The single most important reason to eat well and exercise…








Compassion (noun): a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.


We have so many reasons to begin or keep up with an exercise program. Then we are convinced that our exercise efforts will not work unless we eat well.

Reasons differ for many people, but usually fall somewhere between wanting to fit into a former size and wanting to look good for bikini season.

As superficial as they sound when writing them down, those reasons are valid.

But they don’t always stick.

They are easily brushed off and set aside.

You can always wear a cover-up at the beach or just buy bigger sizes next time you shop. Just cut out the tags and forget the size exists.

Body image will always toy with your head no matter how skinny, lean, fluffy, obese, pear or apple shaped you are. It’s an unavoidable part of your life.

So, why do you put so much focus on it? Sure, you can blame mainstream media for shoving ideals down your throat. At the grocer line you see tabloid covers gleaning with embarrassing photos of cellulite-riddled celebrity legs and once-hunky beaus with beer guts.

That might be enough to convince you to put back the Snicker’s bar impulse-buy, but you will hang onto the Ben and Jerry’s pint just in case you have a bad day at the office.

If looks aren’t enough to push you toward better health, you usually wait for a ‘scare’.

It could be a lump in your breast.

Maybe you can’t walk up the stairs any longer without feeling winded and out of breath.

Your father had a heart attack.

Your mother was diagnosed.

Your sister.

Why does it take so long for you to realize what you’ve become?

Yesterday I read a blog post on Leigh Peele’s blog regarding ‘sizeism’.

It was a brilliant riposte to an article published in Marie Claire that allowed a journalist to blatantly express her disgust toward large people in media.

I’m sure if you took a snap shot of my face while reading this post my expression would appear nothing short of sober.

For all the external factors that come into play when discussing ‘why’ I choose the lifestyle that choose… deep down inside the internal factors eat away at my core.

I come from a family with a deep history of depression. Some cases so severe that my loved ones could or can no longer function in society.

I come from a family with a staggering history of heart disease. Both of my paternal grandparents died from it.

I watch my loved ones suffer from the symptoms caused by obesity.

I discuss with my parents issues like hypertension, weight gain, depression… cancer.

I think nothing is more sobering than watching a vibrant carefree loved one suddenly wither away within months of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Listening to her laughter at a birthday party one month and the next listening to her final breaths in a hospice.

I’ve talked with friends who live in fear because they are the only women in their family who haven’t been diagnosed with cancer. They wait idly for their turn with chemo.

I know breast cancer survivors in their twenties and thirties… They live knowing they can never have  children of their own.

…It’s not about the size of your clothes or how you see yourself in the mirror.

It’s about what goes on inside of your body.

If anything should drive you toward greater health and wellness, let it be disease prevention.

So many of us are genetically predisposed to disease.

I know I am.

I know my children are.

The last thing I ever want is for my children to lie next to me in a hospital bed.

I know I can’t predict the future and I can’t prevent the inevitable.

But I can make choices that will improve my life and perhaps keep me spinning in the fields and dancing on Friday nights with those I cherish most.

Forget the scale and the clothes and how ugly, fat, disgusting, disliked you feel for a moment.

Take a look at yourself and think about the most elemental part of you… your cells.

Though the scale may seem stuck at a disagreeable number, or your squat may not budge another 5 pounds, your cells change every single day.

They multiply, grow, shrink, become clogged with muck, lose electrical charge… die off.

They are the very essence of your being, the reason you exist the way you do.

Each one serving its own purpose in your life.

Each one fighting free radicals, pollution, poor nutrition, aging, microbes, and any other invader that makes its way into your system.

Eventually it becomes a one-sided battle.

But we often neglect to see ourselves as biological beings.

Until that scare…

Even then sometimes we don’t get it.

When my daughter was 2, I had a scare. My kidneys had become so toxic that they shut down. I was in and out of consciousness for 3 days, and all I remember is squinting across the bed at my little girl as she waiting for me to hold her.

I worked long hours. I starved myself due to stress. I did this long enough that no medical treatment or intervention worked and I came very close to renal failure.

Even then, I still didn’t get it.

I had a high-risk pregnancy with my son. He was completely fine, but my body couldn’t handle carrying him because I still wasn’t taking care of myself.

My kidneys were not healed from my previous illness. I ate a poor diet.

I was in and out of the hospital with preterm labor for months and on bed rest for the latter part of my pregancy.

Eventually my body had enough and my son was born 1 month early. He lay in an incubator in the NICU because I didn’t get it.

Thankfully, now I do. It took years of stubborn internal battles, but I finally get it.

In Leigh’s post she ended on a note of compassion. Acting with compassion as a trainer or nutritionist. Acting with compassion for those around you and those you love. Acting with compassion for yourself.

When it comes to your health and the health of those around you, let your heart guide you instead of your ego.

Act with a little more self-compassion.

Own up to the fact that you are responsible for your own self-esteem, self-worth, and most importantly self-awareness, then act upon this ownership.

Nourish your body inside and out. Understand your own guilt, remorsefulness, and sorrow when it comes to your struggles with body image, weight, or perhaps ailing of your loved ones.

Know that you may never meet your ‘ideal’ weight or fit into your ideal ‘size’.

Tuck that away for a while and focus on your future. How do you want to live in 10, 20, 50 years from now?

I personally would like to see you on a Smucker’s jam label on the Today show celebrating your 102nd birthday.

If you take anything away from this post, remember that it is far  easier to act with compassion than live with regret.



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  • Compassion is a wonderful word. Thank you for reminding me of how important it is. :)

  • Yes, that is so true. We MUST lead by example. We always are even if we think that we don’t have to ‘practice what we preach’. Great addition to the conversation, Elaine.

  • Renee, I am so glad you found my site and ‘welcome’ to our community! Thanks for sharing and enjoying the content.

  • Thank you, Roxanne.

  • I am in awe over how far you’ve come. Everyday you bring forward an even greater sense of self and empower so many women to find this within as well. Thanks for sharing your insight with us, K.

  • Rebecca, I deeply admire how you never stop growing and learning in your health endeavors. Your efforts are most respectable and I appreciate you sharing with us.

  • Thank you, Michael.

  • Thank you, Susan.

  • Anne, you have overcome so much and are amazingly humbled by your experiences. I am in constant admiration of you. Thanks for sharing this intimate time in your life.

  • Amara, you are so right. Sometimes we do need those ‘scary’ moments to help us remember what’s important in life. Beautifully said.

  • Wow – a very powerful blog post. I will take your messages to heart tonight. I do train and eat for my best health. And another thing I think about nearly every day…my children are watching and listening. What do I want them to learn from me?

  • wow. That was an amazing post. It is always good to reflect and realize how each decision will move us either toward or away from good health. I discovered your post a few weeks ago while on my quest for pull up inspiration. “A moment I will never forget is the first time I saw a figure competitor at my gym bang out a set of unassisted pull ups. It was the most beautiful sight in the world.” We have to remember to always treat ourselves with such awe and respect. Great post.

  • Love this post! Thanks Kellie!

  • I think this is a pretty amazing post actually. I’m learning to back-off from training and love my body rather than kill it off. Activation not annihilation

    With respect to this post, I think between us we can establish that moderation and consistency can get us to optimum health. We owe it to our bodies to not be extremist- neither sloth-like nor a fanatic

    It’s the only body we’ve got. Let’s make it our ally at least

  • I love the fact that you talk about intrinsic health. We hear about the extrinsic reasons for eating well & regular exercise, but many people don’t think beyond the scale or clothes size. It is what I have been trying to learn about over the last 30 years. If we look after ourselves intrinsically then the extrinsic factors will take care of themselves.

  • Well done my friend!

  • Love. This. Post.

  • I agree with you. For me it was being diagnosed with a brain tumor. I knew I was not healthy enough to make it through chemo – so I lost the additional weight. Ironically if you don’t sit down and say at some point “I’m healthy” and instead focus on the size of your clothes – then you miss the boat and can wind up hurting yourself even more.

    Good article!

  • It’s hard to put away the unimportant reasons, but then life always seems to send you something huge to bring you back off of surface living and get you back where you should be: looking at the real reasons for life. As uncomfortable as those times and experiences are, I’m grateful to them: for showing me the truth–mainly how much more important relationships are than size or appearance.

  • Thank you so much, Tezara. The most important thing you can do is take small steps. You are so right in saying that you can break the bank feeding your family. Just do what you can and slowly progress into a healthier lifestyle. Never stop learning.

    Florida is such a great environment for gardening. If you don’t have a yard, you can always grow in pots. This is a wonderful option for fresh produce.

    Here is a list of local farmer’s markets in your area:

    I hope this helps.

  • This an amazing blog and I understand your ideas on eating healthy and exercising. Also I understand that I need to loose the extra weight I have gained in the past 6 months(due to the stress of school), however, my concern is with organic produce and cash flow. Why is it so expensive to purchase organic? And is their a way to find a local farmers market available in Cape Coral. This way I could contribute to not only the local farmers, but also my wallet $$. I am noticing the issues with corn syrup and additional additives that are very unhealthy, and I would like to guide my family gently away from processed foods. Hopefully without draining my bank account. Any feed back is appreciated. Thank you Kelli your blogs are motivating me towards my exercise goals again!

    Tezara Funk

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