Monday, February 25, 2013


Two of three workouts done so far today. I'm training like a boss! What!

Took the whole crew to the gym today. Dropped the two younger ones off in the play area and took Hanna & Gram back into the "big girl" play area - aka the weight room. I was doing some lat pulls and Hanna was beside me on some sort of chest machine that I never use. She goes, "Whoa! Mom! Look at your arms! Look at your muscles!" Not gonna lie, that never gets old ;)

She never seems to comment when I'm on the treadmill though. Hmmm.....

Speaking of that, I was at my mom's apartment today and did my second workout on her treadmill. In one way, it was a lot better than mine because mine faces a wall in my basement. I literally think of different ways to kill myself every time I'm on it. Hers faces a window to the parking lot so at least I can people watch. Time goes by faster. Still boring as hell though. Good GOD! And I get the stale smell of smoke from some chain smoker downstairs.

Saw one of my mud run teammates today. I asked him how training was going and he said, "What training?" Haha! He's a silly one. I'm really excited for this event. It's gonna be super fun. And there's beer. Actually, I don't know why that should excite me, I haven't had a beer in FOREVER! I'm not quite sure how my gut will react to it. I'll probably bloat up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloon!

Diet still good. Got my second high carb day yesterday. I had some crappy pasta at Johnny Carinos. I was super excited for my favorite gorgonzola penne at Grazie's but they were closed. DOH! So we hit the next Italian place in line. I tried their gorgonzola penne with whole wheat noodles and blech! Not good. Sort of disappointing when you wait all week for a splurge, and it's not good. Oh well, it's just food, right?

Friday, February 22, 2013


Has this ever happened to you?

This happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. I don't think that expecting great things is necessarily a bad thing. I think it's good to dream big. If your goals don't scare you a little, you aren't reaching far enough.

But sometimes aiming really high and never reaching those goals over and over again, can put a real damper on your spirits.

If I had a goal to run a 5k, that would be a small accomplishment for me. It wouldn't satisfy me. But for someone who was sedentary for many years, it would be huge. Different people see the same goal differently. The trick is to reach far, but within the realm of possibility. I think that being an actual "bodybuilder" with the huge muscles, would be out of the realm of possibility. A) because I'm not going to take steroids B) because I'm just not made to add muscle easily. For me, reaching far, yet within the realm of possibility would be to have a figure competition physique.

Now, is that a goal that is attainable for me? Yes. I think so. Why, then, is my reality physique more like the bottom sand castle picture? Well, I think it has a lot to do with the steps I've taken to achieve my goal.

It's a BIG scary goal. But it's not scary enough because I've never actually entered a competition. Only thought about it. And if, one day, I get myself into the shape worthy of a figure girl, I'd enter. The problem with that is I don't really have anything big pushing me to get there. The fear of being on stage after not having done the work or the diet and looking like flubber would be scary as hell! Which would make me follow my plan to the strictest T ever. So why don't I just enter?!?! I don't know. The only thing I can come up with is that in the back of my mind, I don't believe I can do it. Maybe deep down, I think that I've just done too much damage to my cells and my skin that I'll never look the way I want to look.

That bothers me. Because if I really truly DID feel that way, why would I constantly strive for something I thought was unattainable? It would be a waste of time and sanity. So that can't be it.

Maybe I just don't want it bad enough. Maybe I'm more comfortable in my body than I think. That could be it. But then why would I let it take over such a huge part of my life. No, want it alright.

I've worked out for years and I'm still not there. I have plenty of ups and downs as far as diet is concerned. That always seemed to be the hardest part in all this. I'd go back and forth because I'm all or nothing. It's either super strict or, well, I screwed up and had one of Emma's french fries, I guess now I might as well eat a whole pound of them. One of my BIGGEST annoyances is that when I fall, I fall hard and find it difficult to get back up again. I eventually do. But it might take longer than I had hoped. Pushing my goals back even farther still. And this is a cycle that repeats itself over and over.

The good news is, we learn from our mistakes. And I go longer and longer between these bouts of "I don't care". So eventually, I will be able to sustain this lifestyle for the long haul. In the last 2 months, I've only had 3 meals that I would consider "bad". And that is a pretty darn good record. I would love to be able to say that I've gone 3 months with NO bad meals. But, I'm a foodie at heart and sometimes, I think to live without my favorites all the time, would be a miserable existence. And for what? A great body? Where does that get me? I'm already married. Not young enough to be a model. It would never provide me with a source of income. The only thing I would get out of a great body is knowing I had a great body. Wow. When I say it like that, it sounds pretty pathetic.

But a goal is a goal. It doesn't have to make you famous or rich. It doesn't have to WOW your friends. It just has to be something you want and strive for everyday. Something to motivate you and drive you to become better. That's a part of being human. It's normal.

I love the look of muscular arms and legs. That's just me. And I'm an artist, so I think of it as using my body as the clay I would sculpt with. It's just a lot harder. But with time, and patience and practice, I will get better and better. And even if (IF) I were never to reach my ultimate goal, at least I had something to strive for and to keep me moving in a healthy direction. And I've already come such a long way from when I first started on this quest many years ago. So I really need to look at the bigger picture and see how much I have already improved myself. I have to learn to love myself a little bit.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Food & stuff

Been journaling EVERYTHING I'm eating this week. On Sunday, I will {try} to get it typed up and put on the blog so you have an idea of what I'm eating for health.

I've been really into curry flavor lately. Which is odd because I normally don't get excited about it. I'm making these lunches that are basically cut up chicken, and fresh veggies (radishes, cucumbers, green onion, celery, bell pepper) and a hard boiled egg mixed together with Veganaise, Dijon mustard and curry powder. You really must try it! Very good flavor. And today, on the side, leftover steamed green beans and 1/2 a yam. I'm looking forward to tonight's dinner which will be butternut squash and leek soup (FAV!) and curry chicken. There's that curry again!

I'm eating oatmeal & yams for my starches at breakfast and lunch and that is an average low day. Then, every 4th day, I eat carbs all day long. Yesterday was my first high carb day in the cycle. And I had BREAD 3 TIMES! I haven't had bread since Christmastime! It was Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread, but bread nonetheless. It was marvelous! Except it gave me gas. Really BAD gas! Sorry. But it did. But it sure was nice to have a crispy warm English muffin with butter melting so perfectly on top. I did really miss it!

Today was the first day all week I worked out without pain of some sort. Since I've started running twice a day, my hips were quite sore the first couple of days. And I did something to my back, although I don't remember hurting it specifically. But when I ran, the pain of it shaking up and down was too much to bare on one of my runs and I ended up just walking on an incline. I've been icing it and today it feels much better. Running going surprisingly well, even after weight training.

Feels weird to say that I'm running twice a day. I would only do it once but since I weight train too, I can't get a good strength workout and a 5 mile run done in an hour, so I have to split it up. I am doing MaxT3 before my nightly run, since it's only 12 minutes. It sort of sounds like over training, but I'm not planning on keeping this schedule forever, 12 weeks at most. Just have to kick it up a notch for summer!

I gained 10 pounds....just for my husband, who thought I was so thin I looked like I was knocking on death's door. So, I stopped working out and started pigging out. I gained some weight, he didn't notice. I brought it to his attention. He still didn't think it was enough and wanted me to gain more. I had to draw the line. And at that point, I just decided, to hell with it. I felt like an actress who has to beef up for a role. It wasn't me and I wasn't happy. So, now I'm back in FREAK mode, losing it again. I guess if no one notices anyway, it shouldn't matter. I'm down 3 pounds so far. It will be interesting to see how my body composition changes this time, now that I'm apparently doing it the "right" way. Leaning down the same way the figure girls do it. Not just relying on weights, or cardio or diet alone. But all three. I wonder how far in I'll get before it starts to wear me down? That's like 2 hours of exercise a day! Geez! But, when you want something, you do what it takes to get it, I suppose.

I'm hoping my lack of workouts over fall didn't sacrifice much muscle. I know you gotta use it or you lose it. I definitely noticed a drop in strength, but that shouldn't take long to get back. Today, I played it safe with my bench press and went for reps. Only 65lb for 12 reps/3 sets. Want to know where I left off last time I was busting it out in the gym? 90lbs! Can't wait to be there again.

Hanna was downstairs the other night, trying to bench press the bar and an added 10 pounds and could hardly do it! I said, "Hanna! That's terrible! You need to workout more! I was benching 90lbs last summer!". And she said, "Holy crap! Guys would be all over me at school if I could do that!" Oh, how the teenage mind works!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm doing something right!

I know I go back and forth a lot between wanting to be a healthy person and just living a normal life without a care in the world. But every once in a while, something will happen that makes me realize that I need to ignore all of the outside influences and just go with my gut. My gut says, live a healthy lifestyle. And here is a great example of why I should:

If you've been reading this blog over the last couple of months, you know that I have been following a Maximized Living lifestyle. Although now, I'm no longer on the Advanced Plan but the Core Plan so that I can start to incorporate certain grains back into my diet.

A couple of nights ago, my chiropractic clinic, Freedom Chiropractic, hosted a recipe potluck night, where members could bring in one of the recipes from the Maximized Living nutrition books for all to sample. It was fantastic! My personal favorites were the butternut squash soup and the coconut macaroons. I hadn't tried either of those before. But all the food was beyond delicious.

Anyway, Eden came with me, my 10 year old daughter. On the way home, out of the blue she said to me, "I want to start eating healthier. How can I eat healthier?" I. Almost. Cried. I was SO happy to hear her say that. Finally, it seemed, a healthy lifestyle was starting to rub off on at least one of my kids!

I told her, for one thing, she could ditch the sugary cereal and crackers she always eats. I know that it's my fault for buying it. But I didn't replenish the stash at last weeks shopping trip. I had said when the box was empty, they would have to find another alternative. And they have. I've been buying the organic apple slices (precut and individually bagged) at Costco and they LOVE them! So they have one of those and a string cheese for snack instead. BIG improvement, especially for Emma. And now Eden has been eating oatmeal for breakfast. I haven't seen her eat a bowl of oatmeal in AGES! Emma isn't at an oatmeal kind of place yet, but she has toast instead of sugar, which is an improvement as well.

I'm really moderating what Hanna eats pretty much all the time and she hates it. She whines about it all the time. But, if I didn't, she would eat junk, and a LOT of it. So, not only am I policing what she eats, but how much. She complains of still being hungry after a meal, but when I tell her to eat all the fresh veggies she wants (she loves fresh bell peppers) she doesn't, so I don't think she is really that hungry. Just looking for seconds. Eventually, I'm hoping her stomach will shrink enough that she won't need to eat so much to feel full. But it sure is taking a long time! Her workout habits are really terrible again. Most of the time, I force her into it and suffer the whole time. It's not very fun to have to find the energy to workout hard myself and all the while, get her motivated to move her butt, too. Her big thing lately is getting muscle cramps. Because I'm so afraid she'll pull a hamstring muscle again, I will let her stop if she feels like it might happen again. And I'm afraid she is just using that excuse too often just to get out of working hard. So now, I've just been going downstairs with Eden and not even asking Hanna. I just don't feel like a fight. I hope that one day, she will see the fun in it and elect to join us on her own. I hate to force her, even though I know it's for her own good.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that despite some people thinking what I do is "extreme" or "nutty" I will try to not let it interfere with doing what I feel is right. I'm bringing up some pretty awesome kids. And when I hear them say that they don't want to have to worry about their weight or their health when they are older, so they want to start being healthy now - well, I must be doing something right!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I've lost it.....completely

Still feeling lost, but slightly better. And I have a wonderful friend to thank for that. You know who you are ;)
I saw this today and instantly thought of you. It fit so perfectly.

I definitely don't love myself lately. But it's not all my fault. I've got some pretty big wounds that just won't heal. I've been putting on a band aid (figuratively speaking, of course), but it's just masking the wound, not fixing the problem. So what's a girl to do? Well, for one thing, thank the Lord above for true friends. The ones that know all of your deepest darkest secrets and still love you more than you deserve to be loved.

And the other thing.....focus on a goal.

I've stepped up my game. BIG time. I'm weight training 4 days per week. Doing MaxT3 6 days a week. And cardio (yes, cardio) 6 days per week. Why? I've gone completely mad, that's why. Seriously though, I'm focusing on uncommon effort. I've started to get too comfortable. Not challenging myself anymore. I was stuck in the "why try" rut. Well, that's not me. I think it's just a February thing. Happens every year around this time.

Anyway, I'm always talking about the importance of changing things up. And I have. I've been doing these MaxT3 workouts that are seriously changing my hormonal response. But then I started missing my regular weight training routine. So I'm adding that back in. AND, I'm going for the wow factor here, I'm adding 5 miles a day. Here's why; I haven't done any running other than a 25 minute HIIT session now and then since last summer. And I've got a couple fun runs this summer, so I figured I better make sure I can still run. My body is SO not used to steady state cardio so I'm going to shock the hell out of it over the next 90 days. Then, I'm going to have a TON of fun at Hard Charge and Run or Dye. And after that, I'm going to drop it like a bad habit ;)

I did 5 miles yesterday. It's not like it was hard or anything. I certainly have the fitness. It's my hips that are trying to rebel. I ignored them and did it again today. And guess what they'll be getting tomorrow? I hate myself.

Yesterday I realized something. At one time, I was pretty into running (in 2007). I got so emaciated, that I swore I would never treat my body so badly again. My biggest mistake was not that I was doing so much running, it was that I wasn't supplementing it with any weight training. I had just gone through a bed ridden pregnancy that robbed me of all my muscle, so there was nothing to hold everything nice and tight as I lost weight.

So this time, I'm doing it Tom Venuto's way. You want me to do cardio? Fine. I can DO fucking cardio. You know why? Cuz it's easy. You can day dream the whole time. No wonder people eat that shit up! What isn't easy, is blasting your muscles with heavy weights first. Then, being sore the next day and doing it all over again, despite the fatigue and the pain. And that is what I call uncommon effort! It's what separates the hardcore freaks from the wannabes.

Plus, since I'm angry with myself a lot lately, it's perfect. Because I can curse myself out the entire time I'm on the treadmill. I basically growl and swear the whole time. I hate it. But I'm open minded and damn it, if any average Joe can slap on a pair of kicks and waddle down the road, I certainly can! We'll see if my theory holds water by June. Uncommon effort!!!

You might not know it because I'm pretty quiet and reserved, but I'm a hardcore bitch.  Didn't your mom ever warn you to watch out for the quiet ones? Guess what? She was right.......

Monday, February 18, 2013


Who am I?

I have been asking myself this question a lot lately. I feel like I am so many different things that I really don't know the true "me" anymore. I don't know who I am.

I am a mother.
I am a wife.
I am a health conscious woman.
I am a fitness lover.
I am a friend.
I am a sister.
I am a daughter.
I am an artist.
I am a photographer.
I am a cook.
I am crafty.
I am a comedian.

These are the things that describe me in a nutshell. And I feel like I am bad at almost every one of those things. I'm not sure what it is, but I just don't like who I have become. And I don't think anyone else likes who I am either. Except my mother, but that doesn't count, does it? I'm not really doing anything that is making me 100% happy. So it's time to ask myself - what needs to change?

It's a hard thing, introspection. It's hard to look at yourself and put all of your [true] thoughts and feelings on the table. It's hard to examine them, and all of your flawed ways.

First and foremost, I am a mother. But, I am not the mother I should be. I am selfish. Most times, I am too focused on myself and my own goals, that I feel like what my kids want comes second. It hurts. It hurts so much to realize that. I know that to have goals for yourself means you have to be somewhat selfish because you have to take care of you. But sometimes, my body goals seem to overtake my life. And like dominoes, that affects the lives of everyone I'm around most often.

My husband. I feel like I've put a serious strain on our relationship because of my obsession. I have felt for so long that "at least I'm not an alcoholic" or "at least I'm not (fill in the blank)". But now I am wondering if maybe I'm just as bad as all of those things that I think I'm not. I know he hates when I obsess over what I eat. Despite trying to explain to him the health benefits of not eating junk like everyone else, he still would just rather I ate like everyone else anyway. Most of the time I get irritated that how my eating seems to affect his mood and our relationship. I mean, how silly is that?!?! But the reality is that it DOES affect it. And I need to really think about what that means, for not only my own sanity and happiness, but his too.

I don't think I've been the best sister/daughter/friend either. I'm the health nut. Everyone comes to me seeking advice. What can they do to lose weight, get fit, become healthier. Then, after I passionately spill everything I know, they look at me like I'm a nut job. They can't possibly be expected to do all that I do because it's just too extreme. And when I think back to all the conversations I've had with people about "proper" diet and exercise, I wish I could take it all back. I almost wish I wasn't that person anymore. I used to like that people admired me for my drive and passion to be fit, now it just seems like an uphill battle trying to convince people they need to give up their crappy lifestyles. I also think my friends get sick of me, just like my husband, because they just don't want to hear about how to become a healthier person all the time. They don't want inspirational quotes and workout routines plastered all over their Facebook feed. They don't want to be reminded of everything you are doing that they aren't. I get that now, and I've toned down. A lot! I rarely post about it anymore. I used to think I was helping to boost their motivation. I figured that since a few were interested, they all must be. Not the case. Now I realize, I was just being annoying.

And I'm so obsessed with weight training, that I pretty much think everything else is a waste of time. Sometimes I wonder how many people I've offended by spewing anti cardio venom. I know that cardio has it's place. I also know that you shouldn't rely on it as your only source of exercise and that too much of it is just an awful idea. But there will always be people who seriously believe that you've got to get on a treamill for an hour a day to be fit. And some people actually prefer to do it that way. I honestly just don't know what to say to that. But I figure it's kind of similar to the way some people prefer to fried chicken over skinless chicken breast. It's not as good for you as the skinless chicken breast, in fact, it's pretty bad. But they'll eat it just because they like it better.

Continuing on with my introspection, I have a really artistic personality. Again, I'm not the most artistic person out there, but I'm more of an artist than I am a scholar. I have always been crafty, I have always like art. I also love to cook and bake, which can be an art form. I am constantly at war with who I am more....a healthy girl or a girl who just wants to cook and bake delicious things for her family, no matter how unhealthy they may be. I'm torn. It's a daily battle, it really is. Especially if I watch cooking shows on Food Network. I sit there feeling even more selfish than ever because I'm so focused on health and everyone else seems to be so bothered by it. It makes me feel like a horrible person. Why can't I just let it go and eat whatever I want and be happy? Would it make me happy? I need to find a balance and I just can't seem to get there. I'm always either way too in or way too out. Why can't I find a happy middle ground? Why do I have such an all or nothing attitude? In the end, what is going to make me TRULY happy? Sometimes I wonder if the whole healthy diet and obsessive working out is really for my benefit. Maybe it's a mask. Maybe I need to start seeing a psychologist to find that out.

I'm two years away from 40. I'm tired of feeling like I'm just making myself more and more unhappy because all I do is restrict myself from what I really want. Then again, what I really want is to be an active grandma and great grandma. Not one ridden with health problems. And that means, I have to be pro active about it. The problem is, some days I'm really on top of the world. I feel great, I love myself, I love where I'm at and what I do. I feel like being healthy is definitely making be a happier person. And other days I feel so utterly alone and depressed and I wonder why I try so hard. What will truly make me happy?

Some people try to buy their happiness. I've said it before, we are NOT materialistic people. We have an old house with mostly old furniture. We never take vacations or buy BIG money items. We don't have to have the best of the best, even though it seems so important to some of our friends to keep up with what their neighbors have. I wonder, why aren't they ever just satisfied with what they have? What is lacking in their lives to make them want so much more? I don't want to be those people. The more I think about it, the more it just makes me want to purge. I want to get rid of half of our belongings and move into a tiny house in the country.

I should have just stayed in Denmark. The more I think about the life we had there, the more I miss it so much. We didn't even have a car! But oh the fun we had walking through the forests and having picnics. We could ride our bikes a mere 6 miles and be on a coastal beach. But I missed my family. It was the first time I'd ever moved away from them. It was hard. Still, I wish I could get away from everything I know and am used to and comfortable with and just start over. Maybe that sounds a bit too much like I am trying to run away from my problems. Maybe I am.....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Good Week

Woke up at at 5:00 and couldn't get back to sleep. So many thoughts racing through my head. Finally, at 6:30, I got up. Now, I'm drinking my ritual morning lemon water (a whole freshly squeezed lemon in water) and planning out my day.

Had a date with my hubby last night. It's been a looooooong time since we've been out together. I really wish we took more time for just us. Everything we do seems to be family oriented, which is perfectly fine since we have kids. But I know that it is important to do couple centered things too. And plain and simply, we just do not do enough of that. I think it can impact a marriage negatively when you focus too much on the children 100% of the time and don't take time to nurture the marriage where it all began.

So we got dressed up and went out for dinner at a place where I knew I could get one of the BEST steaks around. And like always, they delivered! THE MOST tender, melt in your mouth, perfectly cooked filet mignon known to man. It was sheer bliss. I've never been one of those dainty salad eating girls. Give me a big slab-o-meat!

Of course, I was stuffed beyond belief when we left. Ugh! I couldn't wait to get home and into my pjs. We ended up watching the end of the movie "Flushed Away" with the girls and then we were in bed, watching our nightly dose of "Top Gear UK". It was a great day and a great night.

I had taken a break with my strict diet last week. I had planned on breaking my healthy streak for Valentine's Day. I like to make Valentine's fun and special for my kids. They always enjoy it so much when I do things out of the ordinary. But now my break is over and I'm back to "strict" today. I'm starting Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet: Cooler #1 - which is the strictest plan in the book and she says it should only be done for 2 weeks. To be honest, it looks a bit easier than what I had previously done for 45 days without any starchy carbs or sugar. Because I can have one bowl of oatmeal and one yam per day. So really, it should be a piece of cake! The only difference is, it's also NO dairy and pretty low in fat. This is what scares me. I think part of the reason I was so successful on the no grain/no sugar advanced plan was because I could eat raw organic cheese at will. It was basically my idea of heaven. I love cheese. However, it's quite possible that, for me, getting my ideal physique is not going to work eating all the cheese I want ;)

So, Tosca, I'm giving Cooler #1 a try! I just love to experiment with my body to see what produces results and what doesn't. What makes me feel great and so on. Since everyone is so individual in their needs and how their bodies respond, you never know what is going to be THE thing that works for you. There is need to be open minded and try new things. And I'm excited to see where this takes me in the next two weeks!

After these two weeks, I'm still following the Eat Clean principles, just backing down to Cooler #2. And if you've read the book, you'll know what that's all about.

Workouts: still pretty much the same. I'm still loving the MaxT3 workouts 6 days a week. I've also added some extra leg workouts 3 days a week and HIIT 2 days per week. Actually, I've sort of turned my HIIT workouts into surge workouts. The difference being, I go 20 seconds super intense, followed by 20 seconds rest - and keep repeating that cycle. So on my last HIIT session, I did regular intervals for 15 minutes, then surge cycles for the last 5 minutes. It's AMAZING how much harder you feel like you work! I chose to do incline sprinting. That way, I could work my butt!

If there is one thing I like about my body, it's my butt. It's not perfect by any means. But it's not flat! And that to me, is all that matters. I've spent YEARS doing all the heavy lifting required of building a shapely, round and lifted backside. I was looking in the mirror at my side view before the girls and I headed downstairs for our nightly workout and I said, "I hope I'm not losing my butt" and Eden said, "Well, wouldn't that be a good thing?" and I said "NO! It wouldn't! I worked hard for my butt!" Haha...she didn't quite understand.

Many adult women are like that too. They are too focused on making their butts smaller. But what man wants a woman with a non-existent flat butt? When you don't work to build some muscle back there, gravity is going to get you, and you're going to sag. Unless you've got some nice glutes to hold everything up nice and tight. Don't think aerobics is going to help you either! You don't want a flat butt anymore than you want a flat chest! Who wants to wear two doughy pancakes on their back side? Show of hands? Nobody? Yeah, me neither. Weighted squats, lunges and step ups - all the time, girls! That's the only thing that's going to give you a firm round booty!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Words of Wisdom

Well, I don't know if you would call it wisdom, but I certainly like to think I've gotten wiser over the years. And because of all the reading I constantly do about fitness and nutrition, I've learned more than most people ever will or even want to know on the subject.

Last night, I told my husband that part of me wishes that I never got so "into" fitness and nutrition in the first place, then I could enjoy life like the other half does. People that eat sugar and white pasta with reckless abandon, not a care in the world. At least, not until they develop diabetes at the age of 50. And that right there is why I care so much. It's fun and nice to live life in the moment and feel that since you only have a short time on this earth, you might as well enjoy yourself...BUT. And there is a big but (or butt - pun intended). In fact, there are many buts. Like not leaving your children parent-less too soon and not making them take care of you in your old age because you didn't take care of yourself.

I just wanted to share a few things I think I've discovered about myself. You already know from my constant whining about my thighs that I'm a "hippy" sort of girl. A larger lower half, skinny upper half. A pear through and through. My shape is determined by genetics. The condition and appearance of that lower half is attributed to the abuse I put my body through in my twenties. Lots and lots of processed food. I didn't know about the dangers of boxed and canned foods back then. I smoked. I drank. I ate fast food every week. And I certainly didn't work out.

Fast forward to my 30's......

I started to give a crap about my appearance. I had coasted on being the "skinny" girl for too long and I wasn't exactly skinny anymore. I've never been over weight, but I wasn't skinny/tight anymore. I was skinny/fat. I got into working out more and fitness and health became an overnight sensation for me after the birth of my 3rd child. Being bed ridden for 3 months of my pregnancy proved to be disaster on the condition of my body. I've been paying the price ever since. But I've dramatically improved also.

In my 30's, I no longer smoke, I rarely drink, I workout consistantly and I've cleaned up my diet. Big time. It's been an ongoing process that, 8 years later, I'm still perfecting and improving. I'm more fit than ever and living a healthy lifestyle that will (hopefully) keep me kicking into my 100s!

But I still struggle. One of the things I've discovered is that I have poor circulation. Poor circulation can have a BIG impact on ridding yourself of that stubborn fat I talked about in my last post. I have a condition called Raynauds, where parts of my fingers and toes go white and numb in the cold. I believe this condition and poor circulation go hand in hand. I also believe it is a reason that I am skinny, very low body fat, yet have trouble with extra flab on my thighs. I've also discovered that other women with circulation issues have the same affliction - larger amounts of thigh fat.

I've also discovered that I was highly toxic. Years of eating processed foods can lead to a build up of toxins in your body and you hold it in your fat cells. Guess what happens when you hold toxins in your fat cells? They don't shrink! And you remain the same despite all that exercise. Rid yourself of the toxins, get rid of that stubborn fat!

So I've started to detox in more ways than I ever imagined I would do. Here is a list of things I've been doing to "detox" myself since the beginning of the new year:

1) only organic meat, eggs and some veggies (certain ones don't matter because of thick skin....more on that another day)
2) I have switched to NATURAL beauty products including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, lotion. Even my toothpaste and gum is bought at the health food store so it's sweetened with xylitol, not anything artificial.
3) I've stopped taking most of my supplements. I was surprised to find out that a lot of stuff I was taking contained sugar, matltodextrin, soybean oil and other nasty stuff. Now, I only take a certain few all natural bioactive supps. I've even cleaned up my when protein powder so now I'm drinking undenatured, biocative, cold processed whey. Nothing unnatural or chemically altered.
4) I drink purified water so I'm not getting as much chlorine and other nasty stuff through all the water I drink
5) Obviously I'm eating whole foods and trying to increase my green veggie intake all the time.

This may seem drastic or extreme. If you would have told me a year ago that I would need to start doing this, I wouldn't have believed you. I used to read all the time about bodybuilders only eating organic grass fed meat but still thought that I could get by with the regular stuff. It's more expensive to eat organic and it can't make that much of a difference. But I have a feeling that it does make a difference. I don't want the antibiotics they give sick cows in my body! I can't say for sure yet, in my own experience, because I've only just started. And it can take the body at least 6 months to start seeing improvements from previous toxicity. There isn't a magic bullet. Nothing is a quick fix. But I am starting to believe that it makes sense, considering all my efforts over the years and the results I've gotten or not gotten.

It's certainly something to consider.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Stubborn Fat: how to rid yourself of it

Stubborn fat. I know this term well. As do most women. There are many gurus who claim that "there is no such thing as stubborn fat - fat is fat!" ....well, I disagree.

One of the 3 definitions of stubborn is: difficult to remove or deal with. Therefore, fat CAN be stubborn! For a lot of women (me included) lower body fat is stubborn. Because of our ability to bear children, we are predisposed to storing fat there as a safety for our womb. Our bodies have a difficult time wanting to get rid of that saftey. When I was dieting and working out enough for 2 people, the stubborn areas still wouldn't change. If that isn't stubborn fat, I'll be a monkey's uncle...or aunt.

Anyway, who cares who is right about fat being stubborn or not. We can all agree that certain areas seem much more difficult to touch, even with proper amounts of calorie restriction and exercise.

Being a pear shaped women (larger lower body and small upper body) is actually a good thing from a health perspective. Because the fat we hold is subcutaneous (underneath your skin), it isn't as risky as visceral fat (around the organs). So even though from an appearance standpoint, it might suck being a pear, for overall health, we should feel lucky.

One annoyance of being pear shaped is that before we reach fat stored in the lower body, we end up looking completely skeletal in our upper body as all the fat is depleted from that area first. Why are the boobs the first to go? So unfair, right? So we will often get criticised for looking "too skinny" and why are we trying so hard to lose fat when it doesn't look like we have any? Try to just take these comments with a grain of salt, other people don't see you naked in the mirror the way you see yourself. They are only trying to be nice (I think).

Don't get discouraged. After you have depleted all your upper body fat, and you're sick of dieting and you're sick of everyone telling you that you are getting too skinny, just keep going! Because this is when it's really important to give it all you've got! This is where you need to dig in and give 110% MORE! It can be done. Other people can do it, so can you!

It takes DISCIPLINE, DIET & EXERCISE. Plain and simple. No gimmicks, no tricks. Just those 3 things working harmoniously together. Did you get that? I said together. Not two out of the three, but all three. If you don't have them ALL working, no wonder you aren't losing that stubborn fat! I was never able to get the diet part in sync with the exercise. If I was gung ho about exercise, diet was slacking and if my diet was stellar, I didn't want to workout. I could never seem to get it together.

I already sort of talked about discipline. It means pushing through when everything and everyone around you seems to be working against you. Don't give up! Just keep going. Don't cheat on your healthy eating (no more than one treat per week.....I mean it!) and no skipping workouts (I mean that too!). DISCIPLINE!

Diet. Really a no-brainer. You know what foods you should be eating. And if you don't, give me your address so I can come over and slap you. Potato chips are probably not the best idea. ", I don't like it." Then find another green veggie you DO like. It's NOT hard. Yeah, those fries taste great, but look awful on your thighs.

Now, exercise. I'm a bit guilty of being an exercise snob. Meaning, I have one particular way I like to workout and no other workout will ever be superior in my mind. Given the choice to preach weight lifting or running, I'll preach weight lifting every time! But the truth is, it's probably best to incorporate both. Just keep this in mind:

The greater the exercise frequency, the greater the loss of subcutaneous fat. What does that mean? It means that it's better to do shorter workouts more often. I'm talking, 30 minute workouts, 6 times per week vs. 1 hour sessions 3 times per week. I get that a lot of people like to leave a day in between workouts, especially if they are very taxing on the nervous system or working one muscle group really hard. And that's fine. But there is still something that can be done on the "off" days. Maybe this is where you can add that cardio workout. But mix it up. For heaven's sake, don't think you have to run on the treadmill all the time. Don't let your body get used to your workouts. That spells disaster for fat loss. Be smart about cardio - not too much, and not too much of the same thing. We are talking fast fat loss here, not the fast marathon finishing times. If you want that, read another blog!

Studies show that even people who meet the requirements for optimal health through exercise, can still be candidates for heart trouble if they are sedentary for most of the day. Meaning, you could workout like a rock star every morning at 4am, but if you are sitting at a desk the rest of the day, you could be in trouble. Get up and move every 15 minutes. I am TOTALLY guilty of this now that I've started a business that requires a lot of computer time.

So, before you give up on your stubborn fat, make sure you've got those 3 things working synergistically for at least 3 months first! If you do, I'm sure you'll be happy enough with the results that you won't want to throw the towel in ;) It's DAMN hard! But if it was easy, you'd be looking great already, wouldn't you?

And one more thing, don't get too down on yourself. I was guilty of this too. I used to constantly look in the mirror at my thighs, horrified and disgusted by their state. I had to try really hard to just walk by the mirror in my bedroom without looking in it after I showered, because if I looked, I would just get depressed. I would think, "why am I working so hard for nothing?". But the truth is, I could have done more. Something was missing. And so while your body is under construction, just pass the mirror instead of staring into it, scrutinizing all of your flaws. Instead, take out your note cards with positive affirmations on them and read them out loud. Tell yourself you already have your ideal body. You need that positive reinforcement.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

the best time to wear a striped sweater.... all the time.

Things are going good. Everyone in the house has had a bout with some illness or another in the past couple of weeks (except Eden), so I am super excited for the bug to be GONE for good.

I've been thinking that it's about time I start adding grains back into my diet. I feel there isn't much of a need to be on the Advanced Plan anymore since I've been sleeping good, I'm completely off of anxiety meds (yay!), I don't have any medical problems like diabetes or heart disease, so I think that I'm probably ok to ease back into a "normal" diet. As long as I keep it clean.

I've been grain free for about a month and a half now. I detoxed my cells and trained my body to become a fat burner instead of a sugar burner. And I feel ready. I think I want to start adding it in slowly, maybe oats to start? I can honestly say that I think a good hot bowl of oatmeal sounds incredibly luxurious!

I'm really torn though. I know that I've done something that not a whole lot of people (no one I know!) have been able to do, and I sort of don't want to quit! I knew this wasn't a forever thing, but I've done so well and tried so hard that it seems almost bitter sweet. At the same time, I'm a little worried that if I start letting grains back into my diet, I'm going to get more and more lenient with myself and then I'll be back to eating all the junk again. I know I have a very strong will, but I am human. I guess I will just take a leap of faith. Faith in myself and my desire to live a healthy life.

So, I think I'm going to talk to Dr. Jake today, and see what he thinks. If I do decide to do it, I'll let you know how it goes.

I might have to quit Pinterest though. Have you ever noticed how many friggin' desserts are thrown at your face every day from Pinterest alone?!?! People pin that shit all day long! Seriously, I wonder what some people would do with their days if not for Pinterest! I'm a sporadic pinner. I'll get on a roll now and then. But I seriously might have to fine tune what feeds into my Facebook status updates so I'm not staring at cupcake recipes all day. You hearing me, Betty Crocker wanna-bes? Just shove that junk into your cake hole, but I'm happier OUT of the loop! Can I get an AMEN?!

Friday, February 1, 2013

When others try to drag you down

I had my nutrition consultation yesterday, and while I knew it was going to be good, I didn't realize that I would teach the teacher something ;)

I bought a ticket for a "makeover" meeting this Saturday, hosted by my chiropractic clinic (and Maximized Living Doctor). It's basically for people who want to lose weight (20lbs in 30 days!) but also for people who just want to be the best person they can be. When I bought the ticket, I was given a nutrition diary to write down EVERYTHING I ate for 5 days, including brand names, amounts, etc. And I did.

Yesterday, at my consultation, she said, "Charlotte, your diet is AMAZING! I'm getting hungry looking at this!".  Me: grinning ear to ear. I knew my diet has been stellar. I did. But I thought maybe she would tell me to eat more veggies or something. Her one criticism was, "The only thing I'm concerned about is that maybe you aren't getting enough calories." - to which I was blown away. I said that I don't see how that would be possible because of all the fat calories I eat. I mean, I cook with real butter and real cream (organic), I eat tons of nuts, coconut oil, avocados, etc. I'm really not concerned about calories. And she seemed satisfied enough with that. She was also happy that I was drinking a good quality whey protein powder daily, so I could build lean muscle. "It's not soy is it?" - she asked. "NO!" I said. LOL! Maybe I'll do a post another day about why soy is not the health food people think it is.

I even brought along my Wheat Belly book to show her a couple of my "go to" recipes and she was ecstatic because one of them was for walnut "bread". She said that the hardest thing for her when she is on the Advanced Plan like me, is not eating bread. So this grainless wonder is going to help her. Also, the home made flax wrap (grain free) is a great recipe to have in your arsenal of healthy alternatives. She copied off the recipes and was going to go buy the book ;)

She said I was a star patient. Yes! And I said it was because when I set my mind to something, I am so driven and focused on my goal, nothing will stop me. Not even all the people in my life who are trying to convince me that I need to relax my diet a little! And that's EVERY SINGLE PERSON in my life except for my Maximized Living family at the clinic. Sometimes I feel like they are the only people who get it. They get my way of thinking about health.

Some people, even though you let them borrow your books and you try to help them understand, will STILL not get it. Because they don't want to be that committed. And that's fine! Just don't expect to still eat your processed food, drink your alcohol and do a little workout now and then, and the fat will disappear. Because it won't. And if you can't give up going out with friends and drinking or you can't give up your donuts, then you can't be too depressed about your weight. Because you are not putting your body first, it must not be that important to you. And, like I said, that's just fine! Everyone has different priorities. Don't get upset with me for telling it like it is! Sometimes, I say things you don't want to hear simply because the truth is a hard pill to swallow.

The one thing that really irritates me, is how much other people seem to care about what I eat. It really should make NO difference to anyone else what I put in MY mouth. I mean, honestly, they act like they just can't be happy unless they see me eat cake!! I just don't get it. And frankly, it pisses me off. My husband, a Scandinavian man through and through (he did not grow up in America), has to make Fat Tuesday Buns (semlor) every year around this time. They are absolutely heavenly! But when he asked me if I would eat them this year when he made them and I said no, he got mad! Seriously?! I told him not to let that stop him from enjoying them with the kids. But I can tell he's just really miffed about the fact that I won't eat them. And it's like that with everything I won't eat. Every time he's eating candy or something he KNOWS I don't eat, he asks me if I want some. He is trying to get me to eat a crappy diet like he does. Why? Why can't he just be happy for me, proud of me, supportive of my goals??? He acts how I would expect him to act if my goal were to tattoo every inch of my body and see how many extra holes I can put in my face (for jewelry). Because THAT he wouldn't like. If there was one thing I really don't like about my husband, it's the lack of moral support he gives me.

It shouldn't matter to others. But my chiropractor says that people act that way because they are jealous. They don't have the dedication to their diets they wish they had (like I do) and so they want to sabotage me so I'm up to the neck in junk food, like them. Well, I've held fast this time. They all know I mean business. And slowly, they are starting to realize that and eventually, they will just let it go. I now know how strong I must be to withstand all of the scrutiny and all of the criticism and not falter in my own commitment to my goals. At least I'm smart enough to be proud of my own self for that! Even if no one else is. I'm doing this for ME and my children. Not anyone else. So it doesn't matter what they think. It still would be nice to be supported. I don't need praise, I just don't want the negativity.

How do you deal with negativity when trying to reach your goals?