Holiday Help

Social media is ablaze with things like:

“How to avoid the holiday weight gain.”

“Eat THIS to avoid gaining an ounce this holiday season.”

 “Do these seven workouts to get your metabolism revving to help blast through those Christmas cookies.”

Dumb.

Phrases like that only promote an unhealthy relationship to food and fitness.  Why do we need to take space in our brain during this joyous season to worry about a couple Christmas cookies?  Or the evil Thanksgiving dinner that is going to pack on the pounds?  I mean…..how in the HECK is a big old slab of Grandma’s turkey really the bad guy?  I am literally drooling thinking about eating turkey, mashed potatoes, possibly some green bean casserole, and CORN BREAD STUFFING this year!  And probably drinking wine.  And eating a piece of my mom’s butterscotch dessert (*hint hint*) and possibly a slice of my aunt’s cranberry cake (*double hint*).

If you jumped into reading this post frantically looking for help on how to avoid holiday weight gain, you will not find it here.

Instead, I’m sharing this message as a public service announcement:

Please enjoy this season.  It is a wonderful few weeks of family and friends.  We don’t get these weeks back.

Yes, there might be a little stress with extra parties and some presents to buy.  Ok, life is stressful sometimes.  Big whoop.  Thinking of how stressful it is going to be, stressing on how stressful it is going to be, and the age-old concept of worrying about which foods you can and cannot eat…..well, that is only adding fuel to the fire.

Quite often, these are the weeks that are easy to just “give up.”  You know, check out, indulge in all the things, because January 1st is a chance to start fresh.

Well, January 1st IS a chance to start fresh in a brand new year. But…..does “giving up” sound like good advice at ANY time?  I mean, why can’t we just go on through these next few weeks as we always do with eating and working out, and then squeezing in an extra trip or two to the mall, attend an extra party or two, and eat a few amazing meals with family on the big days?  Isn’t “giving up” just a form of not thinking you are worth taking care of?

So, I actually AM going to give you some advice of things that work for me (and some things that might be stolen from a friend).  Here they are:

  • Be MINDFUL these next few weeks.  Want to eat something?  Eat it!  But do it because you enjoy it.  Then enjoy it while it tastes good – that might be just a few bites of it, or an extra few bites of it.  Then move on.  It is really that simple.  Don’t NOT eat that something, then crave it, then binge on it times a 1000, then feel guilty or shameful.  That guilt and shame bit….well, that will keep you in an ugly cycle.  Choose NOT to buy into them.  But remember, this is a practice.  And if you don’t get it perfectly this year, that is fine.   Which leads me to my next point…….
  • Have COMPASSION.  For yourself AND others.  Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.  You aren’t an idiot.  If you feel like you screwed up, forgive yourself and move on.  Don’t dwell.  I guess that is good advice for how we deal with the rest of the world as well ;-)
  • Practice SELF TRUST.  Try allowing yourself to navigate each situation without judgement.  Trust yourself to make the best decision for you in each moment.  Again, easier said than done.  But….if you find yourself standing next to a buffet line of awesome desserts, refer back to the Mindful tip from above, and choose the one you want.  And TRUST your decision.  And also TRUST your response.  Enjoying it?  Keep eating it!  Had enough but the dessert is not gone?  It’s ok to NOT be a member of the clean plate club.
  • Start JOURNALING (stolen from a friend).  You know what?  If you find yourself wigging out about a bunch of feelings or food issues this year, take it out on a piece of paper.  Write your thoughts.  Write your feelings.  Write your worries and stresses.  AND WRITE YOUR BLESSINGS.  My guess is that you might learn a few things about yourself during this very important practice.  Try it!
  • Prioritize SLEEP.  Get your sleep in, yo!  Take your sleep SERIOUSLY.  If you are particularly wound up….try a bath before bed to help you wind down.  But please, please, PUH-LEEZE prioritize your rest.  A well rested you is ready to face challenges.  A well rested you is fully present and MINDFUL.  A well rested you knows when you are heading into MINDLESS choices versus MINDFUL choices.  A well rested you allows you to say “Merry Christmas” to someone in passing versus ramming into them repeatedly with your cart while making your way down the aisles at Target.
  • Keep TRAINING.  Don’t NOT train just because we are in the holiday season!  Keep your workouts!  Use them to help you FEEL GOOD, and to BOOST YOUR MOOD, and to GIVE YOU ENERGY.  Don’t use them to burn off the Christmas cookies!  One rule though, at least in my opinion….if you are seriously feeling frazzled, I would opt for a nap or going to bed early in place of a training session.  Seriously.  But don’t read that statement and think all workouts should now be nap sessions.  Manage this one accordingly.  With SELF TRUST.

Alright, there you go.  My unsexy ways to help you through the next few weeks.

Gonna try any?

 

 

Training Log: Moving Weight

Yikes, I haven’t shared a training update in quite some time.

I am still training :)  Promise!

Right now, my focus is still set on the RKC in June.  I spent the summer building up some decent strength.  I still have it.  I just don’t quite have the conditioning/endurance down.  Or the snatch test.  But I’m not far off!  Truth be told though, my training sort of hit the wall.  I was getting bored with everything I was doing, because there was a lot of time between this summer and next summer, you know?

So, in October, I sort of just had fun with my training.  Not doing anything super structured, just what felt good.  It was fun!

Then, starting the first week in November, I shifted my focus from strictly kettlebells to moving weight.  In my workouts, I’m trying to hit all the big movement patterns, but I’m really, really, really focused on moving a lot of pounds per workout.  You know what?  It has been a nice mindset shift for me.  It has helped me focus on volume of work, and it has been an eye opener as well.  The weight I was moving over the summer wasn’t really a challenge, even though I made it seem like it was during my workouts.

This moving weight challenge has really been a positive shift.  I am really, REALLY looking forward to my workouts.  I’m also still really only lifting 3-4 times per week, which is awesome because my recovery from these workouts is also awesome.  And my non-lifting workout is a cardio kickboxing class once per week for funsies and for something completely different.  During this challenge, I’m still primarily using kettlebells, although the barbell does come out occasionally.  I’ve been really digging Jefferson deadlifts with the barbell.  I’ve been pulling 4 sets of 6 for about 135 currently, and will probably bump that up soon because I’m getting really comfortable with this lift, and because 135 is starting to feel pretty easy.  This version is very friendly on my low back.  I’ve dealt with quite a few low back issues in the past that probably stem from some random injury stuff when I was growing up.  Although I like deadlifts and think everyone can benefit from them, the conventional way with a barbell doesn’t always work for me.  Heavy kettlebells do, and sometimes sumo stance does, and these Jeffersons are really working, so there are plenty of options to choose from!  Which makes my heart happy.  I will try to video a set of Jeffersons sometime soon.

The other nice thing about this challenge is that I’m finding myself getting through my workouts quicker.  I mean, I still have about 4-6 exercises to knock out, but I’m not screwing around texting/Facebooking during my rest periods.  I’m sort of just going with the flow and taking rest as needed, but not too much and not too little.  And most days finish up with a sweet dose of ballistics with kettlebells (which will only help me in January/February when I really start building up my endurance/conditioning for the RKC).  And if you know how to swing, clean or snatch a bell, you know that you can rack up a lot of pounds moved in a short period of time.  Thank goodness for kettlebells!

I was kickin’ it last Sunday with my workout buddy and was sort of screwing around the whole session.  Then I got the idea to try a get-up with a 24kg (53 pounds).  I had a spotter there, so I knew I wouldn’t die.  I’ve done get-ups with the 20kg before solo, and I am very confident in those.  24kg felt like I should have a spotter on hand.  I sort of surprised myself, but I knew as soon as I nailed the get-up sit up, I’d be fine.  Nailed both right and left.  Felt pretty good too, although my left side is way more stable.  FUNSIES!  Heavy get-ups will be around more in the future!  I will try to video one or two sometime.

Here is a snapshot of yesterday’s training sessions in case you are curious as to how I structure my solo workouts:

Double Bell Swings – 5 sets of 5 reps, two 16kg bells

Pull-up Practice – 3 sets of 5 reps, using 2 bands for assistance (soon to drop to one)

Double Bell Floor Press – 3 sets of 5 reps, two 14kg bells

KB Windmill – 3 sets of 5 reps/side, 14kg

Double Bell Front Squat – 3 sets of 5 reps,  two 14kg bells

Conditioning Focus – 10 minutes, on the minute training 12 one hand swings with the 16kg, rotating back and forth between right and left side each minute.

Short, sweet, fun.

PS – the trick to moving weight during the weeks leading up to Christmas is to rock out to Trans Siberian Orchestra.  The badass songs like Christmas Even in Sarajevo and Carol of the Bells are the ones you should blast during the big lifts :)

My Rambling Thoughts On Non-Negotiables

I am rambling here.  I have no super awesome message to share, this is really a way for me to gather my own thoughts on something I’ve been sorting out recently.  I think sharing it might give you a chance to share input that I don’t think of.  I don’t think this is an ABSOLUTE, in fact, I’m trying to steer myself away from absolutes these days because I don’t deal well with absolutes…..they make me feel like I need to rebel.

Anyways, here we go.

I feel (oh lawd, here we go with *feelings*) like I need to put some of my “non-negotiables” together in a little book that is not written, but mostly in my head, called Amanda’s Moral Compass.  I also feel like this needs to go with a strict subtitle that says “I reserve the right to change my mind about things, and things are not all black and white all the time.”

Shit would be so much easier if there were just black and white situations, instead of those pesky little shades of gray, but that’s not the point right now.

For instance, I have three little non-negotiables surrounding my food and fitness:

  1. Train with purpose 3-4 times per week (while respecting my body).
  2. Move often in a non-workout sort of way.
  3. Eat mindfully, no GUILT.

Cool enough, right?  Those seem simple enough, and certain instances do come up, but I also circle back to those three things.  They are sort of my guide.  When I follow my guide, I feel good!  YAY!  If I get off track, I come back to my guide.  YAY!  My guide is simple, and yet it is just enough for me.  I don’t like rigidness (is that a word?).

Whether or not I have a list for the rest of my well-being probably doesn’t matter to some, but for me, I think it would be helpful.  Because having a guide like this allows me to sort of ‘check in’ with myself.  As new age-y as that sounds, you know what?  As you deal with life and weird shit that happens some times, a little guidance is never a bad thing in my book.

Here are some of my thoughts on priorities in no specific order:

  1. Days start and end with family.  Always come back to family.  Family is key in my book.
  2. Feeding things that add value to my life and starving things that don’t (do more of the value stuff, very little of the other things).
  3. Freely include my tribe in my time.  Guard my time preciously with non-tribers.
  4. Choose to have a relationship with God.
  5. Be intentional.  Say it if you mean it.  Do it if you mean it.  When you do it or say it, mean it and don’t apologize for it.
  6. Learn more.
  7. Always be flexible.
  8. Choose gratitude.

This is my list RIGHT NOW of things that are important to me.  When I read over them, they sound cool and ideal.  Getting right down to it, these things all take practice and I really want a way to manage them – I think they are so important, and I think they drive everything that I do.

My sister in iron, Jen, talks frequently about her self-care routine with me and what she does to feed those things and has a way of ‘checking in’ with herself.  It is great to know a little bit about this because I see little bits and pieces every so often.  I now know how she guards her time and prioritizes…..at least some things.  She also has her own little set of core values (sort of like this little list of non-negotiables) that help her prioritize her life (I’ve already asked Jen to write about those things in the future, so I’m sure you will be seeing them down the road).

However, I’d love to know if any of YOU have your own list – written down or in your head – that define you or guide you.  I would love for you to share them with me.  I think that is SO interesting and important.

My strongest feeling here is that if you live in line with your “truth” or your non-negotiables, you are YOU.  You don’t do things that you hate just to people please your way through life, or because you feel guilty if you don’t, or because it is so fashionable to appear “busy” doing “things.”  You do things because you WANT to.  You don’t compromise yourself or your truth.

Oh man, this is a rambler.

So tell me, do you have your own guide?  Please share some thoughts on it if you do.  I think a series of guest posts would be neat on this very topic to see how different people prioritize differently!

 

 

 

 

Gratitude: Do You Practice?

Do you practice gratitude?

I do practice gratitude.  I’m sort of beefing up my gratitude practice.  What does this even mean?  How do you “practice” gratitude?

Well, for a long time, I’ve been very much the person who sees the bad or the negative in every situation.  Yeah, I still do sometimes.  Not gonna lie.  Choosing to see the good in situations and being GRATEFUL for them has taught me to see them more frequently in all of my life.

Let me be clear – some folks have a daily gratitude journal.  While I definitely aspire to that, I don’t have a daily journal at the moment.  What I do have is a few days a week type journal, and I do find myself saying a lot of “Thank You’s” to the big Guy upstairs during my day and especially at the end of my day for a lot of things in my day that I’m grateful for.  I’m finding myself not being thankful for “things” either.  I consistently find myself being grateful for my family and my family’s health and safety and bond, my friends, my business and the clients I get to work with every day.  One day, I even found myself thanking God for reminding me to thank Him.  I even find myself being grateful to those around me.  I find myself saying “Thank You” a ton.  For all sorts of things.

Look – if you knew me 10 years ago, you know I’ve completely turned things around.  The past 2-3 years have been where things have REALLY changed, and much of that is gratitude practice related (as well as acknowledging that I am ENOUGH, choosing to LOVE me, and prioritizing things better in my life).

I feel like, taking one step at a time to building up my gratitude practice gradually, finding the good in every  (er, most….let’s be honest, we ARE still human) situation is becoming easier and easier.  And CHOOSING the good is becoming the default.

I’m curious to see how OTHERS practice gratitude.  Mostly because I’m looking for more ways to add it into my life, if that makes sense.  So what say you?  How do YOU practice gratitude?

Insecurity Is A Sneaky B!tch

Everyone deals with insecurity in their own way.

Even people who love themselves and tell others how loving themselves is so important.  People who love themselves have those icky patches too…..when random things cause their smooth sailing path to go a little haywire.

I’m writing this one because I KNOW people will identify it.  I actually don’t want to post this because dealing with icky feelings sucks and isn’t fun, and who the hell wants to do it publicly?  Well…..I’m doing it publicly because I KNOW I’m not alone on getting the case of the ickies sometimes.

Even if you love yourself, you can still get a case of the ickies.

Today, my ickies stemmed from feeling insecure.

I left my house feeling like I was rocking my shit today.  I went about my day.  Everything was going swimmingly, and then shit hit the fan for a little bit and knocked me off my axis.

I spent an entire hour in front of LARGE mirrors.  Working out in front of LARGE mirrors.  In a room full of people who were, what I deemed, fitter, leaner, better dressed and put together, and more skilled at kettlebells than I was.  I have no idea what the hell brought this on, but I do think it was just the big old mirrors that made me SEE me compared to everyone else (and normally I love those mirrors!.

Five minutes in and I was all…..”I coach people?  Who takes advice from me?  I don’t look like these people!  What the flip am I doing here?  Who do I think I am?”

You see, insecurity sneaks the hell up on you.  I KNOW this, but when it comes at you off guard, it is difficult to remember this little bit.  Insecurity is a sneaky, sneaky, sneaky b!tch.

I worked through it today.  I don’t want a “rah-rah, you rock, go you” little chant from you.  I’m not looking for your approval.  I will tell you why I worked through it.  Because, I’ve LEARNED, through various sources (*cough* Jill Coleman, *cough* Erin Brown) that EVERYONE is insecure.  And all those little insecurities play out all day, every day, in various patterns for people.

So let’s move forward to like 15 minutes into the class.  I partnered up with someone (who I deemed long, lean, leggy ***side note….what gives me the right to judge her body…..I get so pissed about this, but because I was feeling insecure now I have a right?  I so need to work on this***) to work on overhead and pistol squatting.  I could do things she couldn’t – and I know she noticed because of the comments she made.  I’m not saying that to sound snarky – I’m saying that because I noticed it brought out insecurities.  She could also do things I couldn’t – and you know I noticed, because insecurity was running at an all time high today in that moment for some reason.   This simple little drill, even though it was all kettlebell related, reminded me……”STFU, Amanda, you are insecure.  Why?  Knock it the hell off.”

Class went on.  Things improved.  We all started to joke around a little bit.  We ended with five minutes of conditioning madness at the end which made EVERYONE look like a sweaty mess, no matter what they looked like before hand.

And then I felt better.  And THIS is why I love training with heavy shit and kettlebells. I was reminded very quickly of all the things I could DO.  I can DO a ton.  My body can do a TON that some other bodies can’t do.  And some bodies can do things I am unable to.  BECAUSE WE ALL ARE DIFFERENT.  And we all look different!

And we are always our worst critic.

And we all are insecure at times too.

Even if you find yourself on a path of smooth sailing consistently, just know that those little sneaky b!tches will rear their ugly heads at times.  That is A-OK, even if it feels like shit at the time.  It gives you a chance to learn how to deal with them so they go back to where they came from.  And it gives you a friendly reminder that you CAN actually deal with those things so they come out less and less.

Today, I needed to own my shit.  I did, today.  I know I will need to own my shit again down the line.

Hopefully that’s a little ways away :)

 

 

If I Could Do It Over…..

Sister in Iron, Jen, and I were BRIEFLY chatting about this today.  And to be truthful, I think about this a LOT.

If I could start my fitness journey over.  I would change a TON.

If I could start my fitness journey over, I would learn how to BUILD myself up versus just burning the calories.

You guys, I spent so damn much time cycling away calories, spinning away calories, or burning through various speeds on the treadmill.  Not the those things are bad, mind you.  I just needed to learn to be a little more efficient with my workouts.  You know…..focus on building a BIGGER GLASS.  I wish I would have started balancing weights and cardio a little better back when I first started.

If I could start my fitness journey over, I would have hired myself a coach early in the game.

You guys, I spent so much time doing things wrong.  I distinctly remember on one early morning workout, doing a press (probably too heavy for my ability because my ego got in the way) on the bench and my shoulder felt ‘off.’  So, you know….ego engaged, I naturally kept going instead of stopping what I was doing.  No coincidence, years and years later, that same shoulder feels ‘off’ a lot.  Except, after working with a coach, I know how I needed to improve my form to engage my lats and my body versus just pressing the hell out of my shoulder.  And I know different variations of pressing to engage things differently.  Bless my coach’s heart.  The same is true for deadlifts, squats, swings, planks, and everything else.  Learning the right way from the get go will launch you into a successful fitness journey, no joke.

If I could start my fitness journey over, I would have focused on doing fitness things I LOVED versus trying to mold myself into the lover of things I secretly loathed.

Bless your hearts, runners, but I tried to be you for a long time.  I’m just not.  I’ve accepted it now, and I even say that out loud.  I WANT to love running, I just don’t.  I also don’t enjoy the elliptical, choreography, and pastel hand weights.  Again, there is NOTHING wrong with those things….they just aren’t for me.  I like to aggressively attack things – mitts, the bar, squats, push-ups, or my opponent in a competition.  I don’t like to tone my way through shit…..I like to move shit and get it done.  And the louder the weights clang and clash around, the harder you have to use your breath explosively, the more F words you want to shout, the better.  Find something you LOVE and work the hell out of it, and learn about it, and get better at it.

If I could start my fitness journey over, I would focus on quality NOT quantity right from the start.

There was a good long stretch where I worked out every day.  Every day, no rest days.  And in those days I was lifting a little too.  I was ignoring my body and just working out to my max a TON because I thought more was better.  Nope, better is better.  I now know that rest days are VITAL.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with MOVEMENT ever day.  That movement can be smashing heavy stuff one day and then just moving through an easy walk or restorative yoga practice the next day.  Then rinse and repeat.  By focusing on making my training days QUALITY with perfect form, striving for progression OVER TIME, and building in rest days, I can make fitness gains waaaayyyyyyy faster.  Without feeling like I got hit by a bus (although that isn’t to say I don’t feel sore sometimes).

The problem with all of these things, though, is that I’m not sure I would have found this same path if I know what I know now early in the game.  And I LOVE my path.  Like Jen says, our past is what has shaped us into who we are now, and we must embrace that.

Sometimes I find myself yelling (in my head) to people who I think are doing it wrong.  I want to say “do this…..it will get you there faster,” and I say that because it’s MY way.  MY way must be right, right?  Because it is what worked for me.   Really, though, no one is doing it wrong on their fitness journey because they are learning along the way and will develop their own path which is right for them.

If we could go back and change things (not just related to our fitness journey), knowing what we know NOW…..who WOULDN’T make changes?  That is easy for us to say NOW, because we have learned so many lessons since THEN.  Embrace the lessons.  They have helped shape who you are now.

Even if you were a cardio queen in the beginning :)

What I Would Do Instead

Alright, I’ve been moaning and groaning about MLM (multi -level marketing) companies and “health coaches” and magic pills and shakes for a few days now.

The fact is, I cannot change  them.  They will always exist.  And they will go in and out of style like they always do.

What I CAN do is share my experience and what I would do NOW if I knew what I knew NOW back THEN.

BACK THEN, I tried the two shakes a day program.  You know, drink these two shakes and eat a sensible dinner type scenario.  And I didn’t just drink the shakes.  I bought the pills too.  And took them. My first round (yes, there are two of the supplement variety)…..I dropped weight fast.  I fit into some cute, small jeans (size 8, cute and softer blue from Express).  I remember feeling hungry for a large part of my day, only to work out on an empty stomach, and then go home to my sensible dinner.  I can’t remember what my sensible dinners were – regardless, it probably wasn’t enough.

Then I was sick of spending the boat load of cash.  “I’ll just eat sensibly” I say, and do…..for like two days.  But…..I was DEPRIVED for a long time while I was waiting to get into my small, cute, skinny jeans.  So I started to eat ALL the things.  So, you know….it wasn’t long until my small, cute, skinny jeans no longer fit.

Fast forward to trying many more diets and exercise programs.  None worked, because I wanted those cute, skinny jeans back…you know, the smaller ones.  I wanted to drop weight QUICK like I did on the shakes.  “I’ll try it again,” I tell myself.  So again I drop another ton of cash on pills and shakes.  Only this time, I couldn’t really do it.  Drinking a shake tasted like chalky ass (if I knew what ass tasted like).  So I stored an ass ton of supplements that were barely even opened in my bedroom for a long ass time, until I got sick of looking at them and finally tossed them.

If this magic product worked so great, why did I have to do it twice, right?

Thus began my crazy relationship to food.  The one where I always felt like a failure because I couldn’t control my eating, or never could follow a diet, or fluctuated sizes between 8 and 16 back and forth and back and forth for many years.

Let’s move on to NOW, shall we?

NOW, knowing what I know, and going through all the things I’ve gone through, here is what I would tell me BACK THEN.

1) I NEVER failed a diet.  The “diet” or the “shakes” or the “program”……FAILED me.  It failed me for one big fat reason – it was not ENOUGH.  I was literally starving myself to drop weight quickly.  And each time I did it, it was harder and harder and harder to drop weight the next time.

2) I was just fine as I was!  I looked GREAT!  At the time, I thought I looked awful….NOPE, I looked GREAT!  Guess what, I still look great – I’m just at a different point in my journey now.  I wish me BACK THEN liked herself just a little bit more…no a LOT more, then she did.  Me BACK THEN could have avoided taking all the wrong paths before finding the right one….but, well….we probably wouldn’t be reading this blog then, would we?

3)  I was UNDERFED for many years, which led to bingeing on random foods that were deemed “bad” only to start again and again and again.  If I had taken the time to understand that, and work to eat at a level that kept me fed and not starved, we might be reading a very different post right now.

4) Stop Dieting.  Seriously, just stop.  I think I clinged to the idea of being on a diet because it made me feel safe and that I wouldn’t blow up like a balloon.  Except, I was always in constant fluctuation between size 8 and 16, and all the weights and numbers in between there depending on if I was “on” or “off.”

5) Start listening.  Am I eating when I’m hungry?  Like, is my stomach empty, and a little hollow, and has been for like 20-30 minutes?  Time for a meal.  Not really hungry?  Cool, I can keep doing what I’m doing, and I don’t need to eat right at this minute then, right?

6) Take protein seriously!  The first thing, it seems, to go….when one is watching what they eat, is protein.  Protein is your BUILDING BLOCK.  Don’t skip this step.  Eat a palm size serving of protein (not nuts) at every meal.  Only make this a supplement (like a protein shake) if you consistently miss your whole food protein (whole foods protein being meat, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, fish, beans, etc).

7)  There are no “bad” foods.  I call this “moderation.”  To someone consistently on a diet, this probably sounds like “eat whatever the heck you want.”  Nope.  Moderation is moderation. I eat plenty of the foods deemed “good” by many people much of the time.  I also eat foods deemed “bad” by many people sometimes too.  And I NEVER FEEL GUILTY FOR THEM.  And I am FED.  At times, I will count my calories to see what they are for maybe a few days or a week or so – sometimes to see if I’m eating enough, sometimes because I’m just freaking curious (even though I know counting calories is not always super accurate).  They range between 2500-3200….based on my activity levels and training programs at the given time.  And I realize that sounds like an ass ton of food for someone with a history of dieting.  But I’m not lying.  It’s the dang truth.  And you know how I feel then?  FLIPPING GREAT.  I have ENERGY.  I’m not stuffed, either.  My workouts are ON POINT, and so is my energy for the rest of my life.  Oh, and I’m nicer because I’m not hungry :) (and PS…..my energy requirements are way different from yours.  And my friend’s energy requirements don’t match mine.  BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE THE SAME DNA OR ACTIVITY LEVELS, not because there is a cookie cutter plan that works for everyone).

8)  Go back and read #7 again.  Here is the key point I want you to take from that.  I don’t eat the foods deemed “good” because I have to.  I eat them because they freaking taste amazing, they make me feel good, and I WANT to.  The same is true for the foods that some deem as “bad.”  I DO NOT FEEL DEPRIVED.  Well….that’s not true.  I do feel deprived if it’s been a week or two since my last Kick’s Bake Shop donut (and again, if you come from a pattern of dieting….I know this sounds crazy – I was in your shoes for a long time….this also doesn’t mean I speed eat donuts every day).

9) My relationship with food BACK THEN was a direct reflection of how I felt about MYSELF – sketchy at best.  I underfed myself because I hated myself, and I wanted to be a smaller “happier” version.  Guess what?  You can’t do that.  Now, I feed myself because I LOVE myself, and it is actually pretty easy.  Same with exercise.  And you know what?  I feel pretty happy about that……and I feel pretty happy about most things…..well, not completely true.  Multi-level marketing companies in the supplement business do piss me off a little bit :)

If you are reading this – I bet, just bet, you can identify with one or two things I’ve written.  What I want you to know is that you CAN have an amazingly healthy relationship with food.  That might come easier if you work on your relationship with YOURSELF first.

 

 

What If

What if, instead of frantically trying to “lose” something like weight or size,  we focused on BUILDING UP ourselves and our skills?

What if, instead of constantly feeling or saying that we aren’t enough, we just stop and recognize that we are exactly “enough” enough RIGHT NOW?

What if, instead of following the perfect 60 or 90 day workout program, we focus on ENJOYING movement and focus on ENJOYING getting better and better at movement for the REST OF OUR LIFE?

What if, instead of wondering what we will be when we grow up, we just BE where we are RIGHT NOW?

What if, instead of looking for the perfect purse and sweater or jeans, we choose to be happy with the purse or sweater or jeans we already own right now?

What if, instead of trying to plan and schedule and map out our future, we just focus on being PRESENT right now?

What if, instead of stressing about the things we cannot control, focus our energy on only the things we CAN and choose to accept that what is meant to happen will happen?

What if, instead of blaming someone for something they did to us, we choose to accept that people make mistakes sometimes and nothing is personal, everyone does the best they can?

What if, instead of forcing things to happen because we are in a hurry to make it “somewhere”, we stop and listen to our gut to see if this really IS the right thing to do right now?

What if, instead of feeling jealous over a friends accomplishment or new car, we choose to be happy for them because they are our friend?

What if, instead of focusing on all of our “faults,” we celebrate the heck out of our strengths and use them to the best of our ability?

What if……we stop wondering WHAT IF and start practicing I AM, I WILL, I DO?

 

 

On Being A Victim

 

I love the movie Mean Girls.  Mostly for this reason:

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Today, however…..we are going to roll down another road….you know, a bumpy one:

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And by “Regina George,” I mean YOU.

Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by YOURSELF.

I have learned that I can play the victim like nobody’s bidness.  I am excellent at it, and I didn’t even know it all these years!  Huh, I guess we can call that a talent?  Er….is butter a carb?

What I mean is this – at times, I catch myself saying statements like the following:

 – I can’t believe it.  So and so JUST STARTED working out and can already press a 16 kilo kettlebell and I have been working out for years and that’s my working weight.  WTF is wrong with me?

 – I’m so busy, there is absolutely no time to workout this week.  I only have 20 minutes today, and then no time the rest of the week.  Why bother today if the rest of the week will not happen anyway?  Why am I always the busy one, and everyone else has time to workout?

 – I can’t believe this is happening to me.  This type of shit never happens to anyone else, why is it ALWAYS me?

Ick.  I’m embarrassed to even write this stuff.

After a 10 week course with Jill Coleman, I know a LOT about how I play the victim.  I honestly didn’t realize it.  Those statements above are examples, but I found myself saying things like that (internally) a TON.

You know what stinks about letting yourself be a victim in your own life though?  When you are the victim, you give up your control in the situation.  You literally choose to be the victim so you don’t take action (or control) to remedy your situation.

Uh, you know what happens when you always give up control in the situation?  You NEVER get OUT of the situation.  You will ALWAYS find yourself circling back to that situation because you have chosen NOT to DEAL with it.

If you are reading this, you already know this isn’t good, right?  I mean, it stinks when you are playing the victim and you don’t really realize it.  You don’t realize you are giving up your control.  You don’t realize you are settling into this situation you are in for the long haul.  You don’t realize that unless you step up to the plate and ask your self “What the flip am I gonna DO about it?”  and then TAKE THAT ACTION, you will always find yourself in some situation, STILL in that situation that you are always in and no one else is EVER in.

My statement above, you know, the “I’m too busy to work out one” is a GREAT example.  When I used to tell myself “I’m too busy this week”……”busy” meant Facebooking, dorking around with poor time management, or making up reasons why I didn’t have time to workout.  So I TOOK ACTION.  I’m no longer too busy.  Days of Our Lives sometimes doesn’t get watched the same day, you know?  Or I get my ass out of bed EARLY to get my workout done.  Or, I just plain old schedule my errands and days better so I can fit in a decent block of workouts each week.  It doesn’t really matter…..other than I TOOK ACTION.  I changed my mindset as to how I approached this little “I’m too busy” phenomenon.  I’m not too busy to work out and take care of myself.  No one is.  It’s a choice.

And my final victim statement above – the one about “why is this always happening to me?”  Let me be honest here.  Things don’t JUST HAPPEN to me.  Things happen to everyone.  If I choose to continue to always look for the things that always happen to me, what do you think I will ALWAYS see?  If I choose to react to things that happen to me with action and ideally a positive attitude, you know….we all know the ending to this scenario.  Things will OBVIOUSLY go a little more smoothly, right?

So what say you?

Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Regina George (and by “Regina George” I mean YOU)?

 

 

 

 

None Of Yo Biznass

**Warning – the feelings are coming out**

I’ve technically “learned” this lesson before.  Reading it again and again via various sources like Jill Coleman and Erin Brown the past couple months has proved to be a great reminder.  Here goes:

What other people think of you is none of YOUR business.

Let that sink in for a good long minute.

If you are like me, you may find yourself making decisions or acting a certain way based on the way other people may react or how others may think about you.  This is BRUTAL.  Because we are no longer acting for ourselves, we are acting for OTHERS.  We set aside our best interests for others.  We also may find ourself in this weird little hell where we are trying to make people like us or people please, without ANY CONTROL of what people actually think about us.

We give up our happiness for the sake of others.  We give up the power of living OUR authentic life for others.  At first, that sounds cool, right?  Like, we are so self-less, always putting others before ourselves.  Cool until it becomes a way for you to slowly lose your own identity, and you realize you no longer even know WHAT you want anymore because you don’t even know WHO you are.  Ick.

I’m getting better at being MY best self and true to MY self and slowly learning that what other people think of me is absolutely none of my business.  It is very freeing and ultimately terrifying at the same time, because it requires me to react to situations differently THIS time around than I would have before.  Which is scary stuff, you know?  It ain’t easy riding in your first rodeo!

The other side of this is I believe we sometimes use the “what will people think” excuses BECAUSE we are afraid to be who we really are.  Being who you really are is making yourself vulnerable.  That is SCARY STUFF sometimes!  You are actually allowing people to see you as you are – at your weakest, at your strongest, and all the times in between.  What if people don’t like this you?  What if they LOVE this you?  Ultimately what they think of this you is none of YOUR business.  It is THEIR business.

We can only control what WE do, and how WE think.

What I have found when I live for ME instead of for others is that I feel inner peace.  For a long time I was without that feeling, and I didn’t even realize it.  I always felt a little uneasy about things.

Here’s an example – for a big portion of my adult life, I was a struggling with body image and ick like that.  I was SUPER insecure and made decisions for others instead of myself, acted for others instead of myself, and talked icky about myself and other people from that place of insecurity……sometimes because I was feeling insecure, and sometimes because everyone else was doing it.  Basically, I was awesome at being a big old biotch.  I could talk like a biotch, act like a biotch, and just generally be a biotch.

Except, inside, it made me feel worse.  Because I actually REALLY like being a nice, decent human being.  I wasn’t being my REAL self.  That icky, uneasy feeling was my true self being UNCOMFORTABLE in that behavior.  I’m so happy I started paying attention to my TRUE self instead of the alternative….although that is ALWAYS a practice.

Lots of words again, but really the main point is that we have ZERO control over much in this world, and can really only control how we act and react.  We can’t control much else, so why even flippin’ stress about it?  I know, I know….that is a practice in itself….much easier said than done.

What other people think of us is NONE of our business.

PS – if you think that it is selfish to put YOU first because, you know, what about your family, your friends, your kids, your whatever….think again.  When you begin to put yourself first, you might just realize that because you are operating from a place of peace instead of a place of unease, you might just have more YOU to give and go around.  You might find that you are a better wife, a better mom, a better friend, a better everything.  And it comes from a place of peace.  Which is awesome.

PPS – also realize that everything isn’t unicorns and rainbows and sometimes life stinks for a bit too.  That is NORMAL.  Choose how you react (also easier said than done).  You can choose to be miserable or choose to be happy.  You ALWAYS have a choice.

PPSS – please feel free to remind me of this when I’m having a bad day :)

 

 

Originally this was my journey to Tough Mudder…now it's my record of all things fitness and health!

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