred, anger, and deep sadness. My first thoughts in the morning were how gross my stomach was.

You know how if you are in chronic pain and then you have a day with out pain, it is a palpable feeling? I get that some times in the relationship now that I have with my body, with myself. I can feel the absence of the hate and despair. It fills me with awe and wonder. 

It was a long path with LOTS of practice and support to get to this place. It had nothing to do with finding the right diet to produce the phsyical body I needed. It had lots to do with believing that I am enough right now in this moment, sorting out my relationship with food and diving in deep with gratitude for everything.

Of course, I still have moments of doubt and wistfulness. The journey is not perfect (life is not perfect, I am not perfect) and there is no there to get to. But the journey is so worth being on. You are worth the fight, the exploration, the discovery, the hard work. <3


What a Workout Might Tell You about Your Next Boyfriend

Guest post today by Nicole Iden.  My friend and generally an amazing person. I feel big gratitude and honor that she is sharing her words for this blog. Enjoy!

There’s strength. And then there’s strength.

I am recently single.

Technically it’s been 2 years, but given that I was with this guy my entire adult life, as a percentage of my total years on earth it feels recent. But that’s a story for another post.

 So I’m recently single, and I hate dating. I’ve gone on what feels like a million dates in the past few years and it all ends up feeling like a rerun of the same old show: we get a drink or a bite, we chat about life, and I try to figure out who this person sitting across from me really is. If we’re at dinner maybe I can see how they treat the waiter. If we’re playing a game, maybe I can see how they deal with winning or losing. But discerning the quality of a person’s character over the course of periodic drinks is a sloooooow process. And I lose patience.

Enter my dear and amazing friends. These friends of mine are invested, often aggressively, in my happiness. And as a recently single woman, many of my friends have focused this love and attention on my dating life. 

“Nicole,” they say, “you need to be dating more. Let me fix you up.”

“I’m not really into it. I’ve been on tons of dates. They’ve been a waste of my time. I’m good, thanks.”

“Let me try,” they say. “Let me fix you up. Now. Do they HAVE to do crossfit?”

“No,” I reply, “not at all. But it helps.”

Then I get the eyebrow raise. “You know Nicole, not every guy you date has to squat like 400 pounds and be all ripped up.”

 And that’s when it hits me. I see now. This dear friend of mine thinks I want a crossfitter because I want the muscles. But that’s not it at all. I want a crossfit (or a weightlifter, or a strongman) for who they are. Not what they look like. I want a crossfitter because it’s so easy to tell what a person is made of when they’re in the gym. Suddenly I don’t need a dozen dates to figure out who you are. We only need a few workouts for me to see right inside of you and for you to see inside me.

Are you the first person to finish the workout? Are you lifting the heaviest weights and moving faster than anyone else in class? Good for you, but I don’t care.

Fast forward 10 minutes to when the very last person is still struggling to finish out every last rep. Are you still there cheering for them? 

That’s what I care about.

What about when the dude squatting next to you hits a 10 pound PR at the weight you’re warming up with? Do you celebrate with him just as loudly as you celebrate your own PR?

When your coach corrects your movement, do you listen with humility and then try your best to do what they cue? What if, God forbid, she tells you to take weight off the bar? Can you put aside your ego and do what she says?

 When you miss a lift or your feet get tangled up during double unders do you throw the rope or the weights like a child throwing a temper tantrum? Or do take a breath, collect yourself and try again. And try again. And try again.

Do you do every single rep called for in the workout? Even when no one is looking and no one is counting and if you did shave a few reps the only person who would ever know is you?

Do you have bear crawl races with the 3-year olds that visit? Do you spot the 6-year olds on the rings and the pullup bar? Do you challenge them to a flex-off?

Do you flirt with the 70 year old grandmother? And then talk to the teenage girls about getting enough to eat and staying safe on social media?

 And if you have a goal – whatever it may be – are you willing to quietly and persistently put in the necessary work? Can you work through that grueling, unsexy, mind-numbing skill work day after day, until eventually, even if it takes weeks or months, you have achieved your muscle-up, your handstand, or your very first pullup?

 We don’t just leave sweat and chalk on the floors of our gyms. We leave bits and pieces of our true self. We leave evidence of who we are, of what our hearts are made of, and what kind of humans we can be.

So dear girlfriend of mine, do I want someone who is physically strong? Of course I do.

But more than that I want someone with a strong spirit, a strong work ethic, and most importantly a strong heart. Someone who elevates others rather than themselves.

That’s the kind of strength that makes me weak in the knees.


My Journey to CrossFit by Lucia Shaw

(Another guest post this week. Today's post is from Lucia Shaw, a strong, motivating, lifting-heavy-things woman I connected with through the Zenbarbell Facebook page. She offered to share her story with here about her reluctant move into CrossFit and how she is feeling about that now. I am thankful for her generosity in sharing her story. )

I started CrossFit in April of 2014. I had just “recovered” from a serious injury to my right hand and nerve repair surgery. I had my last appointment with the surgeon and my hand therapist and they said simply “ok throw away all the splints and go back to normal activities”. I’d been in either a cast or splints for 11 months. I had major proprioception issues with my right hand, limited mobility, still had some nerve pain, oh and my hand was still huge and swollen.

My husband had started CrossFit a few months prior and he’d come home and tell me about these “workouts”.  I’d always say the same thing ” that sounds awful, why do you go?” I thought about going back to kettlebell training but convinced myself I’d be a hazard to others since I couldn’t hold onto the handle of the bell. So I tried aqua bike (it’s ok), pure barre (hated it), I went back to hot yoga (I really like hot yoga). But I missed the intensity of a gritty, weight workout just a little…

Finally, one day he said, just try CrossFit….it’d be good for you. I was getting depressed about my lack of ability to do “normal activities” so I figured ok, I need to try something radical, and well CrossFit sounded radical, and it turns out it is –  in the very best way.

So I went to a first class. They were doing wall balls. I had never seen anything like this before and I was fascinated, freaked out and of course couldn’t really hold onto the ball with my right hand. But I signed up for the onramp. Then I started going to Endurance class….I was out of shape, slower than everyone else. In regular WOD’s I dreaded hearing, ok partner up, share a bar at the rack….who wanted to share a bar with me…we spent most of the transition time taking all the other person’s plates off since I could lift/press/clean so little. I often felt so much anxiety before class I almost didn’t go almost every single time for probably 3 or 4 months. I stopped checking the WOD’s online since I’d rarely go if I read it beforehand….I either didn’t know how to do it or felt I couldn’t do it.

I asked the head coach and owner one day if they even wanted people “like me” at their box. I looked around and saw collegiate athletes, folks training for GORUCK, marathons and more…I wasn’t like any of them. I was looking for permission to quit that day really and I didn’t get it.

Around that same time, I got a message on FB from a coach who told me she saw how hard I worked at the gym, that I was doing GREAT and to hang in there? Ok, so I cried when I got that…it was so nice of her to take the time to message me and I thought wow I am working hard – and I was proud of myself.

I absolutely fell in love with cross fit..not sure when – maybe 6 months in. I love how I feel when I am there, afterwards and always look forward to going again soon. I work out 5-6 times a week now –  I admire so many of the athletes I work out with and really learn a lot from watching them.

So April of 2015 I registered for the Festivus games. I had a great time! I did the Open (scaled) and loved it! I did my first team competition in November of 2015 – a little scary…I was the scaled member on our team but I worked hard and nailed the KB snatches!

I just ran my first Tar Heel 10 Miler (yes 10 miles at one time, in the same day!). So proud of myself and my fellow training partner Laura!

I still struggle, I still have self-doubt. When I hear ‘ok partner up” I try to do so immediately and not worry that the partner is stronger and/or faster than me and figure they won’t want to work out with me. I thought CrossFit would help me overcome my injury but I have gotten so much more than I ever imagined.

I am stronger physically sure but also mentally and emotionally, and I am grateful.

Lucia Competing.
Lucia Competing.