Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's enough

Remember a few weeks back, that photo of Maria King and her 3 small children that said, "What's your excuse?" that ignited a whirlwind of feedback - good and bad?

My first reaction to that photo was good for her! WOW! We need to get proof out there that through determination and hard work, we mom's aren't destined to hang up the bikini forever. Too many women use excuses not to get back into shape - it just doesn't run in the family, I don't have time, etc. And she called us on it. We don't make ourselves a priority. And we really do need to take care of ourselves if we are going to properly care for our families. How else are we going to have energy to keep up with those little ones?

I know what it takes to get back into shape after baby. She only had 35 pounds to lose. I had 60! And when it was all said and done, I lost a total of 71 pounds! I had a baby and 2 other younger children which made working out and "dieting" a bit of a juggle, but I made it happen. The one thing I didn't have was a job outside the home.

And lets be honest, that made it a hell of a lot easier.

Because if I had a job to get to, chances are the LAST thing I'd want to do after waking up multiple times during the night with a baby, would be to wake up at 4am to get my workout in. Nope, I could wait until 11:00 am if I wanted, when the baby would go down for a nap, then head downstairs and get er done! In that sense, I had it easy. So for me to preach to everyone else the "no excuses" line, would be a little bit hypocritical. I still did the work, which was not easy, I just had a bit of a time advantage.

I read a response article recently, written very well by a woman named Saralyn Ward. She was obviously on Maria's side but thought she should change the tag line. She didn't believe "What's your excuse?" was what she should have chosen. I can see her point. She said, "I understand your well-intentioned point, but the last thing any of us mommies needs is a second helping of guilt or shame."

I loved that line.

Because it's absolutely the truth. Aren't we all just a little too hard on ourselves? We women can be our own worst enemy. We pick apart our every flaw and strive for a perfection that we will never attain. We feel shame for not being our sexier pre-mommy selves and we feel guilt for not making it happen as quickly (or at all) like so-and-so did. We compare ourselves to others and that is the worst thing we can possibly do. It can destroy the motivation we really need to get ourselves moving in the right direction.

And thanks to Facebook, we are bombarded by people who must post every freaking workout they do. Every. Single. One. If it's not humorous or entertaining in any way, it's just cluttering up my news feed. Thankfully we are allowed to filter what we see and don't see in our feeds and I have taken full advantage of this feature ;)

I'm not sure if the point is to motivate people or if it's the need for validation. Either way, I think it works negatively.

I still make time to take care of my body, but I have other priorities. It's easy to make yourself #1 priority when you are home all day like I was. I definitely juggle home life with work life and my fit life now. Being a fitness instructor, I have opportunities to get workouts in that I might not have otherwise done. AND get paid for it! You workout a LOT harder when you teach too. That is a real positive for me. However, when it comes to the workouts that I feel really "count" - for me it's weight lifting - that will tend to get put on the back burner over everything else (boo). Especially now that my babies' childhood days are slipping away faster than I'd like. But my time with them is priority now.

I would LOVE to look like Maria King. And what if I did? What if YOU did? Just let that sink in. If you had her body in all it's perfect glory, what would it change? Would it make your marriage better? Would it make your kids love you more? Would you have more friends?

When I had my best body ever, those were some of the loneliest days of my life. You tend to drive everyone around you crazy with your fitness obsession because (NEWSFLASH) not everyone is as into it as you and truth be told, just get sick of hearing about it. They may be nice about it, and would probably never tell you to shut the hell up already, but chances are, they are thinking it some days! I'm NOT saying that you shouldn't strive for greatness, or that you shouldn't go after a goal to be fit and have a healthy body. But don't put too much pressure on yourself to fit into your idea of a perfect body (or anyone else's idea for that matter). Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Strive for happiness and balance. Not perfection.

Moms, we are all doing what we can with what we have. And that is enough.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Promote what you love

A beautiful woman I know posted this on Facebook recently and I just had to steal it. It's a wonderful reminder for everyone (myself included). I thought of myself when I read this. Because I love to hate on cardio (running, in particular). But I really want to try and just build up what I love (strength training) instead. Negativity never gets us anywhere. Whether you hear it or say it or think it - it's NO GOOD! I know a ton of people who are runners, all of whom I admire, and I want to be supportive of them. I'm proud of all my friends that  put in the effort it takes to workout - no matter what that workout may be. Because it does require a level of commitment that is not always easy. Especially for people with careers and kids. We lead busy lives and finding holes in our schedules to squeeze in some time for ourselves can be challenging!

It's easy to get caught up in our own "thing" and forget that everyone has individual tastes and preferences. It doesn't matter if one is better than the other. It's not about being right or wrong. If studies came out suddenly about how it has been proven that running was better than weight lifting for A,B or C, it wouldn't matter. I would still be lifting until I couldn't lift anymore. It's about passion. Whatever ignites that passion within us, what drives us and motivates us and gets us out of bed early every morning.....THAT is what matters.

I want this blog to be a source of inspiration and motivation, not negativity. I will always promote fat loss and getting into the best shape of your life with strength training over any other form of exercise out there. But it isn't the end all be all and never will be. So I will try (really I will) to post with more helpful and positive insights into the weight lifting world, rather than name all the reasons why you should stay away from the treadmill.

There are a lot of people who can't run or lift weights for various reasons. And so they walk. Which is a GREAT way to workout, especially if you do it daily. Even if you could do other things but choose to walk instead, that's OK! We all have different goals. The goals of a walker are probably very different than the goals of a weight lifter. But the one common link is that we want good health, vitality and weight management. As some-what of a fitness professional, I need to be encouraging and supportive, no matter what platform you choose.

My mother can't run. But she can lift, and does. She goes to the gym twice a week to lift. If the tables were turned and she could run but not lift, I would be behind her 100%! I would cheer her on, despite the fact that it wouldn't be my first choice for exercise. Everyone is different. Every situation is different.

I will probably never change my mind about running. The way it affects your body good and bad. But the good part about that is, I don't have to care on a personal level. Because it's not MY body. Don't get me wrong, I care about everyone, but what you do to yourself is your own business. Being a fitness instructor and working in a gym environment daily, I have to promote all kinds of fitness, even the stuff I don't particularly enjoy.

All that being said, remember this, lift others up, even if what they do is not what you would do.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Oh dear Lord. I just came from boot camp a little while ago and apart from my very first class last summer, this was probably the toughest one yet. I really thought I would either pass out from exhaustion or puke. I'm SO thankful that I did neither. Guess I'm tougher than I think.

He warned me today - it was going to be cardio. Not your run of the mill cardio! We started with lines. Or suicides. I'm not sure what you call them, we just call them lines. It's on the basketball court and you run to the first line, back to start, second line, back to start, third line, back to start, all the way down, back to start (touching the floor each time). We did 3 sets - 3 times. OMFG! I know you know what these are. You did them in school. How long has it been since you've done them? Yeah. By the 3rd set, on the 3rd round, my quads were so tired I thought I might just collapse because it felt like my legs just couldn't hold me up any longer. CRAZY!

In between that we did a lot of plyometrics. Like frog hops up and down the court. It's basically a moving jump squat. Then Lemur jumps, which is basically a jump squat sideways. Burpees. And crunches. It. Was. Hell. I know plyos are killer. I used to do a lot of jump squats. They are EXCELLENT for building your fast twitch muscles - which make you stronger and faster. And I can handle intense exercise pretty well. The thing that sucks about this class is that it's an hour long, and he doesn't give us breaks. We move right from one exercise to the next. I've never pushed myself this hard. Ever. For a straight hour, to do those types of exercises, one right after another, I would never have thought it was even possible for my body to do it. But I did it. I always hear, "you are stronger than you think" and now I believe it! Next time I go to grab a set of dumbbells, I'm going to reach for 5lbs heavier than I think I can handle ;)

I am going to finish my last session of boot camp next week Tuesday and then I'm going to start personal training. I like boot camp, but there is just too much cardio work for my needs. I get enough cardio dancing every week. Time for heavy squats again! They scare the crap out of me. They are so hard. How heavy do you go??

Monday, October 7, 2013

Still Killing It!!

Day 4 - I can't believe it! Only 3 days to go of my depletion week!!

I have to admit though, yesterday was the toughest day so far. I was energetic and going strong the first part of the day but I could tell, my mood was starting to deteriorate a tad towards evening. I was hungry. And my husband decided to make Danish pastries from scratch. I had to smell them cooking and watch everyone eat them. They looked fantastic. He even asked me if I wanted a bite. Nope!

I prepared him before he started baking. I said, don't freak out, but I'm doing a no carb glycogen depletion right now so I won't be eating any fabulous pastries. However, it's only 7 days and by Thursday, it will be all over. He said, OK. And that was it. Of course he still had to try and get me to take a bite, but that's just him.

Last night, I was NOT thrilled about dinner at all. I barely ate anything because it just wasn't at all appealing to me. I couldn't wait to get up this morning and have my eggs. I love eggs. I think the real test has yet to come. I have boot camp tomorrow and I'm not sure how good I'll do after having not a single starch for fuel in 4 days. And boot camp on Thursday again. I don't get my "cheat meal" until that evening. And I have a feeling it's going to be the best meal ever!!

I do find that I really had good energy after my ground beef with peppers and onions dish. So I might have to make that again. But I'm just a beef lover in general. I'll take that over chicken any day.

It's been extremely helpful to have a supportive group of friends through this experience. One of the first things my girlfriends said to me this morning was, "How are you doing with you no carb thing?" and that they were thinking of me over the weekend, hoping I wasn't suffering too much. Which I thought was so sweet. Usually you'll get the, "Why are you doing that? It sounds so extreme. That can't be good for you." speech.

So diet yesterday was:

#1: 1 whole egg, 2 whites, sprinkle of raw cheese
#2: raw veggies (mushrooms, cucumbers, radishes) dunked in my homemade ranch - made with veganaise
#3: boiled chicken, with broccoli, celery, radishes, dressed with veganaise "ranch"
#4: 1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese flavored with pumpkin pie spice and stevia (this definitely helped with my craving for something dessert like!) and I know I'm not supposed to have any protein bars this week but I had half of a Quest bar. It only had 5 active carbs so I figured it would be alright. These are THE go to bar when you absolutely NEED to eat clean and healthy. A whopping 19 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein in the whole bar.
#5: boiled chicken and salad - very blah to me. I could never live on chicken and salad.

Are you starting to see my pattern? I've been sticking to the same stuff for breakfast and snacks. My lunch and dinner meals are usually the ones that change. Not sure what I'm making for dinner tonight. Probably my "go to" vegetable - cauliflower mash with something beefy ;)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 2 Also A Success!

Now that I have 2 days under my belt, I feel unstoppable! I survived the theater surrounded by my children eating candy. And a candy gorge-and-barf-o-rama at home (something that typically happens here on weekends).

Yesterday, I took the kids to see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2. Before we went, we stopped at a gas station to buy our treats because I hate how they gouge you at the theater. $4 for a bottle of water? Really? It's insane. So I bought junior mints, peanut butter cups, and sour gummies. Oh, and Eden had to have pop tarts. I was sitting in the middle, doling out the junior mints and unwrapping mini peanut butter cups, without even licking my fingers afterwards. I was SUPER proud of my level of willpower. But I'm totally serious about this. Going no carb is extremely hard and I do NOT want to have to start this week over. When I've set my mind to something, there is nothing getting in my way. Plus, after today, I only have 3 full days left. And I'm celebrating on Thursday night with wine, pasta and good friends!

Of course, by habit, while at the grocery store I bought 4 bags of candy to fill the empty candy jar at home.

Incidentally, this is the same candy jar our dog ate from the time we had to take her to the animal ER. She had eaten almost the entire contents of this jar, and when they made her vomit it up, some of the candy was still whole in the wrapper. What a pig! Funny thing is, she has never seemed interested in the candy until I bought peanut butter filled Treasures. She must have REALLY liked the smell of those!

Anyway, this is THE JAR. Our infamous candy jar that is usually always stocked with Hershey's Nuggets. The toffee almond ones. These are my husband's absolute favorite. But I also like to fill it with caramel kisses,  mini snickers and various other little candy bars. This time I got 3 musketeers for my kids to try but they didn't like them so much. I used to love them as a kid. Now, I'm all about the snickers.

I haven't gotten a candy this time around, despite everyone around me constantly hoarking them down. I don't know if that's a word, but we use it all the time around here.

So, enough about my super human will power. On to yesterday's diet. 

#1: 1 whole egg, 2 whites, mushrooms cooked in organic butter, sprinkle of raw organic cheese
#2: leftover ground beef, onion, green pepper from the previous day
#3: tuna, celery, green onion, radishes, broccoli (all finely chopped) mixed with veganaise (0 carbs and tasty) with curry powder. The curry powder makes this! It's a very tasty dish.
#4: 1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
#5: sirloin steak, cauliflower mash with organic butter and raw cheese, small lettuce salad

The goal of each day is to stay at 20g of active carbs. Active carbs are total carb count minus fiber. Each vegetable that I'm allowed to eat has a certain carb amount. Like cucumbers are zero, so I can really eat all I want of those, but cauliflower is 3. I can't eat carrots, peas, corn or zucchini. I really don't care about that except for the zucchini. I love that stuff :(

So there is day two. Surprisingly, I am not starving to death or very dizzy. I read some tips online and one thing that I think has helped a lot is making sure to drink lots of water and adding a little salt to it. Apparently the dizziness is usually the lack of potassium. I'm boiling a chicken today so I can have yummy home made broth to sip on the rest of this week. Yay!

I'm really interested to see how my clothes fit by the week! My pants are already WAY looser! 

Today, I'm dancing with a friend again. We usually go about 2 hours. It's going to be about a 1200 calorie burn day again today! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Right on track

Today is the 2nd day of my depletion week. Going well! Way better than anticipated. But it's still early.

Here is what I ate yesterday:
#1: 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites
#2: 1 large cucumber with tsp olive oil
#3: 1-3oz can tuna in water with chopped celery, green onion and 1 TBSP Veganaise
#4: 3 oz portion of left over pork roast
#5: extra lean ground beef with green bell pepper and onion and a sprinkle of RAW organic sharp cheddar

Nothing eaten past 6pm. Success!

AND, I had energy to dance with a friend for nearly 2 hours. We have a time set up to practice for a couple hours 2 days a week. It's so much fun!

My dance class with the kiddos went well also. I taught them some jazz steps last night and we incorporated those moves into a routine. At the end of the class, we invited the moms in to watch and got them to join in! It was super fun! I choreographed the dance to You Spin Me Round (like a record) by none other than Alvin & The Chipmunks. It was too cute. I really do like teaching this class, although I don't think I would have the patience to teach as a career. Uff da!

My body has really gone through a lot in the past couple of weeks and there are days when I am literally just laid out. I am usually pretty good about keeping up with everything but Thursday was one of those days where I was just DONE. So I told my boot camp trainer that I was taking the day off and came home to do nothing. Except that even when I'm "doing nothing", I'm still working. Design duty on the computer still calls. Gotta keep my clients happy :) But it's relaxing and fun, so it seems almost wrong to call it work.

Ok, gotta go. Mom duty calls! I'll keep posting my diet and how it's going with the energy levels. Later!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

fluid levels affect weight

The count down: 2 days! Two more days of eating whatever I want. I opened one of my favorite bottles of wine last night to celebrate the last days of my dietary freedom. I'm scared. But it's ONLY 7 days of scary before a lifetime of good, right?!

Today, I'm shaking it with a couple of awesome girls at the gym. We are going in to use the studio for practice. It'll be fun! Then tonight I teach the kiddos at 6:30 and XaBeat at 7:30. After tonight, I only have one co-teaching class left and I will be officially certified! Hopefully I can get a class started within the next two weeks. SO excited!

I've got my material all printed out and ready to go for lesson one of my dance class tonight. Intro to ballet. Going over the 5 basic steps, some terminology, and learning how to stretch. I can't wait to meet all the little ones! Hopefully I do OK! I've never had to teach little ones before. It's kind of freaking me out, to be honest. But I signed my own daughter up so that might make it a little easier for me.

I'm a little sore in the legs and butt today from all the squats Keith made us do yesterday. It's always such a great feeling. It makes me aware of the muscles I've worked and reminds me that I'm doing something great for my body. It's also a constant reminder that right now, I'm burning more calories than the folks who don't strength train their bodies. Therefore, I can eat more (and drink more wine!) without gaining weight. However, when it's crunch time, and I want to lose extra padding, I will have to buck up and eat only very nutritious foods in the proper proportions. That's always going to be the hardest part.

Don't have a whole lot to say. My mind is swirling with the 50 million things I've got going on this week so I can't devote a lot of time into researching for a very informational post. But as far as the feeling of gaining weight once you start a new workout/diet routine, here is some information that I found:

When you start a new exercise routine or ramp up the one you're already on, your body builds new muscle tissue. Muscle tissue is denser than fat, meaning it weighs more per square inch -- so even if you lose fat, any muscle gain may increase your weight.

Most of your body is composed of water, and fluctuations in fluid levels may affect your weight even as you lose fat. When your body adapts to a new workout, you may experience a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness. This causes tenderness for several days after exercise and also results in fluid retention within your muscles. In addition, newly pumped muscles store more glycogen, a form of sugar used for fuel -- and for each gram of glycogen, muscles retain about 3 grams of water.

So there you have it! :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

get skinny without exercise

I bet that got your attention!

Don't you love those ads you see in places like the Facebook sidebar that say stuff like "Snooki is skinny! And she didn't even have to exercise!"

Uh huh....

Ok. You are either A) lying or B) promoting anorexia

Because if you are getting "skinny" without exercise, my guess is it's probably not very good for you.

But we are a lazy society and of course it's appealing to hear that we can have a great body and not have to work hard for it.

By the way, I didn't click on the ad, so I can't elaborate much beyond that. Sorry.

I'm going to try something to "reset" my metabolism but I'm a little scared to start it. It's a carb cycling program but before you start it, you need to deplete yourself for 7 days. Yikes! 7 days without ANY starches. No fruit. No bread. No beans. Even some veggies are a no-no. NO WINE!!! OMG - that right there is going to KILL me! I think part of the reason I stayed so lean all those years is because I rarely drank. Now I'm pretty much a wino!

But after the initial 7 days, you get a re-feed meal and then you start to incorporate certain foods back into your diet. I love the concept. I've known for a long time that carb cycling works well. The problem is that it doesn't allow me to shove my face into cake every day. (hehe) No, actually it's quite nice because you can always see that light at the end of the tunnel. Versus "dieting", where certain things just aren't allowed. Ever.

I'm trying to decide when the best time to start it would be. I'm thinking Friday (after wine night Thursday). That way, I can rejoice at the end of my depletion week with (what else?) a glass of wine! Although it's always been hard to do low/no carbs over the weekend. Ugh, it's just never easy, is it. However, with my husband always working, it might be easier than ever. He is typically very sensitive to my eating habits, especially when I deprive myself of certain things. The trick is not to point it out. If I sit down to dinner and whine about not getting to eat potatoes, it's blaringly obvious that I'm omitting something from my diet and it's making me miserable. On the other hand, if I just don't take a potato and eat the rest of my food without complaining about not getting potatoes like everyone else, it may just go undetected. BaBAM! I'm smart, right?

We'll see. I'm sort of pumped about getting into my new jeans. And today, I noticed that I can pull my fat pants down without unbuttoning or unzipping them. So I am definitely shrinking! It's always fun to realize that moment when you are actually making improvements. You know, it's true what they say about feeling fatter just before you get smaller. I was just complaining not two weeks ago about how I didn't understand how I could feel bigger with all the extra activity I was squeezing into my day. But something about "shifting" and blah blah blah.... I don't remember exactly, but if I come across that information again, I'll share it.

p.s. Today, boot camp was kind of fun, except he made us do push ups on the curb and now the bottom portion of my palms are on fire. Who knew curbs were so rough! I could have done way more push ups if I had a towel or something to cushion the palms of my hands! Ouch!