As a verb, balance is defined as: “to keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall”. As a noun, balance is defined as: “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” When it comes to my new series “A Balanced Life” I have chosen a few lovely ladies to feature that I believe embody what it means to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. These women inspire me to keep buying organically (even if it is more expensive and some people just don’t get it), to keep working out (even if it is the first time in my life I am getting fit in a healthy way) and to keep up the positive attitude and energy.
My second Balanced Babe is another old high school friend, Brianna Madia (formerly known as Cihi). As I’m sitting here writing this little five sentence intro, I feel a little nervous as I want to ensure that my grammar is precise and my words are witty; not because that isn’t already how I write, but because Brianna’s writing is impeccable. (check out her instagram to see why). She is more than just a great writer, she is intrinsically her, she walks to the beat of her own drum and, since the fourteen years I’ve known her, always has. She definitely inspires me, and the seventeen-thousand others that follow her, and I guarantee she will inspire you!
1. What does a Balanced Life mean to you?
A balanced life to me, means having a serious understanding of yourself and what makes you tick. A lot of people hear “balance” and envision one of those scales where both sides need to weigh the same in order to be even and balanced. I don’t think human beings work like that. I might need a lot more of something to feel balanced than the person sitting next to me. I understand that if I don’t travel or get out of town at least once a week, I start to feel imbalanced and sort of stir crazy. So I work that into my life, even if it means other parts of my life don’t get as much attention…like the pile of laundry slowly consuming my apartment 🙂
Balance to me is just a unique formula that a person creates based on nothing but their own contentment.
2. Do you have an AM and PM routine that contributes to your balanced life?
We travel around a lot and are frequently waking up in different places…some of those places being on the side of the road somewhere 🙂 so even having the tiniest bit of a routine makes me feel like a human. I’d be lying if I said part of my routine didn’t involve social media (if I have service!). It’s hard sometimes being “the one that moved away”…I don’t run into old friends at Target or in line at Starbucks, so I love that social media lets me see what all my friends are doing or thinking or eating or WHATEVER. I love seeing other people happy, so if I start my day by seeing that my old friend got engaged, or had a baby, or posted a selfie because they were feeling beautiful…that makes me happy. I take inspiration from happiness of any kind….even if it doesn’t mirror my own.
3. What is your definition of self-love and positive body image?
A few years ago, when I moved out west and began hiking and rock climbing and going on lengthy backpacking trips, I started to look at my body differently. I was more interested in what it was doing for me, as opposed to what it looked like. I grew up being really self conscious about my broad shoulders and wide back, but those very qualities have helped me foster the necessary muscle strength to bag new climbs, stem through more slot canyons, and carry more weight in my packs. I think its so important to start looking at your body as a machine that, when well-cared for, can do amazing things for you.
I do think there is an interesting conundrum in the world of body image, though. When we’re growing up, we’re sort of conditioned to think our skin isn’t smooth enough, or our stomach isn’t flat enough…but when we voice those complaints, we’re assured by friends and families that we’re beautiful and just fine the way we are. But then when you finally come to peace with your body, you get a similar amount of push-back. Sometimes I think women are afraid to say “I love my hair” or “I love the way my arms look” because you’ll seem conceited or egotistical. So there is this weird line we seem to walk between being proud of our bodies…but not too proud.
I’d love to see that nonsense disappear. I’d love to live in a world where women are proud of themselves and most importantly, proud of each other. I think there needs to be an entire overhaul on body image and we’re all responsible to make it happen.
4. What are some ways you stay active and foods you eat to achieve a balanced mind, body and soul (favorite work out routines, favorite healthy dish/ snack etc.)
I was always active growing up. I swam competitively all through high school. But I started to slack off in college. I tried going to the gym, but it was never a routine that stuck.
Then I adopted my dogs, and in an effort to keep them active and entertained, I started trail running and then hiking really big peaks, then doing overnight backpacking trips. Then my husband and I started rock climbing together and canyoneering and before I knew it, we had evolved into this super active little family. I never feel like I have to go work out because my hobbies are always keeping me moving. But if I ever find myself in a rut, or feeling sluggish, I look to my dogs to fix that. The nice thing about dogs is that you always have a workout partner who is PSYCHED to hit the trails or go for an early morning jog with you. What could be more motivating than that??
I was a vegan for almost nine years and then randomly a few months ago started eating eggs….so technically a vegetarian now 🙂 Currently, I am absolutely obsessed with cauliflower and brussels sprouts. There are about 180 billion ways to cook them and I eat them like popcorn. My favorite, favorite meal (or snack) is cauliflower buffalo wings. You can eat an entire head of cauliflower and its like…90 calories hahah. All you do is cut the cauliflower into bite size florets, dip them in a batter that is just equal parts water and brown rice flour, bake for 15 minutes, flipping half way through. Then brush them with buffalo sauce, bake another 20, then serve with vegan ranch. (The recipe I use is from PopSugar if you wanted to google and share it 🙂
They are to die for and all my big, burly, carnivorous, mountain-man friends ask for them by name.
5. Words to live by/ favorite quote that has to do with positivity, good vibes or positive body image.
Ugh how do I choose….like most girls on the internet… I love quotes hahaha
I have 3 quotes that I repeat to myself like…almost daily. Two of them remind me to be brave and one of them reminds me to be present. I’ll give you the present one:
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I think comparison is a natural, evolutionary reaction and its unrealistic to say we’ll never compare ourselves to someone else. But when I was growing up, my mama told me that there will always be someone funnier than you, prettier than you, smarter than you…but never more you than you. I think when you find yourself comparing your looks or your life or your accomplishments to another, you should try as hard as you can to feel nothing but happiness for that person. Letting go of bitterness or regret clears the way for you to feel joy about your own life, which, by the way, someone is probably comparing themselves to as we speak.
If you want to follow Brianna, her handsome hubby and adorable children (aka her adventurous dogs) and continue to be inspired by her journey, then click here to follow her on Instagram!
Stay tuned next Saturday to see our next Balanced Babe of the week!