Friday, December 28, 2012

A Homemade Christmas

Last year after Christmas, I felt gross. I felt like I let the commercialization of my favorite holiday ruin the experience. It could have just been the hormones...I was only a month out from delivering Avery. Anyway, I made a decision shortly after that I was going to do something drastically different this year. I didn't want to buy gifts out of obligation, I didn't want to spend 5x what we could afford, I didn't want to rush from party to party without being able to spend time with I wanted to feel the way I did when I was a kid.  I wanted to feel that magic. I'm not sure when it stopped or why I really felt that it was missing last year, but I knew I had to change something. 

Christmas to me is about hope. If you have hope you can do anything. If you believe that you matter, that God has a specific plan for your life, you can overcome any obstacle. Christmas to me is about celebrating that hope, its about remembering how very important each one of us is to God. It's not just for the rich, the lucky, the privileged, the beautiful, no its for every single person that has ever lived. HOPE. That's what I missed out on last year. I missed the point. That magical feeling when I was a kid was hope. Excitement. Belief. Faith. That's the kind of Christmas that I wanted this year. WELL, God has a funny sense of humor because it seems like every time I ask for things he presents me with exactly what I need to find them for myself. I guess that would be parenting at its finest, don't give your children what they ask for and make their life easy, teach them how to find it themselves even if it means watching them make mistakes and struggle to figure it out on their own.

Yep, that was me and when I asked for a Christmas filled with hope and magic I sure got the opportunity to find it. See I thought if I boycotted the commercialization of Christmas that would make everything all better, so my genius plan was to home make every single gift this year. When I made this decision I thought that it was going to bring back the magic...but God had a different plan.

If I'm being honest I was like the scrooge all December long. We had a lot of difficult life changing events happen in our family in a very short and concentrated time period. It started right in the beginning of December and didn't end until the day before Christmas Eve. One after another negative things were happening to us. Without going into any detail...It was rough, depressing and scary. I'm not going to focus on what happened because that's not the important part. Crying in my husband's arms the day before Christmas Eve, I said aloud "I just want Christmas to be over so that we can move on." SO where's all the hope in that?

On Christmas Eve it started to snow, big beautiful snow flakes falling from the sky and in that moment it was like a light bulb went off and I saw the big picture. I felt this overwhelming peace come over me and I knew that God had given me every opportunity I needed to really have the Christmas that I so desperately wanted. Through the month of December we were tested as a family and we pulled together and made it. We were given precious opportunities to come together and become stronger or walk away and let it fall apart. I had specific moments where I was given the opportunity to make a call, open my heart, to show how much I cared. That doesn't happen when everything is status quo. Those opportunities are rare and if we can stop worrying and just do the right thing in that moment we can truly do remarkable things. Even better if we can see every obstacle as a gift to grow, to learn, to become the person we were meant to be, then adversity becomes a blessing. That's what I felt on Christmas Eve as I watched the snow falling. Nothing changed except my perception. Our family situation was still the same, but I had found my HOPE. And this Christmas for me was very special. It was better than what I had wished for. Amazing how he took me on a month long journey to get me to that point on Christmas Eve. What an elaborate plan! And if that was just the month of December....what kind of story is he weaving for my life? It gives me goosebumps thinking about it.

Learning how to let go and trust in his plan is not easy. I struggle with it as a goal setting planner myself. I want things to happen on my timeline...fortunately for me that's not how it works. Yes it is extremely important to plan and set goals, to know where you want to go, but its stupid and naive to think that everything will just fall into your lap in the exact timeline you prefer once you commit to making your dreams come true. You have to be willing to accept adversity as a blessing and have HOPE that it will mold you into the person you need to be to accomplish those goals. So many throw in the towel as soon as obstacles start showing up. I was there the day before Christmas Eve. I'm so glad that I didn't. It always works out if you stay focused on where you want to go, it always works out if you commit to achieving those goals, it always works out if you stay persistent, it always works out if do the right thing in the moments. Always. And God gives you the free will to choose your just have to trust his path to get there. That's pretty reassuring and pretty awesome that you can have anything you want in life if you are willing stay on the path.

OH yes...We also did make some sweet homemade gifts, thank you Pinterest!:
Sock Snowmen for the ladies on our list! We added essential oils to make them smell good.

Printed a Picture to a Canvas. And the Small one is hand painted. Got the idea from can buy it too. This was for our family gift exchange. I paired it with the movie ELF. That's where the two quotes are from.
Made this one on my own...For my Grandma that loves Cardinals
Jeremie made this for me!! NO plans he custom made it. LOVE it!! It gets the garbage and recycling out of the middle of the kitchen!!
Family Sign for my sister who is getting married next September
Made this for my Mom. I came up with the idea at the craft store.
Floor Pillow for Avery. Was suspose to be a dog bed...but this is way cooler!
For Jeremie from me. This is a quote from our favorite show Duck Dynasty. Painted using this tutorial.
Bacon makes everything better!! Boozy Bacon Jam for the guys on our list. It was delicious too!
Spark with homemade ornaments. I bought a kit at the from the craft store. Gave out 100 of theses bad boys!! Way better than candy.
Came up with this one on our own too. For my step Mom and Dad. In honor of my Grandpa who passed away 12/5/12. This is the bulletin from the funeral and a replica of the casket spray mod podged to a stained piece of wood.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The illusion of balance

Oh yes let me be the first to admit, I am a sucker for the "balance" speech. It sounds so good right, you have to have "balance" in your life, work hard play hard, take a break, go on vacation, watch TV at night to relax, take a day off, take a night off, take a weekend off... I don't want to sound like a fun Nazi, but this is a lesson I learned the the hard way, you must consciously decide to get out of balance in order to accomplish great things.  Randy Gage wrote a blog about it last week and it got me thinking. For that past 10 years I have been an avid goal setter, I set goals and I go after them. But if I'm being 100% honest, I give myself lots of slack. What I mean by slack is that I put things on my goal board that I don't have to get out of balance for....deep down I know that a lot of my goals are  fluffy. And the real ones that require me to get out of "balance" usually end up on the "goals" to go after next year or "things change" or "too unrealistic".  I'm not sure when or why I had this epiphany but it hit me when I was looking at my goal board that I created this year.

So on here I have 3 categories...Personal, Career and Health. And quite frankly its pretty all over the place. What was I thinking? How can I expect to accomplish anything great when I'm spread so thin over all these different goals. And the truth....I CAN'T and I WON'T.  You know why successful people are successful? I would say 99% of the time they consciously give up everything else and focus on one thing, for a least 5 years. They don't go on vacations, they don't jump on every new opportunity that walks in their path, they don't get distracted by every shiny thing, every different path. NO, they stay committed to their goal and focus on that one thing 100%.

Here we are in August and I have hit a lot of my "fluff" goals for the year. I'm like a cat with ADD in a room of shinny things when it comes to "jumping on new opportunities" or expanding my current entrepreneurial ventures. I love starting new things. It's fun! It's exciting! I hate the follow through, I hate the out of balance part. You know the part where you decide to keep going or walk away. Yeah. I'm calling myself out...OUCH!  I've never in my life committed to a goal longer than 3 years. I mean really committed to something. That stopped when I came to this harsh reality. I'm getting way out of balance until I reach my goal.  My house is trashed, my yard is over grown with weeds, I haven't gone out with friends or on a date with my husband in months, I will miss my workout, I'll miss cooking at home, I'll miss my softball league, and vacations and frankly anything that does not get me closer to my goal. Well with two exceptions, God and Family those are things that I will never let out of balance. Everything else is out the door. Here's why... I am going to be successful. I am going to be financially free. I don't care how long it takes me. I'm not changing course.
Let me put a little side note in here: when I say financially free, I mean really free. Most people fall into two categories... employees and/or business owners/self employed. In my definition, being in either of those two categories you can never be free. (Read Rich Dad's CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad's Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert T. Kiyosaki for a much better explanation) I've been both. Employee is obvious...  you have someone telling you what to do, how to do it and how much you're worth...ooooo but being a business owner with no boss and no rules...Whooo I'm free!! Not quite, now you just own a job and believe me that business will run your life. Seriously ask any business owner they will tell you how much "freedom" they have. No my friend you are still trading your hours for dollars, your paycheck is a direct reflection of how much time you have personally invested and it stops when you're gone.   I'm not a genius and this is just my opinion but the only people that are living financially free are those that understand residual income or income that continues to be generated after the initial effort has been expended. For example, songwriters, inventors, patents owners, and actors they all get paid residual income. Most of those people are extremely talented, what about us average people? Ever heard of Direct Sales? We get paid residual income too. There are lots of good companies out there, I'm not talking about the shady pyramid companies that force you to buy their products, stock the products, sign people up or pay monthly fees. I'm talking about real direct sales. Do your research before you jump on board with one. Okay that's it for the side note..
My goal is to coach and be a mentor to hundreds of other families so they can live free too. In order to do that I have to be focused. And to be honest until I am free myself I will never be able to help others the way I want to. Having financial freedom will allow me to stop thinking about myself, my bills, how my family will survive and start living for others.  I have to let everything else fall out of balance so that I can pour every ounce of energy into helping people reach their goals. I sat around and made excuses for 3 years, for 3 years I sat with this opportunity in my hands and I made excuses on why it wouldn't work for me as I lost focus and danced with every new opportunity that came my way. I sat back and watched as my teammates and good friends, went from a small team of  about 10 to a huge organization of hundreds. They have changed hundreds of lives because they stayed focused. Moms being able to quit their jobs to raise their children, families not fighting over finances, people being able to volunteer time, donate a lot of money to things they care about,  having the choice to leave jobs they hate, dad's being able to go to their kids sports, families being able to take vacations around the world, adults being able to spend months with their sick parents... that's what they did for people, not even mentioning everyone that they have helped with their health, wellness and fitness.  I could have done the same.

It was a simple decision I made to myself a couple of months ago...this is the first time I'm writing about it. I told my husband. He was on board but the decision I made to myself is what changed everything. It's amazing what kinds of things start to "happen" with a simple self promise.

AdvoCare came into my life 3 years ago...I wasn't ready. The products changed my life. And they sure changed my Husbands life, they are the reason he is a CrossFit coach today and why he has such passion for health and wellness now.  The products work for every single person that commits to program.  The leadership and the company values have shaped me as a person. When people are ready, this company will change their life too.  I don't have to convince people that it can or will do the same thing for them. I share my story, I listen and I lose myself in other people's goals. That's it. I don't "sell" anything or try to convince anyone to do something they don't want to. I pay it forward to people that are looking for the same solutions that I was looking for and when I do that AdvoCare takes care of me and my family. I refuse to leave my children with my debt. I refuse to not make a positive impact. And I refuse to live a life anything less than extraordinary. Everyday regular people become extraordinary by getting out of balance. They consciously decide that they want it more than anything else and they commit to it no matter what life throws at them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Scale is a LIAR!

How many years have you been letting the scale lie to you? I promise you this, if there was a person in your life that lied to you as much as the scale did...they wouldn't be in your life long. The scale lies about your worth, lies about your attractiveness, lies about your athletic ability, lies about your overall health, and actually I'm pretty sure that jerk lies about everything. I come across this scale issue a lot as a CrossFit coach and nutrition coach. It's not just women either, Men are just as obsessed with the number on the scale as women. The hardest and most important thing that I do as a coach, in my opinion, is educate people on how to change their relationship with the scale. The problem with the scale is it doesn't tell you the whole story. Let me put a quick disclaimer in here:
This is not an excuse for people that live unhealthy lifestyles to not change. You know what I'm talking about...eating crappy and not exercising. That's not what I'm writing about here. Yes the scale might have a valid point if you are 100lbs overweight. But it also applies to the "skinny" unhealthy people that will do anything to keep the scale at a certain weight. This article is for the people that made a decision to commit to a healthy lifestyle.
So back to the point...the scale only tells you a small piece of the story. Here is a huge missing piece that the scale leaves out:

Want to see that number on the scale drop really fast? Start losing muscle, (it weights a lot more than fat) don't pick up a weight ever, definitely don't eat any protein, starve yourself a little and you too could look like these hot, lightweight fashion models.

Okay you get the point. But I'm not kidding, I have this very similar conversation at least once a week with different people that have gone through my 24 Day Challenge or have been CrossFitting for a couple of months: 

Them: "I"m kind of disappointed...I only lost 5lbs"

Me:  "How do you feel?"

Them:  "Amazing! I have so much energy! I kept up with my 2year old this week and cleaned the house! But I really thought I would lose more weight.."

Me:  "How do your clothes fit?"

Them:  "I have been saving these jeans for years and I finally can wear them! I think I'm down a few sizes. But I still can't believe that I only lost 5lbs"

Me: "So what you're telling me is that you feel amazing and you lost inches off your body, but your still concerned about the number on the scale? I told you to throw that scale out the window, its a dirty liar"

Them: "hahahaha" 

It seems ridiculous because it is! I know we have been bombarded with "LOSE WEIGHT" advertising, BMI, and healthy weight charts for years but seriously, if you feel great, your body can perform well in most physical activities and you are free from preventable diseases, than I would say whatever the scale says doesn't matter. In fact you should probably throw that lying piece of crap in the garbage.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Am I good enough? I know I'm not the only one that struggles with this concept. As a type A, goal setting, perfectionist that loves to be a people pleaser I find myself in a this conundrum a lot. How do you love and appreciate where you are NOW, yet always strive to be better? Is that even possible? If you are always setting goals and trying to be a better version of you, where do you draw the line? When does being good enough become lazy?  Comfortable? When are you good enough? What the hell does that even mean?

My definition of "good enough" has changed over the years. I remember when I first started CrossFit, how my body image changed from what I looked like to what I was capable of doing. I was hitting PRs every other week, my times were dropping, and I was making drastic improvements every month.  I never hit a natural plateau, I got pregnant, but I'm pretty sure that most people go through a similar situation at some point in their CrossFit career. As a coach, I see it happen all the time. LOTS of fast improvements, then all of the sudden a regression or very slow improvements. I went from "I'm freaking awesome, I just lifted my body weight off the ground" to "Why am I so weak? Why can I only lift 2X my body weight off the ground" AND "I am a rockstar!! I just did 10 pull-ups!" to "I suck, I can only string 25 pull-ups together".  My negative body image issues that I fixed with "strong is the new skinny" and "my body is amazing for what it does" is back with a vengeance saying "I'm not strong enough or fast enough..." And I'm back to square one.

What happened here?

My theory: I stopped concentrating on what I was capable of doing in that moment and started looking around at what others were doing.

I never felt that until I came back from my pregnancy. I was obsessed with what other new moms were doing, what other people in my gym were doing, I was insanely insistent on paying attention to other people's times and max weights and comparing myself to them. I would justify my craziness with "its a good measure of where I'm at" BULLSHIT! The truth is until I concentrated on what I could do in that moment, I was miserable. I wanted to quit. I hated myself. I hated the way I felt.

But the second that brought focus back onto myself and back to the moment, I was free. I started reading a really awesome book that helped. See you at the Top by Zig Ziglar reminded me that I am the only ME there is. Nobody on the entire planet will ever be me, they will never be in the same situation, have the same point of view, or have the same issues as me. NEVER. Not now, not ever. So really I can only compare myself to me. And what's even more interesting about this, is that with uniqueness and rarity comes value. I am so valuable to this world because I truly am one of a kind. YOU are too. We all are. When you focus on yourself and what YOU are capable of doing right now the pressure of being "good enough" goes away. Of course you're good enough, NO one can be a better version of you. You're always good enough if you give it everything you have.

I stopped comparing myself to other people, it's a terrible measure of where I stand. I now compare myself to my very best, in that moment. I know when I give it everything I have or when I'm faking it. I know when I slack off. When I make excuses. I rightfully beat myself up when I don't give it my best...not because I'm not as good as someone else but because I cheated myself. Don't ever beat yourself up for not being as good as someone else, that's stupid, how can you be? How can you be a better version of someone else? You can't. So you can't compare yourself to them.

If I'm being honest with myself and I gave it my very best, I am always enough. Always.

I'm Shanna Marie Tokarsky, Jeremie's wife, Avery's mother, an athlete, an AdvoCare nutrition advisor and a coach at The CrossFit box. I am the best version of ME the world is going to get. I am enough.

My original inspiration for this post came from a combination of  Stephanie Vincent from Radical Hateloss asking CrossFit Women for quotes for her upcoming article in WOD Talk Magazine; "Do you/did you get down on yourself for what you cannot do or don't do well in the gym? are you hard on yourself in outside of the gym (ie i could be a better mother/wife/friend) How does/did that impact you? If you overcame it, how?"
 And Fashlete of the Month:
 Melissa Guitron • I am ENOUGH • "CrossFit for the first time taught me to embrace who I am today, not who I want to be tomorrow, as enough." Now Melissa is spreading her message and inspiring other women and young girls through her CrossFit Women and CrossFit Kids programs as a coach at CrossFit San Mateo   Click here to read Melissa's story.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Regular" people

Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Don't underestimate your ability to change the world. Don't lose site of your strengths. Don't become a victim of circumstance. Sometimes I think we get caught up in the fact that we think inspiration, greatness and courage have to come from the top performers, the celebrities, the pros. But that is not always the case. Don't get me wrong, most of those people are amazing and they most definitely are inspirational but they are not the only ones that can participate in courage and greatness.

I'm inspired day after day by the "regular" people that surround me. In fact 90% of my inspiration comes from these people that demonstrate courage single day.

The courage that it takes...
- for an adult to admit that they need help with their diet.
- for a sedentary person to walk into a CrossFit gym for the first time.
- for a new person show up and suck for the first month or two.
- to genuinely care about someone other than themselves.
- for someone to set challenging goals for themselves and go after them.
- to lead other people.
- for someone to have integrity and follow through with what they say they will do even when the plan fails.
- for someone to admit when they are wrong.
- for someone to tell the truth even when it hurts.
- to change lifestyle habits.
- for someone to really push themselves and give it all they have.
- for someone to stand up for their dreams.
- to try again and again even after they fail.
- for someone to go against the grain.
- to openly seek help for their struggles.
- to do the right thing.
- to be excited and all in.
- to admit how they feel.
- to be honest with themselves.
- to not make excuses.

I put regular in quotations because these people are not "regular" they are extraordinary. There are millions of other people that walk around every day without goals, without passion, without ever leaving their comfort zone. But not the "regular" people that inspire me. No, these people change the world. They do so by having courage in their own lives every single day. Not by being pro athletes or celebrities.

There are enough people walking around without courage. By all means understand, it is your life you can absolutely do what you want with it, but I'm urging you to choose to be one of the extraordinary people that have a positive impact. You have the ability to change the world. You will have an impact on the world either way. Everything you do matters. It matters to all of us. We are all connected.

So what kind of impact do you want to make? Playing it safe, making excuses and living with the walls up are not inspiring. Choose to be an inspiration. Live with courage. Be extraordinary.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

If words can do this to water

Dr. Masaru Emoto's Water Molecule Experiment

I first heard of Dr. Emoto in 2004 when I watched the movie What The Bleep Do We Know? In the documentary-style film, Dr. Emoto's findings on the energy of thoughts are demonstrated. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to.  The reason I'm sharing is because I truly believe that words and thoughts are more powerful than we can even imagine.

Love the life you live, it said on the back.

When I got this necklace 4 years ago I was struggling to figure out how to turn my passion into a career.  At the age of 24, I already felt like my dreams were slipping away. I already felt run down, uninspired to get out of bed and I was working for the weekend. I ignored what my heart told me and listened to naysayers. I let people tell me how I should live my life. I let people steal my happiness. I let people tell me I wasn't good enough to go after my dreams. Notice how I say "I let", because it was my stinkin thinkin that needed to change...not other people. ME, I was in control. When I found AdvoCare, I found a group of people that were not afraid to dream. I found people that believed in me more than I believed in myself. I found people that filled my life with HOPE. Once I got a taste, I knew that this was how I wanted to live my life. I wanted to be that positive force in the world, I wanted to encourage others to chase their dreams, and I wanted to pay it forward. I originally got this necklace to serve as a constant reminder to live my life with PASSION.

In the past 4 years those words have become a part of me and my life. They have given me strength when I needed it. They pushed me to continue when the road got bumpy. They reminded me of why I was fighting so hard to create a life on my terms. They encouraged me to play outside of my comfort zone. They reminded me that I had a choice to LIVE my life and a choice to LOVE all the decisions that I made, good or bad.

Recently I've been looking for a new inspiration, I no longer needed the reminder to chase my dreams and live my passion, I was finally doing it.  When Avery was born, I changed. I felt insecure about a lot of things. Body image, athletic ability, parenting skills, everything. Who was I to be beautiful? Who was I to be strong? Who was I to be an amazing Mother? For the first time in a long time, I felt uninspired. In my last post I talked about a call that had a huge impact on my life. I wrote a blog about accepting myself where I was post-postpartum and at the same time wanting to be better. Sarah Wilson of Fashletics, posted this in the comments:
"Shanna, this is amazing! Thank you so much for being a part of the call and for writing such a beautiful blog. I would love to feature you as the March Fashlete of the Month! ... I would love to share your blog with our community AND you get a customized necklace"
If you haven't checked out Fashletics, you need to! Sarah creates some incredible inspirational jewelry and apparel. I am thankful for an opportunity to share....and to be honest a little shocked and embarrassed that my blog and all my current struggles are going to get read by a lot of people. I became inspired again. As Fashlete of the month, Sarah was going to create a one of a kind charm for me with the words of my choice. I literally was up all night thinking about the words that I knew would become part of me.

Then I remembered...the quote that I wrote on my kitchen chalk board a week earlier, the quote that I so desperately needed to be reminded of every single day.  I'm a people pleaser and sometimes I hold back so others feel better about themselves. As an insure people pleaser, I found myself doing it a lot more. When I think about it...its a really crappy thing to do to someone. I found this quote and it really hit me. I knew this is what I needed to work on more than anything. "How do you sum that up?" I asked my husband. He said "Powerful Beyond Measure"....... Ooooooooo YES that was it.

A couple of days later I got this in the mail! This charm will be with me until these words become part of my soul. Like the water molecules that are changed by the words in Dr. Masaru Emoto's experiment, these words will change me. More than just a reminder to value myself, but also as a reminder that when I don't hold back I give others the respect that they deserve. These words remind me that I will become the person that I know I am, I am GREAT,  I inspire and I give others permission to shine too.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others" - Marianne Williamson

Sunday, March 25, 2012

a tug at the heartstrings

 "When God tugs on your heart, follow it don't over analyze it." - Joel Hunter, Northland Church
Every Sunday Jeremie, Avery and I join online worship in our living room, live streaming from Northland Church in Orlando, FL.

A couple of weeks ago pastor Joel Hunter said something that has been on my mind and I wanted to share. (watch the entire service here) You know that feeling you get when you're fishing and you get a tug...that's the same feeling when God tugs on your heart. I know that I've felt it, the feeling is unmistakeable. You "know" that you must do something but you don't know why. You know that its the right answer, even though everyone tells you its not. Have you ever ignored it? Or rationalized it to death? Or let someone talk you out of it? Or convinced yourself you aren't good enough to do it? I have. I have more than once. I've done it in the past for all those reasons. It makes me sad to think that I missed little opportunities to see what God had planned for me because I was scared. Scared to fail, scared to not fit in, scared to stand for something.  FEAR. Fear is a nasty animal. Fear will control you in so many ways if you don't call it out. I have been using the heart tug, fishing analogy for the past couple of weeks and it has been awesome! Its easy to act on a heart tug when you know that God is on your side. And its easy to sick to your decision and give it everything you have when you know you have nothing to be afraid of anymore.

Try it. I dare you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Accepting Ourselves & Wanting More

I was part of an amazing call last night...sorry men this one was all for the ladies! This was one of the calls in The Ladies RX discussion series put on by Stephanie Vincent at Radical Hateloss.
Here's a quick overview: 
"Last night women from all over the country gathered to talk about an important topic that impacts women who CrossFit but also women in general- Accepting Ourselves & Wanting More with Special Guest Sarah Wilson of Fashletics.

We talked about the difference between acceptance and resignation, the struggle to accept and about how acceptance helps us reach our goals, possibilities, and brings the experience of joy and ease.  It was a rich conversation that could have gone on way longer than the hour of the call!
If you missed the call you can listen to below or download it here."
This topic is very near and dear to my heart. As women we have a lot of pressure to conform to what society declares as beauty. Growing up as a chubby kid I never felt like I was skinny enough to be loved. I have struggled with body image since I can remember.  Even when I lost 30lbs in High School, I still felt like the chubby girl.  In middle school, high school and  the early part of college I experimented with bulimia, anorexia and a lot of unhealthy extreme diets and diet pills. I was obsessed with getting skinny.  During my sophomore year in college, when I had gained back my 30lbs I decided to change. I started researching how to become a personal trainer so that I could learn the healthy way to "stay thin" I became AFFA certified and landed my first personal training job. In comes a new obsession:  cardio and counting calories. I replaced my extreme unhealthy ways with extreme healthy...after all I was a personal trainer now...I needed to "look" the part. As a personal trainer, I struggled with body image even more than I did before. I was lost. I wanted so bad to have the 6pack abs that I saw in the magazines. I felt like a scam, there I was coaching others on how to live happy and healthy and I was dying inside. Flash forward a few years...I hear about CrossFit. What is this?
The beginning of my CrossFit journey
 For the first time in my adult life I was proud of my body. My hands were torn, my legs were bruised and I was so proud of what my body could accomplish. In an instant my idea of body image changed. I no longer saw my body for what it physically looked like, I saw it for the first time as an amazing machine that could accomplish great things. I was happy. I accepted my body, my fitness and myself completely and I was proud of where I was and excited about where I was going... Then I got pregnant. Even through my entire pregnancy I felt great about what my body was accomplishing. I mean really I was growing a human and I was still crossfitting!  Flash forward to a month after I gave birth to my first son:

One month after and 2 months after
In my last post I talked about my struggles with being at the bottom of our CrossFit gym in terms of athletic abilities since I have been back post-pregnancy. In my head I was going to be back putting up the top times in the gym by now...almost 4 months later.  I still have baby weight to jeans don't fit and I cried during a WOD last week because I felt so bad about my times. I was back to my old ways of negative body image and crazy thinking. When the CrossFit Opens started last week, I knew I was going to compete...but I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the competition. During that WOD that I cried through...I had a major breakthrough. Well, my husband helped me have a breakthrough,  he was there to witness the hot mess that I was that day... later that night he said something  that changed me. He said " you have to stop defeating yourself every time you walk into that gym." He was right, in my head I was already beating myself up before I even started. I was not accepting myself at all. Now it would be a lie if I said that those thoughts don't come back into my head, I'm still working on it. When I saw this call I was excited to share and listen. I'm so glad that I did! At the end of the call they challenged us to write "self-acceptance principles"
"Think about what you want to accept—about your body, about your fitness, about yourself in general and then write a principle for each.

For each aspect you will accept ask yourself,

What are your accepting?
What will acceptance allow you to focus on?
What will acceptance bring?

Each principle can go something like this..

I accept ________, which allows me to ________ so that I ___________.
Here are mine:

Body: I accept my left over baby fat, which allows me to spend every ounce of mental energy on being present to my son and husband so that I can truly experience life as a new mother.

Fitness: I accept my level of athletic ability post-postpartum, which allows me to focus on every WOD, every rep, every breath so that I can truly give it my very best in that moment.

Business Success: I accept where I am financially, which allows me to be fully available to help and coach others so that I can be a very successful and inspiring CrossFit coach and AdvoCare Advisor.

That is powerful! Ladies, I can't tell you how awesome it feels to accept yourself. You just need to try this.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

YOUR Very Best

It's just you and the bar
It's so simple yet so hard to do. I preach it to my clients all the time..."focus on yourself, don't worry about what others are doing around you...Compete with yourself... Be better than yesterday"

Saying we like to compete with one another in CrossFit would be an understatement, it is the SPORT of fitness after all. That's one of the reasons we love it! It's competitive. We do it to benchmark our fitness, we do it because it's fun, we do it because it's what keeps us coming back.  SO what's the harm in a little friendly competition? Well if we are doing it for the right reasons, nothing. But when it gets in the way of doing your best than it becomes a problem.

For me, the last two months of post-baby recovery have been rough. I found myself focusing on what others were doing during the workout, jealous of my non-baby bearing friends that were hitting PRs, and insanely obsessed with how fast other Moms could recover...I mean really check out this incredible new Mom athlete with a 2 month old! Everyone around me reassures me that I'm doing great... "take it easy, you just had a baby, you look great, you need your sleep, it took you 9months to get there..." Yes all that is true, my body has to go through some serious healing, but am I giving it my best?

CrossFit workouts are extremely frustrating and difficult for me right now. Things that I used to do easily are a struggle. It's been very humbling. When I first started CrossFit I was already in pretty good shape, so I didn't really have to go through what a lot of newbies do. Yeah I got my ass kicked but I was putting up respectable numbers within my first month. Now I'm at the bottom, I am dead last almost every WOD and I have a new appreciation for what the newbies go through.

Last week I decided that I should probably listen to my own advice and focus on myself. Everyday I go into the gym and I focus on what I can do that day, during that WOD, with where I am at now. Not what I did yesterday, not what other members are doing in the gym, not how I'm going to be the only one working out for 15mins after everyone finishes, not how bad I want to keep scaling the workout so that I can have a somewhat decent time, not how can I be the coach if I can't even RX workouts, not why would anyone listen to me when I'm still 25lbs overweight...ENOUGH! My mind was filled with those negative, unproductive thoughts and I wasn't getting better or having fun. This last week I have made incredible improvements because I made the decision to stop the crazy. I've been having a lot more fun too. This is what my self talk sounds like during a workout now:
"are you giving it your very best? Your very best Shanna, your very best? You promised me your best..." 
That's from Facing the Giants, btw...

Best scene from the whole movie! I love it and it's fueling my comeback! You can use it if you want. I highly recommend that you watch the whole movie too.

This doesn't just apply to CrossFit...this applies everywhere, with everything you do. I'm 100% convinced that the way you do the way you do everything. Let that soak in for a second. I think about that a I half ass cleaning my house, playing with my son, listening to my husband? Am I too busy comparing myself to others to focus on what I need to do to be my best? Am I taking myself too seriously to have fun? Sometimes the answer is yes, I don't want to be that person ever. I don't want to just go through the motions. What's the point?

This year's mantra:
 "I live with purpose, I live with intention, I give it my very best every time and I have a freaking blast doing it."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stick it Up Your Nose!

There's something about the smell of Crayola crayons that reminds you being a kid. I can't take credit for this idea, my favorite professor from BGSU who specializes in entrepreneurship and creativity in business, Gene Poor, wrote a whole book on this topic. I remember coming into class one day and he handed us all our own crayons. When we sat down in our seats he said "Okay now I want you to break your crayon in half and STICK it up your nose." We all laughed and did it. For a minute we forgot we were serious MBA students, we were kids again, we were laughing, dreaming, careless kids with limitless possibilities and unadulterated imaginations.

What happens to us as we age? When we make our goals every year, when we plan our future, where did that kid go? Why do we make the same mediocre goals year after year. Why do we limit ourselves? We call them resolutions... I hate new years resolutions, because it has become acceptable to break them. Don't do that to yourself.  Think I wrote something similar last year in my GOALS post. Here's the deal if you want to make a real change in your life then just DO IT. Commit to your decision to change and make it happen. I cannot help you do that. That kid that you used to be knows exactly how to do this. That kid knows how to dream, she knows how to make goals like anything is possible. She doesn't care about being realistic. She doesn't care about what happened in the past. She really doesn't even care what she has to do to make it happen. Seriously ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up....its a straight forward, high energy answer and it usually is stated like a fact. Like there is no doubt in their mind that they are going to achieve that status. Get in touch with that kid, even if you have to stick a crayon up your nose to do it!

That's how I started my goal re-evaluation for this year...with a crayon up my nose. I'm a visual person so after I wrote out my goals in the correct format..."I am_____, I have____, I did______" with the dates I was going to achieve them by,  I created a visual reminder of what I wanted to accomplish this year:

Last year we had three big goals:

1. New flip house
 2. Babies

If you followed this blog than you know we hit all of those! Be very careful on what you put out into the universe, it almost always comes true. Think about that the next time you are worrying or better yet complaining.  This year we have one major goal:

We are completely debt free by December 31st 2012. Total financial freedom.

Our gym isn't exactly a cash cow and we both don't have "traditional" jobs....we've been broke for long enough. We've learned a lot, we've grown a lot, we've been humbled and we've decided that we had enough.

Other goals of mine include: getting back to my pre-baby weight, 120lb snatch, a muscle-up, visiting my brother in San Fran, going to New York City in December and reading 6 new books.

Bring it on 2012! Bring it on!