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Why Your Childhood Could Still Be Holding You Back From Growth

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people grow mentally and spiritually and the process involved with it.

I see this happen a lot, but let me use myself as an example. I have a constant need for change. If I’m not changing or developing myself in some way, I’m simply not satisfied. Not in a “go hard every day no matter what” douchey gym freak type of way, but in a “I’ll get bored if I’m not moving” kind of way.

This can be exciting and absolutely petrifying at the same time. I have lots of little epiphanies when things just start to make sense for me, but then as soon as I start to talk about them or start living differently, I second guess myself. Everything is easier said than done.

Recently, one of my epiphanies was regarding my religious background. As you know, my childhood household was very conservative, but as I keep asking questions or questioning the “why” behind a belief that I just always blindly held close, I start to change. At this point, I don’t think anyone who knows me would consider me conservative! I am not in any way speaking poorly towards anyone’s beliefs, just admitting that I am finding something different that works for me.

Religiously speaking, I have (in the past) struggled on topics like gay marriage or abortion. I used to think answers were so simple, but it turns out, nothing in life ever is.

When I find myself at a crossroads, I am always tempted to go back to a more limited way of thinking. It’s simpler. It’s what is most comfortable because it is what I knew for so long. I used to just believe anything I was told because I didn’t know better and sometimes that is just an easier way to live. Turns out, old habits die hard because when I am faced with the struggle of religious views vs. issues we are facing in the world right now, it’s easier to believe what I believed as a child!

As time goes by, that old habit fades, but there is still a that little voice in my head tempting me not to challenge anyone or anything. However, with that old habit, old guilt follows. Old shame. Old insecurities. This newer version of me lives in a mindset and belief system that makes sense to ME. I think we all need to find that.

In short, don’t be quick to believe just what your circle believes in. Question it, challenge it. You might be in a good circle! But there is always more to be understood. If you don’t agree with something, at least seek to understand it and then make an informed decision. Silent the voice that’s telling you to take the easy way out. You are individual and have your own thoughts. Share and explore them. You never know who you could become.

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How To Influence Substantial Change

Have no ragrets. Not even a single letter.

What fires you up? When that one topic comes up in conversation, what is it that gets your heart pumping? Think about that for a second.

Over time, I have realized that what fires me up has always been the same, but I always had these seemingly conflicting ideals that caused lots of self confusion. I was too afraid to commit to something because I was either too lazy to look into it or too afraid of what people would think.

That fire in your heart is not there by mistake. I believe it’s God giving you direction. It’s up to you what you do with it.

I was pretty timid growing up. I don’t think a lot of people would know this because I was so seemingly outgoing as a teenager, I dated a lot, and always was with friends in my spare time. However, what people didn’t see what my need to please others. My insecurities made me seek validation.

That’s a normal thing we do as humans, right? As babies, we are rewarded for all “good” behavior. Babies eat all of our peas or learn a letter of the alphabet and we give positive reinforcement. All babies want is attention. They know nothing else. As we grow up and become more independent, that need for positive reinforcement doesn’t go away, we just get better at either hiding it or dealing with it… but we all want it.

That desire to be liked stopped me from voicing my opinions. Why does this matter? It’s not like the world has suffered some great loss because Julia Barberi didn’t speak up as a teenager. However, here is what happens; I developed a habit of keeping my mouth shut to unpleasant topics. Not only does that hinder my relationships, it also stopped my own personal development.

Think about it like this, our entire culture originated from somewhere. It seems so daunting to think that we could actually change the world we live in, but we do it constantly. We do not live in the same world we did 50yrs ago, or even 20yrs ago (shout out to the 90s babies).

We start creating big changes, by first changing ourselves. You don’t go from never working out a day in your life to starting Crossfit overnight. You start walking on a treadmill, drinking more water, going to a hot yoga class, and work up to it. You have to speak up, we have to be open minded, we HAVE TO be challenged.

Do the world a favor and speak your mind. Be respectful, but be unapologetic. Be ready to change. Doing this will start a ripple effect. You’ll start to change the people around you and they will do the same. Don’t underestimate your value. Don’t have regrets, live up to your potential instead.

Do any of you struggle speaking up? If so, I’d love to hear why.

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3 Steps On How To Stop Letting Your Weight Define You

So if you’re reading this, there’s a chance that you have or have had an unhealthy relationship with your body image. I’m here to tell you, GIRL ME TOO.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in how the world views us. For a lot of us, it has gotten to the point where we define who we are based on our physical appearance.

We think “I need to lose weight to find a husband”, “I can’t wear that crop top until I lose 5 more pounds”, “I’m not sexy because I don’t have curves”. We stop doing things we would naturally want to do based on what other people’s opinion of us might be. Let me tell you something. WEIGHT DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. You are not fat. You have fat. And guess what? We all need fat to exist.

This time of the year is generally my least favorite in terms of social media marketing for the “drop 15lbs in just 3 weeks!” schemes. While these programs may provide some instant gratification, it’s not actually fixing anything. In fact, these companies are profiting off of your insecurities.

If any of you know my story, I used to be underweight. I had a BMI of 17. I ate only 800 calories a day, I ran 3 miles daily and went to karate classes 4 days a week. I got to the point where there was genuine concern for my health. I got so jaundiced that people regularly commented on the pigment of my skin. One day, I tried to get out of bed and I genuinely couldn’t do it because I almost fainted from the exhaustion. I cared so much of what people thought of me, that I let it seriously affect my health.

It’s not that extreme for everyone. For some it is more extreme, but waking up that day made me realize that significant changes needed to be made and they needed to be made immediately. I started eating meat again, I stopped counting my calories, and I stopped running. This was 10 years ago. I’ve learned a lot since then and I want to share with you a few things that have changed my life.

I’ve said it before, I will say it always. You are not your body. Your body is a vessel given to you by God to carry out your purpose here on earth. Remind yourself of this daily. Whether you believe in God or not doesn’t matter. You need to understand that you’re purpose goes beyond what you look like.

Okay so now that you understand that. Here are the 3 main steps that helped me overcome the thought that my weight defined who I was.

Step 1: Throw away your scale. This is the most important step. To realize that you are more than your weight, you need to stop the habit of constantly weighing yourself. I don’t care what you weigh or what your goals are, get rid of your scale. There are other ways to know if you’re hitting your goals or not.

Step 2: Workout. Wait. Is that contradictory to my entire post? NO. Part of the reason you have become obsessed with your weight (losing or gaining) is because you are insecure (Captain Obvious here). This insecurity comes from not being able to battle the negative self talk with facts. When you workout 3 times a week for 30mins each day, you have actuals facts to back up how well you’re doing and that you are actively working on whatever your goal is. Oh yeah, and let’s also take a break to discuss your goals really quick. Your goals should not be based on other people and they should not be to fit into what is considered socially acceptable for a bikini. Screw that. Your goals should be to be healthy. That is it.

Step 3: Have an eating plan that includes plenty of healthy foods….but also some junk food. When you find yourself constantly riding the rollercoaster of weight loss versus weight gain, it’s because you’re restricting yourself too much. This restriction causes the never ending cycle that is restricting then binging. Restriction is not sustainable! If you can honestly look me in the eye without blinking and tell me that you will never buy a snickers bar or a bag of Lays chips again, then…..well…YOU’RE LYING TO MY FACE. You’re eating plan should consist of 80% healthy, unprocessed foods and 20% of whatever the hell you want. If you eat 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, that’s 21 meals. That means 17 meals need to be healthy and include plenty of macro and micro nutrients, and 4 of them can be literally anything. My favorite go to? Nachos and/or chicken tenders. I stand by choosing chicken tenders. Yes, I am 27 years old.

I understand these are broad, but I’m willing to go more into detail based on your specific needs. If you want to know what is best to eat and what workouts you should do based on your goals, I can help with that too. Send me a DM on my Instagram, fit.asamother and I’d more than love to answer your questions.

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How I Stopped Feeling Shame Against My Body

A lot of you reading this follow my Instagram, fit.asamother. First of all, I love you guys and you have been the most supportive group and the reason I always feel encouraged.

I have changed a lot in the past year. When I first started my Instagram, I was timid and concerned with other people’s perception of me. I wanted to get healthy and in shape and posting about it made me feel vulnerable. I was sharing a part of myself that I had never opened up about before. But then I realized something; the more I shared my true journey and my realest feelings, the more I got positive responses and genuinely connected with people. This gave me the courage to continue to grow.

When I first started my Instagram, I told myself that I wouldn’t post booty pics because I didn’t want to be judged as 1). an insecure attention seeking female and 2). be objectified by men. I started working on my booty growth pretty heavily in December. I’ve always wanted a bigger booty, so why not get one? I started waking up earlier, working out longer, and changing my eating habits to see what I could accomplish.

I saw results fast and was so excited about my results, but never felt like I could share them because of how I would be perceived. I’m a wife, a mom, and a Christ follower….so how can I post a picture of my ass on the internet?

One day, I woke up and said “SCREW THIS.” I posted a picture and it felt so good. I’m not ashamed of my body. My body is strong. It has carried me through life and created a human being. TIME TO FREAKING CELEBRATE. I did what I wanted to do. Did I receive backlash? Oh hell yeah.

In the midst of all of the judgement, my sister-in-law had the perfect comment:

At a young age, I adopted the belief that abstinence was the only morally correct approach to relationships. I want to say first that I am not trying to change people’s belief on this, just sharing my own experience. This practice led me to believe that my natural sexual urges were impure even though I never acted on them. I started to feel shame. Lots of it. I lost self value, confidence, and belief in myself.

At this point in my life it is my mission to celebrate what I love about myself and others. I want women, especially moms, to know that you do not have to lose your identity in your children and husband. You are your own being with your own thoughts and emotions that are not dependent on others. You don’t have to feel ashamed of showing off your body because society tells you that you shouldn’t. You are allowed to have a life outside of your family. It doesn’t mean you love them less, it means that you have realized that you are also passionate and find joy in other things. Your family is not your identity, they are just part of your story. You are an individual and that should be celebrated.

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What A Side Plank Can Teach Us About Potential

If you guys have been paying attention, you know that I have been questioning societal expectations for awhile now. There is so much pressure put on us to perform a certain way. I hope that after reading this that you will realize that you have an abundance of untapped potential.

It starts with believing in yourself. Is that too cliche? No. I mean BELIEVING in yourself.

Let’s use fitness as an example. Before I started really dialing into my health, I would have told you that I believed in myself. I was successful at work and I seemingly got everything I wanted because I worked hard for it. HOWEVER, working out? Not for me. I can’t go to the gym, I don’t even know how to use the equipment. I couldn’t hold a side plank. Not even for 10 seconds. When I realized that, instead of feeling defeated, I said “okay. Well I will work on that and I WILL be able to hold a side plank for at least 30 seconds.”

P.s. I held one for a full minute the other day at the end on my workout.

I started to realize the doubt was just the easy way out. It was fear trying to hold me back. If you had told me back then that I would lose 20+ pounds, get NASM certified, and HOLD A FREAKING SIDE PLANK, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Here’s what fitness taught me: straight and simple, discipline. I didn’t always wake up believing in myself. It took me 2 months to see REAL changes and a year to get me where I am. However, I trusted the process and I broke the belief that I couldn’t accomplish anything I wanted to. Action leads to emotion (aka belief in myself).

What I’m getting at is, we have a WORLD of untapped potential. Did you know that most people on average only use 10% of their brain? Why is that? Fear. Fear of becoming great, fear of failure, fear of changing lives of people around you. Fear of changing the societal expectation put on us at a young age.

Most of us long for more. Whether it’s a promotion at work, wanting to make an impact on society, more money, a family. Whatever it is, I think it’s safe to say we all want a life well lived. We start to question what we could do. “What if I wrote a book? What if I started a non profit? What if I ran a marathon? What if….?” Fill in your blank.

That “what if” is your potential calling. How many times have you heard your “what if” and pushed it away because your goal seems unobtainable…or….because you are afraid.

Rachel Hollis says it best when she asks you to challenge yourself every time you see yourself pushing away your “what if” dream and replace the expectation of the people around you with the imagination of who you could be.

Replace the expectation of the people around you with the imagination of who you could be. – Rachel Hollis

If you are not motivated enough by this, then I ask you to question one more thing. If you fully lived out your potential, your dream, who would be affected by it? How could it change your way of living, your families way of living, and the people around you? You have the potential to be a catalyst for change. You are doing the world a disservice by not living up to it.

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How to Overcome the Effects Of An Abusive Relationship

If you’re like me, you have had the tendency to seek out things that are not good for you. Maybe it’s the challenge of it all, maybe there is a slight immaturity to want what you can’t have like a toddler in the candy aisle, or maybe it’s to seek validation from someone who won’t give it.

Either way, here we are. Trying to figure out how to deal with the outcome. First, I think it is important to talk about what you SHOULD look for in relationships, whether platonic or romantic:

1). Respect.

What you want, baby they better have it. Without respect, your relationship will never be what it could. I mean this in all aspects. You should not be around someone who is constantly trying to find your flaws or doesn’t genuinely support your dreams without judgement. These people are toxic.

2). Trust.

You guys, I cannot stress this enough. If you do not trust someone, do not be around them. The amount of mental energy it takes to be around these people is simply not worth it. The never knowing if they mean what they say, the curiosity of how often they talk about you behind your back while saying the opposite to your face….again, toxic. This applies to your romantic relationships as well. If someone is not respecting the fact that you have a s/o and is trying to make sexual advances, they also are not respecting you. Time to say peace out to them whether it’s easy or not.

3). Honesty.

This kind of ties in with trust, but this is important enough to get it’s own section. I don’t know about you, but gone are the days that I am willing to wonder if someone isn’t talking to me anymore because of something I said or did, or if they “were asleep”. That is such a small, seemingly unimportant example, but it starts there and just continues to grow. However, I will put a disclaimer that if you expect honesty, you also have to be 100% honest yourself.

The road to healing:

If you have been in an abusive relationship, you view the world differently. Where previously there was a lot of restriction on personal expression, now there is not. And not only is that okay, but that is wonderful.

At this point you were taught to feel invalid. You were constantly broken down to the point where your self confidence is all but non existent. This creates a chain reaction to other areas of your life where you are afraid to try new things, you develop a belief that you have to keep feelings to yourself, and when it comes down to what you want to do with your life, you’re faced with uncertainty.

Here are my top tips:

1). Find someone you TRUST to talk to about how you’re feeling. In your previous abusive relationship, your emotions were probably often dismissed and you need to get that out.

2). Take care of yourself. You have to respect your mind and body to be able to heal. Drink water, get enough sleep, develop a workout routine. This will create a belief that you do deserve good treatment from yourself and from others.

3). Reflect and forgive. I’m going to be honest with you, I am still working on this. To be able to reflect and examine your past, you almost have to relive it and sometimes that is too much….but this MUST be done to move forward. If it helps, I recommend setting aside a time of day to allow yourself to think. This way it doesn’t become a constant battle throughout the day and you are mentally prepared to do what you have to do.

4). Let yourself feel everything. YOUR EMOTIONS ARE VALID. If you don’t eventually let yourself feel them, you will never let go and you will never grow. Let yourself cry, talk to that person you trust, or write it down. Writing has been my favorite outlet out of all of these.

“In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

Have you been in an emotionally distant/abusive relationship? What helped you?

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The Moments That Define A Woman: A Thank You Letter.

It was every time I was told to change my clothes because I was showing too much skin.

Every time I tattooed something on my body and got disapproving comments.

Every time I got a piercing.

Every time someone made a comment about my shorts being too short.

Every time someone told me my butt was small. Or my breasts.

Being told to wear lipstick at work.

Being told to wear tight clothes to interviews.

The guys that told me they loved me when all they wanted was sex.

Being told how I should handle my pregnancy.

Men touching my bump and asking if I was married.

My friendliness being taken for being flirtatious.

Being blamed for sexual advances.

These moments defined who I was, caused me to not value my self worth. Thank you.

These moments have shown me that our society is broken. Women are expected to be quiet and polite. To cover up and be good wives and mothers. We are taught that we are our roles as a gender, not individuals.

I can not tell you how many times I have been put in uncomfortable situations and conversations and have been afraid to speak up to stop it. Not anymore.

This year, I decided to take back who I am. To be who I am without societal pressures, without other’s opinions.

“Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business” – Rachel Hollis.

I decided to take hold of my happiness.

Before you jump to conclusions, I believe most men are wonderful people. The good men in my life have helped me become stronger, more confident, and resilient.

What I challenge you to consider is this: who would you be if you weren’t under the societal pressure of conforming to what is normal?

When you look in the mirror, do you put makeup on for yourself? Are you wearing those tight jeans for yourself? Did you change out of the low cut top because YOU wanted to or because you weren’t sure how people would react?

My instinct is to question how I’m viewed. I don’t want to put makeup on, but what will my customers think of me? This year, every time that happens, I will fight to do what I WANT. If someone makes me uncomfortable, I will let them know. I deserve this.

I challenge you all to do the same.

#everydaysexism #effyourbeautystandards