Do you Struggle to Let Go Of Control?

Let go of the need to control everything... even your yoga practice. Do yoga to get better at life.

Letting Go

My yoga practice has been all about letting go lately. The goals that I have had for poses just have not seemed to be there. I think that this has been important though because it has helped me deal with my attempts to control everything. Every week does not have to be about making huge gains. Sometimes the week is just about maintaining sanity and letting go of things you can’t control.

Focusing on the Breath

I originally started yoga to relax and be healthy; body, mind, and spirit. Some where along the way I got a little caught up in controlling the practice though.  I was able to practice yoga at home for longer periods of time once I started to understand it better, and I started to control it… like I try to control so many other things. The past week it has been all about letting go and focusing on the breath and letting my body guide me. It has been about the focus to relax and not push for poses, but just move intuitively. The movements and breathing have been about accepting my body and life for what it is.

Struggling to Cope

The main goal is to always take care of myself, and I will admit that I have struggled with that this week. I didn’t want to eat intuitively.  I didn’t want to do yoga. I didn’t want to drink water. I didn’t want to write affirmations. I wanted to turn away from things that help me and I did. Why do we do that? I was having trouble letting go of so many things, and it was making it hard to care for myself. It was and is taking a toll on my health.

Motivation

My yoga practice was hard to start, and a couple of mornings, it didn’t even happen. I knew I would feel better, but it was so difficult to just get started. My only motivation was to feel better and try to care for myself even when I didn’t want to. That is the healthiest way to motivate myself. Once I started, I just focused on letting go and not trying to control everything so much. It was my place of comfort. It was my place of letting go of the control that I always crave. I tried not to control the practice like I normally try to control it or think that I should be doing this or that. I just let it be.

Yoga is About Getting Better at Life

Letting go of what I thought the practice should be and what I thought my life should be were what kept me going this week. Yoga is so much more than just poses. It is so much more than pretty pictures. I love those things, I do. When it comes down to it though, yoga is all about getting better at life. It is about helping me cope and navigate this crazy, beautiful world.

How will you use your yoga practice? Will you let go of how you think things are supposed to be and appreciate them for what they are?

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Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

Easy Taco Soup

This quick and easy taco soup is great for any week night!
This quick and easy taco soup is great for any week night… or weekend!

Serves 5-8 People (Each Serving: 1-2 Cups)

Easy Taco Soup

This taco soup is so easy to make on a cold day!

5 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

30 min

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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef (93/7 is what I use!)
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (15 oz.)
  • 1 Can Drained Corn (15 oz.)
  • 1 Can Black Beans (15 oz.)
  • 1 oz. Fiesta Ranch Seasoning (Plain Ranch Will Work Also)
  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 t. Garlic Powder
  • 1 t. Onion Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • Optional: Shredded Cheese and Sour Cream; Tortilla Chips or Cooked Barley

Instructions

  1. Brown ground beef in skillet. (Drain Fat)
  2. Add seasoning and stir. Add remaining ingredients to skillet.
  3. Bring soup to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Serve with cheese and sour cream! (We have had ours with tortilla chips, or I have added some Barley)
7.7.0.1
16

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Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

Twelve Tips To Overcome a Negative Body Image

Have you struggled to overcome negative body image? Here are Twelve tips that have helped me create a positive body image.
Enjoying some rolled ice cream at 8 Below.

Do you look in the mirror and say awful things to yourself? Do you look down at your body and feel disgust? Do you feel your body and obsess about areas you don’t like? I used to be so hard on myself daily, and lots of times even hourly.  I used to body check by feeling my arms and measure my wrists with my hands. I used to check in the mirror every time I went into the bathroom to see if my thighs touched when I stood with my feet together.

I think EVERYONE has bad body image days! Some obsess about it more often than others and have no tools to deal with it. You can feel so alone like you are the only one who hates their body. I used to feel alone and I had no support.  Now I still struggle, but at least I have some tools in my toolbox to help me out. No matter where you are at in your body positivity journey, I hope you can find some of my tips helpful! These are things that have helped me. I know it is a long list, but I put a lot of thought into it, and I hope you read to the end!

  1. I Accept My  Body For All It Can Do

When I look at areas of my body, I try to think about how that area serves me and what it can do. For instance, my legs help me walk, run, and do yoga. They allow me to do new activities, like rock climbing and barre class. My arms and hands help me do everyday tasks like cook and help students with their work. What does your body do for you?

2. Keep a List of Three Things I Like About Myself

I actually keep a list of three things (you can do more) that I like about myself that have nothing to do with my body. One of mine is that I am caring. It can be other things like a good sense of humor, friendly, determined, etc. Don’t tell me there is nothing great about you!

3. True Beauty is On the Inside

I remind myself that true beauty is on the inside. When I start to get caught up in body image, I try to think about other areas of my life I can improve that have nothing to do with outer beauty. I try to focus on my character, learning something new, or doing hobbies I enjoy. I also try to think about other people and reasons why I like them that have nothing to do with their appearance. It helps me realize that I accept them for who they are and people who matter will accept me for my soul rather than just my body. In addition, I have tried to stop wearing as much make-up. It makes me feel like I don’t have to cover up my face. I don’t have to change my appearance to be a good person and neither do you.

4. Wear Comfortable Clothes

I try to wear comfortable clothing. When I put on tight, restrictive clothing, I am almost sure to have some trouble with body image that day. Unflattering doesn’t really bother me anymore, but tight is sure to set off negative thinking. I try to wear clothes that stretch and move with me. If your clothing is too tight, then my advice is to go buy some new clothes you feel comfortable in.

5. Critically View Social & Media Messages & Avoid Them

I didn’t used to think about how images were edited every time I see a picture. I didn’t used to think about how they pose and what lighting they use to look more flattering. I didn’t used to think about what some of those women and girls went through to get the body that they have. I know some are naturally small, but it shouldn’t be the only picture of health. I was looking at a Victoria’s Secret add that came to my house yesterday and all the women were small. They may naturally be that small and have to work very little to get their body, and some may have to work really hard and deprive and restrict themselves in unhealthy ways. I don’t know by just looking at a picture. I do realize that now  I prefer companies to show pictures of women with different body types though, and I try to look critically at all pictures. In addition, I have tried to avoid some of those images. For instance, the people who I follow on Instagram has even changed. I like to follow women who keep it REAL and promote body positivity. Who will  you follow?

6. Shut Down Negative Thoughts And Avoid Body Checking

One of the hardest things is to shut those negative thoughts down and avoid the body checking. You have to realize what you are doing and transform those thoughts as quick as possible. One of the ways I have done this is to turn the thoughts into funny upbeat songs. For instance, one of the things I have had trouble accepting is cellulite. Whenever that thought pops into my head about how much I hate it…. I start singing, “Me cellulite (instead of milkshake) brings all the boys to the yard!” Sometimes, I even dance a little. I really can’t do it without smiling, and it helps me move on.

7. Stop Comparing and Competing

Comparing or competing with another girl can be mentally and physically exhausting. I always wanted to be better than the girl standing next to me in every way. My thoughts made it hard for me to like them because all I could think about was how I wanted to be the best. I would put them down in negative ways in my head to prove to myself I was better. I did not realize that I just needed to try to work on self improvement. I do not mean compete with my prior appearance either. I mean making a shift to be a better person as a whole and work to complete personal goals.

8. Look for Positive Traits in Others

Rather than looking for negative things to say about another person’s body, I try to look for positives. The more I look for the positives in others, the more positive my thoughts are about myself because I am training my brain to look for the good. I actually have become more accepting of lots of body types as well! Bonus!

9. Listen To The Needs Of My Body

If I do not nourish my body, mind, and soul, then my brain and body do not function properly. I had to start nourishing my body and respecting it. This means eating intuitively and a wide variety of foods. I even have worked to change the meaning of healthy in my mind. Healthy could be, but is not always a body of defined muscles. Healthy is about being happy too and living your best life.

10. Find A Purpose

I have tried to focus more on living life and eating to live, rather than living to eat. As I have tried to shift the focus away from body image and put more emphasis on having fun or achieving goals, I have thought less and less about my body and food. The combination of eating mindfully for satisfaction and the excitement to move on to other things has helped tremendously. What is your purpose?

11. Feel Worthy

I have had to teach myself to feel worthy no matter what I look like. My body is worthy of love and respect. I am a human being and this is where I live. I try to care for myself because it is the only place I have to live. A number does not define me and my appearance does not define me. One of my “I am….” statements when I do yoga is “I am worthy.” If yoga isn’t your thing, maybe look in a mirror and say it to yourself.

12. Ask For Help

Sometimes you need the perspective of someone else you trust. We can’t always do it all alone. We can distort our bodies with our minds so I have talked about my body image with other people (professionals and friends). I let them know that I still want to lose weight sometimes, and I have trouble accepting parts of me. It really helps me to talk about it.

What helps you overcome negative body image?

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Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

Five Strategies to Develop Self Love

This is a picture from my first grade classroom. We read the book Chrysanthemum and talk about being nice to others. It applies to our own self talk as well! Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend. 

Love Yourself First

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I would talk about the most important person you should love… Yourself! Don’t forget to love yourself first. It is difficult to focus on loving and taking care of others if you don’t accept yourself first, and it makes it so hard to move on from mistakes and grow as a person. I am not saying don’t be honest with yourself and try to improve, but I am saying you have to accept yourself no matter what.

Negative Self Talk

I know I used to say the worst things to myself daily. Can you relate?  I would focus on all of my negative traits. I would say that I was not skinny enough.  I was not pretty enough. I was not outgoing enough. I was not athletic enough or good enough at sports. I wasn’t smart enough. I always thought people thought of me as such a snob because I was so shy, and I have a little bit of what you would call resting, well you know what, face. I would play mistakes over and over again in my head and call myself stupid. It was hard for me to move on because I was so caught up on what I did wrong and what people thought of me. I wasn’t good enough.

Personal Growth

I still have some of those same thoughts, but they are not as frequent. I don’t really know what the exact turning point was. I think there were lots of little things that happened that finally added up to me finally learning and practicing ways to try to love myself. I have a come a long way, and I still have a long way to go. I am not perfect. I have not turned all of my negative statements into positive ones, but I have improved. I continue to try to recognize, evaluate, and improve my self talk.

Recognizing Self Talk

Recognizing what you are saying to yourself and trying to change the statements can be difficult.  I don’t remember anyone ever talking to me about how I should talk to myself or ways to cope with what I was feeling. I think it is so important to have those conversations now. I actually had a conversation with my first graders one day about how they talk to themselves and you might be surprised at what they are saying to themselves at such a young age. They were already so mean. They had never even thought about how they were talking to themselves. If you consider you have been creating this negative self talk since such a young age, it is understandable that it can take such a long time to overcome those thought processes. Just to recognize a problem isn’t enough though.  We have to focus teaching ourselves and others strategies to cope and develop self love.

Five Strategies I Use to Develop Self Love

“I Am…” Statements

I start the morning (4:30 a.m.) with “I am…” statements. I am good enough. I am able. I am strong. I am flexible. I am relaxed. I am smart. I am determined. I pick one to three statements to focus on for the day. I find this helps me prevent negative self talk right away, and I can remind myself of these things throughout the day as needed. It has helped me develop confidence in myself and my abilities to handle whatever comes my way.

Ten or More Minutes of Yoga

Taking some time to accept my body, and where it is that day is a form of self love and respecting my body.  Something about moving and breathing deeply calms me and helps me deal with morning anxiety and my anxiety about having anxiety. It was really hard for me at first to calm my mind, but it has become easier.

Nourish to Flourish

I eat intuitively for satisfaction and what will fuel and nourish my body. If I am not nourished and satisfied, my brain and body don’t work like they are supposed to. This is no food rules and eating a variety. Taking a few moments to be mindful of this helps me appreciate what I am doing for my body and cultivating that self-love.

Focus on a Growth Mindset

When I make a mistake, I try to focus on ways to solve the problem or what I can do next time to improve. I used to beat myself up over it and replay it over and over again. Switching to a growth mindset has helped me move on from these mistakes more quickly. I try to believe in my abilities and recognize that growth takes time.

Get Out of My Comfort Zone

I try to force myself to get out of my comfort zone. Facing fears and overcoming them has been monumental in developing self love, and it is something I push myself to do. I am very cautious and some of the chances that I have taken this  past year have built confidence and helped me grow. I still get scared a lot, but I try not to let in control my decisions. I can’t let fear control me and run my life. I can be the driver and you can, too.

What strategies do you use to develop self love?

Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t Forget to Love Yourself!

Ashton Bennett on FacebookAshton Bennett on InstagramAshton Bennett on PinterestAshton Bennett on TwitterAshton Bennett on Youtube
Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

Why Counting Steps, Calories, and Macros Doesn’t Count

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” -Albert Einstein

Counting Everything

I used to run and count my steps. I wanted to make sure the fitness tracker was getting my steps accurate on my run. I would count my calories that I took in by weighing my food and only eating foods that I could track. I counted macros and tried to get my macros just perfect. If I was low on something, I would try to eat something that balanced it out for my goals. I counted how many days I worked out a week and how many workouts I did. I did everything but listen to my body. I counted, counted, counted, and tried to will my body to be something it wasn’t.

The focus on appearance was obsessive, and it would never be good enough. I am a competitive person, and I wanted to be skinnier and skinnier. I thought it would set me apart from everyone else in a good way. I wanted people to say she is such a hard worker, and she has amazing will power. I wanted to control everything that I could. I felt like I had little control over everything else so it was the one thing that I felt success with. What I didn’t realize was that the counting was controlling me and everything I did. I was in denial that I even had a problem. I didn’t realize at the time that the counting was useless and making me even more miserable. All the counting is not necessary, and I am going to explain how I have come to the conclusion that listening to my body and doing activities that I enjoy is a less time-consuming, healthier approach. This is all from my personal experiences, and I am not a nutritionist or doctor.

Counting Steps and Calories Out

The fitness trackers are not accurate ways of counting steps or calories out because they don’t measure exact steps, intensity, or personal factors. The fitness tracker steps are rarely accurate and can be off.  You may have 9,887 steps displayed, but you may have only taken 9,800. (I am not saying go take more than it estimates by the way.)  I used to walk around at night to make sure I hit 10,00 on my tracker. The goal to have 10,000 exactly is really kind of silly when I think about it now. I even thought that if I worked out and didn’t have the tracker on, the workout was a waste because it was not recorded.

The estimated amount of calories burned are not accurate either on most fitness devices including treadmills and so forth.  In addition, it does not really measure the intensity of the workout. I could do a really intense strength workout that didn’t use many steps, but burned a lot of calories. You could have ran those steps, instead of walked them and it makes a difference. You could have been moving periodically throughout the day, or you could have done a workout then sat the rest of the day. Not to mention every body’s body is different and the amount of calories you burn can be different!

Not only is the tracker not accurate, but it emphasizes numbers instead of listening to your body and moving because you want to. It becomes a chore and a stress. Now I challenge myself to workout without the tracker and not even wear it sometimes. The goal to listen to my body and move intentionally has created less stress and worry about being active enough for the day. I do wear it still because it is my watch and connects to my phone, but I just do not put emphasis on it. The emphasis is on listening to my body and what it needs.

Counting and Measuring Calories In and Macros

Eating a certain amount of calories or measuring your macros is unrealistic, time-consuming, unsustainable. Counting calories and macros on MyFitnessPal seemed to do more harm than good. I went through some different phases trying to figure it all out and lose more weight. For a while, I would feel deprived if I didn’t get a certain amount of calories or if I was not high enough on certain macros so I might eat even if I wasn’t hungry.  Later on, it was usually more along the lines of depriving myself when I did feel hungry because I didn’t want to go over on calories. I was completely ignoring my body. When I would measure my food out exactly… it took a lot of unnecessary time and work when my body already knew what it wanted. The portions never looked right. In addition, if I did’t measure the food out exactly, it was just an estimation and not really worth counting anyway.

Focusing on counting and measuring out food can wreck havoc on your social life as well. I was never very social to begin with, but it got worse. Social gatherings became full of fear and anxiety about food. To be honest, they still are sometimes. I would not go out with friends either because I would feel guilty for eating bad foods or foods that I couldn’t measure myself. I still cringe a little when I get asked to go get ice cream sometimes, but I try not to let the disordered voices win.  I try to focus on having fun and eating the food that is there and what looks right. I obviously still have some things to work on and reminders to give myself.

Listening to Your Body is What is Important

You don’t ever have to track your food. You don’t have to eat something you don’t like or don’t want just because you are low on a certain kind of macros. You don’t have to track and hit calorie goals and macro goals. You don’t have to deprive yourself. You don’t have to ever eat out of containers that measure your portions to live healthy. You don’t have to focus on appearance to be healthy. You don’t have to eat the same foods over and over again. This goes for everyone! Developing holistic healthy behaviors and relationships is key for everyone no matter where you are at in your journey and no matter what size you are. Listening to your body is what is important.

There Is No Perfect Balance

Eat for satisfaction and what looks right. I just try to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein where it works for me.  I feel like we try to make healthy living so complicated, when it doesn’t have to be. By listening to my body, focusing on living life, and eating what is available or easy, I have had more success with naturally being healthy and happy as a whole. Everything does not have to be planned and every meal does not have to be balanced. I do strive for balance in life, but it is important to remember there is no perfect balance either.

The Counting Doesn’t Count

All that counting really doesn’t count when it comes down to it. It was setting me apart in a bad way… not in a good way. I was not looking at being healthy as a whole: mentally, physically, and spiritually. I still struggle with counting things sometimes, but I have to keep telling myself that the counting doesn’t really count. I have to keep listening to the rational voices and not the disordered ones. The things that really matter in life, can’t be measured and counted. The types of things that I should work hard at, have nothing to do with counting and appearances.

Are you going to count and worry your life away or are you going to try to live intentionally and care for your body, mind, and spirit?

Ashton Bennett on FacebookAshton Bennett on InstagramAshton Bennett on PinterestAshton Bennett on TwitterAshton Bennett on Youtube
Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

Do You Struggle With The Fear Of Gaining Weight?

I Feared Gaining Weight

I went out to eat with my husband on Friday night for a date night. I couldn’t help but think of how our dates nights have changed in the past few years. I used to be so scared of gaining weight and was so unhappy with myself all the time. I would restrict what I ate all week long and then for date night it was like my one night that I could cheat a little. Half the time I didn’t even want to go. When we went out, I would still only order certain foods, but it had to be perfect or I was extremely disappointed. I would be disappointed if it was not very good, and I wasted calories on something I didn’t want. We ate sushi a lot on date night because it was a safer food for me, and I knew my favorite so I could have the calories for my favorite thing.

Things Have Changed

I still love sushi and that is actually where we went on this past Friday night. We went to a local sushi restaurant called Wasabi. I tried two different rolls, a veggie roll and a spicy tuna roll with avocado and jalapenos. I didn’t really care for the vegetable roll, but I was not extremely disappointed. I just added some soy sauce and called it good. Food is to nourish our bodies, and if it isn’t perfect that is alright. If you need to add salt, or soy sauce in this case, that is fine. It is better to make it edible and enjoy it, then to eat something you don’t like and feel disappointed. It is like that with any food. If you feel deprived, it will only make things worse.

The Focus Has Changed

A few years ago, I would have been so upset that it was not what I wanted because it was my only chance to eat something that I did not cook and prepare and I had not measured out and calculated the calories. On this past Friday when things were not perfect, I just moved on though. I was happy still, and I enjoyed just sitting down to talk with my husband. I am much more willing to eat at a variety of restaurants now and eat a variety of food too. Fear of food does not control all of my feelings and emotions like it used to.

Chasing Perfection

I feared gaining weight so bad that it controlled everything I ate. Not only did I want to avoid gaining weight, I wanted to continue losing weight and nothing was ever good enough. I was chasing perfection in all areas of my life, and I felt like I was always losing. I am sure you have heard it before, but it really has a new meaning to me… If you are not happy with yourself at the weight you are at, then you will never be happy. You HAVE to love yourself. It is a necessity. I still don’t every moment of every day, but it has gotten a lot better. It has been better for a lot of reasons, but one of those is because I am getting enough nourishment.

Your Body and Mind Fight You

If your brain and body aren’t fueled properly they work against you. Your body fights you. It stops working the way it should. Your brain distorts everything. It doesn’t matter what size you are either, if you have disordered eating patterns it will effect how your brain and body work. Your size does not determine if you need help or not, however it can make it easier to spot. I finally got to a low enough weight where people were starting to notice. I feared gaining weight with everything I ate.

My Weight Was Not Sustainable

I knew deep down that my body was not functioning properly, and I was never going to be able to sustain that weight unless I kept letting my sickness win. It was the smallest I would be, and I had worked so hard, been hungry so many nights, that I didn’t want to gain it back. I knew that if I ate things that I wanted that I would gain weight. It eventually happened, and it took me a lot of work to undo all the disordered thinking. Habits don’t change right away. It took a while to get deeper and deeper into my obsession, and it has taken me even longer to to get out of it.

I Don’t Let The Fear Control Me

Now that my body is functioning properly, and I eat enough to nourish my body, I still fear gaining weight sometimes. I try not to let it control my decisions on the foods that I eat though. I try to listen to what will be satisfying and what my body and brain needs and wants. When I eat something I didn’t really feel like eating, but I chose it just because it was healthier, then I feel deprived and the obsession worsens. Whereas if I just eat the food I want, I am able to move on and not really think about it as much.

Intuitive Eating

I have talked a little bit about intuitive eating on social media, and it is one of the things that has helped me the most. Intuitive eating is not eating everything and anything that you want or stuffing yourself full all the time. It is no food rules though and listening to what your brain and body needs and sometimes wants though. It is being mindful and enjoying the food I am eating. It is not classifying foods as good or bad. It is not focusing on what you are going to look like, but rather what you are going to feel like.

I Want My Body and Mind To Thrive

I do weigh more now, but I feel so much better. I have come to terms that I will not have a thigh gap or small legs. I am much happier though, and I just keep telling myself that. I still fear gaining weight sometimes, but I eat a wide variety of foods. I eat more than what I think I should too. It is interesting though because all my clothes still fit. I don’t weigh myself and haven’t for at least four months. My body is at a sustainable point though where I can live my best life and enjoy eating foods that I like. This is where my body has been able to thrive. It is where I have had more success with my mind feeding me truths instead of lies. I focus more on living life and less on food. I focus on trying to take care of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love food and still think about it, but it no longer completely consumes and distorts my thoughts.

At what point does your body and mind thrive? What is a balance that works for YOU? What is that point where you can reduce your fear of gaining weight and enjoy life?

Ashton Bennett on FacebookAshton Bennett on InstagramAshton Bennett on PinterestAshton Bennett on TwitterAshton Bennett on Youtube
Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

The Body Image Message That Is Being Sent To Kids

“Little eyes are always watching.”

I am just sitting here thinking about how children can pick up on things you would never think they notice. I encourage us all to reflect on what kinds of messages we are sending to children and teens considering body image. They are going to have feelings about their body no matter what.

Ignoring a Problem

Possibly consider that being careful not to say anything negative about your body around them is not going to be enough to prevent negative body image and low self-esteem. It might just be ignoring it. Ignoring something doesn’t usually solve a problem. As a first grade teacher, I have found that many kids are much more observant than you think.

Images and Actions Send Messages

They are going to pick up on our actions. They are going to see images of bodies everywhere in our society. They are going to see body transformation pictures. Sometimes, they are going to see someone upset in one picture and happy in the other. They are going to see that muscle tone is correlated to happiness. It doesn’t always matter what the words say. It doesn’t always matter what that person actually feels like. Images and actions are as loud as, if not louder than, writings and words. Those are the messages being sent.

What Can We Do To Send A Positive Message About The Body?

It is inevitable that kids will see images, but just please consider how you want to contribute? Maybe it is time to start talking a little more about it? Maybe we can start showing more of what the body can do, rather than just how fit it looks? I really don’t claim to have all the answers or think that I don’t have room for improvement… I just think that ignoring the problems aren’t going to help the situation.

Happy and Beautiful Doesn’t Mean Perfect

I write this in the most sincere way possible, and I hope you can see that. The purpose is to work together to build a better world…. to help show that bodies are beautiful and people can be happy without being “perfect.”

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Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

It Is Easy To Judge People But Hard To Understand Them

Easy To Judge

It is so easy to judge a person. All you have to do is see them to judge them. You may have one encounter with them or even a few more than that and find yourself judging them. I even can find myself judging people that I have known for a long time. I really think it is easy to do. Many times the challenge is empathy and understanding.

Hard to Understand

People are so complex and hard to understand. We may not know a person’s situation or have any similar experiences to compare it to. We may not know their reasoning for making the decisions that they make. We may not have the information that they have, and it may be information that they are not going to share for various reasons. There are so many things that we can’t see. There are so many things that are left unsaid or unknown.

I Judge Without Knowing

Sometimes, I admit that I judge without knowing or understanding. My husband went to hot yoga with me yesterday, and it was actually surprisingly easy for me to judge him. He struggled with it. I kept thinking maybe he isn’t trying as hard as he could? Maybe he is being stubborn about being here? I did not know all his reasonings or what he was thinking or feeling though.

Trying to Understand

Once class was over, I realized that he was trying. I have been doing yoga for a while and before that I had worked out for several years. It was easy for me to forget that he hasn’t, and I can’t understand exactly how he feels. He has broken several bones in the past, and has had issues with his back and neck. He has not been working out and is not acclimated to the heat of hot yoga. I have trouble understanding what pain he goes through. I have never broken a bone. I don’t know what his body feels like. I can’t compare my body to his. Everyone’s body is different. I say this all the time, but it was still hard to understand when it came down to it, and I did not know all his reasonings at the time.Proud

I am really proud of him for just going though. I had been bugging him for a long time to try to take care of himself, and he finally agreed to go try something that I love. He said he is even willing to go to another yoga class too. Yoga is for everyone. It challenges the body and the mind all the time.

Worrying About Judgements

Later on, I figured out I need to quit worrying so much about judgements people have of me. I took Daisy to dog yoga, and I was worried about what people would think of Daisy and I. I thought people might judge me as a dog owner if I couldn’t control Daisy or how I try to get her to obey. Do you ever feel that way with your dog? Maybe your children too? I honestly thought about not going because I know that around new dogs and people she gets a little excited. I decided to go anyway though. I was right, she was pretty anxious and had trouble staying calm in this social situation. She must be like her owner because I feel kind of anxious in some social situations too! I felt embarrassed that she was having trouble staying calm for yoga. After a few minutes of getting started the  instructor stated that it is ok if your dog was going kind of crazy though, and it made me feel better. Everyone is different and so is their situation. The instructor said that dogs can feed off of your energy too so I tried to stay calm. We put a little bit of lavender behind the dogs ears and on their back so they wouldn’t lick it, but it would help calm them down a little. It helped, but Daisy was still a little anxious and so was I. That is fine though because I know that we are all different! I am glad that I made the decision to go even if people might judge us because Daisy had so much fun! Fear of being judged should not control all our decisions.

Yaya! I get a treat!
Can I please have it?
That’s Better!

Judging and Being Judged

The first and second situation yesterday helped me realize that I still need to work on not judging others, and I need to stop worrying about other people’s possible judgements. I just need to continue to do my best and what I think is right.  When people judge, we do not know the person completely, their reasonings, or situations. We do not know their personal background, the information that they have, or the possibly the training that they have. In addition, people have the right to choose not to explain things for various reasons.

By recognizing why it is so easy to judge people and why it is so hard to understand them, we are more likely to show empathy, and we are less likely to let other’s judgements rule our lives.

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Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

A Cold Intolerance May Mean You Are Not Getting The Nourishment You Need

“The cold always bothered me everyday!” When I would restrict, eat only certain safe foods, and count calories. I had a major cold intolerance. My mom actually has raynauds, and my circulation really isn’t the best. I still get cold easily, but nothing like it was. There were other symptoms that went along with not being nourished properly, but that was one that I, as well as other people really noticed. Maybe because I would wear sweatshirts when it was 75 degrees, and I would still feel cold. My hands and extremitities were really discolored during this time as well. I was in denial though. I didn’t want to admit that I had a problem. I insisted that I was trying to be healthy, but feeling like I did wasn’t healthy at all. Being healthy is a feeling, not just a look.

I know some people are cold easily and may be getting enough nutrients. It depends a lot on your body and your personal needs. I just encourage you to try to be honest with yourself. I know that I wasn’t, and it wasn’t healthy.

I probably could be smaller while nourishing by body properly and not possibly be as cold… but I like lots of different kinds of food and want to enjoy them all. I want to focus on living life and making the most of it and food is such a social activity too. I want to go enjoy icecream with a friend. I want to be able to eat a cupcake at a birthday party if I want one. Sometimes, I really don’t want one and that is fine too. I want to eat breakfast that my dad makes for me on a Sunday morning. I want to eat the food people serve me and not take my own separate food anywhere or eat before going there. I don’t want to turn down a social event because I am worried about the food. I don’t want to spend my life worrying about calories and eating only safe foods. I obviously love food, but food is not life. The more I focus on living life, the less obsessive I become about what calories and food I eat, the more accepting I am of listening to my body, and the easier it becomes to live a balanced, healthy, and happy life.

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Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

Depression Is An Illness

I just want to say I am not a doctor. I am just someone who wants to help bring awareness.

The Brain is Chemically Different

Depression is an illness. The brain of someone who is depressed is actually chemically different. You do not just make choices about how you feel, you try to fight for choices and even so it doesn’t always work the way you want. It is not just sadness, but a numb feeling. I don’t like to make excuses, and I try to tell myself that I can fight for choices because it is how I want to try to live. I want to have control… like always. The truth is, that I don’t always have complete control of my feelings. I have good days and bad days. Days where I cope better than others.

Medicine can help, but it doesn’t solve everything either. Eating balanced meals and enough to fuel your brain and body helps as well as getting some exercise. They are not panaceas though. The brain is so complex and different it really just amazes me!

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pet-scan/multimedia/-pet-scan-of-the-brain-for-depression/img-20007400

Depression is Hard to Understand

Most people will never understand depression, and that is ok. I don’t expect everyone to. If you do, then you may understand a little bit better why people do the things they do or feel the way they do. Some things will never be explained to anyone though, not even to the person thinking them.

You Don’t Choose Depression

Depression is like any other illness, but yet some people seem to think that you can just get over it. Think positive, be happy, everything is a choice. This can make people with depression feel even more guilty for feeling the way that they do and feel even worse about themselves sending them deeper into depression. It can make it very difficult to gain acceptance of the illness as well. You don’t choose to have have depression, but that is what many are made to feel like. Who wants to be unhappy? I don’t know? I would think most people would want to be happy.

Depression Is Like Other Illnesses

I am all for trying to be positive and trying your best to be a good person and make good choices. However, everyone needs to recognize it is an illness, just like cancer. It affects your brain just like brain cancer can affect your brain. We don’t tell people to just get over cancer though. You are no less of a person because you have depression, and your emotions may not always be the best. I don’t advocate trying to use it as an excuse for everything either, but there needs to be some understanding. I don’t think you are selfish, or lazy either. I think you have a sickness that is nothing to be ashamed of. Never feel guilty for your feelings. Try to cope the best you can and do the best you can. Try to reach out and get help if you need it. I know medical costs are high, and a lot of people are fighting this alone. It is so brave to contact people when you need help. If you notice someone needing help try to be there for them. Please, try to be supportive, and help, but never feel guilty for not doing enough.

We need less judgement and more understanding, less hatred and more kindness, less walls and more bridges.

What will you do to build less walls and create more bridges of understanding?

I have also inserted a short video below of Dr. Phil describing the Normal v. Depressed Brain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZAPYERoX_4

Ashton Bennett on FacebookAshton Bennett on InstagramAshton Bennett on PinterestAshton Bennett on TwitterAshton Bennett on Youtube
Ashton Bennett
Hi! My name is Ashton. I am a wife, a first grade teacher, and a dog mom. I am striving to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life, and hopefully inspire you to do the same. I am a cross trainer and yogi. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in many areas of my life to challenge myself to keep growing. My main goal is to stay mentally healthy. I want to emphasize working out to feel good and create a healthy lifestyle. The goal is not to change my body, but love myself no matter what.

Balance Your Life