Saying Good-Bye to Perfectionism

A few nights ago, I curled up on the couch with my cat and my journal, determined to write out my 2018 new year’s resolutions. It was only three days into the New Year and I already felt like I was falling behind. I hadn’t written down my resolutions yet, I had two slices of pizza and a Dr. Pepper for dinner on New Year’s Day, and I hadn’t been to the gym once since the ball dropped in Times Square. How could I already be failing only three days into 2018?

I absentmindedly pet Belle while staring at the blank page in front of me. I had nothing to write down because I felt like I could never live up to whatever resolutions I came up with. I never had before, so why bother? Lose 30 pounds, read 100 books, overhaul my wardrobe, blog twice a week– these had been my resolutions for years, and I never fulfilled them. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like failure; the weight of it physically crushes me. And that’s how I felt as I sat on the couch staring at my empty journal.

So I picked up my phone and scrolled through instagram, my usual distraction. My feed is filled with dozens upon dozens of pretty girls living picture perfect lives. Every day is perfect hair day, there are never any dirty dishes in the sink, every outfit is perfectly coordinated, every room of their house is decorated Pinterest Perfect. And then it hit me: Why am I comparing myself to a perfectly staged photo of a stranger’s lifestyle? 

Maybe I haven’t been failing after all, maybe I was just setting the bar at an impossibly high standard. I don’t have to be as skinny as an instagram model, as skilled a blogger as these social influencers, or as artsy as the hand-letterers. I am tired of living up to somebody else’s standards. Quite frankly, I’d rather just be myself.

So instead of the usual new year’s resolutions, I wrote down a list of things that I want to do this year.  And I noticed that they all have a common theme: Practice grace instead of striving for perfection. My success will no longer be defined by numbers on a scale, the balance of my bank account, or likes, or followers. My success is defined by loving myself and being kind to myself, embracing who I am instead of trying to force myself into this perfect little box. I can’t be a better wife, sister, or friend until I learn to love myself.

We’re always so focus on being kind to others, but we can’t forget to be kind to ourselves as well.

Happy New Year. xx

Fun Fact: This was my “yellow” picture for the “photo a day” challenge I’m doing this month. I almost didn’t post it because “omg, they can all see how fat my leg is!” But I gathered up the courage to press that “share” button. I think it’s important to put pictures out there that are relatable and honest. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay, because none of us are.

6 Reasons Why Working Out is Totally Worth It

I am not athletic. Okay, well I was a little athletic during high school, but that was ages ago. I go through spurts of time when I feel motivated and on fire and ready to work out and eat healthy everyday. Those spurts of motivation are usually followed by months of sitting on the couch eating cookies and binge-watching Grey’s for the hundredth time.

I lost twenty pounds over the summer by eating healthy and exercising a few times a week.   Now it’s October and I haven’t been to the gym in about two months. First my excuse was that I got transferred to a new store for work and now the drive to the gym was too far out of the way. Then my excuse was that I got my wisdom teeth out and couldn’t exercise. Now my excuse is that… I don’t feel like it?

Well, this morning I finally got off my lazy butt and took my puppy for a jog. And you know what? That’s all it took to break me out of my slump. When I got back from the jog I felt energized and i wasn’t ready to stop working out. So I did yoga outside in the sunshine. Then I made myself a healthy breakfast of eggs instead of chocolate chip pancakes. One little jog was able to spark my motivation to live a healthy lifestyle again.

So here’s a little list of motivation for those of us non-athletes who need it.

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Starting the Whole30 Journey

A couple weeks ago I was out for coffee with my best friend Mimi. Mid-conversation, she said, “Hey, let’s do the Whole30 program.” And I said, “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” I’d heard of Whole30 before and I know some people who have done it and loved it. So I thought, how hard could it be? We decided to start after Memorial Day so that we could still enjoy our pie and alcohol and other bad yummy foods.

I didn’t give Whole30 too much thought again until Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Mimi and I were at the Market gathering produce for our new diet and we started talking more about this Whole30 thing that we were about to start. She said, “You know you can’t have dairy, right? No milk or cheese or anything. And no added sugars, no grains, no baked goods.” I stopped dead in my tracks. I love sugar, chocolate, carbs, milk, cheese, and wine. I love all the foods. “Maybe I should go read the Whole30 book and figure out what I’m getting myself into.”

So I ordered the book on Amazon and then I had four days to prepare myself for this Whole30 journey. I studied, I went grocery shopping, and I did a little meal-prep for the week. To be honest, this seems hard. Hard and not very fun. But I know it’s going to be worth it.



So what is the Whole30?

Whole30 is not a diet, a weight-loss program, or a “get thin quick” fad. The book says, “Think of the Whole30 like pushing the reset button with your health, your habits, and your relationship with food.” We tell ourselves that we have to have certain foods. We have to have warm bread and butter while we wait for our food at the restaurant. We need to add sugar to those strawberries or they won’t taste as good. But the truth is that we don’t need any of those things. Whole30 is about giving your body only what it needs, not what it craves. The Whole30 makes you spend 30 days breaking your addictions to cookies, chips, grease, whatever it is, and redefine your relationship with food. Losing weight has nothing to do with it (the book even tells you to throw away your scale while on the program); It’s all about health.

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What It’s Like for a Former Anorexic to Join the Gym

Not too many people know this about me, but I struggled with an eating disorder through much of high school. I wanted to be thin and perfect, and I never felt I was good enough. I suffered in silence, starving myself until my fat melted away and my skin clung to my bones. I felt my heart getting weaker both metaphorically and physically. I was an athlete and nearly collapsed at swim practices because my body was so weak. I hated myself, I hated my body, and I hated who I had become. Things didn’t get better until one night I sat in my bathroom crying, and I realized that if I didn’t change, I was probably going to die soon.

I recovered in relative silence, too. I slowly stopped skipping meals and started eating more. I learned to find my identity in Christ rather than in my body size. My new boyfriend showed me that I was worthy of being loved. It’s simple really; It’s all about love. Love from God and from people washed over me, and I learned to love myself. Love was all I really needed, and now I’m healthy.

I’ve gained 45 pounds since high school. I’m a curvy Puerto Rican young woman, and I’ve learned to embrace that.

That being said, I decided to join a gym in August. Not to “lose weight” necessarily, but to be healthier. I want my body to reach it’s potential. I want to be able to do those crazy yoga poses you see on Pinterest, run a mile without feeling like I’m going to die, keep up with my future energetic kids, and whatever else I feel like doing. I want to love my body so much that I enable it to do amazing things. (And I’m very proud of that last sentence, because it shows me how far I’ve come since the days of hating my body so much that I forced it to wither away to nothingness).

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Finding the perfect wedding dress

For many young girls who dream about their future wedding, finding their dress is supposed to be the most magical thing in the whole world. In reality, the experience is a little more complex. There are so many emotions and thoughts that get piled in and heightened during an appointment at a bridal salon: excitement, anticipation, nervousness, budgetary concerns, and high expectations. Shopping for a wedding dress can be overwhelming, so I’ll walk you through it and offer advice based on my own experience.

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Day 7: Be you

Today was the last day of my makeup-free challenge. I have to say I’m rather proud of myself for making it through this entire week without wearing makeup– I honestly didn’t think I could do it.
In one of my classes last year we were discussing gender roles, and the topic of makeup came up. In the middle of the conversation my professor asked if any of the girls in the class wore makeup every single day. Most of my classmates were laughing at the ridiculous notion of wearing makeup all the time, and I felt too ashamed to raise my hand and say that I do.
Our culture is extremely judgmental. There are people who “make-up shame” girls who wear makeup all the time, and there are people who look down on girls who don’t wear any makeup.
I think we can find a middle ground. We can acknowledge the fact that we are all different, that we express ourselves in different ways. Wearing makeup is fine. Not wearing makeup is fine. The only thing that matters is whether or not a person feels comfortable, confident, and like the best version if themselves.
The makeup-free challenge has been a great experience for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve been able to grow through this journey.
I encourage you to try the makeup-free challenge, even if just for a few days. You’d probably be surprised at just how much you can benefit from facing the world with all of your natural beauty.

Day 6: Perfectionism and grace

Perfectionism. It’s a beast that constantly lurks under the surface, changing shape everyday. Your body has to fit into that dress in a certain way, your grades have to be phenomenal, and your eyeliner can never smudge.

I’ve struggled with perfectionism for almost my whole life. I know I’m not perfect, and I know I never will be, but something in me is always striving to be flawless.

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