Tag Archives: Empowerment

5 Special Treats for Readers!

Guess what this month is?! National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! (oh yea, and my birthday month, hehe) It’s time to step into the joy of fitness like you’ve never done before! It’s time to drop excuses, enjoy the fresh spring air and get moving! Today, I’m not going to share a long form blog post. I don’t want you to spend your time reading. I want you to spend your time MOVING!!! I hope that these 5 special treats will help you do just that.

Drum roll, please!

Today….I will be PROUDLY presenting you with….

A chance to get a FREE hour-long fitness and wellness consulting phone call (or skype) with yours truly!

 A three ingredient, summer-inspired recipe that I love!

 Hand-picked images to inspire you towards fitness!

 22 energizing songs to fire up your workout playlist!

 …annnnnddd a poem, written by one of our readers, that just plain rocks.

Get it, girls!! Today is your day!

 

Part 1: COACHING GIVEAWAY!

WellnessWinz FB Cover

Yes, it’s true. I have a golden window of time this spring during which I’m excited to extend my professional guidance even more than usual. Thus, the coaching giveaway! This will be a FREE one-hour coaching session via phone or skype, focused exclusively on your top-priority fitness and wellness needs. It will include a customized, 4-week workout schedule.

All you have to do to enter is go to the new WellnessWinz Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wellnesswinz (or click the above image) and “like” the page. Then, comment on the timeline with this hashtag: #WannaWinzGiveaway. At the end of the month of May, I will randomly draw a winner! Get excited!!!

PS – if you aren’t interested in the drawing, I would still be honored if you’d like the Facebook page!  

 

Part 2: “FROSTED MANGO,” MY FAVORITE ANYTIME SMOOTHIE!

smoothie 1

It tastes just like summer and it can be made for any meal of the day. It only requires THREE ingredients: Mangos, Milk, and Vanilla Protein Powder. I prefer almond milk but you can use regular milk, coconut milk or cashew milk. You can also pick a protein powder that works for your dietary needs and preferences (e.g. whey-based, soy-based, hemp-based or pea-protein-based). Try to find a protein powder with minimal processing, minimal sugars and sugar alcohols, and lots of packed-in nutrition.

I swear, this smoothie is simply the best because you can keep all three items in your pantry and fridge for long periods of time without spoiling. Choose frozen mangos and you will avoid wasting ones that turn to mush.

Put a handful of ice in your blender and then scoop in some mangos. Next, add the powder (serving size or half a serving) and milk product. Use 12-16 ounces of milk so that everything blends well. Add spinach, bananas, berries or anything else yummy for extra nutrition and taste! This smoothie will probably come out to 400 calories or less, depending on your ingredients and portions. Yummmmm. 

 

Part 3: HAND-PICKED PINS FOR FITNESS INSPIRATION!! 

Straight from my Pinterest-loving heart to your computer monitor. Hope one of these will inspire you to get moving!

Pinspiration 9

 

Pinspiration 8

 

Pinspiration 7

 

Pinspiration 6

 

Pinspiration 4

 

Pinspiration 3

 

Pinspiration 2

 

Pinspiration 1

 

Pinspiration 10

 

Part 4: THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT PLAYLIST. GET IT, GIRLS!!! 

Allow me a moment to brag…I’ve been told by many exercise class participants that they love my music selection. Of course, I like to think that they love the workouts more, but alas, there’s something about a well-rounded playlist that boosts energy like none other.

Enter the songs below into your iTunes search bar and you can download them for yourself. It will take about 5 minutes or so, and then you will be stocked with enough songs to last you almost an hour and a half!! (For some of us, that’s TWO workouts or more!)

WellnessWinz Workout Playlist

 

Part 5: POEM BY ONE OF OUR READERS!

I was so thrilled to see this poem from our reader, Meredith O’Leary. She recently shared it with me and I’ve got to say, tears swelled in my eyes. Why? Well, Meredith and I have talked about her fitness/wellness journey for a few years now. One of the most challenging parts of it, like for most women, is understanding the line between pushing one’s body towards health and accepting one’s body and its incredible beauty. I couldn’t be prouder to present you with Meredith’s insights and powerful words… 

“This is My Body”

This is my body, true and real
Don’t tell me how I should feel
About it. Cause it isn’t for you
To decide just how I make it through

This is my body, and only mine
The only body I could find
To host my spirit and my mind.
I promise you, I’ll be just fine

This is my body, ever improving
I assure you that I’m always moving,
Being aware, and trying not to care
About others’ judgments, though they’re always there

This is my body. You can’t see through me
It isn’t like you ever knew me
And yet, you disregard the rest
Which is making it through Life’s great test

This is my body. Watch what it can do!
It can clean a house, drive a car
Sometimes it can walk quite far,
And when I hear a good beat, it can dance, too!

This is my body, which you cannot own.
You try to possess, and sometimes offend
But I digress, because I can mend
Myself. So just leave me alone.

This is my body. And I’m proud of it!
Life is the cause, and I’m the effect
It’s never, ever allowed me to quit
And I think it’s about time I gave it some respect

This is my body. And I am beautiful!
Nothing about me has ever been dull
The Universe, in me, is embodied
I have a strong soul! And this is my body.

Meredith O’Leary (c) 2015 MAO

 

Alright, ladies! What are you waiting for?! HAVE FUN! GET MOVING!!!!

Happy National Fitness and Sports Month! 

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

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Boudoir Lessons for Bikini Season

Beach Body

So, I have a confession to make. Back in March, I decided to embark on a mission to discover how Victoria’s Secret models feel when they’re in a photo shoot wearing…not much. It started as a little oh-la-la present for my husband, who travels four days out of the week, but it turned into a full-fledged, top-priority operation [on behalf of my readers]. I sought to discover how on earth someone could feel comfortable in little more than a bikini’s worth of material, and learned way more than I bargained for. No, I’m not sharing pictures, those are for my hubby’s eyes only, but I will share the lessons learned along the way, and the ladies I encountered who are changing the world, one bikini-fearing, underwear-shopping-adverse woman at a time…

When I signed up for a photoshoot with Three Boudoir, I knew I would have to restrain myself from going crazy over the next few months. I’m the type of person who likes to have event specific goals to train for (weddings, bikini season, road races). It’s easy to be motivated by external pressures that have tangible deadlines attached. It gets us tying up our gym shoes a little faster, and choosing salmon and broccoli more often than steak and fries. But, I wanted to challenge myself to refrain from ramping up my exercise and trimming out a few hundred calories every day, in preparation for the photoshoot. I actually wanted to just feel like myself for once. I knew that if I could step into that intimidating environment, cameras flashing, feeling…normal…that I would really put myself to the test.

I have to tell you; I’m SO glad that I did. Upon signing up for the photoshoot, I anticipated that I would be plagued by major stomach cramps from pent-up anxiety and a ten-fold increase in nervous butterflies on the day of. Surpisingly, my tummy only did a small flip-flop or two.

Body Confidence Bobbi Brown

I was grateful to the Three Boudoir girls for the encouraging emails they sent me prior to the photoshoot. I was initially worried that I may have put myself into a queue to be objectified, but when I got their first email, I understood that they were all about empowerment, and that thrilled me. They incrementally boosted my confidence and made me feel reassured about just being my natural self. Here’s a little sample of their enthusiasm: “Give yourself a huge pat on the back. You are brave and fearless. You are about to take on a super fun boudoir shoot that is going to leave you feeling sexy and ready to take on the world.”

Every single email that the company sent me was full of positive language. I’m pretty sure they used “hot,” “sexy,” “gorgeoous,” “amazing,” “brave,” and “beautiful” dozens of times each. Even though I giggled and let the comments slide off of me at first, over time, I started to feel better about myself, and was more excited than nervous. I started to believe in my bravery and beauty. What an even grander benefit than having pretty pictures!

On the day of the shoot, I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the women who helped me pose and look my best. I give myself ZERO credit for being able to strike those poses on my own; it’s hard work! They were encouraging, natural and fun. The time actually flew by. I felt my long-standing intimidation of models, and the unnatural poses they’re photographed in, begin to melt away. I might not look exactly like a lot of models, but I’m me – and that’s pretty awesome. Likewise, for you! 

What made the biggest impression on me though, is that apparently lots of women are more accepting of themselves than I knew. Apparently, plenty of women prefer to leave their simple “imperfections” front and center rather than edited out of photos. The boudoir ladies told me that lots of women prefer to let birth marks and scars show in their pictures. For example, without naming names, they told me that even women who have undergone surgery following breast cancer may prefer to let their scars show, because it’s part of their identity. This fits exactly within a message, on Three Boudoir’s website, that all women can take to heart: “Every single person that comes through our studio has unique qualities that we know exactly how to draw out and capture in photos.” Oh man, I might as well be their spokeswoman with all this good PR! Haha. No, they did not ask me to write this. I prayed for the confidence to share this all on my own.

Done with Guilt, On with Life

Unfortunately, positive affirmations and mood-lifting information isn’t internalized very well by women. Glamour magazine polled 1,000 women, ages 18-40, and found that body image today is actually worse than 30 years ago.  Even though women have been dominating in many professional fields, proving to the world that we should have been taken more seriously long, long, long ago, we’re suffering from a lack of self-esteem more than ever. Why?!? Someone tell us why!!!

According to Glamour, modern women compare themselves more to the girl next door than celebrities. Instead of flipping through magazines a few times a month, as may have been the case 30 years ago, we’re now inundated by at least 1.8 billion, yes BILLION, new pictures posted to social media every day! Since we’re seeing a lot more normal people, we curiously scan the endless images until we find someone that looks like our “ideal body,” and then believe we should and can look like that too.

Nowadays, the thinking is a little like this:

“Oh, I know I can’t achieve a Cameron Diaz or Madonna body. It’s unrealistic because I’d have to be super rich and paying a personal chef and world-class trainer to sculpt that kind of bod. But, my friend Michelle’s recent pictures on Facebook and Instagram make her look super amazing and she’s not a celebrity. She has a child and a full-time job! If she can get a ripped stomach then I can do it. If I can’t look like her, there must be something wrong with me. I have to prove that I can be just as on-top-of-it and slim. Why not, right?”

I’m all for women feeling empowered because of other people’s successes, but comparing ourselves to others is apparently at the core of what makes us dissatisfied. Geesh. What to do?

Here are few simple steps towards feeling your best:

1) Quit comparing yourself to others. Easier said than done, I know. But, you should try anyways.

2) If looking at other people’s pictures makes you feel bad, then place a limit on yourself by monitoring your media browsing.

3) Reinforce positive language about your body whenever the urge to shame it creeps up – aka, fake it until you make it. Positive affirmations breed positive thinking.

4) Exercise – it’s a natural self-esteem, feel-good boost.

5) Give yourself some love. Think about what healthy actions make you happy and do more of them, instead of repeating negative habits or actions that lead to frustration and anxiety.

Bikini Joy

Another fun thing you can do to feel invigorated and ready for bikini season, is treat yourself to some new underwear that will make you feel great and build up your confidence! I recently met a fellow UVA alum, Katie Fritts, who started a company called UnderClub. Katie discovered that many women often don’t toss out their older pairs of underwear and are so pressed for time that they don’t have the mental energy to make a one-off trip to the mall for minor but necessary basics like underwear. Underclub offers women a way to turn this chore into a fun subscription-based service, delivering customized high-quality undies straight to their doorsteps. To accompany the cute packaging with every order, Underclub includes a personalized note for customers; a simple reminder of their beauty or a little something to make them feel good. Love it. 

Whether or not you’re planning to buy chic new undies or a fun seasonal bikini, I encourage you to remember what you love most about your body, mind and soul this summer. You don’t need to be in skimpy stuff to feel worthy or attractive, and you certainly don’t need to be objectified, but you can put on a sleek, sexy, feminine, bold, fun, or classy attitude that makes you outshine the sun. YOU make any little piece of fabric look good. Don’t forget it.  

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

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References:

http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/2014/10/body-image-how-do-you-feel-about-your-body/1

http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/2011/02/shocking-body-image-news-97-percent-of-women-will-be-cruel-to-their-bodies-today/1

http://www.threeboudoir.com/

http://www.underclub.co/

 

A Message From Paris

We are on the verge of a new year and there is much to celebrate! Women from 36 countries have read the WellnessWinz blog since its launch just under 3 months ago – that’s incredible. Imagine the dialogue and awareness we can develop together in 2015! Before the new year begins I want to send a special, brief note from Paris.

…I walked across the famous “Love Lock Bridge” in Paris just a few days ago. The bridge, seen in the picture below, has thousands upon thousands of locks on it. The tradition is for sweethearts to display their love by placing a lock on the bridge. This is much like couples carving their initials into a tree. The bridge is so popular that it’s actually suffering physical damages due to the weight of the locks. Thus, I decided that it wouldn’t be right for me to place a lock on the bridge in honor of WellnessWinz. Instead, I’m sending this “love note” to my readers as a metaphorical lock and promise.

Love Lock Bridge

WellnessWinz will continue to post at least once a week for all of 2015. Even on busy and overwhelming weeks, I will find time. No matter what. Women’s wellness is too important to “put off until tomorrow” because a healthy woman takes on the world with an exuberant energy that is unparalleled.

As we enter a new year it’s also important to look back and remind ourselves of the lessons we’ve learned. Please enjoy perusing the Archives page for posts you want to read again or skipped posts that you still want to make time for. There is a little something for everyone and MUCH more to come!

Upcoming: The new year will kick off with a series of posts that will help you understand how to create and maintain a healthy exercise routine. Rest assured that this year you won’t burn out after a month of hitting the gym hard. I will be here to guide you through posts and to answer questions/emails. Please reach out to me about your personal goals or needs and I will help you more one-on-one (don’t worry this is my favor to you – no charge)! You don’t have to feel lost on your health journey – there is a roadmap we can create and follow together!

Navigate your year

I have no doubt you will be marvelous in 2015! Cheers to ringing in another year!

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

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