“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free”. ~Robert Tew.
I’m Kathleen, and I am so excited to share my experience of fitness competing with the Finding My Beautiful readers! I work in two industries that I love: wine and fitness. However, it can definitely be challenging to find balance between the two.
I finally overcame my struggles with weight gain and lack of self-confidence and am now a Fitness Nutrition Specialist, nationally qualified bikini competitor in the Nspire Sports League, and an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. Fitness has always been an important part of my life and has gotten me through many tough times throughout the years.
My decision to compete came after a very difficult time in my life. I was recently divorced and had just moved to a new city. My self-confidence took a big hit and I felt like a failure. During one of our last conversations, my ex said that he “wasn’t attracted to me anymore because I had gained weight.” I knew the words were said to hurt me and weren’t necessarily true. However, they hurt like no other. What disappointed me the most about this is that I lacked the confidence to let these words roll off my back. Why didn’t I have the confidence to only care about what I thought of myself? I knew I needed to do something to build myself back up so that I was in control of my self-esteem and not other people’s opinions.
I decided to get back into teaching group fitness classes since I was new to the city and didn’t know anyone. In doing so, I met my boss, Lauren, who I truly feel was put in my path to help get me through this time. She too had gone through a divorce, and now seemed to be living a really happy life. She gave me hope that I, too, could have a great life after this experience.
I soon discovered that she was a serious figure competitor! I remember being extremely excited. I asked her a million questions and thought this could be something that helps me rediscover my self-confidence. This was an opportunity for me to push myself to achieve something I had always thought about doing, but was always afraid to do. I hired the same coach that Lauren used and decided to go for it!
I had no idea that I was about to go through such a life-changing experience. I decided to compete in the bikini division where you don’t have to put on as much muscle mass. I saw competing as an opportunity to:
Here are my pros and cons to competing:
I've been on a green juice kick, not just for the crazy health benefits, but to shake up my boring, errryday meal routine. Meal planning and food creativity have fallen to the bottom of this busy gal's priority list, so green juice is my BFF right now.
Here's my go-to recipe—even you green juice haters would like this one. 😎
🍐 Spinach (handful / 1 cup)
🍐 Kale (2 stalks)
🍐 Cucumber (1/2 without the skin)
🍐 Strawberries (3—4; frozen or fresh)
🍐 Pineapple (1 slice)
🍐 Banana (just a little to keep sugar down)
🍐 Unsweetened Organic Almond Milk (I never measure this! Just throw a splash in)
🍐 Unflavored Greek Yogurt (1—2 tablespoons)
🍐 Ice (3—4 ice cubes)
🍐 Water (1 cup)
🍐 1 Organic Stevia Packet (if you need a little sweetener)
You'll see I don't give exact measurements for any of the ingredients. It's more trial and error to see what your taste buds enjoy! Little hint: kale may be the most nutritious of all the ingredients, but its sour taste will throw you off. If that happens, up the sweetness of your juice with spinach or fruits.
Enjoy, lovelies! xoxo
THIS was one of my most popular blog posts from last year, so I decided to repost it given Valentine's Day is just around the corner! I know some of you lovelies could use this reminder as we approach the sometimes dreaded V-Day.
First off, today's society builds up this one day of the year to the point we feel like utter failures if we're not attached to a significant other. It's total bullshit. What society really needs is a little slap in the face and shift in perspective.
February 14 isn't just about your "other half"—the cards, flowers, chocolates, wine, intimacy or "I love you's."
To be real, none of the things above can actually authentically mean anything without loving yourself first.
::insert your rolling eyes here. but hear me out.::
Right now, in this very moment, would you say you are "on track" or "off track" with your diet?
What if I told you that very mindset of all or nothing is what is setting you up to fail, time and time again?
If you're not sure whether this approach to eating is running your life, let me know if this sounds like you ...
Yesterday, you've fallen "off track." You ate a bite of bread that you was on the "bad foods" list. You say, "fuck it," and eat the whole damn loaf. But it's ok, because tomorrow you'll start again. (how many Day 1's have you had? I know I can't even count them in my 32 years of being).
You wake up the next day and eat the healthy, clean breakfast you had planned.
Lunch comes around and you'd really like the turkey, avocado sandwich at the nearby cafe. But, you've heard you shouldn't be eating gluten or carbs if you want to lose weight, so you decide to be "good" and get the salad.
The day gets busy and you get hungry. You wait too long, your blood sugar drops and you finally eat your cucumbers and hummus. But, you're ravenous and scarf them down before you can even enjoy the taste.
You get home. You're tired. You cook the healthy dinner outlined in your meal plan. You find yourself picking at the ingredients as you cook, eating while standing...
You finally sit and try to make yourself enjoy it. But, you're not satisfied.
You go back to the pantry and allow yourself to indulge in a little of whatever was "off limits" to begin with. Of course you can't stop at a little bit. You end up saying "fuck it" (again) and keep eating with the goal of "starting all over again tomorrow." (Haven't heard that one before 😒)
The rush feels good for a second, and then it hits you…
Since everyone has been commenting on how tasty my stuffed peppers looked, I decided to share the recipe on the blog with all of you lovelies! It would be totally selfish of me anyway to keep them to myself since they are HEAVEN, crazy EASY and uber HEALTHY.
The best thing about these peppers: they trick your brain into thinking you're having your guilty taco pleasure ;) #WINNING
Try them and let me know what you think!
When you love yourself, you want to treat your body like a temple. Period. 💯
Although I allowed myself to indulge in ALL the joys of the holidays (everything in moderation, right?), I felt like 💩 after. So I committed to a 3 day reset. No crazy food rules. No restriction. No counting calories. Just lots of nourishing food, detoxifying yoga, positive affirmations & good sleep. Believe me people ... you DON’T have to go to crazy measures to FEEL GOOD!!!
My 3-day results:
-👇🏼 3 lbs.
- Absolutely no bloat left (you can tell how puffy I was to start)
- Energy is back
- Body feels tight
- Slept LIKE A FREAKING BABY
Make yourself a priority. It’s not selfish. It’s your duty. When you feel good about yourself, you have more to give others & the world around you. ❤️🔥👊
Believe it or not, what you're thinking—positive or negative—determines how your body decides to metabolize your food.
So, your relationship with food directly impacts your body composition, weight loss, energy level and so much more.
Don't believe me? Let's break it down.
Envision a plate of spaghetti with meatballs. If different people were looking at the exact same plate of pasta, no two would see the same plate of food or metabolize it the same way.
Sarah, the yo-yo dieter, might live her life according to low-carb rules and FEAR the heaping pile of carbohydrates.
Joe, the pro athlete, might see the plate as fuel—the perfect combination of carbohydrates and protein to support his rigorous training.
Trisha, the patient, who has been suffering from health-related issues sees nourishment and healing.
Greg, the scientist, may look at the plate and immediately see the makeup of the food—the breakdown of molecules, vitamins, minerals and macro-nutrients.
As you can see, people view food differently—some have emotional ties to food and others view it simply as a way to survive and thrive. Whichever bucket YOU fall in will determine how your body breaks down food—storing it as fat or using it as fuel. Literally, what you think and feel about food can have as much impact on how you metabolize it as the actual nutrients themselves.
(See: there is a scientific connection between mind and body for all of you doubting folks 😉)
So, let's break down exactly how your brain functions at the sight of food ...
Take an ice cream cone for instance. It's right in front of your face. Your brain starts to process it immediately ...
The thought of the ice cream cone first occurs in the cerebral cortex. From there, the information is carried to the limbic system or your "emotional brain" that regulates emotion and basic survival functions, like hunger, thirst, temperature, sex drive and heart rate.
The Hypothalmus, part of the Limbic System, then takes any sensory, emotional and thought input and translates it into a physiological response:
IF YOU LOVE THE ICE CREAM & EAT IT WITH DELIGHT:
You're positive thoughts and feelings will activate increased function in your salivary glands, esophogus, stomach, intenstines, pancreas, liver & gull bladder. In other words, your body will work in your favor to process the food properly.
IF YOU'RE FEELING SHAME & JUDGING YOURSELF FOR EATING THE ICE CREAM:
Your body will intrepret this as a form of stress. The hypothalmus will take the negative & emotional mental input and send signals that slow down the digestive organs. You'll be eating the food, but not fully metabolizing it. It could stay in your digestive tract which could diminish your healthy gut bacteria, increase the release of toxic byproducts into the blood stream and decrease your calorie burning efficiency via increased insulin and cortisol, which would cause you to store your guilt-infused ice cream as body fat. No bueno.
"The thoughts you think about food instantly become realty in your body via the central nervous system."
— Institute for Eating Psychology
Let's take the placebo effect as an example:
Say a person is given a fake substance but told it's a life saving medication. The patient's belief in the healing power of the medicine creates a measurable physical response.
DID YOU KNOW:
The placebo effect is responsible for 35-45% of the effectiveness of prescription medications and upwards of 90% of the effectiveness of over the counter drugs?
The POWER OF THE MIND is so strong that you can think yourself into healing from disease.
What do you think happens when you think negatively about what you put in your mouth or judge yourself for eating a certain food? The OPPOSITE of healing, that's for sure.
This placebo effect I just talked about is built into the nutritional process and comes into play EVERY TIME we eat.
Science supports it. Again, what you think and feel about the food you eat powerfully affects how your body will process it.
This is why it is so important to start healing your relationship with your body and food. You can't start to feel at ease about eating or settle into your ideal weight while at war with yourself.
So next time you experience strong and convincing thoughts about a meal, try to relax.
If you feel anxiety towards a food decision (this was me for years every time I ate), slowly count to 10 and breathe deeply.
Reset your mind to a neutral (or better yet, positive) state and start to proceed with mindful eating practices.
Think happy thoughts ya'll ;)
Need help handling emotional or disordered eating? Let's chat.
Both women in these pictures are beautiful. The only difference is that the woman on the right finally realized it.
THE FACE ON THE LEFT:
A girl who never smiled in pictures because her cheeks would “look too big;” who, if she did smile, was definitively not smiling on the inside. This was the girl who photoshopped every photo to make her face thinner; who filtered the fuck out of pictures so you couldn’t even make out her figure (can we say over-saturated?) and who untagged EVERY photo if she didn’t look “perfect.”
THE FACE ON THE RIGHT:
A girl who smiles all the time, not only with her mouth but with her eyes; a girl who LOVES who she sees in the mirror even if she’s still not perfect; a girl who gives more attention to others than to the number on the scale; a girl who’s finally FREE—free from the chains of emotional eating, body shame, perfectionism & anxiety. THIS girl shines, and because of it, the world shines back at her. ❤️🙏🏼🙌🏼
If you’re seeking the same freedom,
it’s there for the taking. 💕
Need help on the "how" part? Message me to chat. xoxoxo
If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.
~ Eckhart Tolle
For the first time ever, I'm sharing my complete transformation story with you—along with the raw details, pictures and all!
It all started 3 years ago when I was caught in a toxic, cheating marriage that sucked every ounce of self worth out of me. As many people do, I ended up turning to alcohol and food to numb the emotional pain. When I left the relationship, I was unhappy, depressed, single and 30 pounds heavier. To say it was a low point in my life would be an understatement.
It took 2 years of yo-yo dieting, binge eating, depression medication and a hell of a victim mentality to get to my breaking point. I self loathed myself so much that I couldn't care for my body or mind, sustain any type of romantic relationship or give anything to my family, friends and career. I was mentally, physically and spiritually spent.
During this 'rock bottom' phase of my life, a friend of mine encouraged me to join a '6 Day Eat Clean Challenge.' It was based on Herbalife nutrition and required $10 to enter + the 2 starter packs. For almost no buy-in, I had no reason to say 'no.' Let's be serious, I had nothing to lose either.
When I started this challenge, my mindset was hopeless. After years of "trying" to lose the weight, I had lost all faith in myself to achieve any goal I attempted. Everyone said, 'you can do anything for 6 days,' but the reality was, I couldn't even go a day without my crutch: the 2+ glasses of wine I drank every night.
On the same day as the start of the challenge, I received some scary test results—my liver levels were 5x the normal range. My doctor insisted on an emergency ultra-sound and a retake of my blood work exactly one week later.
This was my wake up call. I had no choice but to attempt this challenge with 100% dedication. My body was clearly sending a sign that it couldn't handle the self sabotage any longer.
So, on June 21, I weighed in at our local nutrition club (Nourish), had my body fat percentage read (39.4% ... yes you read that right) and my metabolic age calculated (57). I was in shock. I knew I had let myself go, but not to this extent.
For the next 6 days, I had 2 shakes, 2 healthy snacks and 1 healthy meal a day, took pictures of every meal and posted them in our Facebook accountability group (where others did the same), ditched my morning coffee creamer and evening alcohol, slept at least 8 hours, exercised daily, popped the supplements I needed to (1 natural metabolism enhancer & a multivitamin) and drank enough water to fill a swimming pool.
Surprisingly enough, the days went by with ease. With each passing day that I didn't give into weakness or temptation, I gained a little of my power back. By the end of the week, my physical and mental fatigue had wasted away, I felt more alert and energetic, my skin was clear and glowing and I didn't have an ounce of bloat or puffiness. I had also lost 6 pounds and my liver levels had gone back to normal.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 6 pounds in 6 days? How is that even possible (my doctor sure didn't believe it)? It was. I had $150 to show for it, too (the winner wins the cash prize). 😉
I remember walking in to the final weigh-in overwhelmed with fear that the scale wouldn't reflect all of my hard work. When I saw the number looking back at me, I knew that moment was going to be a game-changer. A light switch flipped. It wasn't about the weight loss either—it was about regaining trust in myself and the belief that I am strong enough to achieve anything I put my mind to.
Within 1 month, I had lost 13 pounds. To date, I've lost 21 pounds.
After a 3-year self-sabataging roller coaster, I never thought in a million years I'd rediscover the "me" I loved so much. Yet, here I am.
If you have gotten to a hopeless place in your journey, please know that there is a light at the end of your tunnel. With an unwavering support system, nutrition based on nourishing your mind, body and soul and trust—both in yourself and the process—anything is truly possible. It takes that initial shift to make the light switch go off, but once it has, girl (or guy), you'll be unstoppable.
ON THE LEFT: A girl handcuffed by restriction, shame, control, fear, anxiety, toxic thoughts, negative self talk, low self-esteem and yo-yo dieting.
ON THE RIGHT: A girl freed by self love, daily care, positivity, confidence and nourishing food (a lot more of it too—without the calorie or macro counting!)
If you'd like more information on the plan that worked for me or need a support partner along the way, give me a shout (see form below). I'd love nothing more to be able to show you the light, too. 💕
My next group is a 6-Day POST-THANKSGIVING CHALLENGE, starting Wed. Nov. 29! If you're interested in joining, please fill out the form below.
The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.✨
The past is there for a reason. It has strengthened, grown and molded you into who you are today. Whether it’s a painful or pretty past, believe it or not, it served a purpose.
Instead of fighting what was (or is), choose to trust that you’re exactly who and where you are supposed to be. If you’re not in the body you want, if you haven’t met Mr. Right, if you don’t have the dream job you thought you’d have, it’s OK.
But, until you accept yourself and what the present moment looks like, you won’t ever make room for true transformation. That’s what allows you to build the new.
The beautiful thing is, the “new” can be whatever you want it to be! You are never stuck. You are ALWAYS capable of radical change.
Mastin Kipp says it best:
If you choose to see everything as a miracle, then where you are right now is perfect. There is nowhere to run to; there is nothing else to do except be in this moment and allow what is to be. From that place of radical acceptance, major change can happen. The first step in any transformational experience is acceptance and surrender to the present moment, the way that it is. From that place we have the awareness, humility and power to change what is.”
Thanks for stopping by! It means a lot to me.