Inspire

A friend of mine sent me one of the most amazing text messages earlier this week. It started, “Thought I’d give you an update since you inspire me to achieve my goals…” Then she went on to tell me about the awesome achievements she recently accomplished and the new goals that she hopes to achieve.

My first thoughts were of giddiness…aw, she thinks I inspired her!

My second thoughts were of honor…how honored I was that she chose me to share her news with.

My last thoughts were the most important. Pretty darn revolutionary.

You see, the past two months or so (since my 50K in November) I can count the number of times I’ve ran on one hand. I needed a break from running…really, I needed a break from everything…so I took one. This break lasted quite a long while with many hours spent watching the love tangles between Nathan, Lucas, Peyton, Hailey, and Brooke…snuggled up on my couch with a bottomless cup of coffee in my hand. Let me tell you, the drama from those twenty-something-looking characters at Tree Hill High is really captivating. Needless to say, I started feeling lazy…

…and lumpy.

My body-image slowly started becoming less positive, and before I knew it, I was feeling guilty about my time resting. Although I knew realistically that my body had not physically changed (other than losing some endurance), my mind was starting to tell me otherwise. Crazy pink elephants.

Then I got the text.

I realized that I needed to shut off those crazy thoughts in my head and start going after my goals again! And it’s okay that my goals are less fitness-oriented right now, and it’s okay that they may be more involved with finding out who Lucas Scott really ends up with in the end. And it’s okay that I may not run a marathon this year, especially if that means that I get to start working in the career field that I’ve been working so hard for.

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Just as long as I’m happy.

So, what I’d like to say now is…

Thank you Katrina, for inspiring me to remember to be happy and to stay positive.

ang

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Fact: I Heart the Keep It Real Challenge

As I was browsing through Facebook status after Facebook status this morning, I stumbled across an interesting looking article posted by the National Eating Disorders Association. The status said, “Stand up to magazines that publish digitally altered photos!” Now, I could go on and on about how I feel disappointed every time I see a magazine promoting how to lose ten pounds in one week, or how sad I feel when some already slender celebrity lost five more pounds for her wedding, or how it disheartening it is to realize most faces and bodies printed in these magazines are, indeed, not real. So, out of curiosity and hopefulness I clicked on the article to see what this was all about.

What I found was nothing short of shocking…

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I read fact after fact, and each time my heart sank just a little bit more. Girls are so affected by the standards that the media sets regarding the way we should look…so much so, that, it seems as if hating and bashing your own body is the norm.

And my heart took a dive deeper into my stomach as I read the line in the article that said, “Eating disorders are the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-24 (National Eating Disorder Organization 2012).” Leading. Cause. Of. Death. These are children, young girls, that are so affected by the unrealistic definition of beautiful, that they will do anything to try to attain it.

As important as it is to teach the world the real impact the media has on poor body image and eating disorders, it’s just as important now to do something to make a change. And that’s exactly what the Keep It Real Challenge is all about.

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One of my favorite quotes from the article is, “Instead of young girls pushing themselves to fit into a swimsuit, this social media campaign will inspire them to challenge the media creators who propagate unrealistic images of young girls and women, and encourage them to enjoy their summer in other more positive ways.”

Inspire.

Challenge.

Encourage.

What if the media set a new standard. Not one that only idolizes women who are touched up with an airbrush, but one that says beautiful is you just the way you are. Dark circles, laugh lines, wrinkles, freckles, curves and all…beauty is what is real.

What’s stopping you? Let’s do this. Check out the Keep It Real Challenge for yourself, share it with your friends and families, share it on Facebook, twitter, and instagram, and participate! Today, right now, 78% of 17 year olds are unhappy with their body, and I’d almost bet that number increases with age. We can totally turn that number around if we all try to make a change. Real is beautiful. Believe it and represent it!

Let’s keep it real!

ang

Happy Birthday Pretty Blog!

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Today marks the first birthday of this little blog! I can’t believe an entire year has gone by since I wrote my very first post, ironically titled Yay! My First Post! I have learned so much about myself, met so many creative and inspiring people, gained so many wonderful opportunities, and done things I never imagined would ever be possible…all because I started writing this little blog!

I want to thank you ALL for continuing to read my rambles, for inspiring me, and for always, always, always supporting me. I always say that to overcome an eating disorder, or any other struggle in life, you need to find your voice…your own voice free of negativities and self-doubt…even if your voice is small and stuffed way down deep in your pinky toes. Grab on to that voice; feed it, nurture it, and love it, and your voice will grow.

I love that voice.

ang

Noticed

This past weekend I went to my bff’s house, and as usual I let myself in and screeched, “Hellooooo?” as I made my way up the staircase to the bedrooms. I dropped my stuff off in my room as she responded, “I’ll be there in a second,” from the master bedroom. I’ve never been shy before in making my way into her room and bombarding her privacy, so that’s exactly what I did.

As soon as I entered the room, she quickly told me not to come in as she was hovering over her dresser. “I’m finishing a surprise for you!”

Oh. Whoops.

But I like surprises, so I went back downstairs and waited.

Pretty soon she arrived with a little card in her hand. I rushed to open it, and out of the card popped a little keychain.

Curious, I read the card and immediately filled up with happiness, love, and appreciation. She was “noticing” me for being a friend, a blogger, and a new marathoner. Right then and there I hooked that little noticed motif onto my keys so I would be constantly reminded!

The back of the keychain has a website to go to explaining this Noticed Network. It is all about inspiring women to celebrate, honor, and “notice” each other in a personal way. You can also order these noticed motifs for yourself to give away to other women you want to celebrate. A portion of the proceeds in purchasing the keychains goes to two different, amazing charities.

It felt amazing to receive such a thoughtful and random gift from another woman that I respect and admire so much. It has definitely inspired me to continue the ripple effect of the Noticed Network. Who wouldn’t love to feel noticed?

Thank you for noticing me Heather. I have noticed your caring and giving heart on a daily basis.

ang