Category Archives: Body confidence

This is Me with No Makeup and I’m Cool With It.

This is me with NO Makeup and I’m cool with it. This post is about self acceptance, self love, and making choices based on what makes you FEEL GOOD.

No Makeup Selfie

No Makeup Selfie

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Hello there friend!

Doing something a little radical on the Youtube channel…. I’m going NAKED for the world to see! This is me with No Makeup. And I’m actually cool with it.

Yup. NO makeup! A bare face! Here I am, this is me. Press play.

This is Me With No Makeup and I’m Cool With It.

I wanted to film this Youtube video to talk about self acceptance, self love, and making choices based on what makes YOU FEEL GOOD.

When I was younger I used to feel pressure to wear makeup. I would feel naked without it. I wouldn’t leave the house without makeup on. In fact: I would even wear makeup to teach fitness classes and workout because I felt self-conscious without it. Which when you think about it, makes NO sense because I was putting makeup on to just sweat it off.  I was wasting money, time, and a lot of effort putting on makeup.

When we start to examine things we do every day on a personal level it sparks thought. Why did I feel like I had to spend all that time and energy putting on makeup?

I felt like I had to wear makeup to be accepted by others. But the reality is: I just had to choose to accept myself (makeup on or makeup off).

Over the years my relationship to myself has evolved and I have grown to love, approve, and accept myself. It’s a never-ending work in progress and I am by no means perfect. But every day I make the conscious effort to practice self-love and make choices that make me feel good.

My relationship to wearing makeup has also changed. I love makeup and I think it is so much fun. I enjoy trying new colors, styles, and getting “fancy”. But I no longer need makeup to feel good enough or good about myself. I wear makeup when I feel like it and when I don’t…. I don’t. At first, the days I chose not to wear makeup felt uncomfortable and strange. Yet the side-eye glances, rude comments, and strange looks I was fearfully anticipating never happened. (“Look, she’s not wearing makeup!” said no one ever.) It’s liberating to realize that at the end of the day, no one cares about what’s on your face except you.

If you are into makeup there is NO shame in that! Heck, I’ll rock a cat eye with you any day. What I want to communicate is simply this message: Wear makeup or don’t wear makeup just DO WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. You deserve to love yourself and love your life makeup on or makeup off.

I hope this encourages you to make choices that allow you to feel your very best inside and out. And I hope it reminds you that you don’t need any product to feel or be beautiful. You can choose that yourself.

I love you friends – thanks for subscribing to my Youtube channel, for being a part of my community, and for being a part of my heart. I want to hear from you: how do you feel about makeup? What is your relationship to your naked face? Let me know in the comments below – Id love to hear from you!

With love and light,

Caroline

My mission is to empower feel good fitness inside and out. I am here to be of service in your wellness and help you get your mind, body, and spirit in shape so you can love your life. Lets work together and live well. Contact me at carolinejordanfitness@gmail.com 

For more self love resources and support, Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.

Other Things To Check Out:

Best Gifts For Health and Fitness Fanatics 2016

Looking for the perfect gift for your fitness fanatic family member? Or ultra zen girlfriend? Or super sporty sister? I’ve rounded up my top holiday gift picks for everyone on your list! Read on for the best gifts to give your health and fitness nuts.

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Help someone start their New Years resolutions strong and give the gift of balance with my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough. 278 pages full support to help readers clarify values, create a plan and set smart goals, manage time, feel healthy, get fit, and enjoy life. The perfect resource for a new year full of wellness. Paperback on amazon or Inkshares.

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High quality, delicious protein powder! Vega is my personal favorite, an all natural plant based protein that tastes amazing. A Vega shake a day keeps the doctor away! Try Vega Greens in french vanilla or Vega sport in chocolate. I gift my brother a tub every year. https://myvega.com/

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Fashionable, functional, feel good flats for your Fitnessista friend. Give the gift of happy feet with a super chic pair of Rothy’s the seamless lifestyle flat made from 100% recycled water bottles. The soft fiber becomes a breathable upper that won’t lose its shape and wicks away moisture. Also big plus: they are machine washable! I have four pairs (when you know what works you buy them all right?!) and they keep my feet looking good on the go without getting sore. Check out the point in camo red or the flat in black. Use CJordan10 for 10% off at: https://rothys.com/

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THE MAT. It’s the only yoga mat you’ll ever need. Reversible and designed with extra cushion, this high quality yoga mat will last you for years of sweaty yoga class. I’ve had mine since 2011 and it’s still just as fabulous. The Reversible Mat 5mm at lululemon.com 

Epsom Salt Bath Kit. I take an epsom salt bath multiple times a week to soothe sore muscles and de-stress. This Grace and Stella kit is the perfect price and has so many delightful scents. Read how to take an epsom salt bath here. 

Blender to Go. I’ve had a magic bullet blender for 4 years and it is my life saver! Perfect to whip up a quick smoothie or pack with you to stay healthy on the go (totally travelable!) Try my simple apple protein smoothie or get festive with my pumpkin pie protein smoothie.

Yoga Toes. Treat your feet with yoga toes, my latest obsession. Yoga toes fit between and beneath toes; gently spreading them apart and away from the balls of your feet – providing even more benefit than walking barefoot. By improving toes and feet, Yoga Toes bring better balance and posture to the entire body. When you put them on it feels like a massage – I wear mine every night in my pajamas.

Fitbit. Help your friends start 2017 on the right foot. Check out the new Blaze and Alta which receive text and call notifications. Shop all styles and steps at: https://www.fitbit.com/home

San Francisco Fitbit local ambassadors: Jeremy Falk and Caroline Jordan

San Francisco Fitbit local ambassadors: Jeremy Falk and Caroline Jordan

Candle set. I love receiving candles as gifts! One of those things I always want but never want to spent money on. This spa set would go great with that bubble bath.

A new pair of New Balance light weight running shoes. New Balance is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their goals. It’s been their mission for more than a century to focus on research and development. It’s why they don’t design products to fit an image. They design them to fit. New Balance is driven to make the finest shoes for the same reason athletes lace them up: to achieve the very best. And thats exactly what these shoes have done for me. So light I feel like I’m walking on sunshine.

Spa day at Solage in Calistoga. Treat a loved one with a retreat to this heavenly resort. Gift a massage, facial, day at the spa, or overnight stay. Read about my past adventures relaxing in Calistoga here.  Reservations and booking at:  https://solage.aubergeresorts.com/

You can do it coffee mug. Ok this is too cute. I want this in my morning cup!

Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls. Because everybody needs a pair 😉 Then you and your friends can join me for all my rolling videos on youtube! PARTY.

Compression Socks. An active person will love receiving a pair of high performance compression socks. Why? The faster they can recover, the faster they’ll be back at it again! I have hot pink – they are the best!

Wireless Headphones. These sweat-proof, lightweight, wireless headphones will let you blast motivational tunes from the cardio machines to weight room, without that annoying wire getting in the way.

Kale Sweatshirt. For the health nut kale lover in your world.

Thule Urban Glide Sport Stroller. Perfect for your parent friends who want to keep up with their walking/jogging routine. 

TRX

If you have someone in your life who LOVES to workout outside of the gym (at home, in the park or in hotels while traveling), consider gifting them a personal TRX. It comes in a handy travel pouch along with instructions and workout suggestions. It’s light weight and compact enough to throw into a purse, book bag or carryon.

Membership or Healthy Grocery Products from Thrive Market. Im obsessed with this website and it keeps me well fueled in the best way. Thrive Market is an online retailer offering thousands of the best-selling healthy, natural products from your favorite brands at wholesale prices. For every paying member, a membership is given to a low-income American family. Check them out here. 

What’s one gift you love giving to that fitness fanatic in your life? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for being such a gift in my life. I am wishing you a happy, healthy, and blessed holiday season.

Love,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out:

How to Listen To Your Body

Struggling to find a balance with fitness? Here’s how to learn to listen to your body and enjoy exercise in a healthy way.

Have you ever had one of those days where you were tired? You started a workout, but then felt heavy, exhausted, and needed to rest?

I have those days. I get excited to sweat, but just don’t seem to have any gas in the tank. My mind feels tired, my legs are like lead, and my body is asking for rest. So I listen, call the workout, and stop.

I wasn’t always like this. Growing up in a strict school of ballet I was taught the “no pain no gain” philosophy. Self-sacrifice, self-discipline, and “pushing through pain” was celebrated. You were a good dancer if you gave your all, no matter what, all of the time. No days off.

My life moved on from dance, but it took me a long time to change this mindset. There was never a specific moment that changed things for me, that turned me from self-sacrificing to self-loving. I just started to evolve over time. I learned many hard lessons. I began to see how pushing through the pain wasn’t actually helping, but rather hurting my fitness goals long term. I changed the way I viewed exercise and training. It wasn’t something to “be good at” or “win”. It didn’t have to hurt or leave me drained. It could actually make me feel strong, confident, energized, and balanced. It could enhance the quality of my life – if I chose to listen and train smart. So I learned to listen to my body. I developed my fitness plan that met my needs, preferences, and energy levels. I found a way of exercising that made me feel happy, healthy, and whole, all because I took the time to listen and figure out what that felt like.

Being a wellness coach, I work to help others find balance. And I can honestly say that today I practice what I preach. Now I train with a self-compassionate mind, a training regimen I would prescribe to a loved one. It’s always a work in progress and my body changes all the time. Every day is an invitation to choose to check in, listen, and find a healthy challenge. One that makes me feel amazing.

I believe exercise is one of the most powerful ingredients in having energy and living a healthy life. The hard part is figuring out when enough is enough and when it’s just too much. The good news? Your body is SMART. You just need to train your brain to recognize the signs for when to put the pedal to the metal and when to pump the brakes—and actually do it.

Here are my thoughts on how to learn to listen to your body and enjoy exercise in a healthy way.

How to Listen To Your Body

Check YoSelf before You Wreck YoSelf. We move so fast these days and follow our busy schedules from start to finish. It’s rare that we take the time to slow down to notice how we are feeling or if our plans are in-line with what we need. Every day is an opportunity to pay attention. Before exercising, take a few moments to do a mindful check-in to get in touch with your body and mind.  How does your body feel? How is your energy? How is your mood? Notice where you might be storing stress, tension, or emotion. With all this in mind, what kind of exercise is right for you that day? Do you need a hard cardio workout to burn off stress? A strength workout to feel grounded? Some functional movement to address muscular imbalances? A few exercises to boost your energy? A yoga workout to stretch out tight hamstrings? By noticing how your body and mind feels in the moment, you can move forward in choosing a workout that meets your needs.

Give it 20 Minutes. If you are feeling tired and are not quite sure if you should or should not workout, give it 20 minutes. Start slow, ease into it, and check in with how you feel. Sometimes a workout can completely transform your energy and turn you from sleepy to energizer bunny. And sometimes it doesn’t work that way. It’s always worth getting moving for 10-20 minutes to see how it goes. If you feel good and end up exercising for more time, then great. If not, at least you got some movement and found out how your body felt. It’s always worth it to try a few minutes and check in with your physical self.

Be Mindful of the Fitness that surrounds you. Those “motivational” quotes that tell you “Unless you puke, faint, or pass out keep going”? Yea thats just plain stupid. That’s not motivating, that’s body shaming. Those types of mantras will end up hurting you mentally, physically, or both. Get away from that sh*t. Also be a conscious consumer of what fitness classes, instructors, and groups you choose to be around. If a class or an instructor ever makes you feel pressured to push or compromise your health for “conquering” a workout, it’s probably not a healthy source of fitness support. There are plenty of fitness classes and coaches that can help you challenge yourself in a positive way, so if you haven’t found them yet, keep looking. You should feel encouraged to listen to your body and supported in doing what you need to do to be strong.

If it hurts, stop. This seems really straightforward but I can’t tell you how many people I know who push through the pain. If you feel sharp pain or discomfort during any type of workout, don’t keep going. Doing so can result in serious injury that will sideline you for a long time—talk about frustrating! Pain signs are not hard to recognize, they HURT. Be smart and listen to your body if it’s telling you to slow down or stop.

If you feel tired, do less. I love hard workouts, but I definitely don’t do maximal, high-intensity workouts every single day of the week. In fact, I usually let my energy levels and body awareness dictate how hard I work. While I love to go fast and do a million burpees, some days I head into the gym for a workout and my body feels low on energy. I take that as a sign that I need to go easier that day. I’ll slow down, ignore my pace, do a little bit of feel good movement, or focus on recovery foam rolling. Using this strategy allows you to take care of yourself, stay active, and make fitness a habit, but without overdoing it.

What would you tell a friend to do? Would you tell a client or friend to train the way you do? If the answer is no, you might want to re-think how you workout. Exercise is supposed to help you not hurt you. Would you tell a friend with achilles tendonitis to go run a hard 6 miles? Or someone who pulled their lower back to toughen up and do their workout anyways? Probably not. But would you encourage a friend who’s feeling down to join run club? Or tell your stressed out colleague to go to yoga? Or suggest some fresh air and a walk outside when your friend is feeling tired? I would too. Sometimes we take better care of others than we do of ourselves. When you are not sure how hard to push or whether or not you should do a workout, think about what you would tell someone you care about to do. Then listen to your own advice.

The younger version of me would have felt guilty for stopping a workout early. Old dance mantras and “fitspiration” quotes would run around circles in my head. I would have continued to workout. I would have pushed past the fatigue. I would have seen “conquering” a tired day as a win.

But today I know better. I know to listen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for challenging yourself to be your best. But there’s a line between healthy challenge and just not smart. Your body is the only place you have to live and it deserves to be respected. Learning to listen to your body may be one of the best things you ever choose to do. There’s no quote or class out there that can teach you how to find the right balance between push and recover. It’s on you. But the beautiful thing is every day is an opportunity to check in with yourself and choose to do what YOU need to do to feel your best. This process of listening, honoring, and giving to yourself will allow you to find your strongest self, inside and out.  

Do you listen to your body when it comes to planning, modifying, or sometimes skipping workouts? Does this habit work for you? Let me know in the comments below.

I wish for you the wisdom to listen, the strength to find your own challenge, and the courage to do what YOU need to do to be well.

Here’s to you my friend, listening to yourself and living a feel good life.

Caroline

Want to build a balanced body? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.

Please SHARE this with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. Everyone deserves to be healthy and live a life they love. 

Other Things to Check Out: 

Balanced Body Healthy Holiday Drink Recipes + A Giveaway

CJordan_9999_215-1Photo Credit Toni Alejandria 

I am a wellness coach and an advocate for BALANCE. I believe in living fully and savoring all the joys life brings. I don’t believe in deprivation diets, quick fixes, extremes, or “surviving” through life with strict regulations. Depriving yourself to an extreme isn’t sustainable long-term and neither is indulging 24-7. When you don’t let yourself enjoy the things you love, you end up craving them more. You want to find a healthy diet that keeps your body nourished and your spirit satisfied. A way of eating that doesn’t just allow you to achieve a one time goal, but keeps you fueled with energy for a long and vibrant life. This is where learning the practice of moderation comes in. Moderation allows you to enjoy some of the sweeter (or more savory) things in life without overdoing it so you don’t sabotage your efforts to maintain healthy habits. By indulging wisely and treating yourself once in a while, it actually makes it easier to stay on track and maintain balance.

Life is meant to be enjoyed and personalizing ways of enjoying your life in health will allow you to thrive. Sometimes all you need is a little coaching on different ways you can remix your health habits to have them help you. In my coaching book, “Balanced Body Breakthrough”, I work with you to customize your approach to living well and adopt healthy habits that help you stay on track, find moderation + balance, and maintain a feel-good life. 

Are you an “all or nothing” type of eater? Have you tried every diet out there only to find yourself right back where you started (or worse, 5 pounds heavier)? Do you feel frustrated, confused, or defeated? Are you exhausted from the fight of trying to eat well and exercise “right”? It doesn’t need to be a struggle, you can find a healthy balance that works for you. In my book I give you strategies for success and help you customize your wellness to work with you to enable you to reach your full potential.

The “Body” section of my book, provides you with many of my favorite feel good recipes that will satisfy cravings and give energy for your life. I want to share a few of the book beverage recipes with you, so you can decide if you are hungry for more. These recipes are the perfect healthy indulgences for the upcoming holiday season. Whip up a few of these balanced body beverages in your kitchen and let me know what you think. Notice what happens in your life when you make the choice to feel good.

Sample Balanced Body Breakthrough Beverage Recipes

Vega Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. Enjoy pumpkin pie flavors all year round with this pumpkin pie smoothie recipe. Beautifully smooth and creamy rich, this is a healthy smoothie recipe to keep in your arsenal every day of the year! Who said that dessert can’t be part of a healthy diet?

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Add all ingredients to blender, blend until smooth and enjoy! Tip: Freeze extra pumpkin puree in mounds on wax paper ahead of time, then place in bags and store in the freezer for pumpkin pie smoothies all year long.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 341.9 Fat: 8.1g Saturated fat: .1g Unsaturated fat: 2.6g Carbohydrates: 51.1g Sugar: 18.6g Sodium: 363.4mg Fiber: 16.6g Protein: 20g
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Healthy Hot Chocolate and Healthy Chocolate Milk (Serves 1)
A sugar free way to curb your sweet tooth in a healthy way
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Stevia to taste (I use 10 drops of NuNaturals liquid stevia)
Hot Chocolate Directions:

Heat milk in the microwave in a microwave safe mug for 2 – 2 1/2 minutes (depending on your preference) or place in a small pot on the stove on medium and heat slowly until it starts to bubble. In the mug of milk, add cocoa powder and stevia. Use a spoon to stir quickly until cocoa has dissolved. Add more stevia if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Chocolate Milk Directions:

Place milk, cocoa powder, and stevia in a blender. Blend on high for 15 seconds. If you like a lot of froth, blend for as much as 30 seconds (no longer or milk will get warm). Pour into a glass and add more stevia if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Nutrition Information:
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 52  Fat: 4.2 Saturated fat: 0.7 Carbohydrates: 4.9  Sodium: 181 mg Fiber: 2.8  Protein: 2.1

To help you stay healthy during the holidays, I am hosting a Balanced Body Breakthrough GIVEAWAY! Entering the giveaway will allow you to cook up the recipes above and try the NuNaturals high quality ALL NATURAL stevia sweetener for FREE. The Vanilla flavored stevia makes GREAT smoothies and baked goods, and the hot cocoa is the perfect treat for the holidays that wont pack on extra pounds. The to-go packets are perfect to throw in your purse for on the go use for if you find yourself out at work, or coffee with a friend and don’t have a healthy sweetener choice. Just pop out a packet and you’re good to go.

As a healthy holiday gift to you and to support the “Balanced Body Breakthrough” kickstart campaign, NuNaturals has generously offered a sweet giveaway package for Caroline Jordan Fitness readers. I’m able to award FOUR winners who will each receive the following:

You can read more about NuNaturals in this post. Ive done my research – this sweet treat IS actually good for you! I want to help you savor the sweetness of the holidays. Heres how you can enter:

How To Enter the Super Sweet Holiday Giveaway:

  1. Visit and LIKE the NuNaturals Facebook page and the Caroline Jordan Fitness Facebook page.
  2. Support my “Balanced Body Breakthrough” book kickstart campaign by visiting my InkShares page and pre-ordering your copy for $9.99 : https://www.inkshares.com/projects/balanced-body-breakthrough
  3. I need to reach the goal of 750 pre-order copies to have my book published! Im almost to 200…. I SO appreciate your support! 
  4. Share your “Balanced Body Breakthrough” book purchase on twitter or facebook with a tag to @Caroline Jordan FitnessIn your post or tweet tell me one way you practice BALANCE in your life and why you want to win “Caroline Jordan Fitness’s Super Sweet Holiday giveaway”!

THATS IT! Spend $9.99 and get $54.00 worth of goodies in return. Super Sweet Giveaway! So what are you waiting for? Get those entries in! FOUR of you will win!

Giveaway Rules:
* Contest is entry to contestants WORLDWIDE. Be aware no PO boxes are acceptable for shipping, so if you enter, please have a physical location where it can be shipped if you win. All ages welcome. Contest ends Sunday November 15th, 2015  at 11:59 p.m. PST. Four winners will be randomly chosen and announced Monday, November 16th, 2015 by 9 a.m. PST. Winners will also be notified via email by Monday, November 16th, 2015 by 9 a.m. PST*

Your body wants you to eat well. My “Balanced Body Breakthrough” book will give you the tools (and recipes!) to personalize your diet and have it HELP you instead of frustrate you.  Eating healthy foods makes you feel better and have more energy, along with reducing digestion problems and mood swings. Healthy eating doesn’t mean deprivation, tasteless, or time consuming. It can be delicious, nourishing, and balanced with foods you love. Eating for energy means eating clean, eating regularly, and eating light. Be moderate with alcohol, stay away from emotional eating, and MOVE more! Within a short period of time your days and nights will not only be filled but fulfilled. Take action now: whip up one of the recipes above. Satisfy your holiday beverage sweet tooth with a nutritious and delicious choice.

Cheers to your health,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Food for Thought: “Fitspiration”. Motivating or Body Shaming?

I love to read and spend a lot of my free time wrapped up in my kindle (oh how I miss real physical books). While I love books, Im also an avid Blog subscriber and follow many for inspiration, information, and pleasure. I came across this article on “Fitspiration” by Lindsay and Lexie Kite of the Beauty Redefined and found it to be a powerful piece worth sharing. Read their amazing thoughts below on why “Fitspiration isnt so motivational”:

“If you are on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, you have seen fitness inspiration images just in time for “the holidays” or “bikini season” or your “big day” to motivate you to “get fit” – we call them “fitspiration.” They are almost always images of parts of women without heads or faces. They are always very thin, surgically and/or digitally enhanced, tanned, oiled up parts of bodies with text like this:

Look good, feel good.

Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going.

Girls who are naturally skinny are lucky. Girls who have to fight to be skinny are strong.

No matter how slow you’re going, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.

If you haven’t posted one of these pictures on one of your social networking sites, one of your well-intentioned friends has. I promise. Pinterest itself is a site designed to help people collect images that inspire them, for heaven’s sake. And while a slogan and image motivating you to get out and move and live and do is a beautiful thing, so many of these “fitspiration” messages floating across the web must be exposed for what they are: shame-inducing, objectifying, limiting ideals that keep women in their places as objects to be looked at above all else. 

Ever heard of a thing called “thinspo” or “thinspiration?” It’s an online world of thousands — even millions — of females who share and collect pictures of very thin women as inspiration to keep up their eating disorders. It is a saddening and terrifying world of females banding together to literally get thin at any cost, and thousands of girls and women die every year in this pursuit of thinness. But Beauty Redefined is here to reveal truth — to speak about things as they really are — and we echo Charlotte over on The Great Fitness Experiment“Fitspo may be thinspo in a sports bra.”

It is.

So we are here to provide you with a few ways to determine if the fitness inspiration you are viewing is healthy and motivating you toward real health goals or keeping you imprisoned in a body that is to be looked at above anything else. You are capable of so much more than being looked at. And if you believe that, it puts fitness back into focus as a way to improve your physical health first and foremost.

1. Be very aware of any “fitspiration” that is advertising something. Every company that hosts these ads, all profit from these “girl power!” messages that look so empowering on first glance. The problem with so many of these is what Virginia at VirginaSoleSmith.com calls “a lot of big, fancy girl power talk to sell us stretchy pants and sports bras. This is fine if you’re in the market for some new stretchy pants or a sports bra; not fine if you’re hoping their marketing materials will teach you something profound about yourself.”

fitspiration 1See this bit of fitspiration floating around online? It has effectively chopped a woman into just a part of her — without a head as is so often done in objectifying but totally normal and harmless-looking media. This part of her also happens to be sexually alluring to men, which is so often the case in this same objectifying but totally normal and harmless-looking media. Her hand is placed in her pants in a way that looks very reminiscent of a woman about to pull down her pants in a sexually alluring way. Her hip bones, navel, and cleavage are highlighted by the lighting of the shot, which say nothing of fitness or whatever the “it” is spoken of in the text. This text is open for interpretation so the “it” can be a well-meaning physical fitness goal, but the image would lead one to assume it is a look — a vision of oneself — that is the goal. A sexually appealing, “to be looked at” goal that leaves little room for worrying about internal indicators of health or meeting a fitness goal like hiking to the top of that peak or finishing that race or getting your heart rate up every day.

Pay attention to the advertising so often being done in these “fitness inspiration” messages and you will see what is really being sold here. Is it a message of real health and fitness or a message asking you to commodify yourself by buying sports bras, yoga pants, the latest fitness DVD, etc. to appear a certain way. Advertisers are VERY GOOD at framing their messages as an empowering “You Go Girl!” message with their fists in the air cheering you on. But pay attention to their swift move from using that pumping fist to cheer you on, to punching you in the face for not being enough. If you do not have rock hard chiseled abs, the right workout outfit, etc., you are not good enough until you do. These advertisers will make sure you know that, because their profit depends on your wallet and your beliefs about yourself. They’ll make sure you know you must work for “it” every second. Of every day. For the rest of your life.

2. Next time you see one of these “fitspiration” messages, please ask yourself how it makes you feel. If these images and texts motivate you to respect your body as something that can do so much good, make and reach fitness goals, and maintain health that will keep you happy and able, then they are appropriate for you. If they motivate you to worry about being looked at or to improve parts of your body to meet a beauty ideal you see in media, you must be aware of this. Virginia at VirginaSoleSmith.com so concisely says, “Pay attention to how it makes you feel to be ‘inspired’ by lots of photos of a largely unattainable beauty ideal. Because that’s what rock hard abs are, after all. Yes, sure, core strength is important for your health. But pictures of bikini-clad, chiseled muscles beaded with sweat? That’s about pretty, not about health.”

If these images and messages categorized as “fitness inspiration” actually inspire body shame — you feel ashamed of the beauty ideals you cannot reach and want to hide or judge your body or covet other women’s bodies — then these messages are not inspirational at all. They trigger you to feel anxiety, hopelessness, and ask you to resort to extremes to get somewhere largely unattainable for healthy people. I just finished writing 150 pages of my best work to date to culminate my Ph.D. competency examinations on all these issues Beauty Redefined brings to light, and the most powerful quote struck me hard. It has everything to do with the fitness inspiration we are discussing here:

Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s scepter, the mind shapes itself to the body and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.” (Wollstonecraft, 1792)

This woman hundreds of years ago described what girls and women growing up today are asked to do every second of every day for the rest of their lives. We are asked to believe our power, our very identities, our worth, all lie in our bodies because we ARE our bodies. So we are asked to fix every part of our bodies – from the wrong-colored roots of our hair to the scratchy bottoms of our feet and every new flaw in between (baggy fitspiration 3eyelids, insufficient eyelashes, saggy knees, cellulite, stretch marks, and every other sign of life). Men are not asked to fix these “flaws” because this is women’s work — a work that must last a lifetime. We are advertised in media to ourselves as parts of ourselves to encourage us to view ourselves as simply parts in need of constant maintenance and perfection. We are asked to believe we are our bodies and nothing more, and we are asked to adorn the prison that we must reside in every second. Of every day. For the rest of our lives.

Now look again at those “inspirational” fitness messages. Are those messages carefully crafted to appear to be health and fitness inspired, only to sell you a product, keep you fixated on parts of yourself that have nothing to do with your actual health and physical fitness, and keep you roaming around your prison? Our bodies are not prisons — they are gifts that allow us to live and breathe and act and do and be. But when we believe we are only bodies, and health is simply making those parts look presentable and beautiful to people looking at us, we are at once prisoners and the prison guards.

3. We borrow from the fantastic Virginia Sole-Smith again for our last very important point: “Any motivational statement that has to diss another type of body in order to make you feel good about your body? Not. Helping. Anyone.” You’ve seen those photos of Marilyn Monroe vs. Nicole Richie with the words: “When did this become hotter than this?” or some variation. Ugh. When we pit female against female, we get nowhere fast. We continue minimizing each other to our bodies EVERY TIME we judge each others’ bodies, comment on them, even compliment each other.

fitspiration 4One thing Lindsay and I mention at every speaking engagement is this: We have been taught from a young age that girls are to be looked at. So we compliment little girls on how pretty they are and little boys on how funny/rambunctious/smart/anything else they are. When we greet another female, we so often compliment her on her appearance: “Have you lost weight?” “I love your hair!” “Is that a new outfit?” But reverse that scenario. When guys greet each other, how often do you hear them minimize each other to their bodies and appearance? I almost NEVER hear a man say “Is that a new outfit?” or “Your hair looks great today!” to another man, because they do not learn they ARE their bodies like females do. We are capable of so much more than being looked at, but when our dialogue revolves around our bodies and we judge other women’s bodies, we are not getting anywhere progressive or happy or healthy. So next time you see a “fitspiration” post that pits one woman’s body type against another, please comment on it and link to this post!

So where do you turn for fitness information and happy inspiration?! If you are seeking positive inspiration to get fit and healthy and respect your body as something so powerful and capable of more than being looked at, we can help. That’s why Beauty Redefined is here! Check out our in-fitspiration 5depth look at the Body Mass Index (BMI) that has a shocking history and completely flawed present status. Get going on making 2012 the year of the Body Hate Apocalypse by setting real health and fitness goals. We’ve got a fantastic list of them here. Read why fat shaming and focusing on numbers on the scale won’t get us anywhere in terms of real health here.

You are capable of much more than being looked at. When you believe that, you break free from the prison walls that keep you confined to your body, pitted against every other woman/prisoner in her own individual cell, always monitored by a gaze that controls your beliefs about yourself and your actions. Beauty Redefined is here to shine a light in on that lonely prison cell and remind you what you are capable of in a world so badly in need of you — not a vision of you — but all of you. Thank you for joining the fight!

This post originally appeared on Beauty Redefined.”

I connected with Lindsay to thank her for writing this piece and ask to share her thoughts in this space.  In the image obsessed world we live in today,  having a positive, confident body image and healthy relationship to exercise is extremely challenging. You are constantly surrounded by the message that if you just had “six pack abs”,  “worked harder for it”, or a “drowned yourself in sweat” you’d be happy and successful. Well we all know thats NOT true, but if you are around anything enough it influences you. I am grateful to Lindsay and Lexie for writing this piece and reminding us to be a critical viewer of social and media messages.  Its so important to have regular reminders to be a conscious consumer and protect your mental health from images that make you feel negatively about yourself. SHARE this post with anyone you feel could benefit from a little awareness on this subject or body image boost on Facebooktwitter, or emailA healthier, happier world starts with a healthier, happier mind. You are the change. Thank you for being amazing!

Where do you stand, how do you feel? Do these images motivate you towards health or make you feel badly about yourself? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, Id love to hear your opinion! 

Yours in gratitude,

Caroline

Other Things to Check out This Week:

Taste of Summer. Swimsuit Ready Abs, Farm Fresh Recipes, and Summer Workout Playlist!

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“There shall be an eternal summer in the grateful heart.”

Just a few things I LOVE about Summer :

  • Fresh workouts
  • Flavorful produce
  • Books
  • Swimsuits

Put them all together poolside and I am one HAPPY Caroline. Since San Francisco is typically freezing cold come June, I drive out of the city in search of sunshine. The Palo Alto Equinox and my family’s home in Davis are two of my favorite easy escapes that satisfy my summer craving. Its true, you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. And you really start to appreciate the deliciousness of summer when you live in a city of fog full time 😉

San Francisco Summer VS. Palo Alto Summer.

San Francisco Summer VS. Palo Alto Summer. Yes this photo is real.

My family’s home in Davis is the epitome of summer for me. Backyard fruit and vegetable garden. Pool with a little diving board and patio for barbecues. And my favorite, the southern style rocking chairs perfect for getting lost in a book or two. Its the little things that all come together to make you want to kick off your sandals and savor the season without a care in the world. I thought I’d share a little bit of that with you in this newsletter, so no matter when or where this post finds you, you can have a little taste of summer too. Hey, we all need a break every once in a while. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a workout, a playlist, and a few of my favorite backyard treats!

Summer Swimsuit Workout.

One of my favorite things about summer – the abundance of outdoor workout opportunities! From hiking to playing pool basketball, summer tends to motivate people to move more. It also often means people are spending more time in less clothing…. which is why core classes are packed and my YouTube Channel is filled with requests for Ab Workout videos.  To meet the demand, I filmed a little 10 minute core routine to help you look and feel “swimsuit” body ready for your summer activities. This exercise video requires no equipment and can be done at home, in a hotel room, in the gym, or on the beach (anywhere really 🙂 . It includes some of my favorite “beach body” moves to train a strong core and have you feeling confident in all your activities this summer.  The exercises include:

  • Plank mountain climbers
  • Oblique V sits
  • Total Body Crunch
  • Corkscrew leg lift
  • Side plank with twist
  • side crunch with leg lift
  • sit ups

These exercises target your upper and lower abs, obliques, arms, and lower back. Combined with consistent cardio and clean eating, this video will help you on your way to getting lean, toned, and fit. Living a fit, healthy lifestyle will support you in making the most of your summer. Try out this routine and let me know how you feel! And as always please check with your doctor before starting this or any exercise program.

Summer Swimsuit Workout. 10 Minute Core Fitness Video. 

For more swimsuit secrets, check out, “Summer Six Pack Secrets: My No Nonsense Tips to Feeling Strong in Your Swimsuit”.

Summertime Farm Fresh Recipes, from my Home to Yours

I always forget how much better home grown produce is. When summer comes around I am reminded of the incredible flavors of fresh backyard fruit and vegetables.  My family grows a small but plentiful garden and honestly its the most rewarding dining experience to have a plate full of home-grown love. The peach trees are one of the biggest highlights for me. Come july we are swimming in a sea of peach goodies, so much so that all the neighbors tend to “stop by” often. You have to take advantage of the crop when its in full, so we have experimented with many ways to savor the sweetness of the moment. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy ripe summer peaches:

998340_10101929297778613_815512805_n Whole Foods Market Grilled Chicken Salad with Peach-Pecan Vinaigrette

Serves 4

You can use leftover grilled chicken to make this recipe. For extra flavor, grill the peaches and red onions, too. Nobody will guess that the fruity, nutty dressing here is made without added oil.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger (optional)
  • 3 peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 head lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 10 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs, grilled and chopped
Method:

Purée pecans, vinegar, ginger, one-third of the peaches, 2 to 4 tablespoons water, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. If desired, press through a fine sieve for a silkier dressing. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining peaches, onion, lettuce and chicken and toss to combine; garnish with more pecans.

Nutritional Info:
Per Serving: 200 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 40mg cholesterol, 130mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 18g protein. Gluten, Dairy free 🙂
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Easy Green Peach Smoothies:

Peach Green Smoothie
1 medium peach
1 banana
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
1/2 cup water or milk of choice (almond, soy, dairy)

Calories: 169 | Fat: 0.6g (grams) | Protein: 4.4g | Carbs: 44.4g | Calcium: 10% | Vitamin A: 88% | Vitamin C: 71%

Peach-Nectarine Smoothie
1 peach
1 nectarine
1 carrot
1/4 avocado
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
1/2 – 1 cup water or milk of choice (almond, soy, dairy)

Calories: 219 | Fat: 7.8g (grams) | Protein: 6g | Carbs: 38g | Calcium: 14% | Vitamin A: 269% | Vitamin C: 78%

Peach-Banana Smoothie
1 peach
1 banana
½ cup blueberries
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
1/2 cup water or milk of choice (almond, soy, dairy)

Calories: 200 | Fat: 0.8g (grams) | Protein: 0.5g | Carbs: 54.5g | Calcium: 11% | Vitamin A: 89% | Vitamin C: 82%

Getting my green smoothie fix post summer swim at Equinox!

Getting my green smoothie fix post summer swim at Equinox!

Caroline’s No Cook Peach Blueberry Dessert
An way to enjoy some ripe, juicy peaches without turning on your oven

Serves 4

  • large ripe peaches, diced
  • cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup pitted dried dates
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch cardamom (optional)
  • pinch fine grain sea salt
  1. Divide the peaches  and blueberries evenly among 4 small bowls and set them aside.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the pecans to break them up a bit. Add the dates, sea salt, and spices. Process until the mixture is crumbly and sticking together. If it seems too dry and isn’t sticking together, add another date or two.
  3. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the peach and berry bowls and enjoy!
And last but not least, nothing says summer like an upbeat music playlist. Whether you are hitting the gym or hosting a barbecue with friends, these tunes will help make memories. Click play and ENJOY. And if you have a favorite youd like to share, send it my way on Spotify!

What does Summer mean to you? What are your favorite things about June through September??? Leave me a comment and let me know if you try out the video, recipes, or playlist above! I hope that no matter where you are, you take a moment to savor the season of summer in a way that is meaningful to you. Kick back, relax, and enjoy your life. Its happening NOW!
If you liked this post, please share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy life! 

Yours in health and happiness,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Buff up your Body Image With This Body Love Strength Workout.

Want to build a stronger body image? Buff up your body image with this body love strength workout.

positive body image

Every time i look in the mirror I choose to celebrate what I’ve got vs. hate what Im not. Its a constant work in progress and somedays are easier than others. Love it what we are born with, self-criticism is what we’ve learned here. The only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, is learning to walk a lifetime comfortably in your own.

In the body image obsessed world we live in today,  having a positive, confident body image is extremely challenging. You are constantly surrounded by the message that if you just had “six pack abs”, a “lean toned physique”, or a “brazillian booty” you’d be happy and successful. Well we all know thats NOT true, but if you are around anything enough it influences you.

You gotta work hard every day to choose self-love over self-hate. By accepting and loving yourself you can inspire others to do the same. Body confidence and self-love is a muscle, the more you work on it the stronger it gets. There’s no better time than right now — yep, right this very minute! — to get started on some serious body-love. Here are my “body love muscle” strength workout tips. Do a self-love mental pushup with these suggestions for success and REPEAT!

Buff up your Body Image with this Body Love Strength Workout (to be done daily times one million reps)

  • Stop the comparison or body bashing when it starts. Stay alert to fighting negative self-talk. Catch yourself when you find yourself saying, “I wish I had her this” or “Id rather look like that”. Nip it at the bud. Don’t build a habit of comparing yourself to others. You are you and that is that. Work to be the best possible YOU vs trying to be a second rate version of someone else. When that little voice of doom pops up in your mind trying to remind you how horrible you think you are, have a strategy for turning those negatives to positives. No one is perfect! When you find yourself being self critical immediately stop and turn your talk around.
  • Talk it out. Feeling bummed about your body? Talk to a friend, coach, or kind ear about it! Getting your feelings out in the open will help you 1. realize they are just thoughts and 2. work to do something positive about them. Thoughts become things – when you bring them out in the open by talking them out with a friend you can help them grow into positive things vs. allowing them to drive you crazy keeping them inside.
  • Become a critical viewer of social and media messages.  Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. You have to learn to shield yourself from the constant negative media and culture messages. Look at magazines, tv, fitness images, and other sources of “social image pressure” that make you feel badly about your body image and GET RID of your exposure to them! If you can’t get rid of them, put your blinders on. Be a conscious consumer at all times and protect your mental health with the images you choose to be around.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.  It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are. Friends don’t let friends engage in “fat talk” or “body shaming”. If you catch your social circle obsessing or stressing about image in a negative way, bring attention to it and ask to STOP it. That talk is toxic.
  • MOVE your body. Exercise not only changes your BODY. It changes your MIND, your ATTITUDE and your MOOD. Movement therapy is something that helps improve everyone’s sense of being. Exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it. Move to generate positive energy, sweat out negative energy, and to be healthy. Being active is one of the best ways to support your health and enjoy life!
  • STOP defining yourself with numbers. You are not your weight. You are not your body fat percentage. You are not your mile speed. You are not your bra size. You are SO SO much more than a number. Don’t give power to or allow numbers to define you. Remember: the scale LIES anyway so why trust it’s judgement or give it’s values power over your mental health, emotional health, and life?? At the end of your life are you really going to remember the numbers? NO. You are going to remember the quality of your life based off how you lived it. And being obsessed with the scale is not a happy way spend your days.
  • Work the Gratitude. Snap out of a negative body funk by giving THANKS for your body. YOUR BODY IS AMAZING. Its a miracle. Its a gift. Stop focusing on the one thing its not and start celebrating all the wonderful things it IS. Appreciate all that your body can do.  Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams.  Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc. Appreciating all that you have to be grateful for is one the very best ways to remember that you’re so very lucky to be uniquely YOU. Your body is the most incredible instrument you will ever own, stay thankful always.
  • Do Some GOOD. Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others.  Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.
  • Learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue what you want. I do believe it is possible to love yourself and work on self improvement, when the intention for change comes from a compassionate place vs a place of criticism or self hate. When you accept and love yourself and your body, you know that whatever healthy changes you are making isn’t to change a part of you. It isn’t coming from a place of, “There’s something wrong with me, and I need to fix it.” It’s coming from a place of, “I’m enhancing my life. This healthy choice is good for my mind, body, and spirit.”
  • Look at yourself as a whole person.  When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts.  See yourself as you want others to see you–as a whole person with a healthy mind, heart, and soul <3
  • Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep.  When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel.  Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.

Do you work on your positive body image, self-confidence, and self-esteem? Leave a comment below and let me know one way you strengthen your body love muscle.

Be the change in a world full of body-hate. Lead by example. BE YOURSELF, ACCEPT YOURSELF, VALUE YOURSELF, FORGIVE YOURSELF, BLESS YOURSELF, EXPRESS YOURSELF, TRUST YOURSELF, LOVE YOURSELF, EMPOWER YOURSELF. You are you and that is that – no apologies or regrets. You get one body and one life – work to love it and have a healthy relationship with it (imperfections included!). Be positive, be present, this is your LIFE. Don’t wait. Love your body now and live every second in gratitude, health, and happiness. You can’t be real if you are trying to be perfect, and you can’t be authentically YOU either. Be you, be real, be amazing.

Sending you love and light. Keep working those body image push-ups, you’re doing great.

Caroline

Want more help on loving yourself inside and out? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough . I’ve got chapters worth of content on body image, body confidence, self love, self-esteem, and self-care. It will help you take action and love yourself so you can love your life.

If you liked this post, please SHARE it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. Everyone deserves to be healthy and live a life they love. 

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