My Journey To A Healthier Ever After – Awareness

Motivational Speakers are not as perfect as you think.

Many people think that motivational speakers have it all together. Wrong. We don't. I am not the walking example of doing everything right – far from it. There are many areas of my life that need fixing. Sometimes I think I am a motivational speaker because I need motivation even more than most people – and therefore teach what I most need to learn. I'm not selling perfection, I'm selling encouragement.

I looked in the mirror to see where I was stuck.

I'm always telling you to look in the mirror and see where you are stuck. And to "speak my truth" as my wonderful friend and phenomenal speaker Colette Carlson taught me – I am doing just that. I am taking a good long hard look in the mirror at my health, and the part that plays in my ability to reach my dreams. Thank you Linda, Polly, Marilyn, and Colette for being role models and influencing me when you didn't even know it.

Hang around people who have habits you want to have, and slowly you will start to change your own habits to me more like them.

I've always been an advocate for loving yourself at any size. I've always been a cheerleader for the plus-sized woman. I've always believed that your worth isn't tied into a number on a scale.

It's not about size – it's about health.

But I've also been a big fan of creating big dreams and going after them. And so when I looked in the mirror at where I want to go – for the first time in a long time, I saw how my health fit into that picture – or rather how it would block my way – if not now, in the near future.

I saw my habits for what they really were.

I have this habit of looking in the mirror and loving me.  I have this habit of choosing joy and happiness and laughter and excitement in most every moment, except the moments where I'm sad or mad – and I usually climb out of that pretty fast. So I feel great most of the time. And I think that's because of the power of my mind to control my physical being.

I belong to a gym. I work out. More than just occasionally. When I'm home, it's easy for me to get to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. I hop on that stairmaster, jam to some tunes, and skip out whistling.

For the most part, I eat healthy. I don't eat chips by the big bag.  I don't do fast food very often. I like chocolate, but I don't scarf down an entire bag.

I don't drink a lot. It's something I could really take or leave.

So I felt pretty good about who I was. Was I where I wanted to be? No. But I thought I was doing enough of the right things to squeak by.

I thought I was good enough.

But when I decided to look in the mirror with laser focus at my health habits, I came to a shocking realization that my healthy habits were not healthy enough, and would not help me keep up with my dream. And I had actually been hiding behind some really big excuses.

I was using the excuse that I'm okay with my size, to keep me from creating better habits.

When I took the excuses away and took a good hard look at my habits, I saw some things that needed to change. Now.

I saw what the future looked like if these habits continued.

And it wasn't pretty. These habits might be good enough for now, but they wouldn't be good enough tomorrow. What I saw in the crystal ball was not the life I wanted.

I saw what my future looked like if I changed these habits.

(Thank you Linda Larsen for teaching me that.) Even though I love who I see now – I really loved who I saw in that crystal ball. I saw myself with even more energy. I saw myself wearing those pants I never thought I would. I saw myself running – actually running. Who knew?

Now I am eager to change, not ashamed of needing to change.

Shame doesn't work well on me. Shaming myself causes me to feel sad, and I don't like sad. Shaming myself makes me want to give up before I start. And I don't like giving up. Shaming myself takes away my worth as a human being – a worth that is not defined by appearance or even habits. So I'm going to look in the mirror and welcome my beautiful self every day, while working towards the dream.

Let's share this journey together

Since I make everything else in my life public, why not share this journey with you? Maybe for you it's not about health habits, maybe it's about parenting. Or maybe it's about faith. Or your business. I think that even though we may be stuck in different places, we all get stuck, and can share the same steps to get unstuck.

And the first step out is AWARENESS.

That's where I am right now. And I will settle here for just a minute, to make sure I am completely aware of where I'm stuck. This is an important step, and one that can't be skipped. I have to make peace with the fact that it was my choices that brought me here – and it will be my choices that take me out.

True change can't happen until you understand the need for true change.

And so this is my proclamation to you, to the world, to me – that this is no longer good enough for me. I want more. This is me standing in front of the virtual group and saying, "Hi, my name is Kelly. And I have a problem."

So follow me on this quest to reach a healthier ever after

I'm excited for what the journey holds for me. And I'm excited that you are here. The next steps are to believe that we can change, and to take action on that change. I know I can do it. And so can you!

Good-bye Beautiful! See you on the next step of the journey.

(The next post on this topic will be how I am turning this awareness into accountability.)


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. Rock on, sister. We may call ourselves funny motivational speakers by trade, but we are also Professional Experiencers. We experience stuff, we document it, we walk out to see where it will take us. We compare what we see at that point – with what we WANT to see. If it matches, great. If not we make a different choice. And isn't it true, Kelly? If we didn't have the EXPERIENCE – our words, advice, suggestions would ring extremely hollow. Thank you for unzipping your life, exposing all the parts (scary, funny, happy, sad, fearful) and taking us on the journey with you. It's how we all grow.

  2. Hippy Hip Hooray!!  I am completely psyched for you, Kelly, because your awareness revealed the most important truth of women's war with weight: it's not the number on the scale, it's the health of the body.  Working in the gym setting for many years I have seen numerous "overweight" women who are extremely health and strong!  Personal trainer friends of mine agree on this.  When we let go of the number on the scale and just create healthy habits (giving ourselves the time it takes to change habits) then the body will reset itself where needs to be.  That healthier reset rarely looks like Giselle so we need to let go of that image RIGHT NOW!  But the reset will feel great and look great on YOU!  Hooray for you!!

  3. Congrats and kudos to you Kelly!  You're awesome and I support you 100%!  I actually needed to read this today – letting go of shame is big for me (I won't talk about what I did to discounted leftover Easter candy!)  Thanks for being a positive influence in my life.  Can't wait to see and hear what's next for you ….for us!

  4. Late to the table in responding, but so glad I showed up! Thank you for the shout out and you're absolutely accurate that shame never creates long-lasting change. It's self-love. And like we sisters of the blog know, awareness is the beginning of all change. As someone who carried weight for so many years I, too, understand those dual feelings. You really do love who you are at any size, and yet there's this voice, and it's not a voice that says you have to be skinny, but a voice that knows to go where you're going you have to let go of some habits and step into who you came here to be. It's a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over again, and I appreciate going on this journey with you. I'm ready for another lesson and looking forward to seeing you live that BIG dream you carry inside.


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