25 Lessons I've Learned in 25 Years

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Hi friends! Long time no talk. I know, it's been a crazy long time since I've sat down to write anything. It's not for lack of effort, but between applying to PA schools and then my accident (that's a separate blog post in itself) and just life in general, I stopped making the time for it. The truth is I have always loved writing and it's something that I'm incredibly passionate about, but I haven't been making it a priority. So here's my promise, to you and to myself, to take it off the back burner and do what I love.

The last few months I've spent an incredible amount of time in reflection. On where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going. And with turning a new page and starting my 26th trip around the sun, I wanted to take the time to share these thoughts with you. Here's 25 things I've learned in 25 years of life:


1. There is no timeline for your life. It doesn't matter where you think you should be. It doesn't matter what your friends are doing. Getting married, buying a home, having kids -- do it when you're ready, or not at all. Learn to appreciate the present moment.

2. Sometimes your plan B is God's plan A. I've spent a lot of Sundays in church. And in the last year, many of those with Pastor Steven Furtick. To this day, nothing has hit me harder than these words. Whatever you think your plan is supposed to be, let that go. Everything will work out just as it is supposed to.

3. Social media is a highlight reel, not real life. I know it's easier said than done, but do not get caught up in it. There is always life "behind-the-scenes" you will never see.

4. Health is more important than looks. And the presence of abs doesn't equate to being healthy. The way you eat matters. The way you stay active matters. The way you speak about yourself matters. Your body is the only one you'll ever get. IT is your temple. Treat it that way.

5. Only follow people on social media that make you feel good about yourself. I only wish I had learned this sooner. Life is way too short to keep following people that don't improve your life and your well-being. Hit the unfollow button. It's such a relief.

6. You will drift away from friends. That's okay. It doesn't mean you're a bad person. It doesn't mean they're bad people. IT's just a part of growing up that we have to accept.

7. Do the things that scare you. Test your limits. Put yourself out there. So many of my largest successes have come from operating outside my comfort zone.

8. Rejection is one of the best ways to learn about yourself. Failure can lead to the most fulfilling place. Ever been kicked down to be helped back up to be kicked down again? Me too. If someone tells you you're not good enough, prove them wrong. Embrace rejection, learn from it, and move on.

9. It's okay to admit you don't know what you're doing. Does anybody really know what they're doing?

10. Someone else's success does not diminish yours. The world does not have a limit on success stories. Stop comparing yourself to others and honor your individuality.

11. We accept the love we think we deserve. And I promise you, you deserve the best. No matter what. Anyone that makes you feel otherwise doesn't deserve to be in your life.

12. It's never too late to change the path you're on. I don't care if you're 18, 35, or 60. I once had a patient who decided to get her BSN at 56-years-old after having a reception position for 30 years. She told me she's never been happier.

13. Not everything you lose is a loss. Not everyone you lose is a loss. I once tweeted this and it was up there with my most liked tweet. Clearly it's a valuable life lesson. 

14. My parents are actually cool. And usually right. Thanks mom and dad for putting up with me before realizing this.

15. Even the worst heartbreaks will pass. If you're here right now and you're doubting that it will ever get better. I'm living proof that it can and it will.

16. Puppies and babies make everything better. This is just science.

17. Always tell the people you love you love them. Even if you're angry. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

18. There's no harm in asking the waiter for recommendations. I don't know why I used to be so embarrassed to do this. They know the menu better than anybody. And if you're anything like me when it comes to decision making, the pressure it removes is life-changing.

19. Taking time for yourself is not selfish. Get that massage. Stay in on a Friday night. Read a good book. Take a long walk. Spend time with yourself. Appreciate yourself. Besides, how can you truly give your all to others if you don't do that for yourself as well?

20. Take lots of pictures, but know when to put the phone away. A picture of a sunset will never compare to living in that moment. Give your full attention to the sounds, the sights, the smells. Remember the way those made you feel.

21. Coffee is good. Too much coffee is not. Know when to opt for decaf.

22. You can say no. People will likely even respect you for it. There's no sense in spreading yourself too thin just to be a people-pleaser. In the long run, you'll end up exhausted: physically, emotionally, mentally. That's no good for anybody.

23. "Days go slow and years go fast. And every breath's a gift, the first one to the last." Thanks to my main man Luke Bryan for that one.

24. A smile can make all the difference. You never know what someone else is going through. Be kind. Smile at strangers.

25. Follow your dream every single day. There's nothing cliché about dreaming. You really can do anything you set your mind to.


Hope you enjoyed this! We'll talk soon.

xx,

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On how I stay motivated

"How do you stay motivated?" This is one question that I am asked most often. It is also the one of the hardest questions to answer. The truth is motivation is fleeting. And while it may appear easy for me on Instagram, there are plenty of days I wake up with little to no drive. Health and fitness can be mentally exhausting, but here are a few things that help me to get my butt to the gym even when I don't want to:

 

1. Schedule workouts. Put it in your planner. It's easy to stress about finding time and easy to make up excuses as to why you can't fit it in your already busy day. If you set aside a specific time to go to the gym or do an at-home workout, you'll be more inclined to follow through because you actually have room for it in your scheduled. You have to make it part of your routine.

2. Set goals. Write em down. Reward yourself when they're accomplished. At the start of each week, I set small goals for myself to help me stay on track. These can be as simple as drinking 100 oz of water each day. And for longer-term goals, write down what you're going to reward yourself with when you can finally cross them off. For example, if you are on a health and fitness journey to lose weight, write down different rewards for each certain number of pounds you lose - you deserve it.

3. Pick out a cute outfit. No seriously. Sometimes all it takes is laying out a bomb ass outfit the night before to get me out of bed in the morning (aka new gymshark or lulu leggings). If you're looking forward to a new workout shirt or new shoes, let that be your motivation to rock it at the gym. Then hopefully when your alarm goes off you'll hit snooze one less time.

4. Find a friend. Find someone to wake up and go to the gym with you. Or even a long-distance friend that you can text everyday to check in after you've completed your workout. Trust me when I tell you its a lot easier to bail on yourself than it is to bail on other people. My Instagram account is one of my biggest motivators. I am constantly surrounded by strong, supportive women that check in and encourage me.

5. Record progress. TAKE PICTURES. I know, it's uncomfortable, especially if you're already not happy with where you are. But NOTHING is more encouraging and motivating than being able to SEE real, physical progress. There have been plenty of times on my journey that I've felt discouraged or that my hard work isn't paying off (mostly because of that pesky scale - read here on why I refuse to step on those now), but taking weekly progress photos gives you a visual. I bet you'd be surprised how much of a difference you can see in a week or two.

6. Accept that you won't always be motivated. Working out is hard. Eating healthy is hard. Getting up early to go to the gym is hard. I'd be lying if I said that I spring out of bed at 5 AM ready to go every morning. But even on the days that I so badly want to turn off that alarm and go back to sleep, I know that that doesn't put me any closer to my goals. You know what does help me reach my goals? DISCIPLINE. Sometimes motivation just isn't enough. Sometimes it takes serious willpower to eat your greek yogurt when someone at work brought in donuts. Bottom line is you're not going to want to workout everyday and THAT'S OKAY. It doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't mean you're not capable. It makes you human.

But if you can push yourself to workout on the days that you don't even know how you'll muster up the energy, that's where the change in mindset happens. That's when you text a friend saying make sure I workout today. That's when you throw on leggings that make you as confident as Beyonce. And that's when you take a shameless selfie so that one day you can look back and see how far you've come. Be your own motivation. Inspire yourself. Be disclipined. You've got this.

xx,

Why ditching the scale is the best thing that ever happened to my health

In December of 2015, I asked for something nobody should ever really want for Christmas.... A scale. Literally it was on my list for "Santa." It was the Fitbit Aria Smart Scale and I thought it would be a game-changer in terms of my fitness journey. I loved the idea of being able to connect my fitness tracker to my scale to track my progress. Fast forward a year to December 2016, I decided to tuck it away for a while. It's now May 2017, and I have yet to step even one toe onto that overly-priced piece of plastic on the bathroom floor. Here's why:

I became unhealthily obsessed with it - to the point where I was weighing myself every morning and sometimes at night as well. I would get incredibly frustrated when I would see how much my weight fluctuated from day-to-day. I couldn't understand how even though I was eating cleaner and healthier and working out consistently, the scale failed to reflect that. I know what you're thinking, "duh, Lindsey, water weight." But being in that constant anxious and obsessive state of mind didn't exactly allow me to think straight.

Your weight fluctuates daily based on water-intake and the food you eat. Not to mention your daily stressors. Stress plays a HUGE role in your body. So in hindsight, stressing over my weight was actually doing the exact opposite of what I was hoping to achieve. Stress induces the release of something called cortisol - a hormone that has the potential to have a large impact on weight. To make a long story short, an excessive amount of cortisol can cause fat stores as well as fat circulating throughout your body to relocate deep in your abdomen. The result? A "fatter" stomach.

It was never going show the hard work I was putting in. Once I realized all of the above, I realized the scale wasn't ever going to give me the satisfaction I desired. Now, okay, obviously a scale shows weight loss. That being said, if the scale is working for you and showing you that you're making progress and giving you the motivation to keep going, then it'd be silly to get rid of it. To some people, weight loss is a huge step in taking back your life and becoming healthier. But at the point where I was, weight loss wasn't my number one goal. My goal was to feel better as a WHOLE. My goal was simply to take better care of my body. 

There are so many other "numbers" that depict your health other than your weight. What does it matter if I weigh 120 pounds if I'm not eating properly and always running out of energy on an average day at work. I've been there - restrictive dieting, hours of cardio, not getting enough sleep. All to maintain a body image that I thought looked healthy. All so that I could keep off that extra 5 pounds. And at the end of the day, I still wasn't happy. The number on the scale didn't reflect my poor digestive health, or my hormones that were out of control, or my sleep deprivation due to stress. It wasn't until I started focusing on how my body felt on the inside that I felt truly at peace with my body image.

The next one is a biggie so listen up

 

The scale does not reflect body recomposition. It doesn't look at your body fat percentage or tell you how much muscle mass you've gained. In January 2017, I started a new workout program and eating routine. After seeing the success of some of my Instagram friends, I began working with Paola Marquez. My goal, I told her, was to lose some of the stubborn fat in my abdominal area, but mostly to gain lean muscle everywhere else. My relationship with food and my focus in the gym shifted entirely. I went from eating 1100 calories a day (not healthy for someone like me) to eating 1600-1700 calories a day. I went from spending an hour on the treadmill to spending an hour using free weights and cable machines. Looking in the mirror, I had never seen such amazing physical changes in my body and I had NEVER felt better. The craziest part? I GAINED weight. Again, I know what you're thinking.... If I put away my scale, how did I know I gained weight? Well, unfortunately when you go to the doctor's office the don't exactly give you the option NOT to step on that damn scale. But to be honest, I'm glad I did. It reinforced exactly why I put away my 2015 Christmas present in the first place.

It is so freaking liberating. I apologize for a serious lack of better phrasing, but I have no other way to put it. When I first started my fitness journey, I put myself under so much pressure to get down to a certain number. But without putting my weight at the center of all my achievements, I was able to shift my focus back to the factors that actually make me a healthier person. Instead of keeping a daily measurement of my weight, I keep daily measurements of things that actually show my progress: how heavy I can lift, my energy levels, my GI symptoms,  just my well-being in general. My self-worth is no longer controlled by my body mass. My happiness has nothing to do with how I feel when I step on a scale and everything to do with how I feel on the inside. My self-esteem is no longer dependent on the weight of my body, but the STRENGTH that it holds. And to this day getting rid of the scale is one of the healthiest things I've ever done.

xx,

24 facts about 24-year-old me

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Before I jump into things, let me just say HI! Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. This has been a vision of mine for a little over a year now and I am so flippin excited to finally bring it to life. My name is Lindsey, @lindseylivingwell on Instagram. I currently live in southeastern Michigan, but I'm quite sure I was supposed to be born in the south (so pardon my random use of the word y'all).

A couple weeks ago, I posted on Instagram and said I'd answer the first 24 questions people wanted to know about me. I'm hoping that throughout the journey of this blog, I'll answer ALL of the questions I received, but here's the ones I promised to answer. I happen not think we're off to a pretty solid start here :)

1. Do you have any siblings? YES. I have two fabulous little sisters, one here in Michigan and one in Alabama. I love them to death and we even all like each other most of the time. 

2. Cat or dog person? PUPS all the way. I have a 14-year-old cocker spaniel/terrier rescue named Mollie. When I'm older I'll probably be the crazy with a million golden retrievers.

3. What did you study in school? I received my Bachelor's in Neuroscience from MSU... Go Green!

4. What do you use to curl your hair? I used to only use a 2" curling iron, but I recently purchased a the Beachwaver S1 and I am legitimately OBSESSED.

5. Do you follow a specific workout guide/routine? I just recently finished the Strong & Sexy Body Method by Paola Marquez (@paosfitworld). I highly recommend this guide to anyone interested in lifting weights, whether you're experienced or just beginning. I saw amazing results and I loved the format of the guide!

6. Do you have any recommendations for people who don't have access to a gym? Lauren Gleisberg has tons of at-home routines on her page! Her guides were the first ones I ever followed and she has tons of free resources. Also, while the program wasn't for me, Kayla Itsines BBG program is a really good option for at-home workouts!

7. What's your favorite snapchat filter? DA BUNNY. But seriously... I can't get enough of it's cuteness. But if you follow me on IG stories or snap you already knew that hehe.

8. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? AH this question always gets me. It's honestly a tie between Germany and Greece. Germany because I'd love to see where my relatives grew up and I love all the history there. Greece because... well... have you ever seen pictures?

9. What is your favorite kind of music? It seriously depends on my mood, but I listen to Country most often. When I'm at the gym I love me some Pop Hits and Rap (nothing like some Drake on leg days).

10. How did you meet your boyfriend? (Tbh I got so many questions about him I'm starting to think he's more liked than me) BUT anyway B and I met while working on the same floor at the hospital. He's the best. And everyday I wonder how and why he's put up with me for the last year.

11. Where did you get your "L" necklace? It's Kate Spade, but I got it for Valentine's Day from Nordstrom.

12. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Another close tie... lately, anything chocolate peanut butter. But for most of my life it's been mint chocolate chip. 

13. Favorite disney princess? Pretty sure 5-year-old Lindsey would tell you Sleeping Beauty. That soundtrack used to be my JAM.

14. What shampoo/condition do you use? I'm not super committed to a particular brand yet... But what I'm loving right now is the Andalou Naturals Lavender & Biotin set.

15. What's your favorite meal of the day? Brunch. All day everyday. Give me all the eggs benny in the world. And gourmet pancakes. And french toast. Oh yes and how could I forget mimosas.

16. What is your least favorite word in the english language? It honestly causes me pain to type this, but I have always hated the word moist. It's just so disgusting.

17. Who is your celebrity crush? Ryan Reynolds is my day one. The Proposal is one of my favorites movies.

18. What are some of your favorite TV series? Parenthood, One Tree Hill, and Game of Thrones. Right now I'm really digging Big Little Lies on HBO though,

19. What are some of your favorite podcasts to listen to? Bulletproof Radio, The Healthy Maven, Food Psych, The Balanced Blonde Soul on Fire. Those are my current top 4.

20. Ideal date night? Well, if you didn't know, I'm secretly an 80-year-old trapped in a twenty-something's body. SO I'm all in for someone making dinner, curling up on the couch, watching a good movie, and inhaling a big ole bowl of popcorn with me.

21. Any guilty pleasures? Reality television. I'm a sucker for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (curse you, ABC). Also Teen Mom. And KUWTK. This is getting embarrassing.

22. What's your biggest pet peeve? Chewing. With. Your. Mouth. Open. JUST NO.

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23. What's one thing you wish you did more often? Definitely hike. I envy those of you who live in a place that allows you to do so a regular basis. The best hike I've ever been on was with my bestie (@fitnessjuliet on instagram) to Cathedral Rock. I'm still in awe I actually made it to the top. One of my absolute favorite days. Ever.

24. Do you have any hidden talents? ....I can touch my tongue to my nose? And I can sound just like Adele if you turn the music up loud enough.

 

 

There ya have it, folks. 24 semi-useful facts about yours truly. If you want to know more about me and my journey, head over here! And thanks a million for showing support on this new endeavor. I have so much to share with y'all (told you it would happen) and I cannot wait.

xx,