Viewing entries tagged
inspiration

the truth about when I was 'skinny'

19 Comments

the truth about when I was 'skinny'

I grew up believing HAPPY = SKINNY.

As an aspiring ballerina (and frankly, just as a woman in our society) it’s kinda hard to avoid that message, amiright?

By age 11, I was in at least 6 dance classes/week, counting calories like it was my JOB, and religiously including 100 sit-ups into my bedtime routine.

Throughout my dance career I was stuck in a never-ending under-eating → binging →  over-exercising cycle. And WORSE, I was beating myself up about it every second of the day.

If I missed an extra workout, I felt like a failure. If I got it in, I was on a treadmill for hours - literally running my body down, depleting my energy, and going nowhere fast.

People classified me as a “naturally skinny” person. Which felt like a pat on the back - a secret handshake - part of the club!

Yet every time I received a comment like that I secretly wished that they could see how HARD I was working to be where I was.

It took A LOT of discipline to live my life!

The daily weighing in, counting food points, measuring my waist, following the latest “lose 5” fad, tripling reps of the best fat burning exercises, restricting, depriving, and covering up my health problems.

There was never a day my stomach didn’t hurt. 

My skin was a mess and my eczema was out of control.

My menstrual cycle disappeared, and the amount of anxiety I felt was overwhelming.

Then when I was 26, my grandmother died from tongue cancer and my perspective started to shift.

In the last few years of her life she had many surgeries and treatments.

With my Gram on the dance floor in 2002, feeling stuck in an unhealthy cycle I felt I couldn't control.

With my Gram on the dance floor in 2002, feeling stuck in an unhealthy cycle I felt I couldn't control.

As an always-looking-on-the-bright-side kind of a person, she said she was so happy in these years because she physically couldn’t eat that much and she finally lost the weight she had wanted to lose for her entire life.

She had ⅓ of a tongue and was ecstatic because she was a “skinny person”.

 

This turned my whole idea of HAPPY = SKINNY on it’s head.

During this time I studied yoga and mindfulness, and came across this life-changing quote (in the video below) in my readings about death and impermanence. 

I became determined to find BALANCE in my approach to how exercise fit into my life in a way that I could maintain and feel GOOD about.

In ways that freed me up to focus my thoughts on my other passions, my career, what I want to create in the world.

In ways that kept me strong.
In ways that kept me centered.
In ways that were exciting and fun.
In ways that felt full of EASE.

In ways where HAPPY = HEALTHY.

Over the years, I've incorporated practices into my life that allow me to truly appreciate my body, feel in tune, aligned, and treat it well.

I want to share this lifestyle with as many people as possible, which is why I do the work I do!

It's about fusing mindfulness into your fitness life, and:

  • starting right here, right now, exactly where you are in this very moment,
  • heightening your awareness around your daily thought + action patterns so you can make mini adjustments that have large impacts,
  • shifting your perspective of "balance" so you're no longer beating yourself up over perfectionism and actually feeling a sense of peace with your body, 
  • getting on the self KINDNESS wagon, so you actually feel like you LIKE yourself and you enjoy being in your body.

When you follow these steps, which I layout in greater details in my online programs and coaching sessions, you will start to find greater strength, confidence, ease and balance in your body.

If you're ready to do this too, watch this video, and leave me a comment with the ONE thing you're going to do today to get started.

How does this sit with you? Leave me a comment below with the ONE thing you're going to do for body today.

I'd absolutely love to hear from you.

With ALL my love and happy balanced healthiness,

xoxo elyse

 


hi, i'm elyse!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


19 Comments

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

Do less

Comment

Do less

Easier said than done, of course!

Especially when you're busy. You've got bills to pay, kiddos to take care of, deadlines to meet, classes to take, and you're attempting to stay in shape on top of all of that.

It's at the times you feel like you're juggling a thousand porcelain cups, like you don't have an extra second, that it's MOST important to do less and take time off.

Time off doesn't have to mean dropping everything and moving to a remote tropical island (although I was fantasizing about that back in January). ;) 

Time off can be: 

  • closing your eyes for a few moments on the train, 
  • taking a stretch break at work
  • not checking your phone before bed, 
  • or taking a local weekend getaway and taking time to read magazines and swim in an Endless Pool

Recently I've done all of the above to give myself a "time out". 

"Often just twenty minutes, or even twenty seconds, of "time out" - time, literally, off - where we return to our breath and body, can do wonders for our brains, nervous systems, hands, arms, and backs." ~Marc Lesser, author of LESS, Accomplishing More by Doing Less

This month I've been taking it even further by taking internet fasts on Sundays. No email, no Facebook (...okay, okay, there's still some instagram-ing happening). ;)

Because of this time away from technology, I've been able to spend time with my precious family and swing with this cutie, take JOYworkouts through brooklyn, connect with more friends, create a 'city garden' in my apartment, and leisurely read, Just. For. Fun. 

By taking time off and doing LESS of something you don't really need to be doing, you have time to do MORE of what you want to be doing.

I'm committing to continue taking mini adventures every Sunday this month instead of sitting behind my computer! Enter hashtag: #AdventuringInApril :)

Over to you...

How are you going to take time off and DO LESS?

1. What are the activities that are sucking your time away? Do you need to be doing them? Can you delegate, postpone, or let go of them altogether?

2. What is it that you really WANT to be doing in your time off? Reading? Working out? Adventure-ing? Sleeping?

*Did you choose working out? ;) ...Here's an Arm Burn and a Power Leg workout you can do right now in 6 min each.

3. Gift yourself some time off this week and do that thing!

Send me an email and I'll help keep you accountable!

I want to hear how you're going to DO LESS.

With love and "time out", 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Want even more moves that will help you feel easeful, energized, and aligned throughout your day? Start these FREE videos now! 


HI, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com

 

Comment

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

On being fit + All good things: in your kitchen, and in your life!

On being fit + All good things: in your kitchen, and in your life!

As soon as I met Lisa Adams, I fell in love with her sparkly energy and bright spirit. Then I started reading her blog: All Good Things and I looked forward to reading her wisdom and her recipes every Monday! 

Whether she's catering a small wedding in upstate New York, bringing dinner to a family of 4 on the upper westside of Manhattan, or making lunch for a Grammy winning recording artist- she believes that everyone is a VIP when it comes to food.

I'm so honored to introduce her as our first guest in the On Being Fit Interview series! 

Meet Lisa Adams:

 

How do you help people stay healthy?

As a personal chef, I provide ease to my clients so they can have more time to be better moms, dads, partners, get to the gym, get to bed on time, have more time for their families. All of this contributes to their health.

 

What is the #1 thing someone could do TODAY to feel better in their body?

Take a walk.

 

What's your advice to someone who's having trouble getting started with that?

Start with 5 minutes. Put one foot in front of the other. This 5 minutes is movement that can grow into longer sessions of movement.

 

What does a typical day look like for you and how do you fit movement into it?

Ideally, I'm in my group exercise classes at my gym - yoga, dance, Intensati. But many days my schedule doesn't allow those so I walk every where I can, and I lay down on the floor for sit-ups and pushups before I go to sleep.

 

What other practices keep you healthy? In body and/or in mind?

I practice bhakti (devotional) yoga. Singing call and response mantras is a key part of the practice. Time in the temple is my favorite part of my week!

 

What is your JOYworkout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

When I am dancing I feel like I can do anything. I feel empowered, sexy, healthy, I'm having fun and I'm usually with a group of my friends so it's something to share.

 

If you "fall off the wagon" with your health + wellness, how do you get back into it?

I try not to beat myself up, I can easily get inspired by my friends on social media killing it in their workouts and their efforts reflected in their diets. I love when green juices and smoothies come up in instagram, they are great reminders that I don't need cookies :)

 

Where are you getting your motivation from right now?

There's a woman I met years ago in Erin Stutland's Shrink Session class. She was overweight and trying to have a baby. She worked hard to get her body in a healthy place for pregnancy, had a beautiful son and was really unhappy with where her body left her after the birth. She wakes up at the crack of dawn every day and works out, posts pictures, and every day it's like she's a shrinking Alice In Wonderland. It's incredibly inspiring to see her dedication as well as her transparency in sharing her journey.

 

What is a motto or quote that you live by?

All Good Things - in your kitchen, and in your life!

 

Thanks so much for sharing with us Lisa! 

Want to connect with Lisa? Find her + All Good Things on:

 

who's elyse? 

esparkes@gmail.com

Elyse gets people moving with in-person training and her signature 21-day at-home workout program. She helps make movement a joyful part of one's day, and inspires confidence with her kindness and personalized approach. When she's not doing squats + sun salutations, she's dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives.

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!