Walk Alone

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Get comfortable with walking alone.

 

I don’t tell you this to discourage you. I tell you this because the idea of “community” and the lack thereof can actually make you feel more low, lonely and discouraged than ever.

 

The facade of “community”, what we’re told it is and what we imagine it to be – leaves us grasping for more. It leaves us with a hole that says “You’re not good enough” “You don’t belong here.” “This is not your place.”

 

So, we continue searching for community. For our place to belong. For our people. Because we’re told we need this in order to thrive and survive in this world.

 

Community is necessary – but the word itself and the idea is distorted. You need your people. But just like living a healthy lifestyle. For some, that means hitting the gym, heavy weights 6 days a week. For some, that means taking a 2-mile walk 3 days a week. For some that means keto. Or carb cycling. Or counting macros. Or vegan. Or intuitive eating. For some, it means drinking trading sodas for water. For some, it means switching to vaping from cigarettes.

 

You get my drift, right?

 

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach for a “healthy lifestyle”, so why would we assume this for “community?”

 

There’s my disclaimer.

 

When you learn to walk alone – you grow. You discover the power you possess and you no longer look to the outside world to complete you.

 

Square peg. Round hole.

 

For many years I looked for a place to belong. I met a lot of great people along the way. But I burdened them. I put an expectation on them that they never asked to carry. All because of my distorted idea and social media showed me what community was supposed to look like.  But out here in the real world, I couldn’t find it.

 

I assumed I was the problem. Because everyone seemed to have this gift of community that I, somehow, can’t find.

 

Clearly, I’m the problem.

 

Clearly, you’re the problem.

 

Lies.

You’re not the problem. The people whom you call “community” are leaving you unsatisfied and unfulfilled because you’ve either squeezed yourself into an environment with people you truly don’t mesh with (even if they’re super nice people). Or – there are pieces of you that need healing and you’re looking to those outside folks to provide healing for you.

 

You’ll be let down every time. Jumping. Aborting the mission. Just to jump into a new circle and still find yourself empty.

 

Learn to walk alone. I’m not talking about isolation or resentment. I’m talking about being alone. Learning yourself. Knowing your safe place and your dark place. Not being afraid of your dark places. Exploring and basking in the adventure of you. Know your patterns. When your thoughts switch from light and lovely thoughts to cynical, judgemental thoughts. Learn how to drag the bottom but also learn when it’s time to ask someone to reach in and help you.

 

You’ve been taught this lie that you need all this outside help to get you where you need to go. You’ve been taught to network to be seen. You’ve been taught to share your inner world, your deepest pains and regrets with others in hopes for what? Acceptance?

 

Look, here’s all the shit I’ve done. Do you still love me?

 

Is that what we’re doing here?

 

Give me a break.

 

Let’s start with – Look, me. Here’s all the shit I’ve done that you’re clearly aware of. Do you still love me? Do I still love me even though…?

 

Start there. Walking alone. Learning your inner voice. Your thoughts and opinions. How do you really feel when the group is not around?

 

Don’t worry about being alone forever. Once you find you, everything changes. Your people will find you. They will be drawn to you. And your relationships will be so much healthier. You won’t be chained to others and they won’t be chained to you. It will create a free-flowing relationship that exudes freedom. And grace. And love. Beyond what you could ever imagine.

 

You are who you’re looking for. Not community.

 

Community is necessary but you’ll get lost among a sea of confusion- tossed back and forth in their identity, fears, interests, upsets, passions, pains… if you don’t know your own first.

 

We need you to come out from hiding. Willing to stand alone – just as you are. Rescript the idea of community. There is nothing wrong with you. It’s your idea of community. You’re not broken. Your idea of community is broken. The expectations you put on others is broken. But you… you’re okay.

 

Wake up, sleeper.

-AP

Easy Like Sunday Morning | Lemon Water

 

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Easy like Sunday morning.

 

I hope you have all had a great, long, holiday weekend. I know I have. I treasure this time. The kids are sleeping and Tony and I just finished coffee on the patio. 

 

Breathing in that fresh, (humid) Tennessee, morning air. Both us sharing how we’ve enjoyed the long weekend but are ready to get back to work. 

 

I guess that desire hits you when you enjoy the people you’re surrounded by and love what you do for work. 

 

I used to cry and get depressed when it was time to go back to work. Every Sunday. I don’t do that anymore. 

 

If you’re a Mon-Fri worker, how are you feeling about getting back at it tomorrow?

 

If you’re excited … Nice! Good for you. If you’re not excited … what plan do you have to get away from the misery? 

 

Here’s what you can’t do. Don’t go to work and bitch and complain because you’re miserable. Don’t come home and bring all that negativity with you, either. Do something about it. You have the power to change your physical location and get a new job. OR- you have the power to change your perspective, your thoughts, and your words. You’re not a victim here. And if you truly are miserable – get out of there, fast. Don’t delay another moment. 

 

Here’s what I’ve found to be true on my own journey. It’s rare that outside sources are truly making me miserable. It’s ME making ME miserable.

 

When I used to sit and eat junk and never move my body, I felt like crap. When I would sit and watch junk TV or entertainment (including the news), I felt like crap. When I would hang out with “friends” who gossip and backstab, I would feel like crap. 

 

I don’t feel like crap anymore. I pushed everything out of my life that made me feel bad. Then I was left to take responsibility for my thoughts, actions and what/who I moved back into my life. 

 

I set up new routines. I mapped out the life I wanted to live and then planned my days around that kind of life. And guess what? It feels really fake at first. But I did it anyway. And somewhere along the way, my life started changing. It started to reflect the life I wanted. 

 

You hold that same power, friend. 

 

Here’s a quick and easy thing you can add into your morning routine. And if you don’t have a morning routine – get one. It doesn’t have to be rigid and mapped out by the minute, but have an outline. 

 

Here’s where I start:

 

A tall glass of water, lemon juice, and Himalayan pink salt. (12-16 ounces of water. Half a lemon- juiced, and a ¼ or ½ tsp of Himalayan Pink Salt. Stir altogether. Drink.)

 

Then coffee. 

 

After a night of sleeping, your body is dehydrated. Wake up and hydrate. You’d be surprised how this one, simple act can help you.

 

Benefits of lemon water w/ Himalayan salt: promotes hydration. | good source of vitamin C. | helps maintain pH balance of the body. | regulates water content both inside & outside of your cells. | prevents muscle cramping| contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. 

 

It’s good for you. And you feel good about yourself when you’ve done something good for you. 

 

Enjoy. 

 

Make this Sunday count. Don’t let tomorrow be a repeat of misery. Autopilot. Nothingness. Empty. 

 

Make it a great start to the week. Then go create a great day. Which turns into a great week. 

 

You got this. Your life is waiting for you.

 

 

8-Week Health Challenge – Catching up through week 3

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Week 3 of the 8-Week Health Challenge ends today. Tomorrow we start week 4. I have not been able to blog as much as I would have liked but have continued to post on my Instagram. @aprilpoynter. Feel free to follow along there.

 

So far we’ve reflected on why we want to participate in the 8-Week Challenge. We took some time to reflect on relationships that aren’t allowing us to grow. This past week our focus was spending time in nature. I’ve also sent some updates via social media about how you feel directly affects how successful you are during this 8-weeks.

 

I figured I’d break some of those topics down in this blog.

 

Why?

 

Knowing why you want to jump into the 8-week challenge is vital. What’s the point? Why do you care? What is it you are trying to accomplish over this 8-weeks? For me, it’s been about a year since I started working on my mind/body/soul. I hit a weight loss goal by my birthday this year (March). Then I just maintained until April when we started this challenge.

 

My what – I want to lean out. I want to burn more fat and lean out more muscle to tighten up my body composition. This requires a different approach than when you want to lose weight and feel better in your clothes.

 

My why – I’ve always imagined myself with toned muscle. So, I want toned muscles. I want to be strong and athletic. I want great cardio health and to continue taking care of my heart and body so that I’m being a good steward of my body, mind, soul – AND can be healthy and ready for whatever comes my way.

 

What is your why? Why are you doing this? What sparked your interest in it? Try to break that pattern of, “I want to lose weight.” And tap into WHY you want to do that?

 

Relationships:

 

Who are you around and how do they make you feel? Do they support your goals to change? Do they laugh at you or encourage you? If you want to have growth and lasting change in your life, you’ve got to take an inventory of who you let be in your life.

 

If you are surrounded by people who make you feel bad about yourself, it’s going to be hard to make progress for yourself with them hanging around.

 

I follow a few general guidelines when it comes to relationships:

 

When I’m with this person do I feel the same? Do I feel better? Do I feel bad?

Do I feel the same? I walk away from this person feeling the same way. Nothing gained. Nothing extracted.

 

Do I feel better? When I leave this person I feel energized and challenged in a great way.

 

Do I feel bad? I feel gross after talking to this person. Our conversation is about people. It’s negative. Or… the conversation wasn’t bad but being with this person makes me feel bad. I can’t explain it. I don’t feel heard when I’m with them. I feel that I had to defend myself a lot throughout that conversation.

 

You can use these three questions as a reference point in your relationships. Your personal growth can only go so far if you have people around you that don’t add to your life- but instead, take away.

 

Nature:

 

For Week 3, this past week, we’ve talked about nature. Especially now that Spring has arrived, it’s a great time to get out into the land. Take some deep breaths. Listen to the sounds of nature.

 

You know that feeling that you get when you’ve been sitting outside on a nice, spring day? Listening to the birds and feeling the coolness of the wind break through the warmth of the sunshine?

 

Or after a nice rain, the smell of rain and the calmness that surrounds you. Everything smells fresh and feels nurtured.

 

Only nature can bring us this feeling.

 

You’ll notice I reference feelings a lot when it comes to this health challenge. For me, the feeling drives a lot of my success. Now, I don’t want to be swayed by my feelings when I need to get a workout in and I don’t ‘feel’ like it. No. When you’re trying to implement new disciplines to create a new lifestyle, you’re going to have to do things you don’t feel like doing.

 

I’m referencing feelings in a different way. When you feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to do things you don’t normally do.

 

When I started my first health journey last year the first thing I did was got a haircut and got a tan. These 2 small changes helped to launch me to a new level of healing.

 

A great haircut can make you feel and look like you’ve lost 10 pounds. A tan makes you feel better about your body. Or at least they do for me. And that’s what I’m doing here. Sharing my tips and pieces of my journey. This is not the end-all/be-all. This is just my own story that has accompanied me on my own journey.

 

If you’re interested in a fabulous tanning product, I recommend Loving Tan

 

Tomorrow starts week 4.

 

A friend and I were talking this past week. We were sharing about how this first 4 weeks and really this whole challenge is more about tapping into your mental health. Starting a conversation with yourself about why you do what you do. Evaluating foods that you like and don’t like. Testing out different types of physical activity. Removing thoughts that aren’t serving you or helping you get to where you need to go.

 

The first 4 weeks is a heavy thought time. Staring yourself in the face and not running from what you want. Making yourself sit with the feelings that you avoid when it comes to taking care of yourself.

 

There is no right or wrong way to do this – as long as you’re doing something every day. You get to measure the success on your own journey. But you’ve got to get very honest with yourself.

 

That’s a long spill, I know. But this is what happens when I skip multiple weeks of blogging during this challenge.

 

Let’s get prepared for week 4. Maybe it’ll be week 1 for you. Who cares? Just get going.

 

You’re worth it.

 

Talk soon.

 

-AP

 

Let the 8-Week Health Challenge Begin!

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The day has come. 8-weeks of health.

Intentional health-conscious decisions.

Remember – this doesn’t mean just losing weight. Health can take on numerous meanings that are very personal to each individual.

Last March I started a health journey that had absolutely nothing to do with losing weight. It had to do with me detoxing and protecting my brain. I heard Ted Talk that talked about the benefits of mental health and exercise. I was persuaded when the speaker talked about how we can limit our risk of Alzheimers and Dementia just by adding in 30 minutes of cardio, 3 times per week.

Check out that Ted Talk here.

I took action right away.

Sunday. Tuesday. Thursday.

Those were my cardio days.

I didn’t change my diet. I still drank lots of wine. I still ate Chick-fil-a almost every day. I just added three days of cardio – 30-minute sessions.

I woke up earlier on those 3 mornings and got the cardio done before my day actually started. I didn’t negotiate with myself. I didn’t have an option.

I would have my workout clothes sitting out the night before. When the alarm went off the next morning, I would get up – get dressed – grab my laptop and head to the garage.

I would pull up youtube and type in 30-minute cardio workout I’d find something that looked appealing and I’d get started.

On days when I felt weak or extra heavy, I’d type in 30-minute low impact cardio workout.

**Side note** Popsugar has some of the best workouts that I’ve found on Youtube.

And thus my health journey began.

Nowadays I workout 5-6 days per week. I do weight training, body weight training, and cardio. I count macros (on and off), I meal prep, and I limit my alcohol consumption.

My point is – you don’t have to get there today. You don’t have to conquer everything today. You don’t have to restrict every enjoyable food today.

You just have to start somewhere.

For me, that was 30-minutes of cardio, 3 times per week.

Which eventually led to me cutting back on alcohol.

Then led to me learning about intermittent fasting.

Then led to me realizing how I was addicted to food (carbs and sugar – constantly spiking my insulin).

Then led me to learn about supplements.

Then led me to the importance of good quality sleep.

The journey has revealed a lot. I experienced burn out. I had a psychological meltdown and went on a junk food binge (more than once). I injured myself a few good times. I was forced to rest and shut down.

Ultimately I’ve learned more about myself than I ever have. I realized I actually enjoy eating well and taking care of my body. But – I’ll also enjoy some donuts from time to time. And guess what? When you’ve worked hard and eat a clean diet (for the most part), a few donuts don’t ruin your progress.

Start somewhere.

Journal. Start writing to yourself about WHY you want to do this.

Why do you want to join the 8-week challenge?

What do you want to gain from this experience?

Last year, for me, it started with I wanted to have a better memory and better brain health. The weight loss was a byproduct. But my WHY was never weight loss. My Why was better brain function.

Here’s what I’ve done today to prepare for the next 8-weeks.

  • Earlier this weekend I mapped out the foods I wanted to consume based off of my “cutting” macros. See previous post.  Today I grocery shopped and started meal prep. I leave flexibility in my first couple of weeks. So I only prepped for 3 days out of my work week. The other days I’ll improvise based off of how I feel. The foods will stay within my calories for the day, but if I prep too hard, I feel boxed in and then I rebel. Tony, my husband is totally different. He can map his food, prep his food and eat his food without sliding off course one time.  Not I. I need some wiggle room. Leaving options open help me feel as though I’m in control and still enjoying life without being too rigid. This is how this stays a lifestyle for me.

 

  • I made food I like and food that’s easy to prepare. I’m not a huge fan of ground meats. But I like ground turkey meat with Trader Joe’s taco seasoning and 1 can of tomato sauce (per the instructions on the Trader Joe’s seasoning packet). This is a great protein source for me. I mix it up with some Trader Joe’s jasmine rice (microwavable) and some chopped sweet potatoes. Portioned out to fit my macros, this yummy bowl is about 400 calories. Super filling. Super delicious! I also don’t want to spend a million years making food. Microwavable rice is a quick go-to for me.

 

  • I wrote out a plan for the week (specific and detailed). I also wrote out a plan for the next 4 weeks (loose and overview). My plan for this upcoming week has a lot of cardio worked in. I’ve also got my food and macros listed. I’ve got rest days mapped out. I’ve got one “cheat meal” included. As far as the 4-week plan, my first 2 weeks are me adjusting to something new. Nothing too rigid and strict. The last 2 weeks are when I should start seeing some good progress and begin to tighten up a little on my diet (lessen out the carbs, give myself more food volume with veggies rather than carbs). At the end of the 1st month of this challenge, I’ll do the same with the next 4 weeks plan. Except it will be more strict and more defined.

Drinking lots of water, enjoying my Sunday! That’s my day.

I’m excited to be on this journey with you. What’s your why? What’s your goal? What did you do today to prepare for the 8-week challenge? I’d love to hear your responses. You may have some good tips to share with me – so please do!

Oh, and if you came here because of my Instagram post. Here is the probiotic and digestive enzyme that I take before each meal.

Day 1, y’all.

It should never feel daunting. If you’ve started and you already feel defeat. Stop. Re-evaluate. You’re not doing it right. Most likely you’re trying to start this 8-week challenge the way you’ve started these types of journies in the past. AND most likely, those journies didn’t end well for you. You can’t do what you’ve always done (if it wasn’t sustainable). This is a whole new beginning. You’re stepping out into something completely different this time around.

It’s a great time to take care of you.

Let’s get it.

-AP

8-Week Health Challenge Prep

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This Sunday, April 14, the 8-week health challenge begins. What does health mean to you in this season? If you’re coming along for the journey, what area of health are you targeting?

I believe health is defined in many ways. Many personal ways.

As we gear up to start this challenge on Sunday – make sure you are set up for success.

If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, you’ll need to know your plan for the upcoming week. Same for an exercise routine. You can’t just show up on Sunday and think you’re going to be ready to go if you haven’t prepared yourself.

You only have so much willpower and if you spend your time trying to think of all the changes you need to make, all the food you can and cannot eat…. You’re going to empty the willpower tank and throw in the towel before you even get started.

Here’s what I’m doing today and throughout this weekend: My goal for the next 8-week is to burn fat on my body and tone. In order to burn fat, I need to go into a calorie deficit. Basically, drop some calories from my “maintenance” calories.

What does this mean?

Here is a link to a website that will help you see what your calories should be for bulking (gaining muscle), cutting (burning fat), and maintenance (staying the same).

For me, I’m gathering information about my cutting calories. Then I will build my food plan around those calories. You can go to Pinterest and look up “meals for cutting” or “meals for bulking” – and options galore will appear before you.

Whatever you do – don’t overwhelm yourself.

8-weeks to do this. The first 2 weeks might be completely off the rails. That’s okay. It’s not about perfection. It’s about progress. It’s about making a decision to not only try but to do something good for you.

It’s gonna be a fun ride!

 

PHJ 8-Week Health Challenge

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Do you feel yourself getting ready to take flight? You know it’s time to make a change but you just need a little extra push?
I’m hosting an 8-week health challenge. It will start on Sunday, April 14 and end on Saturday, June 8.

8 weeks for you to dedicate yourself to you… and your health. Whatever that means to you!
I’ll be sharing tips, tricks, and encouragement from my own health journey. How I lost 35 pounds and have been able to sustain a healthy lifestyle without yo-yo dieting.

Maybe you don’t care to lose weight but you want to clear your mind. Or you want to accomplish something you’ve been procrastinating for a while. I invite you to join the 8-week health challenge.
Use this as your time to enter into a new season. I get it. Sometimes it’s really hard to jump and we just need a little push.

This is your push.

Let’s get it.
More to come.