I turn thirty one this week and with the stroke of midnight on Thursday March 5th, the best year of my life will draw to a close. What can I say? I am feeling both stoked and reflective.
A lot of things happened this year. I got my health and wellness coaching certification. I quit my teaching job to run Super Strength Health. I built a tiny house to live in. I got engaged.
My work felt extremely important to me this year, because time and again people asked me questions like this:
How can I recover?
How can I stop puking?
What can I do to stop binging?
What if my body isn’t good enough? How am I supposed to stop hating it then?
These are brave questions for people to ask. They are beginning steps to living truly fucking awesome lives. They are showing up to get on the path.
My how-to instructions are usually very basic: I stopped starving, puking, never resting, and saying mean things to myself by showing up every single day for many many years with the intention to not do those things.
I woke up as often as humanly possible with the intention to be well, and I think that is the fundamental basis for every other step of getting to discover your best self.
For a long time I tried to be well but failed completely. then I tried to be well and succeeded but hated how disgusting and full of anxiety I felt. It went on like this for much longer than I would like to admit, but the truth is that with consistency, eventually I tried to be well and I succeeded without having to try to think about it so fucking hard. With daily attention, treating myself respectfully became a normal habit, just part of what I do. I don’t believe I am unique or more equipped to do this than other people. I believe this can be your basis for getting well, too.
Today, if I binged, starved, or threw up my food it would simply feel bizaare, counter intuitive, mean, and downright uncomfortable. At one point, not doing these things was a herculean effort, something that took more strength than any of the lifts I have completed, any distance I have run. Now it is second nature. I like myself, so I don’t do mean things to my body anymore, ESPECIALLY when I am feeling already sad. It seemed that it took forever to get the hang of that, but eventually it happened.
I used to think I wished I never knew how thin I could really get. I thought that for sure, the memory of tiny limbs in compact spaces would haunt me, keep me from ever feeling like my recovered body was beautiful or like my health was worth the sacrifice of an eternal, gaunt, and obvious focus on being small.
For a long time it was true. No matter how happy I was that I could engage in my life a little my thoroughly with recovery, I was a little bit bummed that I could never be that thin again.
Today it occurs to me that the most important thing that happened in my 30th year is this:
Through continued intention to be well, I lost the burden of comparison. I stopped comparing myself against other people, which is absolutely wonderful, but I also stopped comparing my healthy body to my sick body, feeling frustrated that I couldn’t be tiny without also being unhealthy and insane.
My comparisons to myself were the most damaging habit I had yet to kick, and when I look back on age 30, through all the amazingness of self-employment and a little home and true forever-style-love, I know that the greatest thing that has happened is that I have arrived in my body, as it is right now, today. I don’t wish I could have the tall and lanky frame that was so publicly admired during my anorexia anymore, not because I think think smallness is somehow evil or flawed when it comes naturally, but because I know that body was not truly mine.
It was not the body I would have if I was feeding myself enough.
It was not the body I would have if I thought about subjects beyond my food and my exercise.
It was not the body I would have if I was showing myself true respect.
Knowing I could choose the body I have now over the body I had when I was much, much thinner is the most beautiful thing that happened in an entire year of completely gorgeous things.
And with that, It’s time to celebrate.
I have had a fantastic couple of weeks.
I went to Disneyland, I got engaged, I got home, I returned to work with a job that I love, I wrote, I swam, I lifted, I ate food that was fucking awesome. This time last year I was working a job that was slowly killing me, and I was sick- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I had IBS that made me feel somewhere on the scale of uncomfortable to terrible all the time. I grinded my teeth at night and rarely slept well. I was well on the road to loving my body and treating myself right, but it wasn’t consistently clicking.
When I work, I try to keep these facts in mind. I often get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of effort that I put into Super Strength Health, not because I don’t want to do the work or find it to be a chore, but because most tasks simply take me about three times the amount of time than I think they well, and thus my to-do list is perpetually long.
But the truth is, this work has both changed and saved my life in a number of ways. It gave me something to look forward to waking up to- day in and day out. It gave me huge amounts of self-esteem and a ton of incentive to KEEP doing my best, KEEP talking to myself kindly, KEEP loving the shit out of myself no matter what. Super Strength Health for me is freedom. The freedom to love my body. The freedom to be publicly open and imperfect and raw. The freedom to offer my listening ear most hours of the day, the freedom to let myself be supported financially by something I am extremely passionate about. It helps me as much as anyone else, and to keep it going I have to remember where I came from, and where I am now.
Basically, this “day in the life” is brought to you by a feeling of gratitude. My life is fun and cool and I love it, despite the kinks. (Also, as I’ve said before: I think we need as many feminist, body positive, health at every size advocating, health and wellness practitioners as possible. If you want to talk further about starting a business in this realm, email me! Let’s build an alliance.)
6:30AM Wake up.
When I first started my journey to self-employment, I felt scarred from 5am wakeups and 3 hour a day commutes. I relished in never EVER using an alarm to wake up. I am naturally an early riser, so most of the time I wake up with the sun anyway. It seemed reasonable to allow myself time to get into my natural rhythm. That was awesome for about a year, but these days I find myself using my alarm again, because there is a 7:30AM class at my gym that I genuinely enjoy taking. Although rising to do something I love is much much different than rising to sit in traffic, it is still not exactly easy to wake up to darkness. I never regret it once I am at the barbell, though, so I keep that in mind as I stumble around in the dark.
For those curious: my breakfast is consistently oats with almond milk, banana, raisins, and peanut butter and I always eat before I lift. I know some folks are all about fasted AM cardio, but that feels like shit to me, so I don’t do it. Huzzah for bio-individuality and meeting my own needs.
7:30 AM Barbell WOD
Today’s workout was a warm up, a complex of squat cleans, front squats, thrusters, and push presses, some backsquat sets, some deadlift sets, a superset of push ups and pull ups, and a 7 minute AMRAP of overhead squats and toes to bars. I was thoroughly worked when I was finished and straight chugged my recovery smoothie of Vega Sport, maca, chlorella, pineapple, banana and almond milk as soon as I was done. It tasted heavenly.
For those curious: I consider my workouts and my food to be a serious part of my business. It is my job to practice what I preach and my workouts are scheduled into my life like work hours (barring illness or exhaustion or injury)
9:00AM Prep for my meal prep-clients.
A new (and fun!) part of Super Strength Health is vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free meal delivery.
It is important for me to offer my clients the freshest local and organic ingredients possible, so first I hit up the farmer’s market. I get the things I can’t get there (beans, coconut milk, etc.) from my local whole foods.
Today’s clients got vegan taco salad (romaine, lettuce, tomato, grilled scallions and green peppers, salsa, homemade bell pepper cilantro vinaigrette, black beans, and walnut taco “meat”) and coconut, kale, kidney bean and chickpea chana saag with wild rice. It took me about three hours to shop, prep, make, and package up enough for everyone and they picked up the goods from my house later that day. (I do delivery too, its just much cheaper for folks to come to me if they can!)
I ate some of the food I made for others for lunch, and it ruled.
12:00 Computer time
This is the moment of reckoning for me, because my email inbox is kiiiiinda cray. I tried to approach it calmly with intermittent deep breaths. I don’t know what it is about the time I have to spend on logistics that tends to give me anxiety, but it’s definitely a thing that I have to be gentle with myself about. I spent three hours computer-ing and it was totally fine. A lesson to Lacy of the future: do not fear the inbox!
3:00 Cofee with this babe.
This is my friend Jaiye. She is most often seen biking anywhere and everywhere, but sometimes we both slow down and get to have coffee with one another, which always feels much needed. I stole this picture from her social media, as it was taken mid-bike tour, which is when I am pretty sure Jaiye is the most stoked.
I caught up with Jaiye at Timeless Coffee while the sun peeked through for the first time in days. Life was good. Oh yeah! I also ate some collard green chips with my Americano ’cause I was feelin’ snacky.
It’s amazing, because my title is health and wellness coach, but much of what I do in a day is not actual session time. Tonight I met with a client that manages to seriously move me every single time we speak. I am amazed at the people that I get to work with! It is humbling to spend time with those who are demanding self-love in a world that doesn’t necessarily promote it, and I am honored to bare witness.
7:00PM Dinner and band practice
After my session, I dove into some food (wild rice, tempeh, romanesco, kale, tahini and nutritional yeast in case you couldn’t tell!), and hopped in my car. Due to some flooding issues of our practice space, we didn’t have a full practice, so one of my greatest homies (oh, and our bassist) and I went over some lyric placement so that I am extra prepared to shred when the space dries out.
9:00PM Shower, dudefriend snuggle, 1 episode of Gilmore Girls, and sleep.
In roughly that order, I relaxed into my off time, mentally high fived myself for a very fulfilling day, and got some shut eye. I am an eight-hours-of-sleep-or-bust type of babe, so I have a strict 10:00PM lights out policy if I plan on having another early morning the next day (which I do!)
See you guys tomorrow with a brand new recipe!
Last week someone brought to my attention the fact that an acquaintance in my social circle had just began attending a health and wellness coach training program. This person is female (like me!), in the bay area (like me!), punk (like me!), vegan (like me!), and had a strong interest in body image issues (like me!).
That is fucking awesome I thought. Someone new to talk self-employment with.
Of course, the person relaying the information asked if I was concerned or somehow angered by this acquaintance’s new venture and I just smiled and shook my head.
I want more body image health and wellness coaches.
Not only that, I want more queer personal trainers. More eating disorder survivors helping others to heal.
I want more radical women in spandex, teaching people how to properly handle a barbell.
I want there to be so many vegan health and wellness coaches that any one ever, with any single question about how to make veganism work, has an immediate and relatable resource.
I want as many people as possible doing positive self-esteem advocacy work, because FUCK DUDES, we need it. There are so many messages telling us all constantly that we are not good enough, that our bodies and minds are simply something to fix.
I, myself, have worked with a health and wellness coach. I currently work with a personal trainer. I have my own wellness practice, sure, but I very much enjoy both supporting other women and also love the new perspective these women give me. I don’t want to be the only health and wellness coach or personal trainer because I want the people who aren’t into my approach (or my cussing, or even my personality) to get the leaders that they need. Period. There is no shortage of people looking to feel more awesome. I want there to be someone for everyone.
I am not only NOT upset that this person in my community is going to be doing some similar work to mine, I am excited. I am excited to watch her business grow and for her clients to transform and for her to be working a job that every single day feels like a gift. I am excited to promote her and support her however I can. I am excited to be her peer, because put simply, there is enough success for everyone.
Witnessing success is not a threat to our own success.
Wishing someone success is not wishing our own failure.
Addendum: If you are thinking of being a body positive focused health and wellness coach or trainer, DO IT. Let’s build an army. I will support you. I will tell you the things I learned starting my business. I will promote you and send you clients.
I will never consider you my competition, especially when circumstances tell us we should compete.
I’m with you.
We got this.