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More Than: Anna of OatsNBoats

June 22, 2010

[If you are new to THS, you may not have heard about this guest post series behind the belief that healthy living is more than nutrition and fitness.  I encourage you to take a moment to read a bit about the More Than series. ]


Healthy living is more than a quest to be physically fit, or to fuel your body with good nutrients. Healthy living also has a huge mental component. It is about learning to value yourself and the people around you. Learning to respect accomplishments, learning to celebrate milestones, learning to be comfortable with yourself.

How do you do that? How do you learn that what you’re doing is okay, or fantastic?

We all seem to have a problem with comparing ourselves to others. We get fixated on the fact that the person on the next blog over is training for a marathon while you’re goal is to run a mile. To that I say SO WHAT! Next time you catch yourself beating yourself up for not being able to run as far, swim as fast, or even look like someone on another blog STOP. Change your frame of reference. Remember that you can’t compare yourself to the rest of the world – I mean heck, if you did that then you should really be upset about all those languages you don’t know while others speak them fluently.

Refocus, reframe, remember that you’re doing something incredible for you.

So, how do you encourage yourself? How do you support yourself? Some of you may have that down – if so, awesome! For the rest of us, that’s an ongoing journey. It’s kind of like a conference; if you’re an attendee the conference seems like it went fairly well, but as an organizer you see all the little things that didn’t happen or that shouldn’t have happened. The event organizer stresses because they didn’t put out one of the appetizers, the event attendee isn’t upset about it because they didn’t know what was "supposed to be." Be an attendee – look at the overall results. You didn’t PR? Well, there’s always next time – today you go out there and moved your body. WOOHOO! You didn’t do the dance perfectly? Who cares – you got out and moved and enjoyed yourself.

In that same light, it’s also really hard to believe in yourself – it’s a mental game and you know it. You can tell yourself that what you’re doing is great, but you don’t always believe it. So, then we need to call in the reinforcements – friends and families and blends – all there to help support and encourage us.

You can do the same – the next time you see someone doing something that’s an accomplishment for them – let them know that you’re proud of them. The next time you see someone struggling to get their head in the game, encourage them. It doesn’t matter who it is, it doesn’t matter if you think this person has it all together. Everyone also has something that they feel vulnerable about – weight, fitness, intelligence, etc. It’s funny, sometimes I worry that people will think I’m weird for commenting or tweeting that they rock, or that they can do it; but then I try to flip it around – what if I received that message? – heck that would be awesome.

We should all take a minute and realize that each person is on their own journey. The specifics of healthy living varies for each person, support the diversity. Learn what works for your body/mind and support each and every other person on their individual journey. That’s what rocks about this community, it brings together a group of people who are all aiming to be healthy, to think strong, to overcome problems, to learn how to exist within each person. This community thrives when we support one another.

So I leave you with two tasks.  First, find what works for your own body/mind and actively try to encourage yourself each day starting with reminding yourself that your journey is unique. Your second task is to take a few seconds to encourage your friend, to leave a quick comment on a blog, to send a quick email, anything to let that person know that you’re thinking about them and that you support them.

Support your friends, support strangers… and along the way learn to love and support yourself.
Take care,



You can learn more about Anna by reading her blog.  You can also read along with her 140-character or less thoughts by following her on twitter.

Anna is one of the most encouraging and uplifting people I’ve had the pleasure to meet through the internet.  We have never met in person, yet that never stops her from going above and beyond the normal kindness you share to others.  She has cheered me on during difficult training runs, given me pre-race pep talks, and sent me emails of encouragement and understanding in response to my blog posts.  All this to say: Anna is awesome, and I am so thankful for her! (thanks, Anna!)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2010 10:44 am

    Anna, you are spot on! We need to be reminded of these things from time to time.

  2. June 22, 2010 5:42 pm

    It is so important for us to support each other and to stop beating up on ourselves. Thanks for the much needed reminder that we are all on our own journey!

  3. June 23, 2010 4:05 pm

    Love, love, love this (where’s the “love” button for blog posts??). It’s so true that healthy living is so much more than healthy eats and working out faithfully. It’s SO mental – which I think is very easy to gloss over as a “yeah yeah I know but….”. But nothing. It’s true. We all need to step back and think about that fact more – and change our frame of reference. Great post.

    • June 26, 2010 7:02 am

      I think your “yeah yeah I know but” sums up the struggle so many of us have. We hold ourselves to a different standard than we do others. We don’t always realize how negative we are to ourselves or to our goal. It’s so hard to take the time to really sit down and listen to the things that “we know,” but it’s worth the effort for sure.

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