Eat the Ice Cream...Just Not Everyday

“Most people have no idea how good their body is

designed to feel.”

-Kevin Trudeau

Let’s talk about moderation. It has taken me a long time to get here, but I’m at a place now where I have no guilt over the occasional indulgence. Why? Because the majority of the time I’m eating plant-based, clean, whole foods. For me, it’s not a diet, its a lifestyle. This is how my nutrition looks on a normal day or week:

Breakfast: I always start my day with coffee. That is a pleasure I allow myself unless I’m pregnant. I add in a delicious Almond Milk creamer and raw honey. Then I typically have some version of a green smoothie, which is in an earlier post, or I will scramble two organic eggs with 1/2 an avocado.

Snacks: Banana or some type of fruit or Larabar (fav is Cashew Cookie) or other Gluten-free bar

vitchakorn-koonyosying-494183-unsplash.jpg

Lunch: Always go for the Salad. I almost always pick up a to-go salad from Publix or Whole Foods. If it’s not perfect, it’s ok. I choose the ones with nuts, fruit, maybe even some cheese and just don’t eat all the cheese and I rarely use all of the dressing. My favorite days are when I can fill up on the salad bar at Whole Foods. My choices are tons of veggies, seeds, beans or legumes(chickpeas are my favorite) and vinegar based dressing. Here’s the thing about eating mostly greens for lunch: You can stabilize your blood sugar to avoid that afternoon slump and get the most out of your day!

Dinner: Before dinner, Zach and I usually snack on gluten-free crackers and hummus or chips and guacamole. Our go-to dinners are a “Buddha Bowl”(will blog about this later but choose a base of greens or quinoa and pile on raw and cooked veggies, organic tofu or chicken, etc) or Baked Fish(wild-caught) and Veggies.

Before Bed: Tea- currently loving Chamomile with Lavender.

The truth about us though is about one night every two weeks, and honestly sometimes once a week, we will absolutely, without any guilt, go to town on a huge tub of Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream. We will occasionally finish off the mac and cheese we cooked for the kids. And some days my only snacks consist of goldfish or graham crackers because I’m ravenous and that’s all I have on hand from being a mommy.

I’m here to tell you, you can meet your weight loss goals, feel great in your body and give in occasionally. The trick, from my experience, is to let go of the guilt and move on to the next healthy meal.

With that being said, the days I feel the best, I eat like I’ve laid out above and I drink lots of water.

Photo-67.jpg

The old me would freak if I ate 5 goldfish or indulged in ice cream the night before and punish myself the next day by replaying in my head over and over how disappointed I am in myself. This results in bad decisions from the guilt and negativity. The new me knows I’m human and I’m doing my best. I really focus on easy concepts such whole foods, tons of veggies, and the majority of my food is organic, and eaten for fuel and nourishment. Disclaimer: I don’t feel great eating meat, so the majority of the time I’m eating plant-based, but if you need/love/have-to-have meat, just choose grass-fed and organic the majority of the time. Maybe try some meals with and some meals without and take note of how you feel. Food can be confusing. We get it, and that’s why our “rules” aren’t really rules. They’re guidelines. There’s so much to talk about with food but in the interest of time, here are a few guidelines I keep for myself when making the decision of what to eat:

  1. 80/20 Rule. Make it a goal that 80% of the time you’re eating clean, unprocessed, well-balanced whole foods. Allow yourself an indulgence, the occasional pasta dish or the coffee ice cream. This goes far in ensuring a healthy relationship with food. You’re human, its really ok.

  2. Focus on “Adding in” Greens/Fruits/Whole Foods rather than “Taking Away” the unhealthier foods. I read a study recently that concluded that people who added in greens daily still felt/saw the benefits even though they ate other foods that were processed and unhealthy during the same time. It’s best to eat clean the majority of the time, but even if you don’t, your body will benefit from giving it all the nutrients, minerals, clean protein and fiber from greens, veggies, fruits and organic whole foods when you can. Also, when your cells are given the nutrients they need and your blood sugar is regulated from the steady supply of healthy, low glycemic food, you probably won’t even crave or want the other stuff as much.

  3. Ask Yourself How You Want to Feel. Most people look at food through the lens of “is this in my diet plan?” or “will I gain weight by eating this?” That will only get you so far. Your body will tell you what it needs if you listen. It will ache and feel bloated and fatigued with foods that cause inflammation and it will feel light and energetic with foods that are healing, detoxifying and clean. There’s also a direct effect on your mood that you will see crystal clear if you start journaling or just taking notice of how you feel when you eat certain foods.

I truly believe that most of our struggles with food is a matter of changing our mindset. We have so many resources these days. Food can be incredibly healing if you let it, and it also can be one of the greatest pleasures in life. Keep an open mind. Let yourself be human. Give your body what it needs to thrive so you can too.

In health,

Erica

Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call

“I hope there are days when you fall in love with being alive.”

1-121.jpg

The last couple months I’ve learned a lot about people’s personal struggles with health. As I’ve shared tidbits of my story on this blog, taught barre classes, and shared how I try to live to be healthier, stronger, and feel better on a daily basis, people have also shared with me their challenges. I’ve heard a pattern of explaining why they aren’t actually making the changes. And truthfully, I’ve come up against a wall. What I have found is that most people simply don’t want to hear it. People don’t want to hear that fast food will kill them or that exercising is a non-negotiable or that anxiety and stress can be healed holistically. People don’t want to hear that lifestyle changes are the number one thing you can do to prevent disease. People don’t want to hear it because it’s hard and it takes work. I completely understand and relate to that perspective because I had it myself and I pushed aside day after day what I needed to do to end my own struggles.

I didn’t want to hear it either. Then I had no choice.

You see, health issues happened to other people, not to me.

Then on April 28, 2015 I got a call that my sweet father and one of my best friends was found unconscious. It was in the middle of a workday, on an ordinary Tuesday. I entered the hospital, after the longest drive of my life where I pled with God that I would walk in and talk with my Daddy again, and discovered that it was over. There was no recovery or rehabilitation, no second chance. It was just over. The doctor said they could “find no electrical activity.” I asked “people can come back from that right?” She said “they can sometimes.” She could tell I wasn’t processing it. I couldn’t process it. Then it was just people shaking their heads and asking if we would like to see him.

He was a 58 year old former collegiate and professional athlete. He had just left the gym. He always cooked homemade meals. He chased after his grandkids and rarely if ever sat down at work. He wasn’t supposed to die at 58. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he also didn’t look the part of a man who was going to die of his first heart attack.

This changed me. How could it not? I felt it would be in vain or lost on me if I didn’t allow it to wake me up and change me to my core. It sparked in me a fire and a passion to learn from it and change my life accordingly.

So, over time, I’ve found a way, a way that came about after much trial and error, hardship, tears, frustration and victim mentality. I finally found the way after I was brutally honest with myself and said that this was on me. It is on me, 100%. This was no one else’s problem or future or life but my own. So, I found a way that I come back to again and again after I lose track or fail. Because failing is inevitable. No one is perfect, it’s just a matter of knowing how to start again. I found a way that has empowered me about my health. A way that I’m sharing with anyone that cares to hear it. I strongly believe that most of the time it doesn’t have to be pills and doctors. I believe that our bodies are freaking miracles from God that can do amazing things. I believe that each decision in our teens, 20’s, 30’s and up will decide what kind of life we will live as we age. I believe it is a gift and a privilege to get the opportunity to help our complex and magnificent bodies heal and grow and get stronger by giving it yoga and functional exercise and living, green foods. We get this one life. We get this one body. Don’t wait until you get that perspective from loss or reality that stops you in your tracks. Live healthy now, be present now.

I’ve shared below three people that inspire me. These people and their stories have helped me tremendously in the past few years find an intention that has catapulted me into caring about true health. They also helped me feel empowered about my health.

  • The first is Kris Carr. She is a cancer survivor and self-taught wellness advocate. She is living, breathing proof of what nutrition can do for you.

https://kriscarr.com/meet-kris/

  • Dr. Joel Kahn gives you real life advice, having treated thousands of heart attacks, his answer is that nutrition can heal the body.

https://drjoelkahn.com/about-us/

  • Rich Roll, is an ultra-athlete and plant-based nutrition guru, who has overcome a lot to find a whole new life in wellness. His podcast is one of my favs and gives me tons of resources.

http://www.richroll.com/bio/

Lastly, please know I’m always here, for anyone who needs a little help. You can work with me or Zach in our group fitness classes, personal training or through skype workouts where we do the same thing as in class, just over skype. If you are interested, contact us through our website or email me at Erica@flowspacefitness.com for more details. We are about to launch a way for Flow Space to aide you in your healthy journey so we can work with you wherever you are, so stay tuned for exciting details coming up in the next month!

In health,

Erica

One Addition To Your Daily Routine To Feel Instant Results

Do you want clearer skin? Less bloating? A flatter stomach? More energy? Less cravings? To bust through a weight loss plateau? Or jumpstart weight loss? Or better yet, prevent cancer and disease? Then I assure you, if you add this one thing to your daily routine consistently, you will see and feel all of those results. For years I couldn’t imagine drinking my greens, but now I do it on an almost daily basis and it has changed my life.

Here’s Today’s Recipe:

Organic Spinach about 2 cups

Organic Romaine Lettuce about 1 cup

Organic Kale about 1 1/2 cups

2 stalks of Celery

1 Organic Apple

2 Tablespoons Milled Flaxseeds

1 Tablespoon Chia Seed

2 teaspoons of Coconut Yogurt

1 cup Almond Milk

1 Scoop Vega (Optional)

Most mornings I blend without any Vega or yogurt, but this morning I had no bananas, so I needed the flavor. Bananas are the key to countering the sometimes bitter taste of the greens, so be sure to add one in.

This morning I started with this spread…

22BmhnXeSNig5wcGgz4%bA_thumb_4290.jpg

I blended my greens, celery and almond milk first…

IMG_3496.jpg

Then I added in my apple, seeds, yogurt, and Vega…

IMG_3498.jpg
IMG_3502.jpg

Voila!

When people say Food is Medicine, this is what they’re talking about. It is rare, as a working mommy, that I can down this many greens. So this smoothie is crucial for me to maintain a baseline of energy. It is also very high in tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If you’re interested in why I chose these ingredients, let’s take a closer look:

Spinach- proven to reduce inflammation, high in antioxidants that protect against disease, and amps up the immune system by delivering tons of Vitamin C, A, Manganese, Zinc and Selenium.

Kale- Cancer Fighting Powerhouse; Natural detoxifier.

Celery- Tons of water for hydration, Good source of dietary fiber, Helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Flaxseeds- Plant-based source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids; Improves skin, hair and nails.

Chia Seeds-Protein, Antioxidants, Vitamin E, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Balances blood sugar.

All of these foods give you a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect your body and fight disease at the cellular level. When you do this, when you give your cells what they need and help your body detox the toxins and excess that it doesn’t need, you will naturally lose weight and feel better.

I guarantee you will FEEL the difference, give it a try and feel free to shoot me a message for any recipe variations you find that you love! Cheers!

In health,

Erica

Your Own Kind of Beautiful

This new journey into fitness/wellness/health, stepping outside my comfort zone, embracing vulnerability every single day as I try to finally follow my passions has caused me to remind myself again and again of one truth that took me quite some time to learn. I think about what I wish I could say to my 20-something year old self. I have two young women in my life that are on the brink of beginning their 20's. I see them and pray they see just how beautiful they are in their own unique way. It's not cliche, it's real, and it takes a strong sense of self to believe that truth. I think of them so much because I remember that at their age was the time where I really lost my sense of self worth.

I clung to external validation like it was oxygen I needed to breathe. 

I was in pageants...I voluntarily entered myself into contests where complete strangers scored me based on my outward appearance and wardrobe choices.  I did the pageants you do to eventually win Miss South Carolina and then Miss USA. I have no qualms with pageants or the beautiful women who do them and do them well, it's just that the reason I did them was not healthy or productive at all for my own growth. I did them solely to feel validated and to be told that I was enough in the most materialistic sense of the word. I wanted to be told I was beautiful enough, interesting enough, cool enough. I often did them to meet the "goal weight"...to impose strict deadlines on myself to lose weight, and fit into the size 4 dress that usually never got past my ribs. The lengths I went to to become the ideal that the pageant world sought after was quite hilarious now that I think about it...

I would travel 2.5 hours to this one personal trainer recommended by my pageant coach who told me to never ever lift weights on my legs...because they were too muscular as they were.

So instead I would go to my own personal trainer locally and tell him I can only work my upper body….how weird is that?  I then went on to do as I was told to achieve "the body" and would do 5 sets of 25 of about 4 different exercises of leg lifts that would guarantee me long, lean legs necessary for swimsuit. This routine took about 1 to 1.5 hours. This was after I would do the requisite 60 minutes of cardio to be sure I was in the "fat burning zone," and not any higher. I think I did this the entirety of my fall semester of my senior year. I had a lot of positive things going on with my academics, but my outside needed to be validated, my thighs, my dress size, my ab lines, my tan. That is what I cared about, spent money on, spent my precious time on. I feel sad for that girl now. Oh the fun I could've had, the places I could've traveled.

 Our messy, real, beautiful life in the lowcountry with our girls.

Our messy, real, beautiful life in the lowcountry with our girls.

I'm worlds away from that girl now, but the lesson I wish she could've learned is the same lesson I must repeat to myself over and over and truly believe. The first is…MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR THIGHS. Seriously, it’s time. The second is this:

1. Being yourself is the only way to be happy and successful. I've watched successful people a lot lately, I've read about their stories, listened to a gazillion podcasts. There seems to be a common theme...no one is happy and successful by being someone they're not. You could be successful but once you got to the top, you sure as hell won't be happy.

2. Release the need for approval or validation from other people. You just won't get it, not in the way that it matters. Like that glorious Eleanor Roosevelt quote, it is guaranteed that you will be criticized anyways, so why not do what's in your heart.

3. Avoid Comparison. Your efforts towards true, lasting health will not work if you're seeking an ideal outside of yourself. I believe this from the bottom of my heart. You must start with the fundamental truth that you are your own kind of beautiful. You will become only more of your own kind of beautiful the healthier, more energetic, and more vibrant you become. But it has to be yours and not someone else's. Comparison only brings negative energy and will sabotage your well-intentioned efforts.

This time, if you’re starting again, starting to move for the first time in a while or wanting to release some weight, or just simply get healthier, listen to the voice in your head, watch what your goals and intentions are behind a new program, and try to tell yourself that what you are right now, the way you look and move and speak is beautiful….you are beautiful because you’re real, you’re alive, and you have so much love to give.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3e5e.jpg

In health,

Erica

Me and my two girls. These girls are polar opposites but oh so beautiful in their own way.

Why Flow?

Most of my memories of being a kid are good ones.  I feel very fortunate in this regard.  I distinctly remember the feeling of time and how the pace would vary.  A rainy Saturday would feel more like a week.  Three hours playing backyard football would fly by and feel more like half an hour.  I think we all have these memories as kids and hopefully we are still having them as adults.  But why are the memories from our past so vivid?  Is it romanticism or distinct feelings of happiness?  The best answer may be linked to the activities and our experience of “flow state.”

Flow State is a positive psychology term, maybe you have heard it referred to as “in the zone,” and it was coined by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Dr. MC).  Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi began studying and writing about optimal experience in the early 1970’s.  He set out to define and characterize happiness.  Through his research, Dr. MC found the happiest people, regardless of their field or status, had one thing in common…more optimal experiences or flow state.  Here is  Csíkszentmihályi describing his work;,

“I developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow – the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter, the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it, even at great costs for sheer sake of doing it.” 

Ultimately, Dr. MC developed a state of mind model (illustration below), with FLOW at the intersection of high challenge – high skill.  To simplify a bit, we need a challenge and the skill set to meet the challenge, in order to tap into “flow.”  Most of us can recall the feeling of flow, even as adults.  Maybe its a great conversation, painting, writing poetry, birth of a child, running a marathon.  The optimal experience is subjective but the benefits of flow have been proven.  For a deeper dive into flow state, check out Dr. MC’s book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (one of many) and his 2004 TEDtalk.

image1.png

So its clear flow is good but the “feeling of flow” is still a bit hazy.  Dr MC explains it this way:

“...being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.  The ego falls away.  Time flies.  Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.  Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”  

I am a football guy so a football scenario or analogy seems appropriate but instead, I’ll dive into how I prepare for and hack into flow. 

For me, it starts with exercise.  I like running, yoga and functional weight training (kettlebells, macebells) or body weight training.  These activities do not always produce a “flow” moment but a lot of the time I do experience the “ego falling away” feeling.  I have a lot of experience with sports training and heavy weight lifting but now my favorite approach is geared towards functional strength, mobility and cardio, all rolled into a workout with a flow to it.   I really believe a continual, flowing type of exercise creates the optimal experience, along with great results!  Next, is a mindful practice.

 I like to get 20 minutes of meditation in each morning.  Basically, I sit, breath deeply and try to quite my mind.  If a thought comes to my mind, I visualize it floating by like a cloud and then I focus on breathe again. 

The benefits are noticeable, including, more gratitude and being more present with others.  Another option is to do twenty minutes of slow, deliberate yoga, while focusing on breath.  This is a great way to work with your breath and get the body moving in the morning.  Lastly, get outside in the elements and in nature.  It is important to get fresh air, allow the sun to hit your skin and actually notice your environment.  It's awe inspiring and I think we need it in our everyday lives.  Plus, I enjoy exercising outside and we live in a beautiful place so this is usually an easy one to check off the list. 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3c7b.jpg

The great thing about exercise, meditation and time in nature is their benefits are not limited to the experience itself.  Exercise is great for strength, stamina, metabolism, confidence, and firing up the nervous system receptors (endocabbinoid, serotonin, dopamine).  The experience is great but the residual benefits help with performance and focus throughout the day.  Meditation or a mindful practice has similar results.  This practice will quiet the monkey brain, provide clarity and help in quieting the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).  I appreciate it because it helps me be more present with family, friends and co-workers.  Being more present, in the moment, always creates more appreciation and inevitably, more flow. 

So whatever your process, I hope my experiences will help you recognize and start tapping into more flow.  I leave you with this inspiring passage from Dr. MC:

“Flow is important because it makes the present instant more enjoyable, and because it builds the self-confidence that allows to develop skills and make significant contributions to mankind.” 

 

Find what makes you the best version of yourself and do it more! Make changes, do the work, prepare to be your best self, find more FLOW.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3ba0.jpg

In health,

Zach

How I Lost Weight

I fought with myself for years over what I ate, how much I exercised and what I looked like. I am no different than probably 95% of women who bought into the ideal of what a woman should look like based on society's image.  I was the girl who always said "i'll be happy when..." I would yo-yo diet, and lose the same 5-10 pounds again and again only to regain it. I had so many rules for myself. No carbs, then no sugar, then no cheat days or meals, then a lot of times, I would make myself run off the calories that I had eaten outside of what my goal was. Moral of the story...I STRUGGLED. I had a very unhealthy relationship with food and with exercise.

Here's what I know now, it doesn't have to be that way. It is possible to love your body, feel good in a bathing suit chasing your kids on the beach and put more energy into the things that matter rather than the way you look. 

The thing was, I was wrong about how I would get to this place. Now, I'm nowhere near perfect, I still struggle with negative self-talk or comparing myself, but I'm at a place where the thoughts may come into my mind and I'm able to let them pass on through. 

What I think happened is I finally gave myself a break, and let go of the rules. I listened to my body, and got to the root of the issues I had with food, which were way deeper than failing to have the willpower to follow a strict diet. 

What I've learned and am still learning is that our bodies, being inextricably connected to our minds and our thoughts, respond to very ingrained behaviors and habits that we have acquired over years of doing the same thing. Here's a breakdown of a little brain science 101. (I'm sure my neurologist sister will laugh at this but let's give it a shot) From what I understand, and what I found to be true about me is that this big, bold, cold turkey/deadline/high pressure diet and weight loss goal strategy I made were often destined to fail. They were up against a brain wired to turn to food if I was stressed, negative self-talk that sabotaged any hope of commitment or confidence I could follow through, and just plain inconsistency of moving my body. I underestimated how powerful the wiring of our brain was from previous longtime habits. 

I couldn't say it better than this mindbodygreen article*(link below) I came across that basically explains it this way: 

"First, the act of thinking sets into motion a chemical reaction in the brain that can be likened to plugging in a string of lights. As you think about something—be it positive or stressful—you turn on a string of lights related to that topic.

Second, the more you think, feel and act the same way, the faster the lights turn on and the brighter they glow. Thus, the string of lights related to driving a car at 45 years old is much brighter and faster than the string you had at 16 years old.

Finally, we have trillions of brain cells, resulting in thousands (if not millions) of strings of lights correlating with our habits in all areas of our life. Donald Hebb’s landmark discovery in 1949, “neurons that fire together wire together,” best explains the process of wiring and strengthening brain pathways. The key is to activate as many of these pathways as possible given they work synergistically. One pathway alone is not enough to successfully rewire your brain. However, when you repeatedly align your beliefs, feelings, vision, and actions you will experience lasting changes in your brain."

Why does this matter? Because healing yourself of bad habits, making actual progress towards weight loss, stress relief, general positive thinking even, doesn't happen, for most normal people, just by garnering up a massive amount of willpower. Each negative thought you can counter with a thought about something you're grateful for, literally rewires your brain. And if you do it day in and day out, you will have changed your brain and become better wired to actually accomplish the goals you set for yourself. Each time you move, even if just for 20 minutes, is again affecting the entirety of your body and working synergistically with your positive mindset, and with each day/each choice building on the next, the sustainability of your change is only growing stronger, and your brain changes. 

THIS is why we call Flow Space a mind-body studio. You cannot have one without the other. 

So this is how it actually happened for me,

1. Gratitude/Changing your Thoughts- This changes the hardwiring of your brain. Gratitude and movement were the only tools that I could find to slightly lift the pain and heartbreak of grief to be able to move through it. I still turn to it every day. This will make the other changes involving exercise and nutrition so much easier. It can begin with simply countering your negative thoughts/angry thoughts/victim mentality thoughts with 1 thing you're grateful for. On my particularly rough days, I could always counter with "I am healthy and my children are healthy." That was enough to change the course of my thoughts to a positive place. 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3b66.jpg
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3574.jpg

2. Movement- Your body will reward you with feel-good chemicals when you move. It is proven and backed by scientific data. Begin with walking, and I can almost guarantee you'll feel so good that you'll search out more ways to move. Or come to a flow class!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3a0e.jpg

3. Eating foods that make me feel good- Period. I don't believe there is one diet or nutrition plan everyone should be on. My mostly plant-based diet doesn't feel great to my husband who prefers to add in beef or chicken. But I have found through a lot of trial and error what foods feel good to me. They are clean, healthy, plant-based and usually pretty simple. Also, an important part of this is if & when you fail to eat the most healthy foods, which you will do if you're human, let it go and move on to the next healthy meal. 

4.Self-Discovery-Start doing the work of finding your purpose. Journal, recognize what you're pulled to and do more of that. Follow the feelings where you feel expansive rather than constrained. Recognize that you are an individual that may be heavily influenced by what you "should do" and allow yourself to be free of those expectations for as much as you can to figure out yourself. Sometimes our issues with food and having a sedentary lifestyle is because we are numbing ourselves to avoid the feelings of anxiety and depression that come from not feeling fulfillment or purpose. 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_36ac.jpg

I share these thoughts not as an expert, because I certainly am not one, but because it was what I wish I would've heard in moments when I needed it.  I have so loved people reaching out to me directly in response and us being able to have real dialogue about these issues that I feel are life-changing for me. If you're looking for more help on getting through a weight loss journey or just want to get on the road back to better health, I would love to have you in one of our classes, or you can always reach out to me at erica@flowspacefitness.com to see how we can help put some tools in motion to begin your health journey. 

In health,

Erica

*https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11762/5-ways-to-rewire-your-brain-for-meaningful-life-changes.html

What if it works?

Good morning! I'm going to be completely honest, when I shared on facebook my first blogpost "A New Adventure", I literally text my husband "holy f***balls, I feel like I'm naked in public." Because I was scared shitless to share my truth and my dreams with my family and friends. But wow, I am blown away by the support and love. Thank you to every single one of you who has messaged us, liked our page, shared your struggle with anxiety or your feelings about the post or this new business of ours. It has meant the world to us that you have opened your minds and your hearts to begin this real conversation we hope to continue and engage in week after week as we embark on our journey with Flow Space. So, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

39504869_233056637393319_7178224643336044544_n (1).jpg

We are counting down to our first week of classes! Our Flow Barre class will be kicking off at 8:30 a.m. at Venue 1223 in Old Town Bluffton on Monday, September 3rd. I know it's Labor day, but I always feel better in a bathing suit after a sweaty, heart-pumping workout, so I thought you could get it in before your boat day/beach day/pool day, or whatever you have planned! Please join us, tell your friends, or anyone you know in this area. It means so much to have your support!

Today, I wanted to share something I started to do during times in my life where I needed to make a decision, had anxiety about merely anticipating the change it would require, and how I'm working on making decisions based out of love rather than fear. Change requires a bit of risk, sometimes a lot of risk. I avoided it like the plague for years. I am only just now beginning in the past year to make changes in my life that I thought about for over 5 years. This past year though has been FULL of change, and now being on the other side of it, I can tell you, if you're not happy in your life right now, and you're yearning for more, but it feels so damn hard, it may be time to look at your perspective. Releasing my aversion to change really came down to fundamentally creating a perspective shift in my mind. This very simple perspective shift, that I would work on again and again could easily be the impetus for finally getting my hands dirty and checking things off my list of goals to live a life I love. The perspective shift comes from asking yourself a question, one question. This one question is something that can literally be the difference between action/inaction, sitting on the sidelines or playing in the game. Here's how it goes....say for example, I want to start a fitness studio, I love barre workouts, I love creating workouts and playlists, I love all that exercise has done for me, and I think what if I do it, what if I open a studio? My immediate response has been generally "What will people think?....I can't afford it....a majority of small businesses fail in their first year...I'm a lawyer for goodness sake, act like one...." My habitual response, which was probably conditioned after years and years of not believing in myself was immediately negative. I immediately believed that it would fail.

The same goes for getting inspired to eat healthier and you go to actually make the green smoothie and start day 1 of changing your habits and you say to yourself, "oh, I'll probably give up like I've done a million times before...I can never lose this weight...this doesn't taste good...how do people actually do this?....I'm not made to be healthier..." Or the always present anxiety about having anxiety. Yes, when you have anxiety, you begin to worry about your anxiety...you feel unhinged, you're crying a lot, maybe angry, you feel stuck and you feel that nothing is working, you absolutely 100% lose confidence in your ability to change your life and heal yourself. You turn to numb yourself with things that don't work, i.e. alcohol, food, work, whatever it may be. You feel the nerves and the racing heart and you think there's no way out. It will cross your mind that you should walk outside and breathe or go take a yoga class. But in the moment of feeling paralyzed by these feelings, you don't because it is very, very hard to believe you can change.       

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_12.jpg

So, you can choose to accept that this is your life, this is who you are. I did it for years. Or you can talk back to yourself, and question these beliefs. There is no quick fix to changing your relationship with food, or reducing your anxiety, or finally following your dreams. I believe they happen through small, subtle steps that you consistently take day in and day out. A place to start, I would suggest, is with your perspective. So in those moments where you catch your ego's response to your soul's desire or goal....try asking yourself this,

What if it works?

What if it freaking works? What if I can be a lawyer and a studio owner? What if it works and I don't care what other people actually think because I'll be flooded with endorphins and positive energy? What if my healthy habit changes stick and I begin to release this heaviness and this weight that's been weighing me down for years? What if the nature walk does work and just for tonight, I don't have an anxiety attack and I sleep well?

You can try it with anything you're currently ruminating over and considering or hoping for. Do you feel what happens? That feeling may be brief and fleeting, but it is generally expansiveness and hope. Hope that change is possible, that you're not stuck and that you can start again. What if what you really want deep in your heart IS possible? What if it works? 

In health,

Erica 

 

 

A new adventure

"Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life."

- Robin Sharma

My path to Flow Space has been winding and very uncertain. Six years ago as I was beginning my career in the practice of law, and also preparing for my wedding, I began an exercise program that truly changed my body. I dropped weight, several sizes, and felt good about my body for the first time in my life. I was starting out in litigation and about to walk down the aisle to marry the love of my life, but this time sparked a curiosity in exercise and movement that to this day I haven't been able to shake. I looked forward to my daily sweat sessions on the mat, my yoga classes, or my run. It felt so freeing and my mind felt so quiet. 

I looked into side gigs, or possible career shifts into wellness at that time, and never had the courage to step outside the identity I had made for myself in the legal world. 

Last year, my husband and I picked up our family, our beautiful daughters, and moved from my hometown of Lexington to Bluffton, SC. Bluffton is a quaint, coastal town that has completely stolen our hearts. It was a dream of ours to live close to the beach and we didn’t know how we were going to make that happen, but we did and we are so proud of ourselves. It was a big change for me and it taught me that the other side of your comfort zone isn't so bad, it actually can help you learn more about yourself than sitting still ever will. 

Through some highs and lows the past three years, I was really forced to dig deep and begin asking myself questions about living more in alignment with who I really am. Life has a way of forcing you into a corner and that's kind of how it felt for me. 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_ea5.jpg

In the past 3 years I’ve experienced grief, postpartum depression, and a lot of anxiety. Starting only months after my father passed away in 2015, grief with anxiety made me feel like the world around me was just crumbling and I had no way to put it back together. I was different now and the truth was it became more difficult to do the things I didn't really want to do. When you set out on a path in your 20's, it's hard to then change course a bit or pivot if that path turns out not to be exactly what you wanted. I now see it as a part of the grief process and the inevitable dismantling of your former self once you are on the other side of loss. The perspective you gain is transformative. As I tried to get back to normal life, I began having immense anxiety. I would shake, my heart would race, and I would feel like I couldn’t catch my breath.  

I have always exercised, having started with a personal trainer in my teenage years and trying every type of exercise there is. In the throes of my anxiety, I felt pretty helpless as to how to feel better. I came to find that the only thing that worked was movement...exercise...and sweating until the anxious energy could move through me. This time, I was moving to heal myself of the unrelenting thoughts of fear going through my head. My intention was to heal my mind, instead of tone my body. 

I would move and sweat and listen to my breath and little by little the heaviness would go away or lighten. It would come back the next day but if I kept moving, it got better and better. I was having heart palpitations every day, and physical manifestations of the stress. Those disappeared about 6 months after devoting myself to exercise. I would come home and be present with my children and husband in a way that felt impossible before. I felt more joy and hope. I wanted, simply, to do more of it, and possibly even help others through the struggle of finding your way to a healthier way of life. 

So here I am, with as much clarity as I've ever had before in my life. I am leaping into the world of wellness, health and fitness. I'm not quitting my day job as a lawyer, but I'm just doing more of the things that I truly enjoy and that give me light. I became certified to teach group fitness and barre classes. I have been studying, researching, and practicing daily the exercises that feel the best and have created the most change in my body and I'm ready to share with others what I've learned. 

Here’s what I know now and the basis for this new adventure: 

Health is a privilege. You get one vehicle to go through life in. If you don’t take care of it, mind and body, it will give up on you. If your goal is longevity, to be with your loved ones as long as possible, treat your body as the temple that it is. My dad’s body failed him at 58 years old. His soul had the age of a 20 something year old, but his body was done. He died of his first heart attack. I learned the day we lost him that we can have dreams and goals, but if we don’t take make our health a priority, none of it will happen. Our bodies were made to do amazing things, so why not use them to their full potential while we can. 

Knowing yourself is the true work of your life. I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to fit a mold or please other people. When the comfort zone I had built in my life fell away and I had no control over putting it back together,  I was left with just me. I had no clue who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t know where to start. So at the top of my to do list was clarity. Get clear about who you are, and that will guide you to what you should do with your day and how you should live your life. I've learned that being a lawyer is a part of me, but this is also a huge part of me too. 

Stop resisting your intuition. Once you start listening to your intuition, gut-feeling, inner knowing or whatever you want to call it, I guarantee you, you will feel an ease and joy that you haven't felt before. I am learning that it wasn’t my life or my circumstances that caused the anxiety, but my resistance to who I really am. If you're struggling with this, I would strongly suggest starting with movement. Movement helps you to get back in your body. It anchors your mind to the present moment and makes it easier to hear yourself and your own intuition. It's a tool to use again and again, day after day to come back to yourself. It detoxes and heals the body but also floods the mind with calming chemicals to experience greater peace and joy in your life. 

Face the fear or live with regret. Lastly, what I have found to be the most important for me is at this moment as I share with you this passion of mine I’ve held in my heart for years…. is you get a choice in life, you can choose excitement and new possibilities that inevitably come with fear, or you can choose regret. Uncertainty is scary. But each time I feel the stranglehold and paralysis that comes with fear, I ask myself,

“But what about regret? If it’s too scary, fine, but will I be able to live with regret?”

If your answer is no, then you must do the thing you fear. 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_42b.jpg

Through my years of learning exercise and nutrition, I have been my own guinea pig.  I have lost around 60 pounds twice after the birth of my two girls, recovered from two c-sections, significantly lowered my cholesterol, gotten in the best health and shape of my life now in my 30's, found a holistic solution to battling anxiety, and I have given myself the best chance of getting the most out of each and every day with the ones I love. I am nowhere near perfect, and I will not try to be on this new journey. We are all flawed and works in progress. Just doing our best and getting the most of our precious time is enough. My husband Zach and I have always bonded over a love for wellness. Some of our first dates involved going for a run or a yoga class. We want to give to you what we have learned in a way that can help you on your own journey, and we will devote all our love, energy and time to being available to help you along you the way. 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34f6.jpg

So, with that pretty long version of how I got here...I introduce you to Flow Space. 

All my love,

Erica

Coming Soon to Bluffton, SC!

1-104.jpg

Hi!

Welcome to Flow Space, a mind-body fitness studio. We are so very glad you are here. We are a new business but we are not new to the world of wellness, fitness and nutrition. Flow Space will be offering fitness classes around Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, SC at various pop-up locations. Our first location is quite a showstopper. Venue 1223 is a gorgeous event space created by the team at Downtown Catering Company, in Bluffton, SC. 

Check them out here http://www.downtowncateringcompany.com/venues/

Classes begin in September! We will have our first morning class on Labor Day, September 3, 2018. We can't wait to sweat, breathe and flow with you at Venue 1223. Check the schedule for times for classes as they may change week to week. 

We can't wait to get to know you better, and serve you on your wellness journey.  On this blog, we will be updating you on all things Flow Space and offering all the resources, tips and advice we can find to help you live a well-balanced, joyful life!

In health,

Erica & Zach