Embracing your imperfections

Embracing your imperfections can be really tough. For some this is probably a lot harder than for others. I personally believe it’s harder to love your own flaws than those of others. We are our own harshest judge – we tend to be tougher towards ourselves and our own imperfections than those of others.

Being able to love yourself enough to accept the way you are is one thing. However, some people take it a step further and they share something personal for the benefit of others.

I came across a post on the internet (no surprise there :P) where Rachel Hollis did exactly this. She shared a piece of herself by posting a photo (as seen above) on her Instagram account and it soon went viral.

With it, she said the following:

“I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that’s permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy… (which is something I didn’t even know was possible before!) and I wear a bikini.

I wear a bikini because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it.

Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man who’s opinion matters knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he’s never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren’t scars ladies, they’re stripes and you’ve earned them. Flaunt that body with pride!” 

It’s such a powerful message, so I really wanted to share it. Rachel looks gorgeous and she’s an example for all Fit Girls out there who need to show some love to themselves and their beautiful imperfections. A comforting thought is that nobody is perfect, we all have our imperfections and this is exactly what makes us humans unique.

So dearest Fit Girls, now I’m wondering. What kind of imperfections are you willing to proudly share with us?

I’ll start by sharing one of myself. When I was two years old, I got bitten in my face by a dog. I was eating a cookie while showing it off but I wasn’t willing to share it. The dog got annoyed and bit me. It left a tiny scar on my nose, like a little dent. The doctors told me I could get plastic surgery done once I reached the age of 18 ‘to get it fixed’ but I decided to embrace it and accept it as a part of me 🙂

Now that you’ve read my story, I can’t wait to hear yours! You can post it in the comments below.

xoxo

Safira Audrey

Source (header): www.instagram.com/msrachelhollis

Michelle’s fit journey

We always love to put a Fit Girl in the spotlight who has experienced a special Fit Journey. She shares her ups and downs, tips and tricks, annoyances, good and bad habits and hopes to inspire you to also become the fittest version of yourself. If she can do it, then you can too!

From being a regular customer at gas stations known the get snacks, to eating healthy, balanced meals: Michelle has experienced a great fit journey! In total, Michelle lost 55 pounds and she looks absolutely great. The insecurity she has had has gone away due to her new lifestyle. Today she is sharing her story with us and she hopes to inspire and motivate others!

fit journey

What was the reason you decided to change it all around?

I noticed my clothes became a lot tighter, my largest pants I did not fit me anymore and the pain in my ankle (due to an ankle fracture in 2009) increased considerably.

Who or what motivated you? 

Instagram! I made an Instagram account and started to follow all kinds of Fit Girls, who gave me a lot of energy and motivation that encouraged me to finally push through.

What were you ashamed of in the past?

My belly. I always tried to hide it under baggy clothing. Also, the fact that I was immediately out of breath when I went up the stairs.

What would you do now that you wouldn’t have done before? 

I can finally walk confidently into the gym and I’m not afraid anymore to start conversations with strangers.

What was your worst habit?

Coke, coke and coke. Coca-Cola was my worst enemy! And candy and chips. Everything really, haha. Mainly when I went to work in my car, I was one of the biggest sponsors of the gas stations along the highway. I couldn’t stay away from all the snacks.

Have you replaced this bad habit for a good one or have you managed to balance it with something else? 

Every now and then I tend to drink a Coke Zero for taste. I mainly drink sugar-free lemonade with sparkling water to still be able to drink some kind of ‘soda’. Candy and chips have left my diet. Nowadays, I make lots of snacks myself, which are much healthier than what I consumed before and are really tasty as well! I also look more at the portions I take than I did before.

If I have to drive for a longer period of time I make sure to have cucumber and little tomatoes ready in my car. This way I am not tempted to stop at a gas station anymore to get snacks. Should I stop at a gas station anyways, then I grab a protein bar from my glove compartment and buy a Coke Zero at the gas station.

What can you really not live without?

Eating a peanut butter sandwich. When I was young I did not like it as much but over the years I have learned to love it. I love it even more with slices of banana on it.

fit journey

What were the greatest high- and low-points of your fit journey?

I reached my lowest point after loosing weight for 1.5 years. I was so obsessed with exercising and my diet that I had an unhealthy and low fat percentage, which made me constantly tired and decreased my energy. Luckily my boyfriend stepped in and helped me out by slowly making me eat more exercise less heavily. This resulted in a healthier fat percentage and a better understanding of nutrition and exercise. The highlight of my fit journey was when, after a little over a year of losing weight, I reached 165 lbs. I have been wanting to be this weight for years but it just seemed impossible.

What has made the difference for you: sports, nutrition or as the combination of both?

Losing weight consists of 80% dieting and 20% exercise. For me, my biggest change was switching my diet around. I started with low-carbohydrate foods, then moved to the so-called “tracking” of food process, and in recent months I’m eating through the ‘palm method’.

What are your long and short term goals? 

In the short term, in terms of body: I would like to reduce my body fat by 5%, so I can get more muscle definition.
In the short term, in terms of exercise: This year I want to be able to do one pull-up.
In the long term, in terms of body: stay fit and healthy.
In the long term, in terms of exercise: I would like to a spread angle followed by a handstand, while balancing on two kettle bells. #nevernotgonnahappen haha.
Furthermore, it is my goal to inspire as many people as possible and motivate them to live a healthy lifestyle through food and exercise.

fit journey

Perseverance is often the most difficult. How do you make sure you stay fit?

I just continue to do exercises, especially the ones I like the most. I surround myself with people who give me positive energy. I continue to enjoy all delicious foods, but do so while moderating my portions.
Every 1st day of the month I weigh, measure, and take pictures of myself. I often know beforehand what the outcome is going to be as I now know my body well enough to know whether I have gone up or down in my percentage of fat. But, this monthly check up is a good way to control myself and continue to stay as healthy and fit as I can.

If you could say something to the person you were before your transformation, what would you say?

Girl, get up and chase your dreams. You can do much more than you think!

What does your sports regime look like? Do you have a schedule you follow?

At the moment I do weight training three times a week and I try to go to boxing once a week. If I’m not in the mood for boxing then my boyfriend, who is also a personal trainer, exercises with me in the weekends. We box together in the backyard and do a short but intensive workout.

fit journey

What do you think is the biggest bullshit hype within the fitness world?

Doing hours of cardio with the goal of loosing weight.

What’s your biggest annoyance when it comes to health and fitness?

Dieting. A diet is temporary and causes you to lose weight. But if you decide to eat “normally” again after you finish your diet then you’ll also get the body back that you had before. The point is, you have to change your lifestyle, otherwise it will never work.

How do you make sure your diet is balanced?

I tend to keep a somewhat ‘standard menu’ when I eat, so I roughly know what my macro nutritions are during the day. One days that I plan to do a workout I eat more carbohydrates and less fat. And on the days when I do not exercise I eat less carbohydrates and more fat.

How do you feel about counting calories and macro nutritions?

Counting calories and macros is something you should definitely do, especially if you are just starting your fit journey. This gives you a lot of insight. Even through healthy food you can gain weight. Ultimately, it comes down to energy. How many calories are going in and how many are going out. But, once you have enough knowledge about nutrition and you roughly know what portion sizes you should be consuming, then you can stop counting calories and macros. I think just counting calories is nonsense. You should also be looking at the distribution of macronutrients.

fit journey

How does a healthy menu look to you?

On a training day in the morning, my menu looks like this:
Breakfast: Quark with Herbalife Formula 1 Sport along with a handful of oatmeal and a banana.
During my strength training: CR7 (electrolyte drink).
After my strength training: Herbalife Rebuild Strength, peanut butter sandwich.
Lunch: 2 sandwiches, 1 with lean toppings and one with fatty toppings (cheese, goat cheese etc), in addition to two eggs.
Snack: Protein Bar (yummyyyyyy) and an apple.
Dinner: fist-size amount of carbohydrates, flat hand full of protein and half a plate of vegetables.
Pre bedtime meal: Quark with nuts.

What’s your favorite ‘food prep’ meal?

Pretty much anything in my freezer. I like to cook bigger servings, so if I’m late home one day and have no time or just don’t feel like cooking, I always have healthy meals waiting for me in the freezer.

Do you also participate in the so-called ‘cheat meals’ or ‘cheat days’?

Not really. If I’m going to give myself a free pass for a meal or cheat day, I will eat way more calories and macros than needed and just end up gaining weight. I’ll eat chocolate once a week in my quark, but only two squares of chocolate instead of the whole bar, as I did in the past.

What is a healthy alternative for your guilty pleasure?

A healthy Dutch ‘Kapsalon’! Chicken with shawarma spices and sweet potato fries from the oven.

What is your ultimate Lazy Fit Girl product?

I don’t really have one.

Are you curious about Michelle’s progress? Check out her Instagram page! Do you want to lose a few pounds yourself and build a healthy and happy life? The Fitgirlcode Guide helps you get your diet, workouts and mind organized! 8 weeks long you will work on exercises, food schedules, and any necessary ‘mindfulness exercises’. Let’s go!

Do you know or are you someone who has experienced a special Fit Journey? Send an email to community@fitgirlcode.com. Your story can help push someone one step closer in the right direction.

My first Hot Yoga class

If there’s one thing I enjoy about working here, it’s how much motivation I get from my colleagues at the office. I can already say that I’ve gotten healthier, more active and find myself trying things I never would of thought of, like hot yoga!

The Big Day

I have to start off saying that I had absolutely no idea how to prepare for the class! I have never done any kind of yoga in my life, so I don’t own anything yoga related, like my own mat for instance. But I tried to logically think of what I’d need. I got ready for work that morning and made sure to pack a towel, water bottle, a nice breathable t-shirt and 3/4 leggings. I thought I’d be okay.

I biked straight after work to the Balanzs Studio in Rotterdam to attend my first hot yoga class. I really have to commend the studio and also the instructor Jasmijn. From the moment I entered the lounge, Jasmijn was there with a very relaxing vibe to her. After I filled out the paperwork (2 minute stuff), she actually took the time to read about my medical concerns and acknowledged that she’d keep them in mind during the class. For someone with some really crappy shoulders and knees, this was comforting.

hot yoga class

The class

After getting changed, I headed up to the spacious studio where I was immediately hit by the type of warmth that reminded me of tropical temperatures. Coming from St. Maarten, the prospect of working out in 38 degrees wasn’t that scary for me. As it turns out,  I ended up really loving this part. There’s something about actually sweating that makes working out just that much more rewarding for me.

The room was completely silent when I walked in and that quiet maintained itself through the whole class. Depending on people’s preferences,  there were all sorts of different outfits in the class. Some men were shirtless, and women in shorts and sports bras while others, like me, covered up some more. There was also a lot of heavy breathing going on during the class, which definitely took me a little while to get used to.

The focus was placed on hip and shoulder openers, and I tried my best to do everything in the flow sequence. Towards the end, I spent more time in child’s pose since my shoulders were giving me some issues. But I especially liked that it felt okay to do so. Sometimes instructors in different fitness activities come over and accuse you of being lazy, but Jasmijn gave me (and the others taking breaks) the space to just be and continue at our own paces. I really appreciated that.

Would I go again?

I definitely enjoyed my first hot yoga class. For that hour and a half, I just felt so very relaxed and at peace. In the beginning, I was a bit of a skeptic when it came to the mindful things, but you can probably consider me a convert now. The part that really affected me actually, was that we spent the last 3 minutes requested to lay on our backs and just not move, no matter how much you’d like to. It made me feel present in my body and inner calm. Something I’m definitely missing in my life.

So there you have it. If you’re interested in trying out  a hot yoga class, it’s something I definitely recommend. If you’re in Rotterdam or Den Haag, Netherlands, then be sure to pass by at Balanzs and get a 7 day free trial. I promise, you won’t regret it. Wherever else you are in the world, I hope you go for it too. Let me know how it goes!