What To Do When Body Changes Are Inevitable

baby gainThe majority of my life I dealt with major body image issues and at times, eating disorders.  Most days I would stand naked in the mirror and pinch different areas of fat and cry until I convinced myself of a plan that would work to get rid of it.  Bingeing, purging and withholding food usually seemed like the answer.

After years of internally fighting this battle, I sought out help at the student medical clinic at my college.  Therapy, friends, love and a desire for an actual healthy life eventually pulled me out of this dangerous and painful cycle.

Once the therapy ended and I left college, I fell in love with an active lifestyle and healthy eatingslowly became a part of that.  It took a deep love for myself to overcome my painful past, but eventually, it became my new learned behavior, just as the painful one had been in my past.

Fast forward seven years and I’m still living a healthy lifestyle and rocking a body that makes me proud.

Then something happens that I’ve wanted for almost two years; I become pregnant.  We tried so hard to get here, peeing on sticks, doctors, specialists and again, lots more tears.  Eventually it happened naturally on the month that we took off because life was too busy to keep up with the endless appointments.

My husband and I both cried together when we found out the news.  Now, seventeen weeks into the pregnancy, we still fall asleep most nights talking about the life we want our new addition to have and what type of parents we are going to be.

One might think that almost two years of trying to get pregnant would mentally prepare a woman for the changes that her body is going to make, but that assumption would be incorrect.  At least for me it is.

As a woman who knows how slippery the body image slope can really be, I want to publicly admit that it’s terrifying thinking that my body is about to change for at least 9 months and most likely, for the rest of my life.

Really fucking scary. 

But I made the decision that it doesn’t have to be.

Every morning I work on accepting my ever-changing body by engaging in a different type of mirror ritual than my former self took part in.   I rub cocoa butter on my expanding belly and remind myself how amazing it is that there is a small human growing inside of me.  Through the unknown fear of what will happen in the future, I tell myself that there is no other body I’d want in the world than mine, especially as I feel the tiny kicks of baby Fry.

Our bodies will all continue to change whether we make the decision to birth children or if we simply start to age.  Either way, starting from a place of acceptance and love rather than hate and pain is the answer to radical acceptance. 

No matter where you are on the path of life, I invite you to find your small slice of body love, not just today, but every day.  One day at a time.  I promise you that it’s way better than spouting off words that are less than loving.

Give it a go, it’s time.  

Struggles with infertility

feetYesterday I laid on a table for 45 minutes, with 22 needles strategically placed in my body to stimulate hormone release and encourage healthy ovulation.

The last thing I heard my acupuncturist say was, “manifest a healthy baby living inside of you.”  A sense of sadness, immediately replaced with hope and then I drifted off into a deep sleep.

Unexplained infertility is what the doctors call it.  

We call it one of the toughest challenges in our lives.

People ask me what I’ve tried…organic foods, clomid, acupuncture, basal thermometer, vitamins, herbs, essential oils, femoral massages, ovulation kits, detoxifying our bodies, no coffee, only warm foods and drinks, no alcohol except red wine, eating pineapple every day, foot soaks, giving up running, Chinese medicine, traditional medicine…

You name it, we’ve tried it.

Sex has taken on a different meaning.  My husband and I have become closer in a way I never imagined.  Peeing on some sort of stick has become an almost normal occurrence (ovulation, uti, pregnancy tests).  Ovulation apps rule my phone.  A calendar on my desk tracks things that I never thought I’d have to track or know (you haven’t lived until you’ve watched videos about cervical mucus).

Tomorrow is our last appointment with my regular obgyn and then we are handed off to an infertility specialist; new doctors, another round of tests and the recommendation of budget-busting procedures that insurance won’t touch with a ten foot pole.

We are both scared of the unknown and feel powerless in a powerful way.

It’s been a wild ride on the hormone rollercoaster; a ride that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Every month there are highs and lows, sadness and happiness, optimism and pessimism and gobs of other emotions that make me feel like a crazed lunatic.

As a life coach, I look for a purpose or positivity in almost everything.  This time, I have come up short.

Searching for meaning has become painful, not empowering.

It’s created a block in my life and in my writing.

Lots of things that used to feel important feel insignificant in comparison

Rather than getting stuck in the fear, I choose to focus on what I can do one day at a time and some days it’s one hour at a time. I choose to cry when I want to cry, talk when I need to talk and suck it up when I need a mental break.

The answer is that there is no answer right now.  We both have to be okay with that and help each other through the confusion and sadness every month.

The next step holds more optimism and another set of hearts to our team.  We’re more ready now than we were 17 months ago and become more so every month that passes by.

Whose Rules Are You Living By?

runjourneyWe all go through our daily lives following a certain set of rules.  Unconsciously, these rules define who you are, where you are going and how you’re going to get there.

Of course, there are the rules that you have to follow to remain an integral part of society.  These aren’t the ones I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kind that your subconscious sets over time that dictate how you live your life. 

The kind that feel like you have to follow them in order to be successful, happy, skinny, loveable (or insert whatever adjective hits home for you).

Here’s an example:  I’ve been running consistently for eight years.  No matter what type of shape I’m in, my pace remains about the same.  A year ago I became attached to a running app that told me my distance and pace every ½ mile.  If my body was moving slower than “normal,” I’d get frustrated and my desire to run the next day diminished.  This week I decided to ditch the app, grab my favorite running buddy, Journey, and run a pace that made us both happy.  With only a few blocks to go, she wanted to go play in her favorite park off leash.  I let her play, while I chased after her and worked in some pushups.

It was the happiest and most fun run I’ve had in years.  Playing, laughing and letting go of a rule that I had set in my mind that I needed to know exactly how far and how fast I was running in order for it to “count.”   Count for what?

This morning, I set a new priority for my runs:  to enjoy them (whatever that means).  At some point, I might find comfort in using my app and another day, I might turn on music to give my mind a rest.

What remains important is that you let go of any rules or expectations of how something should look and tune into how you want it to be.

It’s your life.  Your rules.  Your choices.  Your happiness. 

Watch the abundance flow as you become in conscious control of your life.

What rules can you let go of in order to invite in more happiness?

How to let go of your past gracefully

let-go1At different times in our lives we have to let go of things.

Sometimes it is tangible objects that hold meaning in our lives,  other times it’s metaphorical things that bring us pain to say goodbye.

Letting go of both physical and metaphorical things can rock our souls and test our strength.

With a move in our not so distant rear-view mirror, I’ve had to do a lot of this recently.

A month ago we had a yard sale with enough stuff that could fill two rooms.  As I set these years of memories tied up into stuff on our driveway to sell, I cried heavy and happy tears.

Tears of sadness represented a chapter of life that was closed.  Finally, I was letting go of my stuff that I had during my single days.  Tears for my many years of total independence, countless moves, the people who helped me get there and the memories that created who I am today.

Tears of panic for the unknown and the future.  What if my future kids want retro dishes when they go to college?   Quietly, a voice told me to “let go.”  So I did. 

Tears of happiness and hope for what the letting go represents:  my future, intertwined with the man of my dreams, tied up with three loving pets, all encompassed within a house in the city.  It’s what we worked so hard to manifest and now, we get to create a home filled with things that are meaningful to us both.

Within two hours of our yard sale, every memory tied into a physical thing was sold for less than what my mind told me it was worth. 

Ten dollars for my first coach purse that housed my college experience and launched me into adulthood.  My first kitchen table that served as a place of refuge at the end of a long day, a space for failed recipes, a handful of satisfied palates and the spot I’d talk on the phone to my deployed fiancé: free to whoever grabbed it first.  Five dollars for my red winter coat that I bought during a sudden snowstorm in Boston; the jacket that taught me about preparation and city living.

These things do not hold meaning for anyone else, but to me, they are irreplaceable.

The pain comes in the thought that irreplaceable means having to keep these things with us in order to keep the memories alive.  If that were true, then letting things go means we have to let the memories leave us.

Not true.  So very not true.

Letting old things physically leave our lives creates space for new experiences, new memories and beautiful things that represent where we are going, not where we have been.

Be willing to let go of something now.

Be willing to open yourself up to something that excites you.

Be willing to create your life based on what you want in the present and dream of in the future.

Who Inspires Your Healthy Life?

 

Health Hero**Yesterday I received and email from American Recall Center, a company that is creating a blogging movement on Health Heroes.  They invited me to share with the world who inspires my health day in and day out. **

Who is my health hero?  Who is the person that encourages me to live a healthy life?  

That question carries a lot of weight.   My inspiration and encouragement has come from so many places in the past.

Two years ago when I worked out every day for a year, my readers inspired me to keep going.  A year ago, our new adopted dog with boundless energy inspired me to lace up my kicks and run her until she was pooped.  Six months ago, it was an online fitness community of 250 members that I co-lead who got me sweating.  A month ago, it was my husband when he asked me to join him in our favorite park for a run as we chatted about our upcoming move.

I’ve created a world of health and am surrounded by loads of health heroes that keep me moving every day.   To choose just one of these people seems dishonest.

Instead, I’m hanging onto a little chutzpah and admitting that the one consistent health hero that has to show up to hold me accountable is myself.

If I don’t have the drive, motivation and determination to get outside and sweat, then ain’t nobody going to make me.

What keeps me healthy is the desire to get lost in my thoughts while my feet pound the pavement during a run, the openness of my heart after a yoga class, an adrenaline rush of crushing a goal during crossfit and the stillness of the swimming pool at the crack of dawn.

Those are the glimmers of inspiration that help ignite my body into a lifestyle of health day after day.

Who inspires you to live a healthy life?   What words of thanks do you have for them?  Leave a comment below to give your health hero a shout out of love!

Use This One Tip To Find Awesome Friends

lovesA few years ago I had so many friends.  Every night I had plans and every weekend was packed.  Whatever I was in the mood to do, I could find someone to do it with me no matter how last-minute it was.

From the outside, my life looked so full.  On the inside, I was feeling so sad and alone.

I started to really question why I was feeling this way.

It became apparent that I was not surrounding myself with people who inspire me to be a better person.  I was just surrounding myself with people.

Whenever I was around people full of love and life, their beauty would spill over and seep into me.   On the flip side, whenever I was around people full of hate and sadness, I took on those feelings too…and that feels pretty shitty.

Even though I had some great people in my life, the few bad eggs were causing an energy suck that was spilling over into all areas of my life.

Noticing and watching how this was affecting my being sent me into a full “friendship shedding” mode.

Yep, I just coined that term.

Friendship shedding (definition):  letting go of people who do not inspire you, encourage you and make you a better person.

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve shed a lot of friendships.  It’s been incredibly painful, yet one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done.

It’s made room for incredible new friendships that are built on a solid foundation.  A foundation formed with honesty, vulnerability, health, exploration and serving.

Now that I’m in this space of only allowing awesomeness in, it’s a lot easier to recognize when a snake gets near the garden.  Whenever it happens, I’m quick to shut down the relationship before it gets any deeper.

By allowing myself only to have the most badass of friends, it’s raised the standards in all areas of my life.  It’s ignited a more passionate way of life.

A life that I deserve and it’s a life that YOU deserve.

My challenge to you is to take an honest look at the people in your life.  Do they inspire you?  Are they happy for you when your life is full and awesome?  Are they still around when you’re going through some bumpy spots?

Remember that you are the gate-keeper into your life.  You get to decide who you let in and who you keep out.

It’s time to let in the lightness, you deserve it. 

To the high school girls that called me a “fat ass”

IMG_20140410_164811Dear high school girls,

Today you breezed by in a car and collectively yelled “fat ass” at me as I was running past your school.  At first, I looked around to see if anyone else was running near me, because if you took a long hard look at my ass, you’d realize that it looks like a pancake.  You know the kind, the type that was made for Mom jeans.

Maybe you just meant “PHAT ASS” and I misunderstood?  If so, I think you have nice taste and appreciate the kind words.

Something tells me though, that is not at all what you meant.   

I’m sure you think I’m just some old woman, but I assure you that I’m not that old.  I was your age the last time I heard the words “fat ass” being directed at me. They were paired with some other insults + being pushed against a locker.  That shit hurt.  Not being pushed, just the words.  I cried for days and was humiliated to show my face in school.

Although I was targeted some in high school, I also did my fair share of targeting and breaking down classmates.  It actually felt worse being the bully than it did getting bullied.  Is this true for you too?

I hope that by choosing me as your target it spared some other girls in your school the  negative attention.  Nobody ever deserves to hear hurtful words targeted at them, especially during the crucial and sensitive teenage years.

Your words reminded me of how hard high school is for some all girls.  Even the ones dishing out the harsh comments have it tough in some way or another.  Since you hollered at me (you learned it from somewhere, right?), I’m assuming you can relate to the pain that comes from being the target of bullying.  I’d love to know why you keep spreading hate instead of love?

Since I’m just a little older than you and I’ve weathered my fair share of life, I want to give you some words of wisdom (take it or leave it):

  1. High school is only four short years of your life.   For most of us, it’s the worst four.
  2. Getting through the tough times only makes you stronger.
  3. Focus on developing skills for whatever lights you up.  This will take you so much further than hate ever will.
  4. Be your weird self.  You’ll find the people who appreciate you.
  5. Spread the message of love.  There is at least one person you know that embodies kindness.  Ask that person to teach you how to do that.  You’ll never be sorry.
  6. Those mean kids hurt so much inside.  Practice #5 with the most with them.

My wish is that somehow this post finds you and for at least one day, you choose to be kind to others.  Watch what happens when you become a person that radiates light; you’ll become powerful in a way that inspires masses.  For now, practice with the classmate that really needs some love.  Walk with them in between class, pass them a funny note or stand up for them when they are being beaten down.

Again, I want to thank you for choosing me as your target today.  You don’t know this, but I am a life coach that teaches women how to love their bodies.  I practice what I preach day in and day out.  Your words didn’t hurt me, not in the slightest.  They just inspired me to spread light into the world and send immediate love to you.

Be the light, not the darkness.

Lots of love to you,

Betsy Fry