What To Do When Body Changes Are Inevitable

baby gainThe majority of my life I dealt with major body image issues and at times, eating disorders.  Most days I would stand naked in the mirror and pinch different areas of fat and cry until I convinced myself of a plan that would work to get rid of it.  Bingeing, purging and withholding food usually seemed like the answer.

After years of internally fighting this battle, I sought out help at the student medical clinic at my college.  Therapy, friends, love and a desire for an actual healthy life eventually pulled me out of this dangerous and painful cycle.

Once the therapy ended and I left college, I fell in love with an active lifestyle and healthy eating slowly became a part of that.  It took a deep love for myself to overcome my painful past, but eventually, it became my new learned behavior, just as the painful one had been in my past.

Fast forward seven years and I’m still living a healthy lifestyle and rocking a body that makes me proud.

Then something happens that I’ve wanted for almost two years; I become pregnant.  We tried so hard to get here, peeing on sticks, doctors, specialists and again, lots more tears.  Eventually it happened naturally on the month that we took off because life was too busy to keep up with the endless appointments.

My husband and I both cried together when we found out the news.  Now, seventeen weeks into the pregnancy, we still fall asleep most nights talking about the life we want our new addition to have and what type of parents we are going to be.

One might think that almost two years of trying to get pregnant would mentally prepare a woman for the changes that her body is going to make, but that assumption would be incorrect.  At least for me it is.

As a woman who knows how slippery the body image slope can really be, I want to publicly admit that it’s terrifying thinking that my body is about to change for at least 9 months and most likely, for the rest of my life.

Really fucking scary. 

But I made the decision that it doesn’t have to be.

Every morning I work on accepting my ever-changing body by engaging in a different type of mirror ritual than my former self took part in.   I rub cocoa butter on my expanding belly and remind myself how amazing it is that there is a small human growing inside of me.  Through the unknown fear of what will happen in the future, I tell myself that there is no other body I’d want in the world than mine, especially as I feel the tiny kicks of baby Fry.

Our bodies will all continue to change whether we make the decision to birth children or if we simply start to age.  Either way, starting from a place of acceptance and love rather than hate and pain is the answer to radical acceptance. 

No matter where you are on the path of life, I invite you to find your small slice of body love, not just today, but every day.  One day at a time.  I promise you that it’s way better than spouting off words that are less than loving.

Give it a go, it’s time.  

Starting a Body Love Movement (& You’re Invited!)

#30daysofbodylove

Body credit: daily yoga + running (taken: 6 months ago).

I’ve gained some weight over these last few months.  As a life coach that helps women lose weight, this feels pretty ludicrous to admit.

I’m not super pumped about the number on the scale or the shape that my body has taken.

But you know what?

It’s all good.

I accept my number.   I accept my shape.

There’s a reason behind my weight gain (isn’t there always?).  Or maybe it’s an excuse?   Either way, I’m owning up to it and choosing to embrace it.

For the last four months my doctors have had me cutback on the intensity of my workouts.  Including, saying goodbye to my loves of running and hot yoga for three out of four weeks every month and hello to long walks.  As someone who worked out everyday for one year, this has been a major lifestyle change.

The twists, turns, jumps and jostling of my body could knock a fertilized embryo out-of-place.  Who knows what is really true, but at this point in our infertility journey, the doctors could tell me to try crack and I’d listen.

This weight gain is about way more than a few extra pounds.  It’s taught me how to accept  my changing body and it feels like one of the first steps of choosing to take care of my unborn child.

The act of choosing to let go of the strict notion that my body only looks good at a certain weight is one of the most freeing steps on this journey.

Everyday I feel strong and healthy, which are the pillars of my core values.   A handful of extra lbs is not going to change that.

I invite you to feel free with me on this journey.   I invite you to love your body just as it is today.

Included in this invitation:

  • The self-blessing to let go of the limiting belief that you need to look a certain way to love yourself
  • Learn to love your body where it is right this very moment
  • Let go of the pressure that you need to be somebody different in order to love yourself

Join me for the next 30 days in celebrating your body in the present.  Don’t put it off until you’re in a place where you are ready, do it now.

Starting before you’re ready is a major key to success. 

The simple details:

  • Post a photo of why you love your body on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag, #30daysofbodylove for thirty consecutive days.
  • Examples:  a photo of you flexing those guns you’ve worked so hard for, the soft belly that your kids rest their heads on or those legs that carry you every place you need to be
  • Share this email with every person that deserves to recognize the beauty of their body

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s change the conversation from body hate to one of body love.   And, let’s do it right now.

xoxo,

Betsy Fry

Struggles with infertility

Baby
gabi_menashe / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Yesterday I laid on a table for 45 minutes, with 22 needles strategically placed in my body to stimulate hormone release and encourage healthy ovulation.

The last thing I heard my acupuncturist say was, “manifest a healthy baby living inside of you.”  A sense of sadness, immediately replaced with hope and then I drifted off into a deep sleep.

Unexplained infertility is what the doctors call it.  

We call it one of the toughest challenges in our lives.

People ask me what I’ve tried…organic foods, clomid, acupuncture, basal thermometer, vitamins, herbs, essential oils, femoral massages, ovulation kits, detoxifying our bodies, no coffee, only warm foods and drinks, no alcohol except red wine, eating pineapple every day, foot soaks, giving up running, Chinese medicine, traditional medicine…

You name it, we’ve tried it.

Sex has taken on a different meaning.  My husband and I have become closer in a way I never imagined.  Peeing on some sort of stick has become an almost normal occurrence (ovulation, uti, pregnancy tests).  Ovulation apps rule my phone.  A calendar on my desk tracks things that I never thought I’d have to track or know (you haven’t lived until you’ve watched videos about cervical mucus).

Tomorrow is our last appointment with my regular obgyn and then we are handed off to an infertility specialist; new doctors, another round of tests and the recommendation of budget-busting procedures that insurance won’t touch with a ten foot pole.

We are both scared of the unknown and feel powerless in a powerful way.

It’s been a wild ride on the hormone rollercoaster; a ride that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Every month there are highs and lows, sadness and happiness, optimism and pessimism and gobs of other emotions that make me feel like a crazed lunatic.

As a life coach, I look for a purpose or positivity in almost everything.  This time, I have come up short.

Searching for meaning has become painful, not empowering.

It’s created a block in my life and in my writing.

Lots of things that used to feel important feel insignificant in comparison

Rather than getting stuck in the fear, I choose to focus on what I can do one day at a time and some days it’s one hour at a time. I choose to cry when I want to cry, talk when I need to talk and suck it up when I need a mental break.

The answer is that there is no answer right now.  We both have to be okay with that and help each other through the confusion and sadness every month.

The next step holds more optimism and another set of hearts to our team.  We’re more ready now than we were 17 months ago and become more so every month that passes by.

Whose rules are you living by?

runjourneyWe all go through our daily lives following a certain set of rules.  Unconsciously, these rules define who you are, where you are going and how you’re going to get there.

Of course, there are the rules that you have to follow to remain an integral part of society.  These aren’t the ones I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kind that your subconscious sets over time that dictate how you live your life. 

The kind that feel like you have to follow them in order to be successful, happy, skinny, loveable (or insert whatever adjective hits home for you).

Here’s an example:  I’ve been running consistently for eight years.  No matter what type of shape I’m in, my pace remains about the same.  A year ago I became attached to a running app that told me my distance and pace every ½ mile.  If my body was moving slower than “normal,” I’d get frustrated and my desire to run the next day diminished.  This week I decided to ditch the app, grab my favorite running buddy, Journey, and run a pace that made us both happy.  With only a few blocks to go, she wanted to go play in her favorite park off leash.  I let her play, while I chased after her and worked in some pushups.

It was the happiest and most fun run I’ve had in years.  Playing, laughing and letting go of a rule that I had set in my mind that I needed to know exactly how far and how fast I was running in order for it to “count.”   Count for what?

This morning, I set a new priority for my runs:  to enjoy them (whatever that means).  At some point, I might find comfort in using my app and another day, I might turn on music to give my mind a rest.

What remains important is that you let go of any rules or expectations of how something should look and tune into how you want it to be.

It’s your life.  Your rules.  Your choices.  Your happiness. 

Watch the abundance flow as you become in conscious control of your life.

What rules can you let go of in order to invite in more happiness?

How to let go of your past gracefully

let-go1At different times in our lives we have to let go of things.

Sometimes it is tangible objects that hold meaning in our lives,  other times it’s metaphorical things that bring us pain to say goodbye.

Letting go of both physical and metaphorical things can rock our souls and test our strength.

With a move in our not so distant rear-view mirror, I’ve had to do a lot of this recently.

A month ago we had a yard sale with enough stuff that could fill two rooms.  As I set these years of memories tied up into stuff on our driveway to sell, I cried heavy and happy tears.

Tears of sadness represented a chapter of life that was closed.  Finally, I was letting go of my stuff that I had during my single days.  Tears for my many years of total independence, countless moves, the people who helped me get there and the memories that created who I am today.

Tears of panic for the unknown and the future.  What if my future kids want retro dishes when they go to college?   Quietly, a voice told me to “let go.”  So I did. 

Tears of happiness and hope for what the letting go represents:  my future, intertwined with the man of my dreams, tied up with three loving pets, all encompassed within a house in the city.  It’s what we worked so hard to manifest and now, we get to create a home filled with things that are meaningful to us both.

Within two hours of our yard sale, every memory tied into a physical thing was sold for less than what my mind told me it was worth. 

Ten dollars for my first coach purse that housed my college experience and launched me into adulthood.  My first kitchen table that served as a place of refuge at the end of a long day, a space for failed recipes, a handful of satisfied palates and the spot I’d talk on the phone to my deployed fiancé: free to whoever grabbed it first.  Five dollars for my red winter coat that I bought during a sudden snowstorm in Boston; the jacket that taught me about preparation and city living.

These things do not hold meaning for anyone else, but to me, they are irreplaceable.

The pain comes in the thought that irreplaceable means having to keep these things with us in order to keep the memories alive.  If that were true, then letting things go means we have to let the memories leave us.

Not true.  So very not true.

Letting old things physically leave our lives creates space for new experiences, new memories and beautiful things that represent where we are going, not where we have been.

Be willing to let go of something now.

Be willing to open yourself up to something that excites you.

Be willing to create your life based on what you want in the present and dream of in the future.

Use This One Tip To Find Awesome Friends

lovesA few years ago I had so many friends.  Every night I had plans and every weekend was packed.  Whatever I was in the mood to do, I could find someone to do it with me no matter how last-minute it was.

From the outside, my life looked so full.  On the inside, I was feeling so sad and alone.

I started to really question why I was feeling this way.

It became apparent that I was not surrounding myself with people who inspire me to be a better person.  I was just surrounding myself with people.

Whenever I was around people full of love and life, their beauty would spill over and seep into me.   On the flip side, whenever I was around people full of hate and sadness, I took on those feelings too…and that feels pretty shitty.

Even though I had some great people in my life, the few bad eggs were causing an energy suck that was spilling over into all areas of my life.

Noticing and watching how this was affecting my being sent me into a full “friendship shedding” mode.

Yep, I just coined that term.

Friendship shedding (definition):  letting go of people who do not inspire you, encourage you and make you a better person.

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve shed a lot of friendships.  It’s been incredibly painful, yet one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done.

It’s made room for incredible new friendships that are built on a solid foundation.  A foundation formed with honesty, vulnerability, health, exploration and serving.

Now that I’m in this space of only allowing awesomeness in, it’s a lot easier to recognize when a snake gets near the garden.  Whenever it happens, I’m quick to shut down the relationship before it gets any deeper.

By allowing myself only to have the most badass of friends, it’s raised the standards in all areas of my life.  It’s ignited a more passionate way of life.

A life that I deserve and it’s a life that YOU deserve.

My challenge to you is to take an honest look at the people in your life.  Do they inspire you?  Are they happy for you when your life is full and awesome?  Are they still around when you’re going through some bumpy spots?

Remember that you are the gate-keeper into your life.  You get to decide who you let in and who you keep out.

It’s time to let in the lightness, you deserve it. 

To the high school girls who called me “fat ass”

IMG_20140410_164811Dear high school girls,

Today you breezed by in a car and collectively yelled “fat ass” at me as I was running past your school.  At first, I looked around to see if anyone else was running near me, because if you took a long hard look at my ass, you’d realize that it looks like a pancake.  You know the kind, the type that was made for Mom jeans.

Maybe you just meant “PHAT ASS” and I misunderstood?  If so, I think you have nice taste and appreciate the kind words.

Something tells me though, that is not at all what you meant.   

I’m sure you think I’m just some old woman, but I assure you that I’m not that old.  I was your age the last time I heard the words “fat ass” being directed at me. They were paired with some other insults + being pushed against a locker.  That shit hurt.  Not being pushed, just the words.  I cried for days and was humiliated to show my face in school.

Although I was targeted some in high school, I also did my fair share of targeting and breaking down classmates.  It actually felt worse being the bully than it did getting bullied.  Is this true for you too?

I hope that by choosing me as your target it spared some other girls in your school the  negative attention.  Nobody ever deserves to hear hurtful words targeted at them, especially during the crucial and sensitive teenage years.

Your words reminded me of how hard high school is for some all girls.  Even the ones dishing out the harsh comments have it tough in some way or another.  Since you hollered at me (you learned it from somewhere, right?), I’m assuming you can relate to the pain that comes from being the target of bullying.  I’d love to know why you keep spreading hate instead of love?

Since I’m just a little older than you and I’ve weathered my fair share of life, I want to give you some words of wisdom (take it or leave it):

  1. High school is only four short years of your life.   For most of us, it’s the worst four.
  2. Getting through the tough times only makes you stronger.
  3. Focus on developing skills for whatever lights you up.  This will take you so much further than hate ever will.
  4. Be your weird self.  You’ll find the people who appreciate you.
  5. Spread the message of love.  There is at least one person you know that embodies kindness.  Ask that person to teach you how to do that.  You’ll never be sorry.
  6. Those mean kids hurt so much inside.  Practice #5 with the most with them.

My wish is that somehow this post finds you and for at least one day, you choose to be kind to others.  Watch what happens when you become a person that radiates light; you’ll become powerful in a way that inspires masses.  For now, practice with the classmate that really needs some love.  Walk with them in between class, pass them a funny note or stand up for them when they are being beaten down.

Again, I want to thank you for choosing me as your target today.  You don’t know this, but I am a life coach that teaches women how to love their bodies.  I practice what I preach day in and day out.  Your words didn’t hurt me, not in the slightest.  They just inspired me to spread light into the world and send immediate love to you.

Be the light, not the darkness.

Lots of love to you,

Betsy Fry

How to Become a Happier Person

There was a period in my life when the highlights of my days revolved around food.   My alarm would go off and my first thought was, “What am I going to eat for breakfast?”  That thought propelled me out of bed and had me racing to the kitchen before I even had time to check-in with my body.  As soon as breakfast was over, I was packing my snacks for work and preparing my lunch.  My breaks during work were spent scouring over restaurant menus and deciding where I would eat for dinner with my friends that night.  Once dinner was over, I would stop at a 7-11 and grab some sort of chocolate (God forbid I keep a stash of it at home, that is a whole other blog topic!).   Then I’d devour my chocolate within two minutes of walking in my door and finish my night off with a glass of wine.   The next day, I would wake up and do it again.

158/365 - Oh, Veronica Mars!!!
Helga Weber / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

By reading that, one might assume that I had an empty life outside of food.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  I had a good job, adoring friends, supportive family members, loving partners and I worked out on a regular basis.  My life was full, but no matter what I ate, I was not.

At this point in my life, food has very little hold over my being.  Food has become a source of fuel and because of that, I have become more present and incredibly happy.

What has changed and how can you make the same shift?

Obviously, I had a big issue with the role that eating was playing in my daily life.  Once I realized this, it became apparent that it needed to change.  I started paying attention to the small things that make me happy and have the power to feed my soul, not just my appetite.

Here is a list of what made me happy yesterday:

  • A new client that radiated positive energy and potential. 10%
  • Going to a yoga class. 20%
  • My husband’s sleepy smile when he woke up and our morning conversation. 20%
  • The furry residents of our household, Jack and Journey.  Anything about them. 10%
  • Another coaching client that is so young that I felt the beauty of her optimism and purity. 10%
  • The hour-long phone call with a best friend who is chasing a scary, yet beautiful, dream. 20%
  • Taking the time to relax by reading a Yoga Journal article and drinking my fav Apricot Beer.  10%

My challenge to you is to make a list of all of the things that filled up your life today.  Then assign a percentage to each one and see what percentage of happiness comes from food in your life.  If it is anymore than 10%, it is time to give credit to some of the other beautiful things around you.  I promise you that those wonderful things exist and it is time that you chose to see them.

Leave a comment below with your findings and if you would like some personalized tips, I am happy to weigh-in.

The Three Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight

We all have our reasons why we hold onto those few extra pounds.  Perhaps the weight protects you from going after your wildest dreams or maybe you do not have enough time to dedicate to the cause.  However strong your reason is, you can get past it and lose that weight.  As a life coach that specializes in weight loss, I have heard everything in the book.  I have also helped tons of individuals shed their reasons and move forward into living healthy lives.  Here are the three main reasons that are keeping you from losing weight and living a life you deserve.

Reason #1:  Excuses  Excuses are the biggest reason why people get stuck in a world of being overweight and unhappy.  I have heard excuses that range from “I do not love myself enough to lose weight,” to “Putting myself first makes me feel selfish.”  Whatever your excuse is, I have a hunch that you actually believe it.  Know this: Your excuses are not true and they are taking you away from living a life of truth.  The quicker you rid yourself of them, the sooner you can start taking the steps you have been longing for.

Action Plan:  Make a list of all of the excuses why you have held onto the extra weight.  Dig deep here.  Bring every single excuse to the surface and examine why you held onto that thought for so long.  The next time this excuse comes up you know that it is just an excuse and it holds no real meaning.  Let the excuse go and before you know it, you’ve proved that excuse wrong.

Diet
Christi Nielsen / Art Photos / CC BY-NC-ND

Reason #2:  Security If you have ever said something along the lines of, “I will start to date once I lose 15 pounds,” or “I will be happy once I lose weight,” then you are using your weight as a security blanket.  You are choosing not to live your life until you look different.  Start living your life right now!   When you allow yourself to do the things that you thought only your “skinny self” could do, you are proving to yourself that you do not deserve happiness right now and riding yourself the opportunity to live in the present.  When you allow yourself to live your life right now, the exact way that you are, you will be surprised what happens to your waistline.

Action Plan:  Jot down all of the things that you are waiting to do until you are at your ideal weight.  Choose one thing on your list and do it this week.  Rock your dreams at any weight and show yourself that happiness is not dependent on your pant size!

Reason #3:  Fear  There are a few different types of fear that can accompany weight loss; fear of making yourself a priority, fear of changing your lifestyle, fear of starvation, fear of working out and fear of being comfortable with oneself.  Whatever type of fear you can identify with, know that once you start working on whatever scares you, the fear will subside.  Remember how terrifying it was the first time you dove off a diving board?  Then you dove, survived, and did it again one hundred more times that day.  Fear can be paralyzing and can keep you from moving for years, or perhaps a lifetime.  Do not just wait for the fear to go away, work through it.

Action Plan:  Identify your fearful thoughts.  Once you have done that, ask yourself these genius questions by Byron Katie, “Is this thought true? Can you absolutely know that this thought is true?  How do you react when you think this thought? Who would you be without this thought?”  Once you put the fears out in the open, they hold less power in your mind.  Bonus: write down a thought that feels truer than your crappy fearful thought.  Set a daily reminder in your calendar with the new and improved thought and watch how your energy shifts.

These three main mental blocks come up time and time again.  They can manifest as a reality in your mind for a long time and convince you of a lot of untrue things.  Once you have worked through these things, start making changes slowly.  Do not shoot out of a cannon and make 100 changes to your life in one week, it’s not sustainable.  Just ask anyone who has cut out all carbs or tried to work out every morning at 5:00 a.m.  Start with small goals and once you have mastered those, move onto the next.  When it feels too hard to continue, take a break for one day.  Pick up wherever you left off the following day and find peace in knowing that you will get there.