motivation

A Love Letter to the Unhealthy and Unhappy Version of Me

A Love Letter to the Unhealthy and Unhappy Version of Me

A-Love-Letter-to-the-Unhealthy-and-Unhappy-Version-of-Me-Title

Before 2010 I didn’t love myself.

I pretended I did because I thought I did.

I was so unaware.

Had no idea what self-love was.

How self-love was supposed to feel.

Why self-love was important.

You see,

No one ever taught me.

And maybe, no one ever taught you too.

Perhaps,

That’s why you clicked on the title.

Or,

Maybe you are looking for someone to relate to you, to your story.

Someone to make you feel OK about how you feel about yourself.

Before 2010, I felt alone.

Lost.

Confused.

Until one day,

Someone said “You need to love yourself.”

And it stuck with me.

I was finally ready to figure that out.

I wanted to know what self-love was.

I was ready to learn how to do it.

I was ready to love me.

I was ready to stop pretending.

This letter shares some things I wished I knew then.

Things that would have made the journey a little more comfortable.

And, although, chances are we’ve never met,

In my heart I know, that if you are anything like me,

You need the content of this letter as much as I did then and sometimes still do now.

Let’s get started.

Nory Writing in a journal.
Journaling is a great way to practice self-love.

Hi Beautiful,

Because you are beautiful.

You don’t need anyone else to tell you that to believe it.

You don’t need men, friends, family members to validate your beauty.

Especially, men.

While we at it,

Stop defining yourself worth based on what men say to you.

For years you’ve mastered the art of pretending.

Pretending to be confident and not care about what people say about you and how you carry yourself.

Pretending to be strong in front of others,

Yet,

As soon as you close the doors, you break down into tears.

Because, PRETENDING.

Pretending to be ok when you are not ok,

Because you are always supposed to be ok.

You’ve been raised to be strong.

Independent.

Confident.

Weakness?

What is that?

You aren’t allowed to be weak. To be vulnerable. To NOT be OK.

You believe this,

You do your best to hide your fears and insecurities,

Because, FEAR.

Fear of what people will say, fear of not being strong, fear of not being confident, fear of not being independent.

Fear of needing others.

Fear of not being who you are supposed to be.

You wonder,

  • Is this how things are supposed to be?
  • Will all this be worth it?
  • Am I doing this right?

I am here to tell you everything will be ok.

The world doesn’t turn out to be as scary as you think.

You don’t need to worry yourself like this.

You won’t need all this worry training.

Here is what you need:

Accept that you are not perfect

You’ve been taught that mistakes are bad.

Everyone says you should avoid them because mistakes are a form of failure.

And,

Failure is bad.

The truth is,

You’ve been lied to.

Failure and mistakes are not bad.

They are lessons in disguise.

They are a part of the process.

Mistakes are great teachers of –

  • What works for you and what doesn’t.
  • What you know and what you don’t know.

More importantly,

Mistakes put you in control of deciding what you want to do next and why.

They put you in charge of deciding what to do with the lessons you learn.

That’s powerful.

By obsessing over being perfect, you miss out on these lessons and will find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again.

You can’t skip certain lessons in your life.

Accept that you will make mistakes.

Commit to learning from those mistakes and use those lessons, to make smarter/informed decisions in the future.

I know you hate that you can’t solve everyone’s problems, but worrying is not the answer.

You have to set some boundaries for yourself, sis.

Learn to say no,

No to perfection.

Because, perfection is not a thing.

Be honest with yourself

Having a croissant in Madrid. I love carbs as much as the next person, that's why I have them in moderation.

Honestly,

You do not have to be everything to everyone.

You cannot pour into other people if your cup is empty.

Stop running away from the root of the issues you are facing.

This is why you run to food for comfort.

Because, control.

By focusing on controlling the things you CAN’T control, you end up feeling like there is NOTHING you CAN control.

Well,

There’s one thing.

Food.

You think that you are in control, but you are once again pretending.

Because, feelings.

They are the ones in control right now.

Your feelings decide what you eat and when.

If you want to change that, you have to face yourself.

Face your insecurities.

And –

You need to stop using other people’s pain to avoid your own.

Stop pretending you don’t carry your own baggage.

It’s OK.

That’s the only way to let go of what weighs you down.

It’s OK to NOT be OK.

And,

FOOD is NOT the answer.

You need to do more than exercising to be healthy

Nory doing yoga in Madrid, Spain.

I know you think that hitting the gym four times a week is all you need to get a six-pack.

You’re wrong.

And that’s not healthy.

Right now,

You can eat everything you want without worries.

That will change as you get older.

Start caring for your body right now.

You only get one.

Drink more water.

A lot more water.

Are you even drinking water?

Drink less alcohol.

A lot less alcohol.

Do you really need to be drunk every weekend?

You don’t need to be hovering a toilet at the end of the night to have a good time.

Before I forget,

A box of Oreos is not a meal.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Please!

You might never stop being a stress eater, but you can make better choices about what you eat.

This includes fast foods.

Cut back on the caramel sundaes at McDonald’s.

Trust me,

You will thank me for this once you hit your late twenties and thirties.

Go to therapy ASAP

OK, I know what you are thinking.

“I am not crazy; I don’t need a shrink.”

There is nothing wrong with being a little crazy.

Therapy is not about being crazy,

Therapy is bigger than that.

It’s about keeping your mind healthy.

It’s about slowing down and taking time to get to know yourself better.

It’s about showing up for yourself.

  • Therapy will help you peel layers of pain you didn’t know existed.
  • Therapy will teach you how to heal.
  • Therapy will make it easier to love yourself, unconditionally.
  • Therapy will even help you with your poor eating habits.

That’s right.

Your relationship with food is more complicated than you think.

You eat some foods over others because they remind you of people or happy times in your life.

Eating healthy is not as simple as you think.

If you are going to be successful, you will need help sorting some of that out.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Because, depression is real.

Because, mental health.

Being healthy is more than working out, you have to care about your food, your mind, and your spirit as well.

At first, self-love will be hard

Nory and her husband JP dancing in DC.
Nory and her husband JP in Washington, DC.
Right now, you are focused on losing weight.

Guess what?

That’s not important.

Weight gain is only the manifestation of everything you have going on.

Weight gain is only a symptom, not the root of the problem.

That’s why weight loss is the easy part.

Keeping the weight off, that’s a different story.

That’s why you need therapy, to peel the layers that keep pushing you to make the same mistakes.

To help you get to the root of why food is your coping mechanism.

Therapy will help you do that.

You won’t find happiness on the scale or the fridge.

Happiness comes from accepting that the only actions you can control are your own.

Happiness is embracing all your imperfections and selfishly caring about your well-being.

All parts of it.

Happiness is giving yourself permission to be ok with not being ok and doing something about it.

Happiness comes from acceptance,

And treating yourself like your own best friend.

Good news:

It all works out in the end.

You do lose the weight.

You keep it off for seven years and counting.

You get to the root.

You end up meeting a guy, he is fantastic and yall even get married, not that you care about that right now.

You learn to set boundaries, and it turns out to be the best decision.

You learn to put yourself first.

You learn to love yourself a little more every single day.

Until one day,

You’re strong enough to write this letter!

So,

Be patient with yourself.

Because to a certain extent, everyone does their fair share of pretending.

No one is perfect.

Like Lauryn Hill once said,

“Your worst version of yourself is better than your best version of somebody else.”

Never forget that,

I am proud of you.

I love you!

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How To Be Healthy and Make Your Relationship Stronger


How-To-Be-Healthy-and-Make-Your-Relationship-Stronger

It is February, and love is in the air! What a better way to start the month with some inspiration from one of our favorite fit-couples, the Hartzogs.

Ever wondered how couples manage living healthy? How do they exercise? How do they meal prep? How to convince your partner to workout with you?

We sat down with the Hartzogs to get the inside scoop.

We absolutely love how Anthony and Jhanilka keep each other accountable and motivated. Their journey will not only inspire you to embrace a healthy lifestyle, it will also remind you that it is perfectly ok to move at your own pace!

I know you will find this piece really helpful as you enter the new year!

Let’s get started.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves!

The-harzogs-at-the-park
The Hartzogs in NYC during their engagement photo shoot. Source: Hartzogs

Hi We are the Hartzogs,

I am Anthony Hartzog and I am Jhanilka.

We are newlyweds. We’ve been married about 8 months. We just got married May 21st, 2016. Currently residing in Dallas, Texas, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.

We’ve known each other for a long time. Since junior high school.

Anthony: I am 30 she is 28.

We’ve known each other over 15 years, grew up in the same building in Brooklyn, Glenwood Projects. Dated in high school, separated when Anthony went to college. Then, we got back together after Jhanilka graduated from college. And here we are in Dallas!

We got married in May, and I [Jhanilka] came to Dallas in June and got a puppy in September, and now we are here.

How did health and wellness enter your relationship?

hartzogs-running
The Hartzogs running in NYC. Source: Hartzogs

One of my [Anthony] boys did p90x, and he was a big guy and lost a lot of weight. I don’t know if you are familiar with p90x, Tony Horton?

Anyways,

He put me on to it and I started putting my friends onto the videos. You can say, I got into health and fitness in 2009. So, a couple years now.

Jhanilka: I gained probably the freshman 30 in college. It did not bother me. We started I guess talking in the fall of 2012, and I started working out spring 2011. At first, I started off with $1 DVDs.

I did not want to go to the gym because I knew I would just walk around, and not know what I was doing. So, I started off with that. And I lost a lot of weight from that.

30 minutes – 1 hour a day for 4 -5 weeks.

Then I decided to go the gym, and I got a trainer at the gym so that I could learn about the machines, and know what I was doing. I also took classes. After that I started to work out more.

So, I guess I started working out because of him.

Anthony: Pretty much!

Let’s talk about cooking? & Meal prepping?

the-harzogs-walking-in-brooklyn
The Hartzogs walking in Brooklyn. Source Hartzogs

We usually cook decently healthy. We don’t always meal prep and all that stuff, we have our salads and keep our greens around. We meal prep sparingly.

Most of the time is decent eating, but on weekends we are pigging out regardless so we don’t stress it.

Jhanilka: We go off and on with the meal prep. Sometimes we are meal prepping, and going hard, other times we just throw something on the stove.

Anthony: It depends on our motivation levels for the week. If one of us is into it then both of us will get into it. Other times if one of us falls off the other person might fall off. So, we keep each other motivated like that.

Jhanilka: Yea the weekend is pretty much whatever.

What I noticed in terms of eating right, I do not eat vegetables, and people ask how are you eating right? I watch how much I eat.

I am Panamanian and there is a lot of rice always involved.

Anthony: Always eating rice!

Jhanilka: I cut back on the amount [rice] that I am eating. I also eat salads. I tell people I am not on a diet, and I still eat some of the same things. If I am working out 4 – 5 times per week I can afford to eat ok.

Anthony: It is about portion control.

Three Tips from the Hartzogs!

Using class pass was very helpful to keep things interesting.”

— Jhanilka Hartzog

  • Workout as a couple
  • Set realistic goals. Start small.
  • Document your progress

Make sure you watch the entire video!

The Hartzogs also talked about motivation, healthy eating, the importance of new workout clothes, and how you can use class pass to keep things interesting.

In a relationship, you want to balance things out, and it becomes a part of your life. Competition and new workout gear are two good motivators. At the beginning results keep you motivated, but over time you need more.”

Anthony has used social media as a motivator, by checking on his friends to make sure they stay motivated.

Can’t thank Anthony and Jhanilka enough for sharing their awesome tips and letting us in on their secrets to love healthier and happier.

Follow them on Instagram: @TheHARTrimony

If you enjoyed this piece do not forget to share it with your friends and family!