Inspired by the Wheel of Life

This website & blog has been weighing heavy on my heart and as I was journaling, the idea to blog in relation to the Wheel of Life hit me. If you aren’t sure what the Wheel of Life is - here is a link to the original post and freebie download.

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Each quarter I complete a new Wheel of Life to determine how things are going and if there is an area of my life that needs a little extra TLC.

The Wheel of Life is divided into segments or wedges:

  • Home Environment

  • Physical Activity

  • Career

  • Creativity

  • Spirituality

  • Relationships

I want to take the blog into the direction in 2019 playing off the segments that align with the Wheel of Life so I can touch on more topics and areas that excite me. Simply writing about diet and exercise isn’t providing the whole picture. I want to address struggles in career being a self employed business owner to discussing finances and the role that money plays in our health & wellness. And let’s face it, what blogger doesn’t want to talk about fashion, travel, and food so those topics will also be popping up too!

I know this blog and website has taken a lot of twists and turns throughout the past few years, but I’m really excited to share the things that come up in our household and lives.

Bring on 2019! Who’s with me?!

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7 MISTAKES I MADE DURING MY WELLNESS JOURNEY

Boy, do I wish I could go back in time and not waste all of the time and energy I did when I first attempted my journey of health and wellness improvement. I made some HUGE mistakes when I first decided it was time to change my relationship to health & wellness. I’m sharing the 7 areas where I screwed up with the hope that you won’t follow in my footsteps and make the same mistakes.

Reality Check: watching late night TV and scrolling social media for a quick fix feels like the greatest solution at 1am, but I promise you with every ounce of my heart & soul the answer to your problems isn’t in the Wait… if you buy now we will double your order.

MISTAKE #1: Throwing Money At Quick Fixes.

I can't even begin to tell you how many thousands of dollars I spent on shakes and pills. I've literally tried every weight loss program on the planet and none of them provided me with the "claimed" results - the only thing I ended up with is a depleted bank account. Of course, I am going to get some pushback - did you really do the program, you must have done something wrong, you didn’t give it your all. Truth… maybe, maybe not. Here’s why those options failed.

Rather than buying into quick fix products, I needed to understand why I was making the poor food choices to begin with. Along with understanding why I couldn't get off my tush and workout when I KNEW that was the outcome that would work. Until I had a clear understanding as to WHY I was creating these habits, my weight wouldn’t change, I wouldn’t have more energy, and I wouldn’t be closer to my goal.

PRO TIP: Stop spending money on shitty products with promises. You have to fix yourself because no matter the claimed outcome, you won’t make lasting changes. Oh and don't even think about calling me a hater because the products didn't work...let's be real for a minute: investing in a program that is attached to a subscription based product more than likely means that you will yo-yo right off the moment you cancel your order! #boom!

MISTAKE #2: Waiting Until Rock Bottom Before Seeking Help.

Some might argue that you need to hit rock bottom in order to muster up enough courage to seek help. Get over yourself, stop being stubborn and reach out for help. The truth is... if you aren't seeing results than something isn't working. End your self-sabotage/yo-yo lifestyle once and for all! Which leads to point #3

MISTAKE #3: Failing to Invest in Support!

I'm blown away by the amount of health advice that is provided from those who have little to no knowledge behind being a coach or providing nutritional support. I've seen this with several MLM business models where their product advocates are called "coaches" when many don't have a certification or education within the health and wellness realm to be calling themselves a coach.

On a personal note: I shelled out a lot of cash for a custom meal plan (provided by a well-known local trainer)only to request that the plan not include grains (it did!) and when I reached out for support, the "trainer" was MIA failing to return calls or texts.

Find a coach that is willing to work with you over the phone, in-person, skype, via email and text. This is an incredibly vulnerable time in your life and having someone who has been in your shoes and understands your struggle will help you far more than the jacked and ripped Instagram celebrity that just wants "fans".

MISTAKE #4: Not Lifting Weights Soon Enough.

I am going to call out my momma on this one. She embedded into my brain during my teen/high school years that lifting weight would make me bulky. Sorry momma, that just ain't the case. I wish I would have explored lifting at a much earlier age and/or at the start of my journey rather than being a cardio junkie. Now, I would rather do burpees, deadlift, and back squat than cardio!

MISTAKE #5: Not Sticking To What Is Working For YOU.

Once you begin to see shifts (weight loss, muscle definition, looser fitting clothes, etc), it's easy to take your foot off the gas and revert back to your old ways. In the past year, I've bounced around from diet to diet - counting macros, plant based, paleo, gluten free, grain free, intermittent fasting, and even following the crappy diet from Mistake #2. For the three years prior I knew that eating whole foods, drinking green smoothies and taking my vitamins worked for me, my lifestyle and my body - yet, I was looking for the next best thing - hey, I'm human and look for the easy button too from time to time.

MISTAKE #6: A Sub Category Of #5

Don't become fixated on what anyone else is doing. It's super easy to get sucked the latest fad diet or workout craze. I fell into this trap by following an excessive amount of fitness people on youtube - hence leading down the road of counting macros and adding confusion to my life.

Unhealthy comparison began to consume me. Rather than focus on how far I'd come and celebrate progress, I was was comparing myself to their highlight reel. I neglected to add that I run two businesses, have a husband, family, and dogs to juggle daily where many of these youtuber's have made their life youtube. Right or wrong - it doesn't matter - as long as you are sticking with what works for you and aren't comparing yourself to anyone else.

MISTAKE #7: Giving A Damn About What Someone Else Has To Say About YOUr Diet And Lifestyle.

When we (P and I) decided to transition to whole foods eating we took a lot of shit from our family and friends! At first I let it bother me, but the results (physical, emotional, mental) couldn't be argued. I no longer give a damn if someone is unhappy that I brought my own food or declined plans because my workout or meal prep came first. Oh and when we take a new recipe to share... we rarely come home with leftovers, so my shit isn't weird after all!

Can you relate to any of these mistakes? I'd love to hear how you overcame those mistakes, leave a comment below!

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BEING A BUSINESS OWNER ISN'T ALWAYS GLAMOROUS

One of the biggest misconceptions about business owners is that life is glamorous.  It's not. Being a business owner requires tough skin, a relentless work ethic, serious mindset and personal development work mixed with a lot of patience. 

If for one second you think that jumping ship from your 9 to 5 into being your own boss is popping bottles, private jets, and rubbing elbows with the who's who - think again. 

The life of a business owner might appear to be glamorous, but the days can be long, lonely and a never-ending roller coaster.  That's the vast majority of days aren't glamorous - however, social media can paint a different picture showing a highlight reel instead of the real-time messy parts. 

Personally, I'm in the middle of two massive business launches; the relaunch of AKP and the official launch of Coaching for Creatives (this website).  My days are spent rebuilding my photography business to fuel my creative soul while pouring my heart into Coaching for Creatives because I feel called by something greater to share the messy behind-the-scenes truths of what it takes to blend being in business for yourself and taking care of yourself as a business owner. 

Truth be told, this shit is messy and if you read my daily journal you'd see the daily struggle. So why am I sharing this?  Because when I started out in the photography industry in 2003 - I was blinded by the idea of setting my own schedule, jet-setting around the world and rubbing elbows with the who's who.  The reality was excessive weight gain (60 pounds to be exact), an almost broken marriage, no self-care to speak of, and no private jets or popping bottles. 

I spent countless hours learning to build my own websites, editing photos, traveling 4+ hours to photograph engagement photos in the middle of a heatwave for as a complimentary service, I started my wedding day photography coverage when the first bobby pin went in the air and until the final song played at the reception. 

No college class or Creative Live can prepare you for what it takes to be in business for yourself.  You are going to make mistakes, miss deadlines, let people down, let yourself down, fall off the healthy eating wagon, and experience several sleepless nights in a row.  Mixed with the non-glamourous will be the days you are featured in a magazine or blog article, are asked to speak at a workshop or convention, hit 1k on Instagram, or actually shower before 3pm. 

Just know that you aren't alone in the journey - any creative who has started their own business has felt the ups and downs you might be experiencing or will experience in the future.  

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HOW BODY IMAGE KEEPS ME BEHIND THE CAMERA - CAN YOU RELATE?

I want to be radically transparent for a moment to talk about body image and how it keeps so many women, including myself, behind the camera rather than celebrating our own definition of beauty.  

We live in a world of over photoshopping, perfectly styled outfits, hair, makeup and this crazy idea of perfection.  It's causing so many women (and men) to struggle with body image and feel a need to compete with each other even if we think we aren't.  

Sadly, I've fallen victim to this myself starting back in my 20's when my business was at its peak. Professionally I was riding cloud 9 but personally, I was sinking fast in quicksand.  I wasn't healthy, my skin was a wreck, and let's be honest my weight was out of control.  I'd compare myself to the stunning bridesmaids or guests at the weddings I was photographing.  

I'd do whatever I could to fade into the background while I was photographing weddings, I rocked all black like it was no one's business and did my best to conceal my weight gain.  Thankfully, lugging around a lot of camera equipment can help buffer problem spots. 

My wake up call came in the mail mid to late 2009 when a client had sent me this photo. Taken during the cocktail hour by a guest. I was mortified at the girl staring back at me in the photo. I couldn't believe I let myself get to this point.  I was an athlete in high school, I had a successful business, but I was in denial about my health. 

Bare with me, this post is about embracing who you are... I promise I am getting there. What I came to learn is that I gave food way too much control over my life and in turn my poor body image continued to multiple.  It wasn't until I had a true heart to heart with myself that something needed to change.  So... I enlisted help from a coach to help me transform my eating habits and in turn, I lost weight to the tune of 60+ pounds.  

Rather than embracing who I was during this time in my life, I was filling my mind and body with so much negative self-talk and truthfully self-hate, that it is no wonder I packed on MORE pounds.  In order for me to embrace my own definition of beauty... I had to find it from within.  This is different for everyone, but I found myself on the floor of the gym covered in sweat, tears, and a bit of blood.  Or in the kitchen where I completely restructured my/our diet to give me energy rather than deplete me. 

And because I am being transparent - Recently, I have felt myself slipping back into my old habits with the relaunch and expansion of the business.  Trading healthy eating and morning workouts for blogging, catching up on edits, or responding to client emails. 

So.... what I have decided to do is embrace my own definition of beauty and plan an upcoming photoshoot.  Yikes, I am putting it out there.  More than likely I won't have 6-pack ab's or a popping booty, but I will have a healthy glow and so much confidence about myself because I fully intend to embrace who I am at this photo shoot.  Love handles and all.  

Here's my challenge to you... EMBRACE YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF BEAUTY TODAY!  And if you aren't ready yet... what can you do today so you can embrace your beauty tomorrow?  

One final thing... don't hide behind the camera because you aren't happy with how you look at this moment in time.  If something god forbid happens to you, your loved ones aren't going to care about your weight, gray roots popping through, or any other ego induced idea you think about yourself. Instead, your loved ones will cling to the memories that accompany those photos - not the thoughts your ego is pumping into your mind. 

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GET OUT OF YOUR OWN DAMN WAY

Truth be told, I censor the shit out of myself. I censor my thoughts, feelings, goals, and dreams on a daily basis. Not because I am worried about excelling beyond my peer group - that's a real thing... some people become worried that they can't level up if those around them can't as well. I am not one of those people instead I censor myself for the fear of this thing called social media and the views other's have toward me. Yep, there I said it. I allowed myself to get "STUCK" for fear of what a keyboard warrior that I've never met and might not ever meet might say about me in the comments of my social media in the middle of the night.

DAMN, it feels good to let this out.

In all seriousness - it's really easy to get in your own way on the path to improved health & wellness along with business growth. We are "marketed to", I mean distracted by fad diets, workout trends, and ways to outsource to make our lives better on a daily basis. We use these distraction techniques as a way to avoid taking action - we research, pin, read reviews, and google until our fingers bleed and still fail to take action three months later. Imagine how slamming your body would be if you would have gotten off your computer and got your ass moving three months ago? Or how organized your house would be, how many books you'd read or how you'd have the promotion or the dream job if you took messy action and went for it.

It's time to get out of YOUR OWN DAMN WAY!

This weekend while camping I cracked open the spine of Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and let me get really real for a second. I was 6 pages when in slammed the book shut and decided to blow through my data and stream social media.

Why...

...because something she said hit me deep in the heart. To paraphrase she writes how we are so unwilling to break commitments to everyone else, but we break commitments with ourselves as easily as we breathe.

I am content as all hell to cancel on myself yet, when it comes to answering an email, text, group chat, or showing up for everyone else I am 15-minutes early.

Want the secret sauce on how to overcome standing in your own way?

Lace up your sneakers and go for a walk, blow the dust off your workout dvd's and hit play, actually use your gym membership for a change, or make one of the hundred HEALTHY recipes you've pinned. Ask your boss for a meeting to discuss the future of your career, send your resume to that dream job that is scaring the shit out of you, or hit publish on a blog that inspires the hell out of you.  

That's all it takes... I'm not asking you to run a marathon, take first place at the Crossfit Games become the next Gordon Ramsey or Ansel Adams - instead... I am asking you to get out of your own damn way and take action for yourself.

Let me know in the comments below how you plan to take action this week and I'll be watching!

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COACHING FOR CREATIVES

Grab a coffee, green juice, or tall glass of water and get comfy.  If you aren't a fellow creative you might still find interest in what I am about to share. 

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Allow me to start off by saying I am a multi-passionate and potentially serial entrepreneur.  I love owning businesses, creating business + marketing plans, and working with clients so this new venture isn't as much of a stretch as it might seem to those of you who do not know me personally. 

Back in 2013, I hit rock bottom - while my photography business was booming with 30+ weddings a year and 60+ high school senior clients on paper everything looked amazing - however, I was struggling inside.  My weight was OUT OF CONTROL, I struggled to sleep and couldn't seem to get ahead of my to-do list. Working out was a long wedding day or photo shoot.  As my business expanded so did my waistline.

Let me be crystal clear... these were choices I was making with how I was running my business. 

I remember the night that I had the biggest meltdown of my life, I was surrounded in clothes that didn't fit and I could no longer mask my weight gain with killer shoes or a flashy handbag.  I needed help - A few weeks later I took my 200+ self to meet with a nutrition coach and began changing my life - one bite and step at a time. 

By enrolling in a 12-week nutrition program I had to show up for myself - by changing my diet (saying goodbye to excessive sugar, soda, and carbs) and moving more than to greet FedEx when I had a delivery.  At the end of the 12-weeks, I had lost 20 pounds and took back control of my business by establishing boundaries, work hours, and saying no to projects that simply didn't align with me. 

After sharing my successes and nudges from the universe, I decided to go back to school to become a Holistic Health Coach and eventually a personal trainer.  As I continued to educate myself and transform I would go on to lose 60 pounds and dramatically change the relationship I had with my business, food, movement, and life. 

What I didn't expect was the impact that my journey would have on my fellow photography and creative friends and even a few clients.   

Which leads to this BIG, SCARY, POOP MY PANTS ANNOUNCEMENT!  

I am officially offering Coaching for Creatives!

 

I am beyond excited and inspired to coach creative business owners who juggle so many projects, tasks, events, deadlines and everything in between on a daily basis yet can't seem to find the time or support to put themselves first.  

What does this mean for my new studio, current and future photography clients? Nothing is changing, I am still photographing clients (new and former), but am adding support to my fellow industry members so they don't fall into the same pitfalls I did.  

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HOW MY PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS LED ME TO THE INSTITUTE FOR INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION

//MY STORY//

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For as many years as I can remember, I dreamed of being a professional photographer.  I was glued to behind the scenes videos of photo shoots, soaking in beautiful imagery in fashion magazines and falling in love with the process of printing my own work.  I wanted nothing more to become a professional photographer. What I didn't account for was how following my creative heart would end up causing me an excessive weight gain and loss of one’s self.

In complete transparency, my photography business wasn’t the only factor in my weight gain and downward spiral, but it played a greater role than I realized. My lack of a healthy lifestyle started in college like it does for most.  It's the first time of being on my own - making my own eating decisions and finding other distractions that kept me from being active. Like most college kids I ran on caffeine and poor decision making when it came to food which would carry out into my early years of adulthood.  This "lifestyle" only continued to become increasingly poor when I returned home from college and began building a photography business.  I poured my heart and soul into my business and let my health fall to the back burner. As my business gained traction and success the scale increased until I hit rock bottom on the floor of our closet. Tired, burnt out, overworked and at my heaviest weight of all time - I had a "Come to Jesus" moment and knew that I couldn't continue this way of life.  

True to form, I attempted fad-diet after fad diet and even thought that meal skipping would work. It wasn't until I had an honest heart to heart with myself that I reached out for help and began a 12-week clean eating program with the help of a coach.  In those 12-weeks I transformed every aspect of my life starting by adding my name to the ever growing daily to-do list. On the surface, this appears selfish, but putting myself first allowed me to serve my clients, family and friends better because I was feeling fulfilled.  At the end of the 12-weeks I lost 20 pounds and found an incredibly strong love for health and wellness.

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//STUDYING AT THE INSTITUTE FOR INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION//

When the 12-week program wrapped up, I quickly noticed a new found love for health and wellness and I was hungry to learn more.  A crazy chain of events leads me to enroll in a year-long holistic health coaching program with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).  Attending IIN was the perfect program for me as I was still running my photography business and needed to attend classes around my schedule. 

Attending IIN, pushed me to question how I approached my own health and wellness as well as how I help my clients approach their health and wellness.  It’s not about a one-size-fits-all lifestyle and I truly learned how to look beyond food and movement to connect the dots with other areas of my life that were causing discord which affected my weight, lack of energy and struggle for balance. I was able to learn over 100 different dietary theories that pushed me to think differently and beyond fad diets or the diets that are pushed out by main-stream media.  Several modules encouraged you to examine your relationship with personal development, self-care, spirituality, relationships and career all of which I pushed to the back burner when building my photography business.   

 

//How IIN Works//

The set-up for attending IIN is pretty genius.  With the ability to log-on and attend class at any time of the day you are never behind. A new module is presented weekly and includes classes on dietary theories, methods of movement, how to coach your clients and business development.  When I attended IIN in 2012, we attended coaching calls with a moderator to help keep us on track and coached us to be the best coach we could be.

 

//WHO IS IIN FOR?//

I truly believe that anyone can benefit from IIN if you have an interest in health and wellness.  For me, I was curious about having a better understanding of how my mind, body, and spirit played into my relationship with food and movement.  Attending IIN pushed me to reconnect with the areas of my life that deeply desired to be nourished and in turn, helped me overcome my weight challenges which I am happy to say I am 60 pounds lighter! Plus, I am able to use the coaching skills I learned in my practice and also within my photography business. 

 

//WHAT ABOUT A CAREER AS A HEALTH COACH?//

Attending IIN is the first step if you want to pursue a career as a health coach, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll come out with a thriving practice.  That my friend is on you! This isn’t to scare you, but the direction you take your coaching business will be based on your desires upon graduation.  I have friends who have written books, incorporated health coaching into their yoga practice or found that coaching has helped them with the loss of a loved one and is now providing grief counseling through health and wellness.  

Personally, I used my holistic health coaching certification as a starting point to then become a personal trainer and blogger.  Honestly, the career possibilities are endless - it simply comes down to how much work you want to put into making your dreams a reality.

Still on the fence about attending IIN?  I’d happily set aside a few minutes to chat with you to answer any questions you may have. Complete the form below and we can start a conversation.

 

I hope my review on IIN help provides a bit of clarity around the program - Feel free to click one of the links below to learn more about the program, sample a class or download a free e-book!  

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