Re-defining my Relationship with the “Fitness World.”

Lately I’ve been having somewhat of an identity shift in my own place in the fitness world, what my purpose is in regards to this blog, and just a whole lot of other things!

Why I started LIFTmeupFitness

I started getting super invested in the world of fitness a few years ago when I met my current husband. He really taught me the basics of lifting, proper nutrition, and got me started on a path to optimal health which I can’t thank him enough for! And when I do something- I put my all into it and fitness was no different.

At the time things weren’t going so well with my original career plans, admittedly, so fitness was a fun way for me to throw myself into something new, something productive- that seemed to actually be going well. It also ended up turning into something that helped me really conquer my body image demons that I really cannot be thankful for.

Around that time I thought my options were endless in this field and that it was something I could see myself doing professionally.

I saw myself competing in the future, possibly getting all the certifications to do personal training and even start my own coaching business. Everything was all lined up perfectly to do this. My husband was managing a wellness/nutrition store, I was also working there doing web/marketing and working towards certifications and helping the Nutritionist/Naturopath on staff create wellness programs. We learned how to do thermography, we were doing podcasts, guest-hosting radio shows on health and wellness, and I was really invested in this blog and spreading the message of health and fitness.

I learned a heck of a lot and I was grateful to be accomplishing things there and helping others.

But at the end of the day- you know- it’s not really where either of us were meant to be. Things all kind of fell apart and many signs were telling us it wasn’t the right path for us. We weren’t happy. We both put the things we truly enjoyed and feel compelled to do on the back burner. When I tell you things got really tough for a while- they got really tough in many ways that I won’t get into.

And through that I realized-  fitness and health, for me, became a distraction- a good one, mind you- but a distraction nonetheless from who I really am and my true passions.

This may come as a sort of surprise to some of you who have followed my journey through this blog as that’s the only side you may really have seen! But before I became really swept up in #fitfam and the lifting communities and everything that comes with that-

I was Janine, the theatre nerd. The performer. The singer. The actress. The pianist. The creative soul.

I realized- that’s who I really am. I love fitness. I love lifting weights. I love writing about body positivity. But- I realized that I don’t love it enough to make it my whole life.  And there’s nothing wrong with falling in love with fitness and making it your life and career- in fact- it’s awesome. I am so grateful for the pioneers of fitness and body positivity that have inspired me through the years because I have learned so much and have hopefully passed some of that on to others, too.

But you know what they say- you know what you’re meant to do when you can spend hours of work on it and it doesn’t feel like work? All the things I was doing professionally in the health/wellness field always *felt* like work. Even my own workouts felt like work a lot of the time.

But rehearsing and performing a show for 2 months and even giving up my weekends? Not work at all by any means, ever. Period.

I know it probably sounds so super silly, but doing The Addam’s Family Musical really did so much for me in terms of realizing what’s important in my life and what’s not.

A shot from "Pulled" from The Addams Family Musical

A shot from “Pulled” from The Addams Family Musical

I learned to value friendships more. I learned that if I don’t work out in 2 weeks I’m perfectly ok with that. I learned that the feeling of performing is a million times more fulfilling me than the feeling of hitting a PR. I learned that living for the pursuit of being lean doesn’t make me as happy as spending time with genuinely amazing people, eating fresh baked cookies in the dressing room and grabbing a beer after a show.

I realized that it’s ok to “break the rules” of fitness. No, I didn’t gain a ton of weight. In fact, I think I actually leaned out even more which is ironic. I became less worried about fitness in general and it all balanced itself out.

At this time I have 3 more shows lined up for the year and a new vocal singing group I’m a part of, and all of those things are just so much more exciting than going to the gym or talking about my body.

My new vocal group, Chailini!

My new vocal group, Chailini!

Another thing I realized is how much I want to help people live a positive, fulfilled life. Not just in fitness or body image, but in all aspects. There are many more issues people need help with. Life is tough. And I’m not a guru or have it all figured out, but I enjoy writing about my experiences and how I’ve learned from them and want to share that with people.

I don’t want to limit myself to fitness.

So in short- this blog may do some changing and morphing in awhile and may not focus just on fitness/body image, but on other things, too.

Still trying to think of the perfect name/concept for my new direction, but I know that I still feel compelled to write- to help others. Not because I think I know everything and am some sort of guru in any way, but because sometimes we all just need someone to lift us up in any way.

I am so appreciative of everyone’s support of me and this blog. Here’s to the future, to embracing life, and living positively!

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If You’ve Ever Thought “Nobody Cares!”- This Is For You.

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I’m a firm believer in the idea that our thoughts control our lives as well as our outcomes.

While I’m not someone that necessarily spouts off “The Secret” style ideals 24/7, there definitely is something to be said for visualizing and dwelling on positive thoughts and putting those thoughts out into the universe instead of spewing negativity or accepting negative thoughts as your reality.

However- problems arise when you have an over-anxious and hyper-critical mind. It tends to throw a wrench into the system.

If there was one thought that I need to get rid in my consciousness, and that everyone else needs to get rid of too, it would be this one:

“Nobody Cares.”

As someone who enjoys creating original content and writing, and who spends lots of free time working on my blog or at least thinking about it, I find myself thinking far too many times than I’d like to admit, “What if nobody cares?”

This thought comes up a lot. And I’m not sure why.

I’ll go to post something on social media- “Nobody Cares!”  And I’ll stop. I find myself having a conversation with someone and I start getting a liiiiitle too deep– “Nobody Cares!”

Where does this come from? And more importantly- who gives a flying flip if “they” care or not? I’m not creating things for people that don’t care about me, right? I’m not living my life for the approval of others, right?

I know I can’t be the only one. It’s easy to get wrapped up in this way of thinking when you create anything. Writing a screenplay, painting a picture, showcasing your photography, selling your handmade crafts, or just sharing a selfie- the thought of “Nobody Cares” undermines your own work and what you want to share and bring into the world.

If you are creating something, there’s a reason for it. If you feel compelled to share something, there’s a reason.

Anytime anyone reaches out to me and shares that they enjoy or care about this blog or any other endeavor I do in any way- I’m truly humbled by it and I’m always taken aback- , because honestly I feel like I’m yelling in an empty room sometimes. And it’s not even for the lack of feedback- it’s because of this negative internal monologue that wants to hold me back and make me feel like my thoughts aren’t worthy of being shared.

Even if you don’t think people care about what you’re sharing with the world, whatever if may be, keep doing it. Because they do care. And those that don’t? Well, you’re not creating for those people anyway. If someone doesn’t need to hear your message then they just don’t need to hear it. And that’s fine.

This post isn’t saying you need to go barrage your friends and family with every waking thought or idea, or to take over every conversation with the things you’re working on- it’s just to help quiet that nagging voice inside that tells you that your work isn’t worthy of others to care about.

Don’t let negative thoughts invade your mind and take over, preventing you from sharing your vision or message to the world. Because if you’re investing time in something YOU care about, more than likely others will care about it, too.

[photo by h+d photography]

My Wedding Recap!

As my one year anniversary is coming up (May 18!) – I just realized that I never actually re-capped my wedding on here! Whaaaat?!

I have so many gorgeous photos I have yet to share and figured that as my one year of marriage to my wonderful husband comes to a close- what better time to reminisce and share details of my wedding day! I know you ladies nerd out over this stuff, let’s be real. 😉

First, I want to share some just beyond gorgeous photos from my best friend’s sister and her husband over at H+D Photography- they are family friends and were gracious to gift us with this dual photo session (engagement shots + bridal session) before the wedding. I wanted to get some bridal shots in my dress (from the amazing Irish designer Gibson Bespoke) in front of some gorgeous urban scenery right across from our apartment in the industrial West Midtown district of Atlanta.

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Doesn’t the above photo look like an ad? Haha! We loved this mural and just had to get a photo in front of it, as well as the bumblebee mural.

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With our photos, and our wedding itself- we wanted to really show our love for the city that brought us together. We wanted to exude fun and playfulness- which would be the true representation of ourselves as individuals and as a couple.

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This one is seriously one of my favorites. We love ice cream! 🙂

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My dress was actually purchased through the designer’s Etsy shop online- without me ever having tried it on at all. Risky? Yes. Did it pay off? Absolutely! I knew I didn’t want a traditional gown and the moment I saw the photo of this amazing dress I knew I had to have it. With a few alterations and personal touches (I sewed on the lace panel in the front myself!) it was everything I wanted it to be.

Having had a stint in making/selling accessories, I had a go at creating my own flower crown as well. I bedazzled it a bit to tie in with the sequins. The inspiration for my entire look was taken from a photoshoot I saw on Pinterest with a bride in a similar golden sequined gown in an olive tree meadow. The freshness of the greenery and rustic leaves gave it such a unique feel, rather than going the probably more-expected route of all out glamour and formality. Since our wedding was small and rather informal- I wanted to keep it fresh and fun!

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This mural is one of my favorite parts of the city- so how lucky am I to live DIRECTLY across from it? Very lucky indeed! For my bridal shots I wanted an almost editorial-like feel. Haley definitely captured that in these shots. Since we weren’t able to get any of me or Kyle and I together on the wedding day itself in front of the mural (it rained!) I was so grateful to get these shots.

View More: http://handdphoto.pass.us/janineandkyle

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The photos on the actual wedding day itself were taken by a college friend of mine, and they also turned out beautifully! As I mentioned, it rained- so many of these photos were actually taken in my apartment complex’s parking lot. YES, really. Haha! Just goes to show you that on the day of your wedding- be prepared for anything. In the moment I was pretty annoyed, but it still ended up being just fine. 🙂

 

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Kyle looked so handsome in his suit! 🙂

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I just love the juxtaposition of glamour and concrete.

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The groomsmen at least got some shots with the mural before it started pouring down.

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Our venue was the cutest little chapel-turned-event space/art gallery, Blue Mark Studios.  It doubled as both the ceremony AND reception venue! For this bride on a budget- I was thrilled with this. I found an excellent warehouse for decor called Eclectia that supplied string lights, fabric, etc. but I made the wreath myself!

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Another DIY victory- I was able to get all my fresh flowers from Dekalb Farmer’s Market for around $100. I went with a white/green theme as I just love the freshness of it! My Mother in law, and a couple bridesmaids and I spent the night before making all the bouquets/boutonnieres.

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My mom made the “official” wedding cake, and we also had goodies from a local bakery to provide a grooms cake and cupcakes. These are key lime. Yummo!

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This wedding was not the most serious of weddings, clearly!

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Our first dance was to Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good.” It was a fun first dance, nothing too overly sappy.

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Kyle and I have a pretty large beer bottle collection, as we are both craft beer enthusiasts- and he also homebrews. So we figured- why not use them as part of the decorations? We ended up de-labeling tons of beer bottles and left the ones with the best label designs. Guests took a bottle/vase and flower home as their favor.  They were a hit!

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You could say craftiness runs in my family- my mom made these gorgeous pomanders for the ceremony.

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My mother and grandmother are so gorgeous!

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So is my mother in law!

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One of my FAVORITE moments of the entire night- my grandmother who flew in from Germany and Kyle’s grandfather, dancing their hearts out to “Superfreak.” My grandmother is in her eighties and his grandfather is approaching 90. They are a hoot.

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And finally, one of my favorite shots from the post-ceremony. EXCITED YEAHH!

All, in all, it was a fantastic day.

My advice to fellow brides?

1.) DO NOT make things hard on yourself. Don’t try to do everything all alone. You WILL need help!

2.) Don’t be afraid to look for discounts for fear of being looked as “tacky.” Girl- if there was a wedding tacky police, they probably would have nailed me on many counts. Beer bottles as vases? Homebrew/Homemade wine as the beverages? A sequin dress? Using half silk/half real flowers for bridesmaid bouquets? TACKY.COM. Right? Except it wasn’t. Just do your own thing! Don’t be afraid of deviating from tradition a bit as long as it’s what YOU want.

3.) Remember- at the end of the day, you are getting MARRIED. Celebrate your husband, your marriage, your new family. The wedding shouldn’t be treated as a magazine photoshoot. Don’t stress over primping yourself 24/7. Just try to relax and have fun!

 

The first batch of photos were from H+D Photography, and the second were from Libba Beaucham Photography.