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 next Balanced babe, Jessica Diaz is inspiring to me in a different way. Yes, she is active and eats well; yes, she juggles being a barre instructor, mother of two and personal trainer, but it’s the why she started it all that inspires me. In 2013, Jessica suffered a stroke (putting to bed the thought that only old people experience this issue) and from then on her life changed. I won’t give away all the characteristics that make Jessica amazing, I’ll let her tell you herself.
What does a Balanced Life mean to you?
For me a day of perfect balance would be fitting in quality time with my kids and husband, a great workout, amazing healthy meals, a few hours of being productive, like teaching and writing, and time with friends and family. In my reality, that never all happens in one day. I used to try to look for balance in my day-to-day to life and that just isn’t actually possible with all I have to juggle and all the things I want to fit in. Striving to live that way each day caused me more stress. I now try to look at finding balance over each week. If I can fit in all those things over 7 days, I am happy. Another aspect of being in balance is keeping myself in check that I am not spending too much time one aspect of my life, which throws everything out of balance. I tend do this when I get excited about something new and become overly focused on it.
Do you have an AM and PM routine that contributes to your balanced life?
Between being a mom and teaching 6am Barre classes, I always am up around 5am. My early morning routine always consists of coffee and then water with lemon. I wish I could say it also included a nice 20 minute meditation, but 90 percent of the time it doesn’t. However, I do read a 2-minute daily intention by spiritual leader, Marianne Williamson. This really helps me shift into a positive mindset.
What is your definition of self-love and positive body image?
This is tricky and something I am always struggling with and the definitions I have are always evolving. I think self-love is about being really honest with yourself about how you are living your life, while at the same time being compassionate and not too judgmental. I have always been really hard on myself and now at 40, I know that is not self-love. I try really hard to minimize the negative judgments I have about myself because that is just self-sabotage. Instead I try reminding myself that even if my current situation is not what I want for my life or I know I have made a mistake, that I also know, I have the power to change it. This mindset makes me feel more optimistic and positive.
I think an important part of having a positive body image comes from trying really hard not to compare yourself to others. I think focusing more on achieving our “best self” is truly the way to have a healthier self image. It is so easy to get caught up in wanting a celebrities airbrushed looks or that persons skin or that persons body type etc. and that just doesn’t help us feel good about ourselves. I know when I am taking care of myself, eating healthy, exercising, and having enough down time, I feel good.
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.).
Barre workouts have transformed my body. I have been taking barre classes for 15 years, and teaching it for 5 years. I love barre because the entire workout balances strength building exercises with stretching. For foods, I don’t have any specific foods that I eat, I think when it comes to nutrition the more varied foods you can eat the better. I am dairy free and do my best to avoid processed foods. For years the majority of my diet has been plant based, and I just recently have shifted to be completely meat-free. I am surprised and how much more energy I am feeling.
Words to live by/ favorite quote that has to do with positivity, good vibes or positive body image.
My favorite quote is to trust in the process of life. I now have so much faith that even the obstacles in our lives become opportunities for growth and positive transformation.
I’m so excited to learn more about Jessica and to learn more from her at this year’s Day of WELLness. It’s not too late to get tickets. Click here for tickets, and use code: TSSB for $$$ off your ticket! Bring friends. Your health and well-being should always come first!