Gimme Some Oven

10 Things I’ve Learned: Liz

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Liz Lemon Bowl

I feel like our next guest-poster in the “I’ve Learned” series hardly needs an introduction, because it seems like the whole world already knows and loves Liz from The Lemon Bowl! (Or as her name fondly pops up in my phone, Liz Lemonbowl.)  ;)

People who’ve had the chance to spend time with Liz love her. People who read her inspiring blog love her. People who get to watch her cooking segments on tv love her. Her husband and two adorable little boys love her. Even people who have never met Liz love her! Case in point — just last night I was telling my friends to tune into the blog today for a great post from a blogger named Liz, and my friend Cass responded without missing a beat, “Oh, Liz from the Lemon Bowl? She leaves the nicest comments on your blog!”

Couldn’t agree more. Liz was the first blogging friend that came to my mind for this series, partly because I just totally admire, respect, appreciate and flat-out dig her. But partly because I feel like I have so many things I want to learn from her! Whether it’s the ways that she navigates blogging with such joy, vulnerability, thoughtfulness, wit and generosity. Or the ways that she balances life as a working mama of two super cute little boys (whose photos on Instagram have a way of totally making my day). Or the ways that she has courageously shared and continues to share about her own weight loss and healthy living journey, and finds creative ways to inspire and equip others to do the same. Or — perhaps my favorite — the ways that she is quite simply one of the most encouraging people I’ve ever met?

Yep, Liz is just great like that. But I also know that the student and life observer in her has worked for years to intentionally shape and become the person who she is today. So I’m thrilled that she has given of her time to share 10 of those life lessons today. So do yourself a favor and whip up her berry chia ginger smoothie, and maybe some baked chickpeas, and enjoy this post.

I’ve Learned…

1. No one else can make my health a priority but me.

When I first began my weight loss journey in my late twenties, I read that no one else is going to make my health a priority but me. It is such a simple and obvious statement but also very powerful. My health is my responsibility and no one else can choose to eat healthy or exercise on my behalf. The ball is in my court. Once I realized this simple truth, it became extremely empowering to know that I had control over such a very important aspect of my life.

2. Worrying about the future is a complete waste of time.

When I was working for Marriott hotels in Boston after college, a friend and colleague of mine gave me the book Stumbling on Happiness written by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert. I love this book for many reasons but I will always remember the moment when Daniel helped me realize the scientific, research-based reason why worrying about the future is absolutely, 100% worthless. SPOILER ALERT: When we worry about events that have not yet occurred, we are thinking about them based on today’s circumstances. The fact is, by the time the situation takes place, all of the surrounding factors will be different and not factors we could have predicted. This is the reason much of what we worry about ends up not being as bad as we thought it would be.

3. Not to waste the pretty.

Several years ago I read an article in Real Simple profiling older women and the advice they would give to their younger selves. One woman said “I wish I had not spent so much of my younger years worrying about my looks. It was only downhill from there!” While there are exceptions to every rule (trust me – I don’t ever want to look like I did in my early twenties!), the fact is we all age over time. Why not appreciate ourselves NOW vs. wasting the pretty? The wrinkles, grey hairs and tolls of gravity are inevitable over time. Side Note: I must give credit to the phrase “Don’t waste the pretty!” to Kim, my childhood bestie, who uses this same piece of advice when it comes to dating men who aren’t worth her time. I must note she is now happily married and expecting her first child this summer. :)

4. Women of all sizes have insecurities.

As someone who spent the first 25 years of her life wishing she was thin, there was a time when I thought skinny girls had no body issues. I’ve learned over time that women of all shapes and sizes have their insecurities- even those with almost no body fat! With that, I have also learned to be empathetic to those issues because every woman has a right to their own insecurities without judgment. At the end of the day, we all have to work to be happy with our bodies – no matter how big or small we may be.

5. It’s not about me.

When people are in bad moods, blow me off or are simply not acting like themselves, I’ve learned that 99.9% of the time it is not about me. Instead of taking it personally, I try to give them a little space and time to sort things out. More often than not, my suspicions are confirmed: it was never about me.

6. Lemon juice makes almost every food taste better.

There’s a reason my food blog is called The Lemon Bowl. Just about everything tastes better with a little lemon juice. From blueberry muffins to pork marinades to chicken noodle soup and more, the acid of a fresh lemon almost always enhances the flavor profile and takes a dish to the next level. Acid helps balance out fattier dishes and perks up food after a long braise. Added bonus: lemons have almost no calories and they are full of health benefits.

7. You get further in life building up those around you than trying to race them to the top.

When I first began my career in hospitality sales, I read a management book that made this powerful claim. Since then, I’ve always tried to embody this mantra. I try to be my friends’ biggest cheerleader and love helping my colleagues whenever possible. I am not a competitor by nature so learning this early on in my career was a Godsend and a huge relief. I have been very blessed both personally and professionally and I can’t help but think that this life lesson has something to do with that.

8. To accept compliments.

For whatever reason, I had to teach myself how to accept compliments without feeling the need to downplay it or respond with sarcasm. I actually noticed that friends of mine would bond over negative body talk. Over time, I have learned to accept compliments with a simple “thank you!” After thinking about how I feel when people don’t accept my compliments, I realized that saying thank you is actually a gift back to the person who gave the initial compliment. As awkward as it might feel or as uncomfortable as it might make you, try to relish in the moment and fight the urge to reject the accolades with negative talk or sarcasm.

9. To add more salt than you think you need.

Before I began blogging full time, I spent over 10 years working in the hotel industry with Marriott hotels. One of the biggest on-the-job perks was getting to work with some of the countries best chefs. Long story short, I learned that the key to properly seasoning food is to add just a little more salt than you think you need. It took some time to train my palate but I really believe that being somewhat liberal with salt is the reason people love my food. (And don’t worry, I have extremely low blood pressure!!) :)

10.The characteristics you’re trying to change are likely those that people love most about you.

As someone who spent the first 25 years of her life overweight, I spent a good portion of my life trying to fit in. Fortunately, right around the time I began my weight loss journey, I read an article that proved why trying to be someone else is pointless. The truth is, all of those quirks and personality traits that you are trying so hard to change are likely the characteristics people love most about you.

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34 comments on “10 Things I’ve Learned: Liz”

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me into your wonderful space, Ali!! It is such an honor to be featured today. Your words have me grinning from ear to ear. I hope everyone enjoys reading my 10 Things as much as I enjoyed putting them together! xoxo PS: Hi Cass! :)

  2. Beautiful words of wisdom, Liz!!

  3. Liz – thank you so much for sharing what you’ve learned in your life. You are truly inspiring and so talented. I especially appreciate your views on body insecurities – all women of shapes and sizes struggle in their own ways and deserve to not be judged but to be supported by other women. Again, thank you for your thoughtful and empowering life lessons!

  4. I love this! I’m a newer follower of The Lemon Bowl {love Liz’s recipes!} and didn’t realize you two were connected. Such fun, uplifting Sunday reading.

  5. So wonderful to learn more about Liz!!

  6. Oh, I loved this interview so much! I agree with everything Liz has said here (especially about the liberal salt usage & that everyone has insecurities). I am a big Liz fan and this just proved why!

  7. Preach it, Liz – P R E A C H IT!!!!

  8. Liz is one of my favorite people on Earth, hands down! I love every lesson learned here!! Thanks for choosing to feature such a wonderful person!

  9. LOVED this! Liz was one of the first bloggers I met in “real life”, and she has such a way of making you feel welcomed and wonderful. SO glad to see her here, and read her advice.

  10. This post made my morning! Love this.

    And ps…Liz Lemon Bowl pops up on my phone as well :)

  11. Liz is such a sweetheart so I already knew I would love this post. Really great pieces of advice… and my favorite was taking responsibility for your own health. So true!

  12. Liz is such a lovely, in every way I can think of, and this post just lets her goodness shine. Love.

  13. Love this. Liz is such an inspiration and I love her gracious heart.

  14. Liz is a beautiful soul! Her absolute love for life and teaching people that eating healthy can become a lifestyle is infectious. Such a wonderful post!

  15. I love this series! Ali girl, you are surrounded by great friends. Thank you for sharing them with the rest of us!

  16. I just love Liz’s #7. So so much!

  17. Liz is a incredible women with nothing but kindness and knowledge to share. What and awesome post to read!