Tuning my balance wheel is basically reevaluating whether or not I’m receiving everything I need to live a happy life. I have this little graphic printed off and hanging up in my office at work, so I can see it daily. Lately, my eyes just graze over it without actually taking in what the meaning is. I am sure we all have the capability to ignore what our minds, hearts, souls really need.
You probably can guess correctly that each area of the balance wheel is directly related to the others. My balance wheel more closely resembles a spirograph at this time…
If you click on the image of the balance wheel, you will be directed to Mallika Chopra’s website where you can learn more about the benefits of using the wheel to guide you.
Part of living with intent is to express what your intentions are so you can receive support from your loved ones and the universal energies to encourage and guide you on your path. I don’t feel like I have done an adequate job of that, lately… I often will go to write something here or on my social media accounts, or say something to someone and then I stop. The fear of being judged is so real for me these days. I’m not really sure where that is coming from, I am typically a very open, outgoing person. If I am honestly introspective, I know that part of my hesitation is the ‘in real life’ group of people that read what I write whether it is here, or on facebook or instagram. Vulnerability, which is often authenticity at the same time, is quite difficult. Which means ego is or has taken over and I’m on autopilot? Probably. Most definitely.
Mallika’s road map to live with intent is this: Incubate, Notice, Trust, Express, Nurture, and Take Action. I have traveled far off the map, and I’m ready to get back on track here.
Hey, guess what!? I’m studying to become a personal trainer.
But Kandice, you’re like 35 or 40 pounds fatter than you were when you were all about the healthy lifestyle.
But Kandice, you’re spending more time and money for something else? Are you ever going to decide what you want to do in life and stick with it long enough for something to actually come to fruition?
But Kandice, you’re probably going to fizzle out (remember when you were a photographer? remember when you got your holistic health coaching certification? remember when you wanted to be a social media manager?)
But Kandice… didn’t you study communications in college?
I’m not sure if anyone would ever be ballsy enough to actually ask me any of those questions, but my ego is feeding me constant fear that someone will and I will feel inadequate. Inside I do feel inadequate, because all of these things are true.
They’re my truth.
I fell in love (I really need a better expression for that) with not fitness, but weight loss in 2011. I had Sophia in October of 2010. Quick version of the story, I never felt large until that summer when I saw a photo of myself holding Sophia in the pool at our house. I was huge (I thought). I drank an entire bottle of wine that night and did research on how to lose weight (in a healthy way). In my early adult life, I had major issues around food and weight and I did a lot of really unhealthy things to be ‘thin.’ I didn’t want to do those things again, because I wanted to be a better role model for Olivia, who was 7 and paying very close attention to what her mother did. I found ToneItUp.com and went full stop into a crazy new lifestyle.
It worked, I lost a lot of weight. I felt great! I got new clothes. I couldn’t stop. I weighed myself every day, usually every time I went into the bathroom. It was compulsive, I couldn’t quit. I still have the scale photos (yes, I photographed my weight each time it changed) floating around in my icloud somewhere. I was obsessed. I ran 3-4 miles a day, kept my caloric intake under 1200 at most but usually never more than 1000. I felt like I was still chubby, embarrassed to wear my two piece on the boat with friends. I kept my red razorback tank top on over the top of it so no one would see my stomach. It was easy to hide this new issue I had.. orthorexia and exercise bulimia. I was a healthy food and exercise fanatic, and I had friends from all over the place asking me to help them lose weight, too.
I have also been on the total opposite side of the spectrum here. Binge eating disorder is a real thing and I have also suffered from it. I have eaten in secret, many times, until my stomach was so full it felt like it might explode. I have waited for my husband to fall asleep to creep quiet as a mouse into the kitchen and eat whatever I could find. I have eaten my kids’ leftovers quickly off their plates before I put them in the dishwasher. I’m telling you… body image and food intake have always been such a struggle to me. One day I will write a post about where I believe these issues stem from (and what multiple therapists have helped me come to realize), but today is not the day for that, and the emotional issues that are sure to follow can’t be dealt with right now.
In 2013, I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to learn more about… nutrition. At this time, I should have just pursued my personal training certification, but this caught my eye and I felt called to learn more about the nutrition side of health. The courses were amazing and after a year, I had my certification. What I didn’t really expect during the course, was the business aspect of how to become a ‘health coach’ once I was certified. I tried that for a little bit, and I even got a business coach. By this time we had moved to Fort Smith and I didn’t really know anyone and I only got one local client. That person was actually quite insane, and we didn’t work together long. Never trust anyone who finds you by searching for something on Yahoo!. Just.. no.
Around the time I quit trying to have a ‘career’ as a ‘health coach,’ (I am not mocking the health coaching industry, however, for the area where I live, you might as well be a clown or something) I discovered flexible dieting, intermittent fasting, and weight training. By now I had gained back a good 20-25 pounds because Andy was home a lot more and I didn’t have the time or resources I had previously for the constant working out and putting all my energy into low calorie foods.
This time, using the phrase “I fell in love” is absolutely accurate. I fell in love with lifting, with the methodology of flexible dieting. I was eating poptarts and losing fat, for Pete’s sake. It was awesome! I was back in my tiny size 2 clothes in time for a beach vacation, and this time I actually had some junk in my trunk.
And this paragraph is where I come even cleaner with you. I have anxiety, and I suffer from depression that can at times be quite crippling. In my holistic everything stage of life, I decided all chemical medicines were bad. I went off everything, from anti anxiety and anti depressants to my birth control. I barely took ibuprofen. It was a huge mistake. The depression hit me so hard and I didn’t even see it coming. My anxiety was through the roof so bad that Andy basically ordered me to quit watching the news. I was scared to leave the house. Y’all. That isn’t me. I’m such a loud, outgoing person. My husband and kids felt like their wife and mom had been replaced with a total stranger. I’m so thankful that Andy is supportive and encouraged me to go back on the appropriate medications. You can imagine that the working out stopped, the macro counting stopped. My face broke out so bad I wouldn’t even have my photo taken. I was thankful to live far away from family because I was ashamed and I didn’t want them to know about my struggles. Up until recently most of my family, even my siblings, were unaware of my mental health issues. I have been so ashamed of my anxiety and when the depression hits, I can’t get out from under it.
I did go back on my meds but I never really recovered, physical health-wise. I have never really found the oomph again, I guess you could say. Until recently. And it sucks so bad, let me tell you. I am starting all over! DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS to know where I could be, and not be there? Do you know how hard it is to know how to help other people achieve their goals, but to not have any credibility because who in their right mind wants a pudgy personal trainer? I feel like I can’t even participate in a conversation about health and wellness at this point because I let myself go, gain the weight, lose the muscle, and therefore lose all credibility.
When I was finishing up my certification through IIN, I wrote a pretty successful blog. I had probably triple the amount of followers on all social media, and I had some PR deals going with Chobani, NeoCell, and Ellie Activewear. In a state of deep depression and self loathing, I deleted all my social media and quit blogging. The deleted social media didn’t last long because 1. I got even lonelier because Andy was traveling often for work and 2. how on earth would I explain my mental state to my family? I couldn’t. I didn’t blog for about two years, though. I think of what I could have cultivated from where I was until now, and I kick myself.
Today I am thankful to know that the universe has my back and everything happens for a reason.
Today I work in an office and it is my least favorite job I have ever had, and that includes being a waitress. I still have to deal with incredible periods of depression and anxiety. Sometimes (most of the time) I am not sure what I am even meant to do on this planet besides be a mom. I jokingly tell my husband and friends that I am in the midst of an existential crisis. Half the time, I’m probably not joking.
A couple of months ago, I decided to remind myself daily that this life is my only chance on this planet. I mean, I might be reincarnated or something but who says I’ll get to come back as another human? I could be a tree or an elephant or a goldendoodle. Who knows. I was sitting on the couch thinking about my ideal career. The ideal career doesn’t make me rich (it would be awesome, but it in’t a requirement). The ideal career allows me to have super flexible hours so I can be with my kids when I want to be. Working this summer while they’re out of school has been really, really hard for all three of us. My girls are used to having me home and I feel super guilty and I miss them so much. The ideal career allows me to meet a lot of new people. The ideal career allows me to have time for my own mental and physical health, which are so closely linked. And I was sitting there, thinking… I have always wanted to be a personal trainer. Since 2011, it has been on my mind. I opened the NASM website and researched the payment plans and whether or not the GI Bill benefits would cover any of the fees. I called Andy to ask him what he thought. Like always, he said go for it. So, I did. I hung up with Andy and called the NASM number and enrolled right then. A couple of weeks ago I set up my test date (October 9). The material is a lot ‘nurse-ier’ than I thought it would be, and a lot harder to absorb (like muscle names).
I put out to the universe, this is what I want to do. This will make me happy, and I know once I have the certification, a door will be opened for me. Whether that door is a job in a gym, or a corporation reaching out to me for group training, or an influx of people requesting online training plans… I don’t know what it will be, but I know it will happen.
We have a gym in our home, we converted the sun-room into a gym. We have free weights, a squat rack, a bench, and some other things. I really believe in signs from the universe and a few weeks ago, I won a $3,000 Nordictrack with a year long iFit membership. Talk about a blessing, because I had just been thinking that I wish I could run without dying in the July heat. Things are already coming together for me to reach my personal fitness goals.
This time around, I feel like I’m in a place searching for a meaningful career, something I am passionate about and would want to do full time. Helping people be happy in their own bodies, be healthy, is a recurring theme in everything I’ve ever tried or wanted to do. So I don’t fear the ‘fizzle out’ truly… my ego wants me to, but deep down, I know better. This career path would definitely fulfill many parts of my balance wheel, my own good nutrition and exercise, a sense of purpose, creativity with clients, learning new things constantly about fitness and nutrition and the industry, a meaningful career, and all of that comes together to improve my relationships with family, friends, and community.
My degree in communications seemed ideal but what I didn’t realize in college was… I don’t really know what I can do with that degree. Everything I’ve found in my area comes back to marketing/sales and after helping Andy out when needed at his insurance agency, I can tell you with one billion percent certainty that sales is not where I want to be. I love social media (hence the social media manager pipe dream for a little while), but there isn’t a fulfilling (emotionally or financially) career there in my area. Oh, and everyone is a social media manager these days. I love to write and so my hope is to continue learning and writing for people so they can learn too. Maybe one day I will have a podcast, or a tribe large enough to be a guest on some of the health and fitness podcasts I already listen to and love so much.
Millika’s next step for living with Intent is to Nurture. I’m doing that. Being gentle with myself. Or, trying.
The final step:
“Once you’ve identified an intent, or even multiple ones, don’t sit and wait for it to magically manifest; instead take the practical steps that can make each become a reality. It may be easiest to choose one intent first and set short-term goals to help you get started.”
check. Doing it.
Expressing my intent and my thoughts and sharing my story has hopefully helped you see who I am, because it has definitely helped me take some of the pressure off my chest. I hope to continue to be authentic and transparent throughout this journey. Thank you for reading, and for being supportive. xo
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