Name: Lucy Smith Age: 26
Original Goal: Getting rid of her Imposter Syndrome. Lucy describes it as that feeling when you are applying for a job and think to yourself, “Oh that has a few things I might like, but I can’t do all of it so I shouldn’t apply for it.” The constant feeling of someone else being more qualified than ourselves.
Today’s Goal: To get rid of Imposter Syndrome all together.
Advice: “You are never alone. You are going to find support no matter what, but support really starts within yourself.”
As human beings, the way that we are raised says a lot about the problems and insecurities that many of us face as adults. For Lucy, growing up as the daughter of a very southern conservative father, and a liberal mother was a constant challenge. As a self-proclaimed hardcore liberal, Lucy and her father clashed heads a lot growing up. However, this tug and pull relationship with her father is what she credits a large part of her finding such self assurance and confidence in her young adult life.
One of the biggest hurdles that Lucy faces day to day is her body. With a smaller, more petite frame but not falling into the “slender” category, she has faced a lot of negative backlash for her silhouette and body type.
“People are like, ‘oh you’re fat’ because I’m not slender. People automatically think it’s a bad thing-- but I mean, being fat is an adjective. To me, it’s just a descriptor.”
One of the ways that Lucy has come to accept her body image was through a stint of time that she spent burlesque dancing. Being able to go up on stage and improv was something that really helped to build Lucy’s self confidence. People really supported her burlesque dancing, and one of the more defining highlights of her time spent dancing culminated after one of her performances. “A woman came up to me and said, ‘ I didn’t know people like you could be sexy. You showed me that.’ It was great, it was wonderful.”
Using social media as a platform to discuss fat positivity and Imposter Syndrome has also been very cathartic for Lucy on her journey to loving herself. Lucy uses her social media pages to help bring awareness and draw community together around those dealing with their journeys to self love and worthiness. The internet is a massive tangle of people, so finding others that are in need of support and hope is not something that is hard to find. Although it’s certainly a cathartic experience for Lucy, to be able to help others on their journey to beating their own versions of Imposter Syndrome.
“In my opinion, it’s more important to be proactive and stand up for yourself and say the unpopular things, because somewhere along the line someone else agrees with you.”
One of the defining moments in Lucy’s journey came several years ago when a family member slipped her an informational pamphlet about Cryosurgery. Cryosurgery: surgery using the local application of intense cold to destroy unwanted tissue. In most instances the unwanted tissue are localized fat cells.
Lucy was having trouble fitting into the clothes that she wanted to, and her silhouette was not what she wanted it to be. Working hard in the gym was having no results on the lover stomach bulge that she wanted to eliminate. When in theatre school, a professor encouraged her to get into good cardiac shape to be able to make it through a two and a half hour show. Even after doing forty-five minutes on an elliptical every day, she was seeing results everywhere on her body BUT her lower stomach.
After doing all of her research on Cryosurgery/Coolsculpting she decided to go and do the surgery. Lucy describes the process like having your skin sucked into a high intensity vacuum. After her treatment, Lucy had bruises where the coolsculpting had been performed.
“I wanted to improve my silhouette because I knew that this was stubborn fat. Because of my circumstances, I was eligible for this treatment because when they touched my stomach...when they grabbed it...they said that it was really soft so the treatment would work.”
The surgery was a real turning point in helping to motivate Lucy to begin to exercise more. Before she underwent the coolsculpting Lucy had been having no success with working out to help achieve the look she wanted. With the fat cells removed, she was starting to see tangible success with working out.
“It’s worth saying that I loved and will continue to love my body no matter what my stomach looks like- but I got my silhouette changed because of my own preference. It is not anyone's prerogative to judge anyone else's body based on their own individual preferences...My shape is more appropriate for my body now. I don’t feel like anything is out of shape, or place. That’s what motivates me to get out and exercise.”
Lucy has learned a lot through her journey, but one of the best things she has gleaned from her ups and downs has been just how important being more assertive is for her well-being.
“Getting rid of that little voice in the back of my head telling me that nobody wants to hear what I have to say. Being more positive and extending that generosity to others. If negativity can’t be influenced by positivity, it might be best leave that conversation or that person behind.”
Now Lucy is exercising two days per week in addition to light walking around the city of Philadelphia. She has achieved her own personal preferred silhouette and has changed her outlook on life to reflect a mindset of happiness. In addition to her physical and mental health achievements, Lucy is also on her way to academic and entrepreneurial success. Lucy is a graduating senior illustration student at Moore College of Art & Design, running her illustration business Lucy Smith Illustrations, and a weekend business venture “Snow Princess Parties.”
Can you explain more about Cryosurgery?
I guess the technical term is coolsculpting, because it freezes the fat cells. When it freezes them, it kills them. The fat cells don’t grow back unless you really go all out with your diet/lifestyle, but for the most part they never come back. On average it takes about one hour per section for treatment. They cover your skin in a gel, so that the sucking of the vacuum doesn’t really hurt.
How do you stay active?
I love walking all around the city. When I come back at night, I’m like “that was really fun AND I walked all around the city AND I got to pet dogs in Rittenhouse Park.” I can do all of those things now while exercising.
How did this surgery change the way you look and relate to your body?
It has really motivated me to exercise. Before, my body would look the same after three months of real exercise and I would just feel like, “What’s the point?” I feel more free. I can walk around and not feel self-conscious about my lower stomach. I can walk around with so much more confidence.
When you find yourself in a negative mindset how do you get out of that?
Start thinking of all the things that I am grateful for. My family had a house fire last year, and we are still hanging in there and plugging forward. People ask me, “How can you be so confident?” I say it’s because I love myself, and a lot of people don’t. What are a few things you’re grateful for?
My health, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I’ve lost four pounds. My family. My dog Ruby, she’s my daughter.
This feature was sponsored by APOP Studios’ Creative Stress Management Workshops. Schedule your group stress management workshop today! Great for work and school events. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or find more information at http://www.apopstudios.com/movingmindfully.
https://youtu.be/21PbCyiYhGg Learn how to track important mood influences such as sleep, exercise, meditation, etc and can be customized to fit your personal needs. By tracking these key influences and you happiness for a month or more, you can find out what REALLY makes you happy.
Using this tool I've discovered fabulous data about my own happiness--I learned I tend to be happiest and Thursdays and Saturdays, that I'm 11% happier when I exercise AND 10.3% happier when I perform a moving meditation activity (making art, going for a run, knitting, etc.)
FREE APP: Journey (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/de...) TEMPLATE: Happiness Rating: __ out of 10 Sleep: __ hours Exercise: Yes/No Meditation: Yes/No Moving Meditation: Yes/No Notes:
Is there anything else I should be tracking? Let me know in the comments below :)
This feature was sponsored by APOP Studios’ Creative Stress Management Workshops. Schedule your group stress management workshop today! Great for work and school events. Email email@example.com or find more information at http://www.apopstudios.com/movingmindfully.
Easy Apple Krisp
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats if making this recipe GF)
- 1/2 cup almond meal*
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup melted butter (or coconut oil, if making this recipe vegan)
- 4 apples, cored and diced (about 5-6 cups)
- 2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add oats, almond meal, nuts, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt to a mixing bowl, and toss until combined. Add maple syrup and melted butter (or coconut oil), then toss until combined. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and toss until combined. Spread the apple mixture evenly into a greased 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch pan, then sprinkle the oat mixture evenly on top of the apples.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and golden and the apples are soft and cooked through. Serve immediately. (I served mine with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.)
- Or let the apple crisp cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
*If you can't find almond meal at the store, you can pulse almonds in a food processor until fine to make almond meal. OR, you can substitute in white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour) in place of the almond meal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvTGr4uz9ok Exercise Type: Strength Equipment: Barbell Body part: Quadriceps
C: What is it about Elliott Hulse that really stood out to you? Is he someone that you look up to?
V: Elliott Hulse has a lot of useful knowledge and has a way of speaking that really clicks. I used to look up to him when I first started. I don't look up to him as much anymore as I'm further on my own journey and relate a bit less. Since everyone's body is so different it makes it difficult to find someone to look up to in such a direct way.
C: Who else do you look to for inspiration?
V: Now I am very self-motivated person although I still get inspiration from different YouTubers and random speakers.
C: What does your typical day look like?
V: I usually do a small job unloading trucks in the morning around 7 am. Once I finish the job I have breakfast and get to work on my personal goals. After eating, I usually read and work. This typically includes doing just about anything I think is beneficial towards accomplishing these goals-- researching, brainstorming new ideas, talking with others about their fitness goals and providing advice, etc. After I accomplish my daily goals, I hit the gym around 7 pm, workout, then head back home to finish working on any daily goals I didn't accomplish. After I finish, I head off to bed. Sometimes it's around 12 am, sometimes it's 4 am. Haha.
C: What does your typical gym routine look like?
V: My gym routine is pretty basic when you actually look it:
Monday - Chest and triceps
Tuesday - Back and biceps
Wednesday - Legs
Thursday - Either chest or back or both. It depends how my body feels.
Friday - Arms and shoulders
Weekends - If I end up going to the gym, I always do legs.
C: Do you diet or watch what you eat?
V: I actually don’t have a strict diet. I never have, but I haven't really had to change my diet due to my high metabolism. On the other hand, I am conscious of what I put in my body. I just avoid certain things: I hate sweets. So I don't eat any sweets, I don't drink soda, I don't eat fried foods and I've cut back on salt.
C: How has your mindset changed since you started your journey?
V: My mindset really shifted once I realized exactly what I wanted to accomplish. I started to understand that setting up unrealistic time frames to accomplish goals can lead to disappointment. You have to focus on the journey itself not the end goal--one step at a time.
This week's Rest Day Recipe we found on Pinterest! It's orgins...Followerr.net.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup finely diced shallots (or red onions)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil
- Using a mallet, pound down the chicken breasts/thighs into ½ inch thickness. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken.
- In a 2 cup measuring cup or a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to...
This week's rest day recipes comes from a good friend, Larisa Manzo, who recommended the protein waffles recipe from morethanheels.com. As with any waffle recipe you can also make pancakes--and that is exactly what Larisa did.
Protein pancakes with peanut butter and blue berries (331 calories/ 38 grams of protein/ 14 grams of fat/ 16 grams of carbs)
Mix following ingredients and cook:
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (Larisa used GNC Advanced Vanilla Whey Protein)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp water
- dash of cinnamon
- 1 packet of Stevia (Larisa didn't use it but the recipe does call for it)
Serve with 50 grams of blueberries and 1 tbsp of chunky peanutbutter and enjoy!
The holidays tend to be a crazy time of the year for most of us. Here are a few tips from our Fitness Nerd Family Members to help you get through them without letting your healthy habits slip:
1. "The steps to getting myself help were the hardest and greatest things I ever did. The first step to solving any problem is talking." When you're feeling down, Stormy Smith, APOP member since March 2014, says that reaching out for help is key. Don't be afraid to ask for help-whether that is from friends, family or a professional. Everyone needs someone to lean on.
2. “You only get one shot at this life. So be you; do you. Be happy with your choices and don’t worry about impressing others or conforming.” -Misty Mann, Member since December 2015
3. "Embrace who you are! It took me a year into college to remember that I need to embrace who I am, a quirky and random human being, and I couldn’t be happier with that. Sure some people think you suck, but comparatively you will bump into and find some incredibly awesome like-minded people along the way. Trust me." -Will Hurry, member since November 2015
4. "The more you act happy, the more you end up feeling happy." -Will Hurry, member since November 2015
5. “Willpower is so important in weight loss–willpower and dedication. You have to get up every morning and say, ‘This is who I’m going to be today.’ You have to be your higher-self. There is an opportunity to be your lower self: not go to the gym, eat poorly, etc., but you have to choose to be your higher-self. It’s a choice. It’s all choices. Everyday is a choice.”-Max Kohls, member since October 2015 (Max also recommends this podcast: http://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com/podcasts/willpower-works/)
6. Avoid those pesky cravings by drinking lots of water. -Misty Mann, member since December 2015
7. Do it for yourself not for others. Both Misty Mann, member since December 2015, and Max Kohls, member since October 2015, agree that this is key for achieving your personal goals.
8. "Feeling down? Hit the Gym! Not only do you get to work off your frustrations, but you leave feeling like a rock star–because you really have accomplished something!" -Carlee Myers, Founder APOP
9. "Never let food become an obsession. I know it’s comfortable and it makes many of us feel better, but in reality food doesn’t change a thing. My challenge to you is to directly deal with the problems you have in life." -Michelle McDonnell, member since August 2015
10. "Love your neighbor(s)." -Mary Ellen McAbee, member since September 2015
11. "Don't get caught up in the hustle and bustle; This season, more than any other time of year, is about family and friends." -Cathy Myers, member since March 2015
Name: Misty Mann
Original Goal(s): To quit smoking.
Today’s Goal(s): To be healthy--mentally and physically; To eat healthier, exercise and discover herself.
Advice: “You only get one shot at this life. So be you; do you. Be happy with your choices and don’t worry about impressing others or conforming. Oh, and manners go a long way.”
Story: Misty started smoking cigarettes when she was a freshman in high school. 15 years old and wanting to hang out with a particular group of kids who just so happened to smoke, she thought, ‘why not?’
“The first time I smoked is super fresh in my mind. My cousin, Dawn, and I stole a pack of kent III cigarettes from my dad and walked a block away from my house. It had just started to snow; everything was dusted in white. Dawn lit hers first and smoked away. She had been doing it longer. I was next. I tried to light it and couldn't so she did it for me. I held it between my fingers like you see in the movies. I thought I was so cool. I inhaled and blew the smoke out. I wasn't inhaling all the way, but it was cold out and the smoke mixed with the cold air so it looked more like smoke. Dawn laughed at me and told me I was doing it wrong and said to pretend my mom was going to catch me. A few moments later I inhaled and she hollered, “Oh crap! Your mom!” She turned and pointed. I had already forgotten she said to pretend and I thought my mom was really there. I accidentally inhaled. Dawn told me I did good and I felt super excited. It seems stupid now that I look back on it, but at 15 I felt in charge of something. I liked the attention I got from it.”
A pack of cigarettes were just 80 cents from the local vending machine--meaning she didn’t have to flash her ID. When thinking about that time in her life versus now Misty says unsatisfied, “I’m sure the cigarettes had a warning on the pack that smoking was dangerous, but it was not as prevalent as it is today.”
The battle to quit smoking was a 25 year process for Misty--perhaps if that label had been just a little bit bigger things would be different, but it wasn’t. It was actually quite unnoticable if it was there at all. The first time she tried to quit she was 19 years old; It was 1991 and she had just found out she was pregnant with a beautiful baby girl. The doctor suggested she cut back, not quit. At this point in her life, quitting wasn’t top of mind. As per the doctor’s request, she went from a pack of cigarettes a day to about a half pack (about 10 smokes per day). Of course since there was no self-ingrained urge to quit Misty went back to smoking full packs a day after her daughter was born. Then came along another beautiful baby girl in 2002; once again she tried to quit, but went back to her old habits shortly thereafter.
Misty’s third attempt to quit smoking was in her 30's back in 2006. Around this time, anti-smoking campaigns were going strong. The government and other organizations began the education process on exactly how bad smoking cigarettes can be for the body. Misty recounts that everyone, especially her loved ones, began pressuring her to quit. Although she tried to quit at the time, she remembers being angry and reticent. She started her third journey to imposed improvement by using the nicotine patch. With the nicotine patch it took her several tries over a few months to actually start a streak, but once she had a few days without smokes under her belt she ended up sticking to it for five months. At this point, something went askew--perhaps it was the fact that she didn’t do it for herself in the first place, perhaps it was the tragedy she witnessed while waiting at a red light in Myrtle Beach...a man and a woman riding a motorcycle getting hit by a truck. Either way, she that day she immediately went back to the hotel, bought a pack of cigarettes and headed for the beach...alone. Once again, she began smoking a pack a day again.
The rest of Misty’s 30's quitting was on her mind constantly. She would go to bed every single night and say to herself, “This is it. Tomorrow morning you are done!” but each morning she would find herself grabbing for that cigarette and lighting it. Each morning there would be a new excuse as to why she shouldn’t be quitting that particular day. She enjoyed smoking. It was her escape from meetings, family functions, etc. She could excuse herself from almost any situation with “I need to go smoke.” It was society's acceptable social crutch and she used it, but overtime she began getting upset with herself thinking, ‘Why can’t I just quit?!’ She began to hate the way it smelled, how it made her family and surrounding environment smell; her clothes, car and even presents she gave to people smelled of cigarettes. What’s worse, she noticed she was having trouble breathing; she couldn’t even carry a load of laundry up the steps without sitting on the top step to catch her breath. Towards the end of her 30's she was up to two packs a day. As if the breathing difficulties weren’t enough, the cost of one pack of cigarettes were now over six dollars. Misty talked about how much cigarettes drained her wallet. She used to say that when they hit four dollars she would quit, then five dollars, then six and she still hadn’t quit.”
Misty had her turning point at 39, she took her oldest daughter to see a psychic for her October birthday, something both she and her daughter thought would be an exciting adventure for an exciting day. It went smoothly, until the end; Misty, still a little shaken up by what the psychic told her, recounted that when her and her daughter were heading for the door the psychic approached her telling her, “If you dont quit smoking when you are 40, you will be on an oxygen mask by the time you hit 43.” Now, whether the psychic was right or not did not matter. The thought that, at 43 years young, she would be on oxygen terrified her. A few months after this encounter, in February 2012 Misty turned 40 years old and by May 2012, Misty began having even more difficulty breathing. All she could think was, ‘What if the psychic is right?’ Misty needed to quit and so she did; slowly but surely she cut back one cigarette per day, then a few a week. It was difficult to say the least, but by September 2012 she was ready to completely cut smokes from her life. The first day without a cigarette was horrible. She was sweating and crying; you would have thought Misty was on serious drugs. She called her doctor and her doctor said that some people have severe withdrawal from cigarettes, comparable to heroin withdrawal. She ended up smoking the first day and recounts that she was so disappointed in herself. Three days later she went and bought the nicotine patch and on september 25th she marked a important day in her personal story. She put the patch on and made up her mind--September 25, 2012 would be the first day of the rest of her life, without cigarettes. She knew that she could quit this time and kept reminding herself that an oxygen tank would absolutely not be in her future--she was and still is better than that.
The first week was awful; Misty was beyond cranky, but everyday it got easier and three months in she noticed a huge difference in her life and health. She was breathing better, not to mention smelling better. She eventually stopped craving cigarettes every day and stopped wearing the patch--she no longer needed it.
Now Misty is 43 years old and healthier than ever before. It’s been over three years and three months since she touched a cigarette. Today, she’s basking in her own success and even has a few more tricks up her sleeve she’s using to achieve her next goal--to become mentally and physically fit.
C=Carlee Myers, Founder of APOP
M=Misty Mann, Member of APOP since 2015
C: Can you elaborate further on how peer pressure to quit smoking made you feel over the years?
M: Peer pressure to quit over the years? Hahaha. It honestly pissed me off. The more my sister or mom said something the more I smoked. I was being stubborn, but it’s like asking to someone overweight when they are going to drop a few pounds. It’s not nice and certainly isn’t good for that person’s mental health. I found it rude and annoying that people would point out my flaw and comment on something that I struggled with everyday.
C: Can you talk about the pressure you felt from others to smoke?
M: I actually never felt pressured to smoke by anyone. It was something I wanted to try just because I thought I could hang out with the ‘bad ass kids,’ but they never forced it.
C: Can you elaborate further on the day that you went to the psychic with your daughter?
M: The day I went to the psychic was actually pretty boring. I sat in the waiting room and went out on her porch to smoke once or twice while I waited, which I’m sure is one of the reasons she originally told me to quit...but she was so specific about me quitting at the age of 40. She didn't know how old I was, which made me think that maybe she was right. Either way it was the push I had been waiting for; I wanted to quit, but I didn't want to give the satisfaction to my sister or mom that what they said made me quit. I guess I used the psychic as my reason.
C: I often hear from people who are trying to quit smoking that drinking triggers the urge to smoke again. Did you experience anything like this?
M: Drinking was never a trigger for me.
C: Do you have any advice for avoiding cigarette cravings?
M: Drink lots of water. I also used mint gum, which I’m now addicted to. Haha, but I guess it’s better than smoking.
C: Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to quit?
M: The urge to pick up that cigarette always passes. That horrible feeling does get easier. Just ride it out. It’s worth it.
C: Why do you think that you succeeded this time, but fell back into the habit in the past?
M: I think I succeeded this time because I was ready. I did it the other times because I was told to quit...because it was unhealthy...blah blah blah. This time it was for me, not them.
C: Do you think giving up cigarettes one-by-one is one of the reasons you were successful? Perhaps small goals leading up to a larger goal was important to your success?
M: I think slowly giving up day by day was just an excuse to keep smoking longer. I knew I had to quit at some point so I justified in my mind that slowly doing it was ok, so I didn't have to give it up all at once.
C: How else has giving up cigarettes positively influenced your life?
M: Giving up cigarettes has completely changed my life. First off, I feel so much better. I’m able to do things without being winded. I smell better. On the down side, I have no excuse for bad behavior. I can’t blame being cranky on nicotine withdrawal any longer, but I’m working on my mental health so I hope that won’t be struggle much longer.
C: Becoming healthier usually requires a complete lifestyle change, how did you change your day to day life? Have you integrated different things into your daily life to set yourself up for success?
M: Well I gained a ton of weight when I quit smoking...about 50 pounds. Apparently, I ate instead of smoking but didn't realize it until recently. So my day to day for the last three years has been just getting by, not really changing anything. Honestly, this lack of further change has led to issues with depression, but that’s a whole other story. Haha.
C: What are your goals for self-improvement today?
M: My goals have drastically changed in the last few months. I want to be healthy, and not just from quitting smoking. I'm trying to eat healthier and exercise. I've lost 10 pounds so far. I'm trying to "discover me" and am combining my physical health with my mental and spiritual health. I’m reading more on adventures for the soul, to become more positive and truly happy...with my relationships, finding a new career, etc. My newest journey might actually be more ‘traumatic’ than cutting cigarettes out of my life. Haha.
Know someone that deserves recognition for their success? Comment below to nominate them!