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Filtering by Category: Motivation

VIDEO: The Trick to Creating Permanent Change: Losing the Weight for the Last Time

Danika Brysha

There's a certain high that comes along with a great weight loss and feeling better about ourselves... and a very clear low when our diet eventually fails us and we gain the weight back. By this point, most health-conscious individuals recognize that diets don't work.  The key is making realistic lifestyle changes that have no end date in sight.  So if diets don't work, what can we do in order to create lasting change? I've got your back!  Check out my latest video on creating permanent changes and the trick to losing the weight for the final time.  And a bonus, this tip helps in all areas of life whether it's addiction, a job we don't like, a bad relationship, or just an overall desire to step yourself UP in the game of life.

VIDEO: Meditation, Tuning In, and My Weave

Danika Brysha

I've gone and done it friends.  I've started meditating.  And I can't really stop. It's a massive game changer and I had no idea what those crazy meditating people were talking about until my girl Oprah offered me a free 21-day meditation challenge. And if there are two things in this world that I can't say no to, it is Oprah and anything that's free.

Just by sitting still and quieting my conscious thoughts for 20 minutes a day, I have uncovered so many things that I had previously buried with ideas of how things should be, expectations and anxiety, and stories of how I wasn't quite good enough. It has been less than two weeks and I've already discovered a few key points AND seen them playing out immediately in my daily life. Let's just say I've been using the phrases "Wow!" and "Holy Sh!t" in my journal a lot lately.

Here is what I now know for sure through my mediation practice:

1. Everything we need, every single thing, is within us

2. When we find it in ourselves to stop worrying and to trust that we'll be taken care of and everything will be ok, the universe will have the space to get to work.  And that damn "universe" (or God or Energy or whatever you prefer to call it) knows what's best for us. Like always.

3. Letting go of our conscious thoughts allows us access to our core, deeper ones- the ones that know us best and that aren't affected by the stories and lies we tell ourselves- the subconscious self has all the answers but we have to be in a position to listen.

And so maybe this makes me a hippy but I'm certainly ok with that identification if it means I can keep this up on the reg. Do you meditate?  I'd love to hear about your experience if so... mainly to prove that I'm not crazy.  And because I love you. I realized that while meditating. You're welcome.

Check out my experience via video blog, a cameo from Kingsley, and find out why I put my weave in for your viewing pleasure...

Practicing Vulnerability: Journals Unedited

Danika Brysha

In the last couple months, I have been journaling every day.  I absolutely love to write and when I do, time stands still. It has been the first time that I've been able to really make sense of my thoughts and to truly access that deeper level that has been buried or numbed for so long. Most of my blog posts take fragments from my journal and are edited to suit an audience but every now and then I want to share with you the dialogue that comes straight from my heart.  My journal entries, completely unedited.  Here is what came up this morning...

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Date: Friday, April 11th, 2014

Time: 12:30-1:30pm

Location: NYC- Meatpacking District: random table and chair outside Gaslight

I decided to stop and sit in the action of the city to do this morning's journaling.  With the exception of the cigarette smoke that's reaching my health bubble, everything is pretty perfect.  I just had a casting at Milk Studios so I'm looking pretty top notch as well. I like being alone in a big city occasionally.  All sorts of energy passing by as I peacefully sit here and write.

I want to feel like New York is as magical as if I was sitting in the middle of Paris or Barcelona.  And it is!  It can just be hard to recognize when you feel like it isn't going anywhere.  When you live here it is really easy to take for granted the fact that I'm living in the most beautiful part of the most amazing city in the world.  How lucky am I?!

I really don't need much to make me happy.  Getting good sleep, getting up and ready for the day, and getting out into the world is so fulfilling.  What I'm doing right now is what I hope to be doing forever.  And its so great to know just how little I really need to be happy. A journal, a pen, a roof over my head, food to eat, and love and support around me.  I could really make that a reality anywhere.

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It's truly a great day in NY.  The first since I've moved here that was really suited to sitting outside and writing.  I have a feeling that Spring will be when I fall madly in love with this place.  As I've been spending more time out and about, meeting people and being present, I'm reminded of how many wonderful people are out in this world.  It's a true shame that we don't get to meet all of them but I trust that the universe brings together the right ones. 

I've been really wanting to be my true, authentic self more lately.  I notice that I still wear a lot of masks and that I want nothing more than to totally strip myself of them in all arenas. The thing is, I know I'm a beautiful, passionate person worth of love and I truly believe that I'd find even more support and much deeper connections if I could just find a way to cut out all the bullshit.  All of the caring what people think, trying to please everyone, and anything I do that suggests I'm trying to be something that I'm not.  I know I'll get there.  I've already come so far and I know it's just a matter of time.  I'm just going to try to be more aware of when I think I may be faking or trying too much and to make some positive shift.

(My friend) Julia is staying with me and she's just so real. So able to be vulnerable and not concern herself with what I think when she tells a story.  She seems to just be really in tune with herself which I admire.  For so long I numbed myself to all my emotions so I can't expect to start feeling and being completely in tune with them right away.  It all takes time.  It's a journey much like mine with food.

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I'm beginning to get a lot more comfortable with being hungry.  I've found that now that I've told myself that being hungry is ok, I'm a lot less frantic about the concept.  I can relax and live more, knowing that I don't have to plan every move around my next meal.  Knowing that food will always be there and that I won't starve.  It feels really freeing.  And I think that's gonna be the key to being able to tune out the thinking about food all day thing.  Because when I know its ok to be hungry, I can forget to worry about it and in turn focus on living fully during the remainder of my days.  When its not a constant concern, I'll be able to forget about it- which for me is the ultimate goal. 

To only think of food and eating when my physical body tells me it needs fueling.  That would be a true cure for me.  The goal of all of this.  To take all the power away from food and to view it strictly as fuel. 

Be someone who "forgets to eat" or who finally views eating as another normal daily task like going to the bathroom or sleeping.

Something we think about when our body alerts us to its necessity and that we don't think about when it doesn't. That's how I define being cured from food addiction.  That's the END!

I think I've always had a hard time determining what the goal was.  What to strive for at the very end of all of this.  What I can tell people to expect when they can finally conquer all of this.  Being the kind of person that can have a box of Cheez-Its go stale in the cupboard or find a bag of peanut M&M's that have expired in your pantry.  

And fortunately through all of this I've managed to become super passionate about health and nutrition as well.  Thinking for so long that they were two completely related concepts but really they're quite different.  I'm glad my comfort eating led me to thinking nutrition was the answer because though I'm realizing that it isn't, I managed to gain an extreme love and passion for quality, real, whole foods in this process of self-discovery.  And that is truly invaluable!

Danika

Food as Comfort

Danika Brysha

I just woke up from a short, very much needed nap and felt an overwhelming lure to eat.  Quite zombiesque, I went to the kitchen and began shoveling some assortment of fruit into my mouth.  A box of raspberries, a carton of blueberries, blackberries, and a handful of grapes- non-organic... ballsy, I know.

It was temporary comfort and I acknowledged quite quickly what was happening.  I had still been physically full from a big lunch I had had an hour before and it was clear to me that this yearning or hunger was coming from a different place.  I acknowledged it and did my best to be present in the binge.  I knew that when I was eating and I wasn't hungry, I was actually eating to fill some void.  To find some comfort for something within me.

And just a note- my binges didn't always look like the example listed above.   They used to involve $45 at the Taco Bell drive thru, 5 spoonfuls of raw cookie dough, bags of Funyons, Munchies Mix, and Flavor Blasted Goldfish, a full Hawaiian pizza, Heath bars and Peanut M&M's- and much more. The memory is so clear.  I've shifted the foods I keep around to be much healthier after educating myself on all the chemicals, hormones, and additives in most of our foods today. So, though the food types may have changed, the emotional connection is exactly the same.

I continued... eating a Chocolate Coconut Lara Bar followed by a Fuji Apple with probably 3 servings of Raw Almond butter sprinkled in cinnamon.  Upon the last bite of that apple I was physically stuffed, slightly uncomfortable, and now on top of the discomfort I had felt that originally led me to food- I had added the feeling of guilt.

The biggest challenge that I've been facing lately is deciphering between my hunger for sustenance- the physical growls and pangs of an empty stomach and a body that needs (healthy) fueling- and that of my hunger for something more.  I've used food as comfort for as long as I can remember and I'm very aware that at the core of finding my way to a super healthy relationship with food, is the ability to recognize the difference between these two hungers- and to act accordingly.  When the hunger is not physical, the answer is not food. Healthy or otherwise.

On this particular day, I am very tired.  I have been quite consciously focusing on getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night lately, but I'd made an exception.  Last night something really magical happened to me.  I sat down and started writing in this journal after years of only writing directly on my computer (technically typing).  I'd always wanted to start journaling again like I often did in the single digit years of my life, but it always just seemed unproductive and like work.

I'm not sure what it was that made me take an actual pen to paper, but from the second I started writing I felt a rush of pure passion come over me and the next thing I knew, it was four hours and almost half a journal later of my thoughts and feelings and ideas before my eyes.  I couldn't stop writing and I got completely lost in the words.  For the first time since childhood I felt like I was able to directly stream words from my heart to the paper without the process of overthinking that comes with the usual pitstop in my head- the writing for an audience and critical self observations.  Time just completely stood still and I felt like I had rediscovered this passion that I had known all along was within me.  The next thing I knew, it was 5AM and my eyes were burning but my soul was in one of the calmest most serene states I had felt in ages. As if I'd just emptied layers of emotions I'd numbed over time.

Which brings me back to the point that I am VERY tired today and rather than listening to what my body really needed- sleep, I turned to food instead.  But when I use food in this way, I am in reality just covering up the problem instead of solving it.  Much like many prescription drugs do today, I was treating the symptoms rather than the cause. Food is a drug. It's real yo. Except we can't quit cold turkey. Mmm, Turkey.

But then something clicked and I paused in my place. It's ok to not be perfect all the time. To seek comfort in something outside of us.  The best thing we can do is pause for a second, be completely present, and show compassion towards ourselves.  Shift the thinking from being guilty, "cheating", or lacking willpower to making the conscious choice that though you may know that what you're doing is not the answer, it is what you need at this time.  And when you pause to accept that you are eating to comfort and you are consciously choosing to do so, then you'll find that the "craze" and feeling of powerlessness diminishes even faster. You'll quickly gain back control and you can then stop when you've had enough. It is important in that very moment to be kinder than usual to yourself, and then move forward having learned something from the experience, and with a new sense of power and ability to cope when you're forced with it again.

Coming Back Home: Food, Fears, and Finding Yourself

Danika Brysha

I’ve found what I want to do with my life.  What I want to be when I grow up.  I’ve always had an idea and I was headed in the right direction but the last couple months have been filled with a few lifestyle changes that have put me on the yellow brick road to personal happiness and fulfillment.  What is my dream? Well since you asked… I want to inspire and motivate people to live their best lives ever- focusing first and foremost on developing a healthy relationship with food.  Food addiction, constant dieting, eating disorders, obesity, emotional eating, body image struggles… all of it. I’ve been there and while it still takes daily work to maintain, I have found the answers that I spent so many years looking for.  And I want to share them.  Through blogging, videos, books, public speaking, comedy, media, photos, the fashion industry, by interviewing others and hearing their stories, and through any other platform that helps build a connection and create positive change.

Over the last decade or so, I have suffered immensely in regards to my relationship with food. I still define the last 15 years by the different stages of food struggles I endured.  I’m working on that.  It has been my comfort, my therapist, my loving connection, and my greatest enemy.

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I grew up on McDonalds and other fast foods, ultimately feeding my young brain and body with chemicals rather than the nutrients I needed to fully thrive.  We were busy kids and my parents were doing their best to get my brothers and me all over town to our various sports and activities.  Not many people were educated on what was going into those quick “meals”.  My poor nutrition led me to gain weight which led me to feeling different and being bullied for being the “big girl”.  Which led me to seek comfort… which I found in food.  I’ll never forget the time when a car full of boys yelled out the window “Go back to the beach whale”.  I felt ugly and undesirable which created extreme body image issues.  Instead of focusing on what I could do with my innate talents like writing, performing, and inspiring people, I decided it was more important to prove people wrong. To show them I was more than a “whale”.

(My bedroom walls during high school- floor to ceiling photos of models)

My goals shifted from owning a zoo and having my own talk show, to being a model.  The skinny, emaciated kind.  After all, I had “such a pretty face”.  I learned to diet and lost 45lbs doing Atkins in high school. And low and behold- I won homecoming queen. I made varsity cheerleading.  Guys loved me.  But when the weight started coming back on, I had to find other ways of staying skinny.

When I was sad or stressed or insecure or lonely, I binge ate thousands of extra calories a day.  And then I threw them up. Seven, ten, twelve times a day. I had a special blue toothbrush hidden away for this very event. I wouldn’t weigh myself with even a bobby pin in my hair in fear that it would tip the scale unfavorably.  Four root canals later I knew I had to shift my process.  Enter drugs and alcohol.

I drove to dangerous neighborhoods to buy hard drugs that I had heard were appetite suppressants.  I was desperate to keep the weight off and spent thousands of dollars on my new “hobby”.  Something finally told me I was too valuable to go down that path and I managed to ditch the drugs.  The illegal ones at least.  I realize now that food can be more of a drug than the hard stuff.  But each time I decided I was better than some disorder or temptation, I unknowingly moved on to something else.

Alcohol gave me an escape like binge eating did.  It numbed me and for those drunken moments I didn’t have to feel so much. And when I was drunk and able to let go a little bit, I ate even more.  I spent years and all of my energy caught in the diet/binge cycle- turning to food for love, affection, comfort.  My life was defined by two things… the times I was in control, and the times I was out of it. Do you know how exhausting it is to think about food, calories, and your body image for every waking moment of your day? I have a feeling a lot of you do.  I was robbing the world and most importantly myself of all the amazing things I had to offer.

I’d finally had enough.  Enough weight watchers weigh-ins, enough writing my goal weight in my planner, enough shoveling food into my body unconsciously while no one was looking.  Enough of not feeling like enough.  That little voice in my head that told me I was better than all this popped up in the time of crisis like it had done a couple times before.  And so I made a promise to myself.

I quit dieting once and for all.  I didn’t talk about diets or negatively about my body and my friends weren’t allowed to either.  I saw THIS BOOK on Oprah and I read it.  It changed my life.  Somebody was finally speaking my language.  I wasn’t alone.  I started sharing with close friends.  Not only was I not alone, I was actually one of many. Why didn’t anybody talk about this?

Little by little I started loving myself and my body more and more.  In the mornings I’d wake up and rather than thinking about losing weight and how flat my stomach looked, I was focusing on growing as a person, finding the things that made me happy, discovering new passions that had been buried under my weight consumed brain for so long.  And when I finally found a bit of peace with my body, guess what happened? I became a model.

I was running an errand at Bank of America and was approached by an agency and asked if I had considered plus size modeling.  I did some research to make sure they weren’t murderers and eventually signed with them.  My career took off quickly and I added agencies in New York, London, and Germany to my roster.  I was living my dream in a way that didn’t require me to hurt myself.  Turns out that whole “be careful what you wish for” thing is legit.

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During the last few years while I’ve been working as a full time model, I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’m a little ashamed that it took the industry to tell me that I was “good enough” but for me that was what I needed.  Modeling gave me the opportunity to travel, meet all sorts of interesting people, and to work on my confidence- but most importantly, it has awarded me a lifestyle that allows me the time, means, and financial freedom to chase my other passions.

And for a while I thought this was the end of my story.  Coming full circle, living my dream, finding contentment. But I was still seeking comfort in food and often alcohol.  I had come a really long way but I still felt somewhat consumed.  I wanted to feel my best- to live at my most optimal level.  And in the last few months something shifted.  My contentment turned into drive.  I stepped back and looked at my life from the outside.  I took into account the dreams that I still wanted to pursue and picked out certain things that were holding me back. I was fine with my body and was learning to love it but I knew I wasn’t living to my potential.  I wanted to feel vibrant and alive and full of energy.  I wanted to function at my highest level possible.  I wanted to be my best self ever.  And if I’ve learned anything, it is that the most significant change happens outside your comfort zone.  If I wanted different results, I’d need to take different actions.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

As it turns out, I was most certainly insane.  I committed to making 2014 the year of being my best self ever- and to be a person that keeps my commitments.  I spoke to a health coach friend and got inspired, followed a clean eating program called the Whole30, cut out alcohol and any processed foods like dairy, grains, added sugars, legumes, and more. I educated myself.  I started from square one and lived by the Whole30’s motto that “food either makes you more healthy or less healthy… there is no in between”. I committed to being active for 45 mins every day- incorporating yoga almost daily, running, strength training, long walks with my dog, and little things like taking the stairs and carrying my groceries home. I stopped eating out almost entirely and started hosting healthy dinner parties and tea dates (it turns out that a lot of people like these sort of get-togethers even more than the drunken bar ones!). I still went out to the bars occasionally and sipped soda waters with lime and danced until 3am- I’m pretty good at faking drunk after all these years of practicing the real thing. I focused on getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night.  I took baths, wore cute lingerie to bed for myself, read TONS of books (which I’ll share in the future), took pride in the cleanliness of my apartment, burnt all the nice candles down to the glass, and cooked myself elaborate healthy dinners better than most restaurants I’d been to.  I realized that every moment of life is a special occasion and it was time I started living it that way.

To wake up every single morning and know that you are a better version of yourself than you were the day before is a feeling that is hard to put into words.  A month passed and I had no intention of going back to my old ways.  Instead, I was so impressed with my ability to change my life in a month’s time, that I created a little game for myself called ‘The 12 Months of Greatness’ in which I commit to a new challenge, outside my comfort zone, every single month, while keeping all the challenges from the prior months.  In a year's time I would have 12 new habits.  If that doesn’t scream “Best Self Ever”, I don’t know what does.

For the first time in my adult life, I can say that I am truly coming to peace with food.  I still struggle with turning to food for comfort but I feel completely in control of what I choose to put in my body, yet not obsessive or consumed by rules and strategies and guidelines.  The key to making lasting change is to be compassionately strict with yourself.  Push yourself- but when you make a mistake, which you will, rather than beat yourself up for what you did wrong, instead look at how much you did right.

I had no idea that through changing my relationship with food and what I chose to fuel my body with, I would so immensely change my entire life.  I am cleaner, more confident, more productive, more vibrant, have more energy, more optimistic, more active, more balanced, calmer, less judgmental, more centered, present, and most importantly happier.  I can’t tell you how many times I start dancing around my apartment alone for no good reason other than to express my joy.  I still have a lot to work on but that is why life is a journey.

At the forefront of it all, I’ve learned to trust and listen to my body again.  I’d been so detached from it for so many years, it is nice to be home again.  And in trusting it I’ve learned that it has had a lot to tell me.  It told me that I’ve found something that works for me.  I’ve found the answers that I’ve been looking for all along.  It told me that I get joy out of sharing with others- being able to inspire those with similar struggles, telling my story, helping people find the answers that will lead them home too.  It told me- clearer than it has every told me anything before- that this is my message.  This is what I am here on this earth to do.  And what better way to be my best self ever than to inspire you to be yours?

I challenge you to take a step back and look at where you are.  If you are not where you want to be then have the courage to change something.  Make it realistic but push outside of your comfort zone.  Recognize that your personal happiness is a direct result of only one thing- YOU.  So trust yourself- your body, your dreams, your passions.  I promise they won’t steer you wrong. Commit to waking up every day as a better version of yourself.

Because when you truly love yourself wholeheartedly, and you recognize how valuable you are- you will take the necessary steps to take care of yourself.  And when you can do this, I can promise you with every part of my being, that every other piece will fall perfectly into place.

With compassion, love, gratitude, and so much more,

Danika

Vulnerability and the ProFreshNess of being REAL

Danika Brysha

Working in the fashion and beauty industry gives me a firsthand view of just how much fake-ness goes into most of the media we are exposed to.  My Facebook status just yesterday asked where I could find a great spray tan place for an upcoming swimwear shoot.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited about my friend's comment that they threw in a few bonus airbrushed abs.  And as I pack my hair extensions, get my acrylic toenails glued on, and sit for hours being made up for camera, I am often reminded of how refreshing it is to sit around in a completely unsexy sweatsuit and take in the moments where I get to be 100% myself.  Like right now for example.

I've recently started to recognize just how important it is to find the courage to be vulnerable. It allows us to connect to others on a much deeper level, and to know that we are not alone in whatever it is that we struggle with.  So when my girl Christina recently moved to L.A. from the big apple, I knew I had to pick her brain (on video duh) and find out how she does such a great job of promoting realness, vulnerability, and overall epicness on her world famous blog proFRESHstyle.

Check out my interview with Christina above as she talks about why she feels it is important to share so much of herself, how opening up about her sexual assault brought her even closer to her readers, and how she finds balance between comedy and sensitivity.

And then check out our collaboration over on Christina's page where she teaches me how to properly use Bay Area slang.  Cashin' out all over the place...

Health Challenge: Cutting Out Processed Foods… without obsessing

Danika Brysha

I had the privilege of interviewing health and wellness expert, Chelsea Hise-Strate, of Life Balance by Chelsea.  She is like my own personal Dr. Oz.  Except not really anything like that.  I recently decided that I want to do whatever it takes to live my best life ever and that it was time to start questioning almost every behavior that I have.  I told Chelsea this and she decided to give me a personal challenge.  The challenge was to not eat any processed foods for one week and to keep a food journal documenting what I ate, when I ate it, and how I was feeling.  Chelsea sent me over a cheat sheet and some info for my first day of the challenge which you can see here.  Check out the video to see how the challenge went.  Spoiler alert:  I’m addicted to clean eating!

And if you missed the original interview, you can see it here

There you have it.  I’ve been sucked in to the healthy living lifestyle and I don’t see myself leaving it any time soon.  I love that feeling when something just clicks and you know you are on to something.  I knew I could do the challenge but I had no idea just how much it would change my body and ultimately my life.  If I feel this great after a week of eating like this then I can’t imagine how I’ll be feeling in a few months or even years.  I’ve always had some acne and it has been clearing up like crazy.  My energy and positivity is through the roof and I have had multiple friends comment on the physical change they see in me, specifically in the brightness of my eyes!  I sound like a total hippy granola lover right now (raw, organic granola that is).  And I’m ok with that.

If you’re interested in seeing what I ate over the course of the week and how I was feeling, click here.

Food has always been an issue for me.  As some of you know, I had a pretty severe eating disorder for about a decade of my life.  I spent all my energy being consumed with weight loss and food.  I have to admit that when I was given this challenge, I was a bit fearful.  Afraid that consuming my mind with food would plunge me back into the disordered mindset I had finally fought off.  Scared that putting so much energy into recording my every bite would flash me back to the years I spent counting every single calorie.  But after honest consideration, I decided that I am at a healthy enough place in my life that I could take on this challenge.  And I am more than grateful that I did.

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So much of my eating issues have been based around control.  I’m not sure if eating disorders ever fully go away but I can promise that they lose almost all of their power with each and every day that you commit to overcoming them.  Not only was I altering my diet and recording my every bite, I was continuing the ongoing process of learning to eat out of physical hunger rather than emotionally. I have to fight every day to not reach for comfort food any time I feel stressed, tired, overwhelmed, sad or bored.   Geneen Roth is an author who has changed my life and I highly recommend her books to anybody suffering from emotional eating or who feels like they are constantly in a battle with food and their body.

But with this challenge I found that I felt more in control than ever before.  I didn’t obsess over what I was eating- I chose to eat things because I started listening to my body and paying attention to what made it feel good.  I was able to recognize that I didn’t need to be perfect with this.  All that mattered was that I did my best.  I was more in tune with my body than every before.  Where I used to look for food as an escape from how I was feeling, I was finally able to get fully in touch with myself.  I felt like I could finally shift my thought process from seeing food as an evil, to recognizing how wonderful fresh nutrient-rich food could make me feel.

It is early to say this, but I’m fairly certain that this is the start of a lifetime of health, wellness, and self-appreciation.  I have no plans to be perfect but I have every intention of giving it my best shot.  This challenge has woken me up to how connected everything truly is.  Because I am feeling so great physically, my mind is clearer and I am happier.  I am infinitely more productive, driven, and present, and I have been spending my new excess of energy on trying to bring joy to all those that I come into contact with.

Have any of you experienced similar results from a change in your diet and lifestyle? I would love to hear your story of transformation and share it with other readers so we can continue to inspire people to live their best lives possible.

I will keep you guys posted on how this all progresses but as of now it has been two weeks since I started and I have no intention whatsoever to stop.  Thanks for supporting me in this journey and if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, I would absolutely love to hear it!

Check out Chelsea's website here: Life Balance by Chelsea

MONDivation: Finding Yourself

Danika Brysha

My life has definitely gone in directions I couldn't have predicted.  And though I am happy with where I am at this point, I always have that voice in my head asking me... Where are you headed?  What does the future hold?  Are you on the right path towards achieving your goals and dreams?  Will you be "OK" in the future?

Modeling was something I wanted to do since I was a child and the fact that I now do it full time and spend my days traveling and meeting all sorts of new and artistic people in all sorts of places is thrilling.  But I can't help but think about the fact that it is a job with a deadline.  With the way the industry is changing I can hope that it is something I can do for longer than just my 20's... actually, I'm fairly certain I can, but I know I want to do even more than just being a model.  I want to do something that I can really use my personality, creativity, and people skills to the fullest.  I want to be a host.  I want to have a talk show. I want to be able to help people achieve their own dreams.  I'm sure I'll "want" many more things.   I wouldn't say I'm completely lost by any means but I would say I am in need of some restructuring and re-prioritizing in my life.

I think it is important every now and again to step back and analyze where we want to go and how we are going to get there.  It is easy to get distracted by all that is happening in our lives but even if we don't know exactly where we are going, we can at least focus our energy in the general direction and trust that we'll get there eventually.

Happy Monday!

MONDivation: Good At Heart

Danika Brysha

I do.  Like really.  I think that we can all be influenced at one time or another to believe, behave, or just be a less than ideal version of ourselves.  But amongst it all, I think kindness and goodness lies within the roots of each and every individual.  We may act out of fear or worry or just plain confusion on occasion, but when it really comes down to it, I believe we have a true desire for goodness.

As I move along in my life and have the pleasure of building new relationships with fascinating people, I have realized just how truly generous human nature can be.  The desire to help others achieve their goals, to wish happiness on those around us, and to support each and every person as we'd hope to be supported.  I am constantly reminded of this by the wonderful people I call my friends, and even those I have never met.  We are all guilty of becoming jaded or selfish at times, but I don't think it ever stems from an evil place.  I wake up every day excited to be alive and eager to learn more about myself and all the wonderful people whose paths I am privileged to cross.  I think that if we all can look deep down and recognize that there is true goodness within each soul, then the world will prove to be an even more beautiful place to live.

Now Be Good.

MONDivation: Part of the Story

Danika Brysha

We all remember the way we are treated and the way that other people make us feel.  I will never forget the name of the boy in 5th grade that called me "fat girl" or the time I was 14 years old and riding my bike in my bathing suit when a car full of guys shouted out the window "Go back to the beach whale!".   I am grateful at this point in my life that I am now able to recognize the insecurity in the kind of people that go out of their way to hurt or harm others.  I take a moment and feel sorry for them and I go on with my day.  I just wish we could all support each other a little more often instead of tearing each other down.

We've all been hurt before and we've all hurt others.  I try with each day to be even more of a woman of character and goodness, and though it can be hard for anybody to do, I strive to be a positive influence and experience in the life of anybody whose path I am fortunate enough to cross.  We are all human beings and we're all searching for love, acceptance, answers, and more.  It is our own choice to decide the kind of person we want to be, and I am doing my very best to be a smiley face at the end of each person's sentence :)

Have a beautiful week and try your best to bring others up with you!

MONDivation: Going Places

Danika Brysha

I think daydreaming is one of the most underrated past times.  I could sit and imagine myself in different future situations for hours.  On the cover of Vogue, with my own talk show making people laugh, helping others achieve their dreams, being surrounded by tons of 300 lb dogs, having a massive closet just for my size 11 shoes, drinking champagne all day and not being hungover... I could go on.  And because I'm a HUGE believer in visualizing the things we want to achieve and places we hope to someday be, I think it is absolutely a wonderful use of one's time.

I absolutely love this quote and I think anybody can relate to it.  He or She, and whatever place you are at in your life.  Having the knowledge that we can always be improving upon ourselves and working to better our situation gives us the freedom to dream up anything we could possibly want... and go for it!

I feel like this a lot.  I feel like there are big things coming for me.  Huge positive changes.  New and Inspiring people.  Bigger and Better goals to achieve.  And I have no idea how I will get there or when they will occur... but by God... they are coming!   And I think as long as I believe that (which I truly do)... then what will be, will be.

Have a wonderful week!

MONDivation: Dreams Work When We Do

Danika Brysha

I probably have a collection of at least 30 quotes and images that say some version of the same thing.  To sum them all up, we must take action towards what we want if we truly expect for our dreams to come true.  Goals must be achieved or they won't mean much to you at all.  We must work for what we want rather than sitting around and waiting for that lucky day to come upon us.  If we don't move forward, we're always in the same place. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But it is true.  Every single version of this statement, no matter how it is phrased, talks about putting our goals into action.  Making the necessary moves or taking the crucial steps that will draw us one step closer to the goals we set for ourselves.

I have, of course, been guilty of sitting around and waiting for things to happen, but as I get older and learn from my experiences, I learn each day that we can't wait for anything or anyone to call us up, offer us our dreams, or sweep us off our feet... without putting in some form of legwork in the meantime.  I've quickly learned that if I want something to happen, then I need to take the necessary steps in the direction of that dream.  Oftentimes, the universe finds a way of helping us out along the path and drawing the right people to us.  From what I know so far, as long as we take a few tiny steps each day, we can really only be moving forward!

MONDivation: Do Your Best

Danika Brysha

I tend to be really hard on myself when it comes to my expectations for just how much I can get done.  The last few weeks have been hectic and I needed a little down time for myself.  Some time to online shop, browse pinterest for hours, turn on the TV for the first time in months, and just relax with friends.  I did it at the expense of some of my usual responsibilities, and when I realized I hadn't produced blog posts, answered emails, and cleaned my room in days, I began to beat myself up a little bit.

And with all this newfound time to think, I realized that as long as I do my best, then that is good enough.  I can't expect myself to work 18 hours a day, every day.  I can't expect to release original content that I am passionate about day after day without getting burnt out now and then.  I can't be mad at myself if everything doesn't get done right, right now.  I do my best with the time and energy I have... And that is enough.

Have a wonderful week!  Do what you can do and when you're done be pleased with what you did get accomplished rather than what you did not.

MONDivation: Your Happiness is in Your Own Hands

Danika Brysha

Sometimes it is hard to remember that the only person in charge of our own individual happiness is ourselves.  We often credit people with too much power and too much control when it comes to how we feel.  If we want things to happen, we must work hard and do the things that will put our goals into action.  We can't just sit around and wait for others to do the work for us.  The only person that is truly fighting for you to the highest potential is yourself, and though it isn't always easy to realize that, we need to be sure that we are always keeping ourselves as the priority and not waiting for others to do the work for us.

It is tough working in an industry where you must wait for the call that tells you that you are working.  You can't call up big clothing corporations on your own and sell yourself as the product, but you can do your best to get your name out there and do good work when you are given those opportunities to grow.  I had a tough time at first when I realized I had to rely on others to ultimately earn my paychecks, but over time I learned that there were many other ways that I could help further my career outside of waiting for a call.  Even if you don't have control over your company or the big decisions that are being made, you will always have control over yourself and how you are portrayed.  Never stop learning and always try to be improving upon yourself as an individual, and the rest of the pieces will just fall into place.

MONDivation (For your Tuesday): Right Where You Are

Danika Brysha

I hope everybody had an awesome, fun-filled, extravagant, Labor Day weekend!  I spent Friday in Los Angeles then headed down to Newport Beach, CA, where my parents live and where I grew up, to attend a friend's birthday party and the Pacific Music Festival.  I saw a ton of old friends and met some lovely new ones.

It is very important to always push yourself to be better, but doing so makes it easy to criticize ourselves when things don't seem to go exactly as planned.  I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and it can be hard to remember that things often fall apart so that other things can fall together.  Try not to worry too much about the little details in life and recognize that you are exactly where you are meant to be at this moment.

Have a great week!

Beauty Boyfriends: Hairspray Harry

Danika Brysha

(Yes, I know this photo is somewhat inappropriate and suggestive.  No, I have no intention of altering it in any additional way.  Behave yourselves.)

If you're anything like me, you have little to no self control when it comes to applying an appropriate amount of any hair product.  Without fail I will always put too much product in, leaving my hair to look weighed down, greasy, or on special occasions... like Cameron Diaz's look in "There's Something About Mary".  I kept noticing that a large percentage of the hairstylists on my photoshoots were using this gold tube of heaven when it came to hairspray.  Me being the curious lass that I am, ordered a bottle (on Amazon Prime of course) and started trying it out on my own to see what all the hype was about.

Well it turns out that the hype was well deserved and L'Oreal can check one more loyal customer off their list.  I used to use the very liquid-y sprays that can come out very wet and give you that "set in stone" look that we all became too familiar with in middle school.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, I've included a photo of my older brother from 1997 sporting the look.

The spray is a fine mist and looks dry immediately.  It is light enough that you can spray as much as you desire and holds my thin, fine hair in place for hours.  You can buy it at most drugstores and it is relatively affordable and lasts quite long.  I vote an A+!!

Here is a little video of how I use it...

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Have a safe and fun Labor Day Weekend!

MONDivation: Be That Person

Danika Brysha

I think we all know at least one person in our lives that this is the case for.  That person who is consistently kind and genuine and doesn't say a bad word about anybody else.  Even if that person wasn't there to defend themselves from a negative comment said against them, you would know the truth of the matter without any need for further explanation.

I think this is truly such a wonderful thing to aspire to and I am so glad to see it put into words.  I will 100% be printing this and putting it up on my wall (my real wall... but probably my facebook one also) to remind myself daily to strive to be this person.  I know life can be tough and people can disappoint us and let us down but if we remind ourselves that everybody has bad days and nobody is perfect, we can look past all of our own, as well as other's imperfections, and speak and act with nothing but an honest, positive, happy heart... And people will certainly take notice!

I will definitely start striving more to be that person.  Have a beautiful week!

MONDivation

Danika Brysha

Lately I have been even happier than usual and I am almost positive that part of the reason for this is that I have been using my blog as a creative outlet.  I have been making a lot of my ideas come to life and have been noticing along the way that it brings me so much happiness to do so.

I put off launching my blog for a while.  I was so focused on quality and putting out the "perfect" content, that it ultimately hindered me from doing anything at all.  I changed my thinking and instead went into this telling myself that it didn't matter if nobody was reading what I posted, that it was a great creative outlet for me and to value it for that first and foremost.  I don't think I realized just how important that was or how much joy it would bring me, but I am certainly realizing it now.

If I can bring some of my strange ideas to life and make people laugh (at or with me, no preference) then I have achieved one of my greatest personal joys.  Making this weeks Sunday Worship video about Flamin' Hot Cheetos was a huge task but I cannot begin to explain the amount of happiness I felt when it was all said and done and I could share my creativity with those around me.  Please check it out if you need a good laugh!

http://danikabrysha.com/sunday-worship-flamin-hot-cheetos/

Have an inspired and creative week!

MONDivation

Danika Brysha

One of my friends, Dustin Farivar, was in town for a day this week and as usual I learned more from him in a few hours then I usually do in weeks.  He has taught me so much regarding social media, branding, and building relationships, and is no doubt somebody to pay close attention to.  I wake up daily to an inspirational "morning quote" in my email box and usually a few articles that are relevant to my goals and interests.  One of the many things we discussed during this most recent visit was the idea of setting goals for ourselves and knowing where we want to end up, even if we have no idea how we will get there.  I truly believe that if we want something badly enough, and we put it out into the universe, that we will both subconsciously and consciously do whatever it takes to move closer to that goal.  Dustin compared it to a GPS system.  We have to know where we specifically want to end up but we don't have to know exactly how to get there.  There are many different routes we can take, some longer than others, but they all will eventually get us there if we know where it is we would like to be.

I've been very fortunate in life but there have certainly been many times where the odds were far from being in my favor and I somehow beat them anyways.  Just because something hasn't been done before, doesn't mean it can't be done.  In my opinion, it actually makes it more appealing to achieve.

I have wonderful parents who taught me that I could be anything I wanted in life and I credit them for the amount of drive and passion I have today in whatever it is I am doing.  No matter how many people are telling you that you can't do something, always remember that if you want something badly enough, your opportunities are endless.  The only person that needs to believe in your success is you!

I hope everybody had a great weekend and that you spend this week beating the odds!

MONDivation

Danika Brysha

My girl Eleanor R. is speaking my language. Something I am not short of in life is goals for myself.  Unfortunately it's hard to tell if I really believe I can achieve them.

I'm quickly realizing as the years pass and I watch my "Life Goals" list change and develop, that it's ok to set goals without knowing how the hell we're going to accomplish them.  Actually, come to think of it, it's even better than limiting ourselves to the realm of what seems possible.  I officially started my list on October 19th, 2009, and though it now has hundreds of future achievements, I wanted to share some (not all) of the very first things that came to my mind almost three years ago.

I want to focus on #3.  I wrote this goal in 2009 and I didn't begin modeling until early 2011.  I put this goal on my list with no idea how that was going to happen or if it was even possible.  All I knew was that it was a lifelong dream of mine and it didn't hurt to put it out into the universe.  Just two and a half years later, I now live that dream every day.  And better yet, that dream allows me the time and means to work towards many of my others.  I love how I can see the hesitation and doubtfulness as I crossed off the word "super", then achieved the goal of being a model, and then added the word "super" back again when I realized I was selling myself short.  At some point it was something I thought I couldn't do.  And if my dear friend Mrs. Roosevelt is correct... which, let's face it, she's pretty legit... then I guess it is something I must do.

As for the rest of those goals, and the hundreds more that are on my list today, I'm realizing more and more that a lot of the things I thought I couldn't do are proudly being highlighted.

I definitely have a lot to learn in life but I have never been more certain about a statement as I am with this one.  Start setting unrealistic goals for yourself.  And start achieving them!

Who's with me?