GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME.

Good morning, my beautiful friend!

Every morning, I write morning pages, which is pretty much just 3 pages of freehand writing I use to get all of my thoughts out of my head and on to paper. I do this every morning, and it helps take ALL those crazy thoughts I have about my goals, what I have to do that day, and helps create the space in my brain to focus on other important things vs. trying to remember my 90-mile-long to-do list.

Today, I was reflecting on how LONG it takes for some things we want to come to fruition.

The saying is true: GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME.

  Photo taken by Toronto-based photographer  Amin

Photo taken by Toronto-based photographer Amin

Things that are worth having genuinely DO take time: our dream body, career, relationship. It takes hard work and effort.

But when we're so focused on the outcome — "I won't be happy until I get to X goal" — it makes for a miserable ride along the way.

It's like knowing you have to go on a road trip across the country to get to your fave place in the world, California. But instead of driving a reliable car, downloading a bomb playlist, riding with the windows down, stopping to enjoy the sights along the way... you CHOOSE to drive your brother's shitty 2004 Honda Civic that breaks down every 100 miles, whose radio doesn't work, and instead of stopping to stay at hotels and do some sightseeing, you're just going to power through, pull 3 all nighters, get cracked out on coffee and suffer through until you finally reach the promised land of Santa Monica.

Knowing that your journey is a long one, don't make it any harder on yourself than it has to be.

ENJOY the ride. Let loose. Live a little. Have some freakin' fun, why don't ya?!

In terms of fitness & health:

Even if you're not where you want to be right now, enjoy your body & the process NOW. Take classes or do workouts you love. Eat in a way that makes you feel amazing — taking the time to cook and prepare your food so it tastes delicious. Celebrate your body by wearing what you want (i.e. a bathing suit) with no shame and don't just wait around til you feel 'good enough.'

Your dream body will come only as a result of loving, taking care of, and being kind to the one you have right now.

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In terms of your dream career:

Even if you're not making stupids amounts of money or doing what your soul feels called to do for a living right now, be grateful for all that you DO have. If you have a roof over your head, meals to eat and the means to read this right now... you're doing better than 90% of the world.

Plus, you're lucky to have ANY JOB in general. And if you truly don't like the job you're in, start taking steps to change that. Start a blog. Intern somewhere at night. Get the certification you need or go back to school on the side. THAT'S enjoying the process and being a part of actively creating the career of your dreams.

When I worked at my 9-5 advertising job, I was teaching group exercise classes on the side, then decided to get my personal training certification, which led to training clients, which led to me being able to leave my full-time job, which led to me being able to do this all online now. But had I just sat there and thought "woe is me... I hate my job... this is it for me." and didn't take steps to be an active creator of my future, I WOULD NOT BE WHERE I AM TODAY, and I certainly would not be continuing to build my dream career on a daily basis.

You just need a little courage. Courage builds confidence and trust, so every time you push the boundaries a bit on what you *think* you're capable of, you'll learn to trust yourself to take even bigger risks. Start small (or start big) but just START.

*side note of love* don't feed yourself the BS of "I don't know where to start" — you totally do. Don't let fear stop you. Take a baby step. What's one thing you can do TODAY that moves the needle in a positive direction? DO THAT.

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In terms of your dream relationship:

Even if you're single as a Pringle right now, enjoy yourself. I was single for 3. YEARS. before I met Mark. But that doesn't mean I was sitting in my room waiting for him to come knock down my door (which would have been near impossible because the chances of him randomly finding my apartment in Orlando from Canada is slim.... lol)

While I was single, I took the time to discover who I truly was, without a relationship defining me — as I let it with so many of my past boyfriends. I went on dates and called them "MANventures" (shout out to Jenn — this was our inside joke HA), I discovered hobbies I truly loved (teaching group ex. classes, becoming a personal trainer), reading books and listening to podcasts to improve my career and myself as a human.

Ultimately, when the timing was right — my hobbies, my career, my work in personal development — all aligned when I took a chance to intern at Strength Camp, which *you know the ending* led me to meet and marry the love of my life! Now I live in a totally different country (talk about a curve ball I never would've anticipated in my wildest dreams!), we're about to move into a new place together, and we're creating our dream life TOGETHER.

But that's all because I spent the time to truly figure out who I was, what I wanted, and enjoyed myself along the way.

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If you're interested, you can search Mark on my blog and there are plenty of posts about our moves/journey as a couple.

And I continue to enjoy myself (as best as I can) in ALL areas of my life today — even if they're not perfect — because WHY THE HECK NOT???!

Sure, these things take time. But what's the rush?

I've learned that the reason that our dreams don't manifest over night is because we have to become the person that's ready to handle that level of success.

For example, you say you want to win the lottery... but imagine you won $50 million tomorrow. Would you be the type of personal that's financially responsible enough to win that money and — more importantly — make it last? (so many of the winners just poo that money away. sad.)

Or say you want your dream boo to come into your life... what type of person are you being right now? Is your house cluttered with junk, or would you be proud to invite someone over? Are you carrying around emotional baggage from past relationships, or have you spent time working through all your old junk so that you don't carry that into a new relationship? Are you figuring out who you are individually so that when you meet him, you guys can become PARTNERS instead of searching for someone to fill a void that only *you* can fill?

These things take time, but they are so worth it.

While you're waiting patiently, become the person you want to be.

Because it's not about the outcome, it's about WHO YOU BECOME in the process of reaching that goal.

Always be a work in progress and never settle!

LOTS OF LOVE & HAPPINESS! xo,

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I Miss My Family (Why It's OK to Feel Sad)

Gooood Tuesday morning, beautiful.

Today's post is going to be a bit different than my usual upbeat, happy-go-lucky emails.

I always, always try to be positive and see the bright side in situations, but sometimes I'm just downright sad.

Right now, I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss not having to use a GPS to get every freakin' place I go. I miss all my favorite restaurants, coffee shops, gym families and the familiarity of my day-to-day life that I built over 20+ years.

These are first world problems, I know. I'm blessed to have moved to a completely new place and get the opportunity to 'start fresh' -- meet new people, try new things, build a new family.

But sometimes it's OK to just... feel sad.

In the self development world, I've seen TOO many times that "you're in complete control of your emotions! (truth) and to turn your frown upside down; never let 'em see you sweat! (false)"

While we ARE in complete control of our emotions, that doesn't mean we'll never feel a negative emotion again.

In fact, there was a time in my life when I did everything possible to avoid those uncomfortable feelings.

Broke up with a boyfriend? No time to cry. I'd immediately invest ALL my time and energy into my job, working out, whatever else.

Family problems? It's OK -- I'll mask the pain by eating myself to death and spending hours in the gym the next day to make up for it.

We all have our ways of coping/masking our emotions, whether that's through drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, food, working out.

We do all of these things in order to ESCAPE. To run away from our feelings.

But what if we just sat in our feelings and really FELT them?

That's what I do now:

I understand it's OK to feel sad. It's a normal human emotion and there's nothing wrong with me. I'm not broken. I'm not depressed. I don't need to run to the doctor and have him prescribe me antidepressants.

I'm sad. It's normal - just like being happy, angry, joyful, etc.

Instead of masking that sadness, I let myself FEEL it. I embrace it. I cry. I journal. I breathe deeply.

I don't try to run from it or avoid it anymore, simply because I know that trying to mask it just adds to my sadness, it doesn't take it away.

So if you're feeling sad, please know there's nothing wrong with you. You're not broken. Breathe into your emotions. If you need to talk to a friend, call them. If you need to just journal and cry alone, process it.

And after you've had a good ole' cry, wipe those tears, beautiful.

Life goes on.

You won't be sad forever.

You ARE in control of your emotions - which means yes, cry and do what you need to do to process what you're going through.

But remember to find joy in the things that are right in front of you, right now.

Because even when it seems like there's nothing to look forward to, nothing to live for, and you have thoughts like 'wtf is the point of it all?'... there IS a point. There's a reason you're still here. There's still a job to be done by you on this beautiful earth.

So show up.

Be authentic.

Feel what you need to feel.

Then move on.

<3

If you EVER, ever need to chat, I am here.

LOVE, love, love ya!

xoxo

Julie
 

What are PRIMARY Foods + How to Include More In Your Life

Can you think back to a time in your life when everything felt so new, exciting and magical that you actually forgot to eat, sleep and were unable to focus on anything?

Maybe it's a time you fell in love, or when you worked on a project you poured your heart and soul into. 

That's how it was for me when I was falling in love with Mark. Both of us actually lost 5ish pounds the week that we 'fell in love' haha; we would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning just talking and somehow nothing else seemed to matter. Now we're lucky if we stay up til 11 p.m. and we definitely have no problem eating all the things, HA!

There has to be a way to attain that level of excitement in our everyday lives, right?

Something that genuinely makes us feel FULFILLED in a way that our soul craves. Good news: there is. 

Today, we're going to chat about the importance of PRIMARY FOODS.

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What are Primary and Secondary Foods?  

I first heard this concept from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's blog. IIN, which is a holistic, integrated approach to nutrition, teaches that there are both primary and secondary foods. 

On one hand, there are the actual foods that we eat (secondary food, as you'll see below).

But there's a deeper level that a lot of people tend to ignore, and it could be the very reason people aren't successful with their diets: they focus ONLY on secondary foods and neglect the deeper, more meaningful primary foods.

Primary foods aren't actually 'food' at all, but rather activities in our life that we receive extreme joy from. These primary foods 'feed' our souls through things like healthy relationships, physical activities, a meaningful career or hobby, a spiritual practice, and anything else gives us joy, meaning and fulfillment.

Anything you feel passion about can be considered a primary food for you, which has the potential to impact your health. 

As the Institute for Integrative Nutrition teaches, “When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you actually eat secondary.

How This Affects Diet/Weight Loss

When we embark on a diet, what's the first thing we usually turn to? 

Our diet. 

We start cleaning things up, counting calories or macros, ridding our pantry of all the foods that may be causing harm to our waistline.

But where we miss the point is the reason WHY we feel tempted to eat these foods (and/or overeat) in the first place.

Sure, brownies are delicious, and I understand that unless you prepare your food ahead of time, it can be easier to grab some chips from the pantry than cook something. 

But when choosing the less-than-stellar option becomes a cycle and habit for you, we have to take a deeper look at the reason you continue overeating foods that don't make you feel good.

The Negative Impact of Neglecting Primary Foods

I know firsthand what it feels like to neglect primary foods, and the toll it can take on your body and life. 

Thinking back to the times when I spent ALL my time obsessing about food: counting calories, obsessing over what I looked like... food literally consumed my life, to the point where it's all I thought about. I "didn't have time" for the primary foods: doing things that I genuinely enjoyed that filled my heart up with joy.

Instead, my days were spent counting calories; my nights were spent bingeing; and the following morning was spent slaving away in the gym trying to 'make up' for what I ate.

Looking back, if I had just added in a few more things I enjoy to my life, I could've saved myself a lot of trouble.

Today, one of my mottos is "find enjoyment in things other than food." 

Because I spent a few years of my life obsessing about food, I have the tendency now to obsess over it, albeit to a much lesser degree. But when I find myself thinking "I need a snack" when I just ate, or already thinking about what to have for lunch after I just ate breakfast... I instead remind myself to find enjoyment in things other than food. 

I ask myself, "What can I do RIGHT NOW that would fill me up (primary foods) instead of snacking out of boredom when I'm not even really hungry?" 

Including More Primary Foods In Your Life

To give you some ideas, here are ways I incorporate 'primary foods' in my everyday life - which, in turn, has made ALL the difference in my ability to maintain a healthy weight without really worrying about it much, if at all. 

  • Take long walks
  • Listen to music
  • Take a bath
  • Paint your nails/do a face mask/give yourself a 'spa day'
  • Go for a run 
  • Take your favorite exercise class
  • Spend time with people you care about
  • Get coffee with a friend
  • Snuggle with your significant other
  • Call your mom/someone you love to talk to
  • Paint
  • Read
  • Color (adult coloring books are my jam!)
  • Make a scrapbook with your favorite memories
  • Write/journal
  • Work on a passion project

The possibilites are endless, but you get the point. Just get out there and do something you enjoy!

And next time you find yourself obsessing over food - whether it's tracking calories, always thinking about food, etc. - remind yourself of primary foods and try to find enjoyment in things OTHER than food. 

Comment below: What's one thing you can do today to feed your soul? You can choose from my list or tell me something YOU enjoy doing!

xo

Julie

How Being Fully PRESENT Changed Everything for Me

Hey gorgeous!

Today I'm sharing one simple practice I do every day that's made me happier, more energized and focused, and an all-around better worker, lover, person, friend. It's super easy to implement, too.

This ONE thing enhanced my quality of life by 10000x, and honestly, it's something you can do pretty easily!

Ready?

It's being present. 

That means giving your FULL attention to whatever task is at hand. 

If you're washing the dishes, do only that.
If you're at work, focus on being the best employee you can be.
If you're at dinner with friends/family/your significant other, put down your dang phone and engage. 

Why is being present so important?

If you're like me, you tend to be a striver -- meaning you want fantastic relationships, a hot bod, a career that fuels your soul, and your favorite cup of coffee on tap (no? just me?) at. all. times. 

But here's the thing - if you're giving your attention to everything, you'll be great at nothing

Because when your attention is divided between a million different things, it's impossible to give 100% of your best. 

But when you take the time to focus on what you're doing RIGHT NOW (not dwelling over the past or projecting into the future), you find that life becomes a little easier, a little more joyful, and you actually start to enjoy doing things you once hated. 

So my challenge for you the rest of this week is simple:

Focus on being present.

Whenever you catch yourself multitasking, bring yourself back to now. 

When you're washing the dishes, wash those dang dishes as best as you can... and do only that. 

When your lova comes home from work all excited to chat about his work day... stop scrolling Instagram and listen. 

When you're at work - even if it's a job you're not enthusiastic about and definitely don't want to do forever - give 100% of your attention and effort while you're there. 

Not only does being present make everyday tasks way more enjoyable, who knows what it will lead to when you shift your attitude from "I HAVE to do this" to "I GET to do this." 

Have a great rest of your week!

xo

Julie

SUGGESTED: this video from one of my morning walk & talks about the REAL reason you're trying hard but not seeing results  

LET'S CHAT! In the comments below, tell me one thing you can do today to be more present. I'd love to hear from you <3