My Responsibility

My happiness is my responsibility.  It’s not my husband’s, my daughter’s, or my friends.  It’s MY responsibility.

My marriage is my responsibility.

My parenting is my responsibility.

My actions and reactions are my responsibility.

My food and exercise choices are my responsibility.

My timeliness, and showing up when I say I will show up, and doing what I say I will do….are my responsibility.

My financial choices are my responsibility.

My bills are my responsibility.

My screen time is my responsibility.

My self talk and self care is my responsibility.

My personal development is my responsibility.

My choices in friends and tribe are my responsibility.

My doing the right thing, even when no one is looking……is my responsibility.

My health and well-being, and the health and well-being of those I care for…..is my responsibility.

Short post today.  But I’m digging personal responsibility.

The end.

A Message From Trapzilla

Meet my friend Jen, AKA Trapzilla, the MLM Shake Myth Killa

Trapzilla, the MLM Shake Myth Killa
Trapzilla, the MLM Shake Myth Killa

Her consistency focus: eating food, eating ENOUGH food, lifting shit and running, taking care of herself physically AND mentally.

No shake programs here folks, and no diet mindsets and no starving. Just good old fashioned food and hard work. And the balls to keep showing up.

From Jen: “This pic is simply to show muscles and a lean body are built on REAL food and hard work. They are NOT built by starving yourself on shakes/pills/whatever falls into that category. My daily practice involves eating and workout habits that promote what I believe to be healthy and I teach and promote them to those around me. This is me “nicely” telling you to remove me from your shake-craptastic contact list.”

I think we learned a lesson here folks. Be your version of Jen. Find your consistency and have the balls to keep showing up.

Meet Yourself Where You’re At, Not Where You Want To Be

I spend a fair amount of time working with folks either wanting to change something in their lives, OR level up something that they are working on.

I also spend a fair amount of time leveling up pieces of my own life, and have made quite a few changes in my life over the last few years.

I also spend a ridiculous amount of time reading Dan John books and Point A and Point B and constant assessments and dear Edna (all of these references you might miss if you don’t read Dan John stuff), and working with my coaching group, and keep coming back to this lesson that I’m about to write about.

People are attracted as all get out to the idea of change.  The idea that they want to “go somewhere” with a piece of their life and get from Point A to Point B (a shameless Dan John reference).  We see examples of this all the time – New Years is approaching, after all, and millions of people will begin dreaming about what they are going to commit to and change in 2017.  Perhaps a weight loss goal, perhaps they are going to finally get fit, perhaps an Iron Man is in their future, or to drop a few percentage points of body fat.  Regardless, “going somewhere” other than “here” is sexy as hell.  The IDEA is fun, and shiny, and sparkly, and badass to think about.  You want to tell all the people what you are going to do, and maybe you DO tell all the people what you are going to do.

You guys, I actually LOVE change.  I love hearing how people go about it, and I love changing little things in my own life.  I’m not bad mouthing change or minimizing WANTING to change.  I think, hey, if you got something that you want to level up, and that’s your healthy choice, then go get it.

What I notice, though, is that we fall in love with the idea of change.  And begin with behaviors that match the person already “at” the place they want to be.  We are treating ourselves like we are already at Point B, even though we sorta missed even KNOWING where Point A (our beginning point) was, and alllllll the stuff that needed to happen to get from Point A to Point B.  It’s kinda like me saying “I want to back squat 400 pounds by Christmas” but am currently unable to complete a full range of motion UNWEIGHTED squat.  If I can’t complete perfect unweighted squats for reps, is owning a 400 pound back squat in two months REALLY realistic?  Or healthy for me, for that matter?  Probably not.

Let’s put this into practice, yes?

For example, say your Point B (or where you want to “be” after you change something) is completing a marathon, which is admirable.  The marathon itself is Point B.  But what is SUPER IMPORTANT here is Point A.  Point A is where you are at right now.  Often times, we gloss over where we are at, and start right into a marathon training program.  Maybe that isn’t a bad thing, if you are a seasoned runner with countless miles, 10K’s and half marathons under your belt, and joints and muscles that are used to running.  Perhaps that marathon, then, is a good place to go. For the seasoned runner, it probably means more mileage and more recovery work, among other things. However, consider the person who has yet to run a 5K without stopping, or who lacks consistency in their running practice, or worse….has a history of ankle, knee, or hip problems, or a weak core or poor gait pattern.  Their Point A is completely different than the seasoned runner.  Point B is going to take a LOT of effort for the person without the running background, and taking into full account where they are starting from, owning that place, and making a smart, sustainable, REALISTIC plan to get to marathon status takes discipline.  Because….there is a big gap between Point A and Point B.  Doesn’t mean they can’t or shouldn’t pursue it….it just means, HEY, let’s own up to where we are REALLY at so we can make a good road map of the twists and turns it will take to safely get us to Point A.

What about if Point B becomes someone desiring to lose 50 pounds next year, and New Years is their kickoff?  What is most important here, embarking on  a low carb diet to drop pounds quick, or spending a week or two assessing where they are REALLY at?  Owning Point A would mean taking an honest look at a few things.  Do they REALLY need to lose 50 pounds to be in a healthy weight range?  Or is 50 pounds an arbitrary number they have in their head?  Do they realize 50 pounds is probably 50 weeks or more worth of real time and real effort?  Once they have sorted this piece out, assessing their eating is possibly where to go next.  Are they currently maintaining their weight, losing slowly, or gaining steadily?  Because this is our clue on what to do for our eating.  If we said “Ima lose 50 pounds stat, yo” and dove straight into a diet program, we likely have missed all this learning and understanding and new priorities that it will take to reach Point B.

You guys, change is COOL as hell in my opinion.

BUT…..

You knew there was going to be a BUT….

There is a lot of work to be done – physical, mental, emotional, etc – when change is what we are after.  Point B is just sort of the end point, and yes, it is cool to reach Point B.  Point B rocks.  But owning Point A, and figuring out the road map from Point A to B is where all of the cool stuff happens – the physical, mental, and emotional journey.  THAT space is where the true change happens.  Point B is really just the badge of honor that you get to wear and show off for doing all the difficult stuff to get there.  It is the reward for taking an accurate picture of Point A, and designing a crafty and realistic road map to get you there, even if you had to remap it a few times because of unexpected twists and turns.

In my opinion, it’s more rewarding to capture that accurate picture of Point A, and then design a realistic road map to Point B.  Often times, this doesn’t result in jumping into an unsustainable diet program, dropping a significant amount of weight, buying a new wardrobe, only to realize, SHOOT, this wasn’t realistic, how I’m expected to eat now, and you rapidly gain back the weight PLUS some, only to kick your self-esteem down into the gutter.

Spending the time figuring out the true Point A, and then developing that road map, or….REALLY…that road map is called “new behaviors and habits I need to learn” gives you time to reflect the things you can REALISTICALLY do to make the change to Point B.  In my opinion, that helps you figure out how, and at what level, this Point B really fits into your life.  After the Point A assessment, you might realize you need to reconfigure Point B just slightly, and you know what?  That’s 1000% ok because you realize you can actually sustain that, and it’s realistic.

healthy-change-rocks

Again, change is awesome.  But it requires effort.  I think it’s worth spending the effort of figuring out our true Point A so we can sustainably and realistically find our Point B.

Meeting yourself where you are at is 1000% jazzy in my book.  Change will likely flow better, and last, when you meet yourself at an accurate Point A versus forcing yourself into an unrealistic Point B, you know?

Again, I would love your thoughts on this.  I love the topic of change!

Mindset Monday – Action Over Planning

I posted this one on my FB page today, and wanted to record it here as well.  Perhaps you will gain something from it, or perhaps it will help you fall asleep tonight 🙂

Before you read, know this.  95% of what I write is written FOR ME.  Often times, they are things I need to hear.  OR, I write because things are just snapped so clearly into focus that stuff just clicks.

I think we spend too much time planning, and “what if-ing” ourselves and not enough time just doing.  Obviously, myself included, because I wrote this for me 🙂

From Facebook today….

img_4448

Gym time focus lately is alignment of joints and FEELING connected to my ever changing almost 20 weeks pregnant body.

So, today, during sets of 12 back squats (which IS cardio BTW), I was so damn focused on breathing, engaging pelvic floor, not flaring that ribcage, etc….that it translated into WHAT ELSE is aligned and that engaged and focused during my non-gym life?

Ironically, even though I don’t like being pregnant, pregnancy snaps shit into focus for me and I can clear my head and start making changes that need to be made. There are some areas that need attention to be a little better aligned with me and my family in the coming months. And while that feels overwhelming, it’s actually really simple. It’s a simple decision, and then action that follows.

I can spend a million hours on the perfect scenario, but there is no point, because it doesn’t exist. It’s too easy to get paralyzed by analyzing everything to death.

I learn from action. Decide on a change or course of action, and make the change. Don’t do it perfectly or by spending 1000 hours on details and how it should flow. I do best acting, and doing on the fly, as I learn.

For me, this is instant feedback, and I do best under this kind of pressure. Try it for a bit, see what needs tweaking, and then make that next small change.

No one wins if they have the perfect plan that they were too scared to execute.

Lots of people win if they have an inkling and execute and make change as necessary along the way.

This is probably why I don’t have business goals, or life goals, or financial goals….I have “things I like to do and want to do so I try them/do them” type scenarios. I’m not motivated by goals and outcomes, I’m motivated by the process that happens WHILE doing stuff.

PS – sometimes, workouts are JUST workouts where you throw shit around, and NOT this epic event where you always connect the big picture

PPS – thanks for listening to my rambling on a Monday 🙂

PPSS – gym time happens to be where I’m able to see this stuff a little more clearly, probably because it’s a reminder of what I CAN do already.

 

Dear TM: How Do I Quit My (Unsustainable) Shake Program?

Yeah, I have been getting this question quite a bit lately, so I guess writing about it is in order.  I’ve also been sitting on it, because well, you know….it might cause some controversy.

But I’m also sick of dancing around issues.  And so a little controversy, I guess….I’m not afraid of.  So if you need to unsubscribe from me, well, so be it:)

So, the question I’ve been getting…..

How Do I Quit My Shake Program?

I feel like we need to pause here.  Because there is an elephant in the room.  Upon getting asked that question, I generally ask WHY?  Why the need to give up the shake program?  Turns out….the shake program is, admittedly, not sustainable.  It’s not sustainable for a variety of reasons, generally….ranging from it being too expensive, or it’s no longer fun to drink meals, or it’s hard not to cheat on it, or…..it’s just not sustainable to do this in the long run.

You guys, I get it.  I know it is easy to get tripped up in this shake stuff….with trendy marketing words like “reset” and “speedy metabolism” and “healthy meal in a glass” and “convenience.”  I also know how it feels to be uncomfortable in your own skin, making a quick fix sound attractive.  I’ve been there, done that, and have the food baggage, self-confidence plummet, and  hamster wheel of self-defeat and self-loathing to prove it.  It isn’t a pretty cycle.  You get into the cycle feeling yucky about yourself, hoping that this, THIS…will FINALLY be the thing that gets you comfortable in your own skin.  You cling to the two shakes a day, possibly healthy (but very low-calorie) snack included, and a sensible dinner, where you eat only protein and veggies.  But, BUT….your shakes “tastes like” Oreo cookies, and you can microwave them, so they puff up into shake cake substance, and you are desperately clinging to this plan while you slug back shakes that tastes like chalk that you are convinced are actually Oreos in disguise (hint: they’re not).

I give you credit for acknowledging this stuff isn’t sustainable.  And credit for asking for some guidance on how to exit the program.  This is no easy feat.  Rock on for taking the initiative to get out while the gettin’ is good.  Kudos to you for realizing that you deserve better and MORE than some low-calorie plan in wildly expensive powder form.

There might be a hiccup though.  You really didn’t learn any sustainable habits while on the shake program.  You didn’t learn how to properly fuel yourself and trust your choices surrounding food.  You learned how to drink shakes, and depend on very low calories, and fake energy from tea and pre-workout drinks….to rock your life.  So now, it’s time to ditch the shakes, but you might find yourself feeling a little lost, and a little like “now what?”

Well, I’m going to give you two options.  Maybe they are good choices for you, and maybe they aren’t.  It depends on YOU.  I want you to realize I work with clients based off personalized questions and screening and information.  What I’m doing here is very generalized, and NOT a full-fledged guideline of how YOU should approach things.  You know?

Option 1

Go cold turkey.  Today, you drank shakes and “did the program” and tomorrow, you decide, I’m eating my meals.  I like to think of this as the “rip the bandaid off” way.  To me, this does make some sense.  But I think it’s important to talk through some pros and cons.

Pros:  Yay!  You’re done!  No more shakes!  You can now enjoy eating food again, and you might be highly excited for this.  You might suddenly feel like the world is your oyster, and you can make meals and eat off menus, and not be the oddball drinking your lunch (not in the fun way) when you are out to eat with friends.  Win!  Also, chewing, and tasting and flavors….and all those fun things!  Woohoo!  For many, workouts become FUN now, because there is all this new fuel to play with.  Also, you don’t have to feel guilty about “cheating” on your plan all the time because it was too strict to begin with.

Cons: Well, there could be a couple, but each individual is different.

First, if you’ve been eating very low-calorie for quite some time, there’s a good chance you body has gotten used to running on very little calories, AND this might mean that suddenly adding in food, and most likely, more calories….you might experience a bump in weight, and your body is going “WOOOOAAHHHHHH, what’s all this about?  We’re not used to this.  We’re not used to working on a full (or more full) tank, and now WTF do we do….aaaaaarrggghhhh!”  Which sometimes cues the freakout period, especially when you’ve desperately been clinging to shakes to control your weight.  While you might experience a jump in weight, there are some factors that come into play here.  You are eating and chewing and digesting FOOD.  This takes up space, and weight, in your body.  And when you think about all this, we should review energy balance as well.  You aren’t gonna gain craploads of weight if you eat the same amount of energy you burn everyday, it’s science.  However, after ditching shakes, it’s sorta easy to go “off the rails” for a bit while you eat everything you COULDN’T eat while on the shake plan, which may mean you are eating MORE than what you burn each day.  Guess what?  This generally levels out a bit for most, but if you’ve been on a lifetime of diets…..this WILL NOT happen overnight, and it WILL require patience.  And I will not lie, it is not the most fun process to go through (speaking from a former chronic dieter who has put in lots of work in her personal life on this very subject).

Second, feeding off the first con, or getting your body used to eating a sane amount of food, and perhaps experiencing a slight bump in weight (temporary or not) can come with some mental baggage.  It can be SCARY to see the scale climb a bit after you’ve controlled it for so long.  It might make you feel like a failure, or just icky in general.  I heard a great analogy today, and I can’t remember where, so I feel bad for not giving credit where credit is due for using this, so just know it ain’t my original thought.  This controlling of weight through shake programs is similar to holding a beach ball under water.  Holding that ball under water takes CONSTANT EFFORT and that ball is waiting, just waiting to explode up from under the water into the air.  Same thing happens when the shakes take a hike.  Control, control, control of the weight and then BOOM, it pops up a bit when you begin eating sane amounts of food.

Third, you have to learn how you like to eat and what fuels you and makes you feel good.  This takes time and effort.  On the shake program, your meals were pretty much determined for you.  Now, you gotta make them, and know HOW to make them out of WHAT foods, you know?  What foods do you even like?  What foods make you feel good?  Do you even feel hunger signals anymore?  How do you even know?!?!?!  It’s a process.

Option 2

Slowly wean yourself off.  Basically, you begin slowly adding food and slowly easing out shakes.  For example, if you did a breakfast shake, a lunch shake, a small afternoon snack of a cheese stick and apple, and a dinner of veggies and protein, we gotta start somewhere.  So, maybe you pick a shake meal, say lunch, and “add” stuff to it to make it more of a meal.  Maybe you start with half a turkey sandwich, or an apple, and over a week or two, you beef that up to the shake PLUS more of meal type stuff, until your meal is big enough and your shake is no longer needed.  You keep doing that each day until this meal feels good and sensible.  Then you begin attacking the other shake meal and follow the same process.  Then finally, you begin beefing up the dinner a bit if necessary, or that afternoon snack.  Let’s chat pros and cons again.

Pros: You are slowly adding in more food, and it’s likely your scale won’t go haywire temporarily.  You might feel like you have a better handle on things, and that you are learning to build your meals to things that make you feel good while weaning out of shake land.

Cons: This takes time.  And lots of patience.  It is a bit of a disciplined process.  You literally slowwwlllyy “allow” yourself more food and more calories overall.  This also remains a bit expensive, as you are still drinking shakes for a bit PLUS eating food.  I would throw in that it’s mentally expensive as well, as your brain is probably CONSTANTLY thinking about food and this process.

There are MANY other factors to consider with this stuff, but these are two Cliff’s Notes scenarios that I have gone through with a few clients needing help ditching shake land and easing into habit land and real food choices.  To be honest, both work, but it is a very individualized process.  If I can help clients through nutrition habits here, I can and will.  I’ve also done a combo of these two, where we start slow, and say eff it after a week or two and rip the band-aid off.

I want to be clear though.  This shiz is serious business.  It’s appropriate for me, as a certified nutrition coach, to run through healthy habits.  I am NOT qualified to set up meal plans or treat disordered eating.  Those things require professionals such as a Registered Dietician or a counselor specialized in eating disorders.  Chronic dieting, shake land, thinking about food, obsessing over healthy food and clean eating and healthy living and the like, can be a very slippery slope towards seriously disordered eating behaviors, and I write about it so people (hopefully) take it seriously.  I want better for YOU.  I want you to know what it feels like to NOT be obsessed over food and to be absolutely alright trusting yourself with your food (and life) choicees.   Please take your mindset about food and your choices seriously, and give it priority and the respect it deserves.

Got questions?  Please ask ‘em here via comment.  Or, shoot me an email at tmwellnessrevolution at gmail dot com.  I love to hear from people!

Don’t “Pay For” Your Halloween Candy “Sins”

Happy November 1, or the day when social media is FULL of posts on how many burpees you need to do to burn off those fun size Twix bars you ate last night.

Eye roll, eye roll, eye roll, eye roll, eye roll.  You KNOW I’m hitting the hide, unfollow, and unlike buttons like CRAZY this morning, right?  I’ve seen about 10 posts telling me how much exercise I need to do to burn off my candy choices last night.  I also saw a few posts of kiddo trick or treaters getting a can of veggies for Halloween and being praised for being the healthiest kid out there.

Because I’m into fitness and wellness and nutrition, you’d probably think that I will be telling you that it’s time to get rid of the candy, time to exercise extra hard today, and time to pay for your nutrition sins yesterday.  I mean, it’s November 1….shouldn’t I be detoxing something right now to “ reset myself and get this sugar out of my system?”

Except I think that’s complete bullhonkey.

Look, we all know that making healthy choices is a good thing for us, right?  And a steady diet of Twix bars, Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins, and Skittles probably isn’t the way to slay your health.  But I think we need to put this into perspective.  Halloween is ONE day/night.  It isn’t the other 364 days in the year.  And, the idea of “paying for” your food sins through exercise is a damn slippery slope.  Because that idea sneaks into your whole life, and lingers for years, even if you don’t want it to.

Here are questions I ask myself:

  • Am I eating balanced meals most of the time?
  • Am I enjoying eating my balanced meals most of the time?
  • Am I really wanting to enjoy a few pieces of Halloween candy tonight, and perhaps the next few days after Halloween?
  • Am I able to enjoy eating that Halloween candy without feeling crazy thoughts of doing burpees to burn them off?

Look, if I’m answering yes to these questions, I’m not too worried about eating the Halloween candy.  In the end, it’s just food.  Yes, eating veggies is important, and protein and complex carbs.  So is the spontaneity of walking around with my kid trick or treating and we enjoy some pure straight sugar.  And my husband and I enjoy the hour that she is bonkers at home later and says crazy stuff and dances around like a maniac because she is on that sugar high and we all laugh.

I have to say, I know I joke a ton about eating cupcakes and a nice little Reese’s peanut butter something now and again.  I do eat those things!  I also eat lots of balanced meals.  Am I a bad person because of the cupcakes?  Am I a better person because of the beef roast and carrots and salad I’m about to make today?  No.  Because what I eat is not a JUDGEMENT of my character.

The slippery slope is when we begin giving food the power.  The idea that we gotta burn off the Twix bars with 7 burpees or whatever.  Now, we’ve given food power over us by “paying for” eating something “naughty.”  That’s a little effed up, in my opinion.  If I do those things, what sort of picture am I painting for my threenager who is watching and learning from me?

Last Halloween, we enjoyed Emma’s candy for a few days, and then the magic wore off.  A pumpkin half filled with candy sat in our cupboard for months after without us touching it, until finally we threw it out.  So, what does that tell me about our habits?  That yes, we did eat some candy, but clearly we are still eating our meals as well, right?  I’m not too worried about the Halloween candy.  I’m just not.

And, my friend, who shall be known as “AK” for this post, will be proud of me.  I, too, have a bag of Reese’s peanut butter somethings in my freezer at the moment.  The day we bought them, we ate them and enjoyed them.  They went in the freezer because who doesn’t love them cold?  Turns out, we’ve been eating other stuff, because we came up upon the stash this week, and while I’m sure they will be enjoyed in the future, we aren’t that into them right now.  Be sure to check back between holidays though, when the supply begins to dwindle 🙂

Bottom line, allow yourself to TRUST your food choices, and don’t give food the power.  It’s just freaking food.

Would love your thoughts on this one 🙂

Pregnancy: Week 18 and Grabbing The Beans

So, yup.  We are having another little one!  Nearly 18 weeks here!  I’m excited for another kiddo, I’m NOT excited to be going through a pregnancy, as awful as that sounds.  More on that in a bit 🙂

I intended to write this blog like weeks ago, but……time gets away from me 🙂  And because, last time I was pregnant with no kids and could focus on being pregnant.  This time?  Have a kid, still have to mom it, and work my biz, and wife it.  So I’m pregnant, but it’s like sort of just there right now, a bit of an afterthought at times 🙂

What I thought I’d do is summarize workouts and stuff “now” as compared to pre-pregnancy, as a means to show what changes for me when pregnant.

First off, I feel MUCH more prepared this second time through.  Mostly because, well…we already have a kid, so there isn’t time to “focus on being pregnant.”  There’s only all day long where you are doing life and raising a kid, so there is NOT time to focus on allllll the details.  It’s basically, wake up, get through the day, and crash early.  Ha!  But let’s be honest, that’s not all that different from not-pregnant me.  Possibly the only difference is the fact that I go to bed 45 minutes earlier now (8:15PM) versus 8:45PM.  I’m still a 90-year-old at heart, and damn proud of that.

While I feel fortunate to be going through a healthy pregnancy for the second time, I also need to be honest.  I don’t enjoy being pregnant.  It’s not “magical” for me.  I feel awkward and very much out of touch with how I usually move, and pretty much lose steam after 3PM each day.  And I’m normally a person who loves to eat and cook….and those things don’t exactly give me jazz hands right now, they pretty much feel lackluster.  I feel like a jerk even saying I don’t enjoy pregnancy, but I’d also feel like a fraud if I was all “this is such a wonderful time!”  So there you have it :).  Is it week 40 yet?

I miss Oktoberfest beer selections.  Period.  Next fall, I’m taking myself on a fall brewery tour, and celebrating Oktoberfest RIGHT.

Food is sometimes cool, sometimes gross.  Mostly, it’s a pain in the ass to eat after 3PM because I feel bloated.  Everything except for most fruit and some hard cheese and crackers was gross through like week 12.  Veggies were poison for a long time.  The taste of food has come back, but eating a lot is NOT thrilling to me….and if I eat too much, there’s a good chance I’m gonna get the gags.  Right now, I’m kind of on a puke for a couple days streak, and then good for a couple days.  So…some days I eat two lunches or two breakfasts….depending on if I throw the first one up :).  So there’s that!  If this one is anything like being pregnant the first time, this will continue through like week 25-30.  I lost some weight in the first trimester, and it is coming back, but slowly.

Lifting has been consistent, to be honest, because even during the yucky early months, it was a nice distraction from feeling yucky.  Although those first few weeks, my workouts felt geriatric compared to my normal.  However, I’m settling in, the weights are getting heavier, but I’m finding out that my body really likes reps right now, in the 8-15 range.  So of course, the loads I’m lifting reflect that.  My brain does NOT enjoy this rep range, because it reminds me continuously of cardio.  I do not have energy for those fun heavy singles, triples, and sets of five.  Nope.  No way.  I’m really having fun learning my way through some seriously prenatal friendly core training.  I’m taking my core and pelvic floor SERIOUSLY.  I enrolled in a course with Jessie Mundell, GGS pelvic floor specialist, and am learning tons on how to safely train PLUS take care of core + floor.  Let me make this awkward for you….and give you the BEST deadlift cue of your life.  When you hinge back, and have your breath dialed in, before you pull…..”grab a bean” between your anus and vagina, THEN exhale and complete the lift.  This.Will.Change.Your.Life.  I am grabbing ALL the beans, and this shit works, yo.  I didn’t really focus on core and floor specifically last pregnancy, and I paid the price after delivery.  I’m focusing on it in a big way this time, and actually studying up on pre and post natal lifting for my clients.  This shiz is important, yo.  I’m happy to report that my vagina does NOT feel like it is going to fall out, I do NOT have the workout pees, I don’t have pain anywhere really, aside from the odd growing pains type stuff.  I AM giving my chiropractor a run for her money with my ever-changing pelvis, though :).  She needs to be challenged though, so this is good.

I’ve picked up a serious walking routine.  Last spring, I was ruck walking….or carrying a 30 pound backpack while walking.  It was super fun, and I took a break for the summer because it sorta sucked when it got hot.  I was looking forward to picking it up again this fall, but to be honest, adding 30 pounds on top of relaxed joints and stuff probably isn’t a good idea.  So, regular walking it is.  During early weeks, I was focusing on about four walks a week – 1-2x moderate pace, 1x interval walks, and then a long walk on the weekends.  Now, I’m pretty much keeping my walks to about 3-4 per week of 30 minute FAST or interval walks, depending on what I have energy for.  And, I’ve been out on the trails a few times for some long stuff, and that feels good too.

I’m pretty sure my husband is excited to have his wife back after pregnancy.  I’m pretty sure I’m a little crazy, and he is really kicking ass in the evening routine, and the early morning routine at our house.  Many nights, he and Emma tuck ME into bed for the night.  I need to give him more kudos, because this does NOT go unnoticed.

And, I feel like this is important to chat about, at least in MY pregnancy, so I’m writing it here.  I had FABULOUS prenatal care last pregnancy, but showing up to delivery was a complete shitshow.  Like, it was not a good situation, and I’ve been carrying it around with me for 3.5 years.  I had intended on writing my daughter’s birth story, and didn’t because it was a shitty experience.  I did go back to my six-week check-up, and I did not go back after, until finding out we were pregnant again.  To be honest, I was pissed, scared of doing it again, and frustrated by the whole thing.  And my husband knows it…he was in delivery and went through it too.  So of course, finding out we were pregnant, it was already that heavy weight in the back of my mind…..like, I’m not doing this shit again like last time.  I did book my first prenatal appointment, and in the meantime, we went to visit a local birth center, which ended up being friggin’ fabulous, but also friggin’ out of network, and possibly a little financially crazy for our family, although we are still talking about it.  At my first prenatal appointment with my normal midwife from last pregnancy, I pretty much showed up with sky-high blood pressure, and had a meltdown freakout session on her, about last time, and not putting myself through that again.  I was balling, SHE ended up balling, and we had a really freaking good conversation about it.  She basically backed me up and validated everything I was feeling and was basically like “You need to have a friggin’ rocking birth, none of this shitshow business.”  Ten minutes after the conversation, we re-checked my blood pressure, and it had dropped to almost normal.  This conversation needed to happen about 3.5 years ago, and I know that now, as hindsight is always 20/20.  Since this appointment, I’ve been back two more times, seen the other two midwives, had the same conversation, and we are all on the same page about birth.  No more shitshow.  My husband and I are in control, and will not be going into birth #2 blindsided or through the same experience as birth #1.  I’m happy to report, my blood pressure was a lovely 110-78 this last appointment, and I can tell I’m not having crazy anxiety about this all.  Bottom line, STICK UP FOR YOURSELF.  This is YOUR body, and YOUR pregnancy.  I will say, that if we deliver in the hospital, and everything goes well….I will be “that patient” pushing the envelope and getting out of the hospital in 24 hours or less :).

All in all, week 18 is here.  I’m happy that we are going to raise another little.  I’ll be happier when the little is on the OUTSIDE, though.  It is pretty cool to have Emma talk about her little baby brother or sister though.  And have her ask questions, and ask if the baby is kicking, and stop to give it a hug sometimes.

Bossing Up

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of social media, Big Diet and Big Fitness, and magazines telling me how I need to be about my body and my life and my health.

Please don’t tell me I need to tone up.

Please don’t tell me I need to shrink or lose a pants size by Christmas.

Please don’t tell me that eating *these* superfoods is gonna cure cancer or help me burn fat all day long.

Please don’t tell me what my unsightly trouble spots are.

Please don’t tell me.anything.anymore.period.about.what.my.body.should.or.should.not.be.

There is SO MUCH mental and physical energy spent on this garbage.  And SO MUCH money.  Think about it – if this garbage actually WERE the truth….why the flip are we talking about obesity so much in this country all the time?  And why are so many people so flipping miserable and self-conscious in their own skin?  And why, why, why are so many people terrified to trust themselves?

I have an idea.  It’s my idea, it might not be right (lots of my ideas end up not being right).  And I write and talk and blog about it incessantly.

I feel like a BOSS in this picture!
I feel like a BOSS in this picture!

I think we are STILL talking about obesity, and low self-esteem, and zero self-trust, and STILL hearing garbage from Big Diet and Big Fitness……

…..because we STILL believe this is “a plan” that will magically get out of this problem.  We NEVER talk about behaviors and all “the stuff” we do, or COULD DO,  in our regular life that leads to sustainable change.  You guys, having healthy habits and behaviors trump a diet pill, a nasty #herbasuck shake, a diet plan, a 90 day workout program……PLUS, they empower you with choices that help YOU make the best YOU, and let YOU choose.  YOU are the driver.  YOU can be trusted with your choices.

And, while I love a good plan….planning, well, is pretty much crap.  Planning is all talk, and zero action.  I doubt there is any successful person that said “my plan was perfectly planned and everything went according to plan.”  Instead, I bet that successful person said something like “eff it, let’s try this, learn, and re-adjust as needed.”

Planning doesn’t do anything about helping us see WHERE EXACTLY we are.  It only shows us the map to somewhere we think we’d like to go.  Except, how the heck can we know where to go, and what place that is best to go…… if we don’t know where we are?

Here is my three point plan on Bossing The Heck Up, and vaccinating yourself against the garbage of Big Diet and Big Fitness, and diet mindset, and MLM yuck, and ALL THAT NOISE.

  1. Assess where you currently are at, and what behaviors you already possess that make you FEEL and perform like a boss, and what behaviors you possess that detract from that Boss Status.
  2. Make a list of the behaviors and habits that you think will help you FEEL more like a Boss.  Compare it with the list of Boss behaviors and habits you ALREADY have.
  3. Continue living your Boss behaviors and habits you already have.  Slowly incorporate (maybe one per month or so) those Boss behaviors you’d like to add.  Seriously.  I triple dog dare you to do it SLOWLY.

And, yes, I know how ridiculously simple this sounds.  Everything sounds simple.  Simple does NOT mean easy.  It doesn’t.  But, when you SLOWLY do this stuff, and you look back….even though some days and weeks were rough, you will STILL be glad you took the time to Boss Up.  Bossing up is FUN because it is a journey that will probably always be changing course….it isn’t a destination.

The insanely cool thing about the journey of Bossing Up?  YOU choose.  YOU choose what that means for you.  Nobody else chooses for you.  

Please, please, pretty please….keep me updated on your journey in Bossing Up.  Drop me a line sometime.  I LOVE hearing about this stuff.

I also have a special course dedicated to Mom Bosses coming up.  This is NOT me throwing you garbage of toning and shrinking your mom bod.  This is me helping you include strength training – ONE COMPONENT of Bossing Up – into your life so YOU can feel empowered and strong.  This is completely online, workouts are delivered directly to your inbox, and group empowerment, high fiving, commiserating over why it is so difficult to shop for the perfect pair of jeans, and celebrating your strengths….is done via private Facebook group.  This runs from November 7th – December 31st, and is open to soon to be moms, current moms, moms with grown kids, and those who want to be moms.  Space is limited, and you may register here if this is your “thang.”

Dear TM: Where Do I Eat My Skittles?

I got a REALLY awesome question from a member of one of my nutrition coaching groups yesterday.  For context, I feel like I should tell you what we are working on at the moment.

You see, I don’t tell my clients what to do or what to eat with a meal plan, a set of rules, or a good and bad foods list.  Because people need to choose for THEIR BODY and life, not mine.  And because one size never, EVER fits all with nutrition or fitness.

So, this nutrition coaching group is focused on lean AND healthy eating habits to help my clients rock their life.  Not obsessive stuff, not counting calories or macros, just good old eating habits that help people lean up a bit, feel good, keep the doctor happy at the annual visit, AND have energy for the deadlifts and for life.

You guys, we can ALWAYS complicate stuff up more, but do we even need to?  Not usually.  Maybe if the conditions are right, but not usually.  Once or twice a year, a short bout of fat loss focus might be the ticket for you.  The bulk of your year/life though….just sustainability.

So here is what REALLY matters when working towards lean AND healthy.

Thanks, RP, for this great graphic!
Thanks, RP, for this great graphic!

As you can see, the BIGGEST priorities are the bottom two layers – calorie balance, and food composition.  Calorie balance, or getting tight and right with your goals to either maintain weight, slowly lose weight, or slowly gain weight is KING.  Followed closely by food composition  (eating mostly healthy things, working towards eating more whole foods and less foods from boxes type stuff).  All the other “stuff” – macros, nutrient timing, hydration, and supplementation are waaayyyy at the end of the list of things to focus on, you know?

So, back to the story.  As a coaching group, we are currently focused on calorie balance by eating larger meals 3-4 times per day, without snacking.  We haven’t begun to address WHAT to eat yet, but rather just getting good at eating regular meals that are ENOUGH to carry us to the next meal.  However, we all know that those “food composition” habits are coming down the road.

So, here is the question I got today:

“Ok, so say you want something sweet or chocolate to eat, but you aren’t supposed to be eating between meals.  Do you just have some chicken with a side of Skittles at your meal or just try to not have it at all?”

You guys, this is a GREAT question.  Because we all find ourselves from time to time….where do I eat the dang Skittles?

First answer, wherever you want to eat the Skittles, in accordance with your calorie balance goals.  Meaning, eat them less if you are trying to slowly lose weight.  Eat them at a moderate level if your goal is to maintain your weight.  Eat them at more than a moderate level, and with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, if you are slowly trying to gain weight.  Tongue in cheek, of course….but as long as the calorie balance thing is happening, it doesn’t matter where you eat the Skittles.  For the record, you don’t actually have to count your calories here, either.  There are other ways to get this job done.

Then, we have the nutrition coaching group answer, because according to our current habit, we are shooting to eat 3-4 meals each day, without snacking in between.  So, in theory, this client might add some Skittles to one of her meals that day.  I’m guessing, over time, that Skittles wouldn’t be fun anymore if this client ate them at EVERY meal, but my guess is eating them at a meal today might help her feel satisfied during the day because 1) she ate something she really wanted to eat and 2) she ate overall for the day to support her goals, that Skittles were probably like 10% of the picture.

Then, we have MY answer:

“I vote go with your gut on the day. What do you REALLY want to eat and what will your brain and body feel good about before and after. Everyone’s answer will likely be different on this and THAT IS A-OK. Personally, most meals for me are pretty awesome protein, veggies, complex carb type stuff. However, I do have my fair share of 80/20 meals during the week – where 80% is pretty awesome whole food type stuff and 20% is wheeeeeeee this is fun! For instance, one lunch this weekend was a hamburger with bun, half an acorn squash and a side of Doritos. A fun breakfast last week was oatmeal with sliced apple and diced Reese’s peanut butter pumpkin mixed in. I’m learning to tell the difference between “I want to eat total crap right now” and “nope, I want a good wholesome meal that includes some fun stuff too.”

Folks, I think there is something to think about big time right here.  I feel bad about picking on Skittles, but in this case, they are a good example, so here goes.  Are you eating Skittles by the truckload all week?  Or are you eating some here and there?  THIS is what matters.

In sustainable eating habits, eating plenty of whole foods, vitamins, nutrients, slaying the calorie balance beast, AND sprinkling in Skittles is what matters.  You CAN be healthy AND lean while enjoying this approach.

But that’s not meant to say “eat Cheetos for breakfast with a side of Skittles, oatmeal cream pies for lunch with a side of Skittles, and drink your way through dinner.  ALTHOUGH, that MIGHT BE what your brain is interpreting here if you’ve been on a diet for most of your adult life.  Choosing foods that make you feel good AND look good, and make your body function well….probably are a good mix of decently healthy meals with fun treats sprinkled in.

What would YOU say if your nutrition coach said “never eat the Skittles, just avoid them and all “bad” foods because you have this certain way of eating to accomplish here?

Or, if you were able to choose mixing in the Skittles sometimes, and that helped you feel satisfied and allowed you to eat decently healthy without bingeing towards gluttony road, do you think that might work for you?

I know what my answer is.  I know it might differ from your answer, and even my client’s answer, and that is absolutely just fine.  The important part is that each person chooses for THEIR body, and THEIR life.  Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach in this instance.  Personally, sprinkling in treats allows me to feel satisfied, STILL NOURISHED because I’m eating plenty of the healthy stuff, and never really feeling deprived. I can’t tell you the last time I went “off the rails”….it’s been a long time.  And I could NEVER tell you that same statement if I was still following meal plans and dieting my way through life.  I approach eating the same way on Saturday as I do on Monday.

I would love your comments and follow-up question on this!  Leave them in a comment on my FB page post, or email me at tmwellnessrevolution at gmail dot com!

Pregnancy: Mom Boss Tara Chimes In

Confession.  I’ve had this interview in my inbox for QUITE some time.  So, here we are….FINALLY getting around to this!

I run a gym full of mostly women (and some very brave men).  Of course, with women, pregnancy is a topic that comes up from time to time.  And….not so much a topic, but an exciting life event!  I mean, you find out  you are pregnant one day, and then wait for like 40 weeks, and BOOM, a stork arrives at your doorstep with a brand new, doe-eyed, sweet little baby who never cries or fusses, and sleeps through the night immediately, and you whiz right back into your normal life, full of energy and life and zest, and a six pack, and you NEVER miss a beat.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Wouldn’t THAT be awesome?!?!  It really is an epic life event, but we all know….it doesn’t ever go as planned!

So anyways.  I thought it would be cool to interview some of my clients who have recently been through pregnancy and birth.  Well, sorta recent anyways.  They have been sitting around in my inbox after all :).  Mostly this is from a fitness perspective.  I find a lot of information is NOT out there related to pregnancy and what you should and should not do during it and there SURE as heck isn’t much out there (but that’s changing!!) on how to get back into fitness after birth.  So here is an insight to Mom Boss Tara’s pregnancy and postpartum experience.

Meet Tara!  Look at her, just four weeks and three days pregnant 🙂

4w3d-6-21-15Tell us, Tara, how did you feel working out while pregnant?

I honestly felt great working out while pregnant.  It helped me to have energy to end my day (I worked out at 6pm).  I had a great pregnancy and never had any nausea so that never stopped me from working out.  There were some days during the 2nd trimester where I was really tired (weeks 13-15) where I would have preferred to stay home, but I went anyways because I knew it would help pep me up for the rest of the evening and help me sleep that night too.

Was there any change to your strength/exercise routine during pregnancy compared to how you trained prior to pregnancy?

I didn’t change my routine that much.  I still did basically all the same moves/workouts but as time went on, I would lower my weights.  I began subbing in kettlebell deadlifts for swings as time went on, because swings started to feel “funny.”  I know at some point I began subbing in glute bridges and hip thrusts for certain exercises.  As time went on, my core exercises were either elevated and subbed for something more pregnant mama friendly. But that’s the great thing about strength training—there are lots of things you can substitute in if one exercise doesn’t feel great for that moment.

Towards the end, I also couldn’t do as many reps as I could before (with ease).  It was sometimes hard to catch my breath when we were getting into the third or fourth time of doing a set.

Tell us about your mindset during pregnancy.  Do you think it was enhanced/improved by a regular strength training and exercise routine?

I loved being pregnant!  I felt great the whole time and never had anything to complain about.  I do think a lot of that had to do with having a regular exercise routine before and during pregnancy.  At the same time I was pregnant, there were two other coworkers of mine who were pregnant who frequently complained of back pain and pressure and tightness.  I never experienced any of that and I think it had to do with the moves we were doing in class and the strength I had built up.

Another thing that I think was greatly improved (compared to other pregnancies I’ve heard) was my sleep.  Because I was getting that regular movement in, I slept throughout the night!  I never had any pain or times of being uncomfortable in my bed throughout the whole pregnancy.

Kettlebells and baby bumps.
Kettlebells and baby bumps.

Do you think think a regular strength/exercise routine helped prepare you for labor?  How about recovery after birth?

Um…yes.  I would say that the breathing aspect of strength training totally helped with breathing through contractions as well as breathing when pushing, versus holding my breath.  Also I knew how to break down my body and know where to be pushing from—or at least I think I did.  I only pushed for 10 minutes so I think I did pretty well!

I was pleasantly surprised with recovery.  We’ve all heard the horror stories about how bad it is supposed to be afterwards.  Well, my epidural wore off and I walked to my room and I don’t think I ever stopped moving after that.  I can’t say I had any pain (except the first night when my epidural site bugged me a bit) and I felt good to go within 8-10 days.  Obviously I kept up on the ibuprofen regimen that they recommend, but I weaned myself off of that after a week.  I was so used to being on the move and knowing how to correctly move my body to help things “heal” that sitting down actually bothered me more than moving and doing things around the hospital room or around the house.  

If you could look into the future, and if you find yourself being pregnant down the road….will you include a regular strength/exercise routine at that point?  Why or why not?

Of course!  Like stated before, I think it totally prepared me for the breathing aspect of labor.  I also think it helps mentally—going into a workout you know that it’s going to end eventually and you know that you have to do these moves to be done with the class/workout.  I went into labor that way—I just have to do this and then my baby will be here!  Sometimes with working out, you create a little mantra for your workout to get yourself through it.  I again did that with pregnancy and labor—my mantra was “I’m okay and my baby is okay”.  Thinking that along with knowing how to breathe properly helped get through those early contractions.

40 weeks, 5 days!
40 weeks, 5 days!

If you could give a piece of friendly advice to someone who is a little freaked out about exercise and lifting because they just found out they are pregnant for the first time, what would it be?

You were doing it when you got pregnant…it doesn’t need to change!  Lifting a 44lb kettlebell (properly) isn’t going to hurt you or your pregnancy!  As long as you are being safe and following instructions and listening to your body, you’ll be fine!

***I would say too that how you move AFTER being pregnant and wanting to get back into strength training is a big deal as well.  Your body is all out of wack so it’s hard to get back to where you were before pregnant right away.  I had to remind myself to slow down and that I couldn’t safely lift as much as I could prior or do some movements the same.  Especially anything with ab work—even now at 6 months post partum, some of those things still feel off.  I started working out again at 6 weeks with modifications, but from the minute my daughter was born, I was doing movement around the house and working on some “resets” when I could just to keep my body moving.

Thanks, Tara, for sharing your experience!

There tends to be lots of great info on doing easy yoga, and walking a lot during pregnancy.  But in my experience, and many of my clients….it seems that many doctors are unfamiliar with what is considered classic strength training.  So advice such as “limit yourself to 10 pound weights” and “keep it on the less strenuous side” is thrown out quite frequently.  However, there IS a lot of great research coming out that moderately intense strength sessions – a few a week, are GREAT helpers for not only YOUR health, but your baby’s health as well.

It is important, if you ARE strength training during pregnancy, that you work with someone qualified.  This person (perhaps a trainer) will be able to help you modify certain things, keep you, your baby, AND your pelvic floor safe.  And help you ease back into things when that time comes.  There is LOTS of stuff to consider here, and you and your body should be treated with care before AND after.  You take 40-ish weeks to grow a human inside of you, and it will probably take longer than that to get your body to your “new normal” status post birth.  This isn’t a “get a six pack” game here people, this is real life stuff!  And, in my opinion, really COOL stuff!

Honestly, you might be educating your doctor on WHAT you actually are doing while you strength train because they truly might not be familiar with that stuff.  When you tell them “I do deadlifts…..” you might get a blank stare, because they are the expert at your pregnancy, not every stinkin’ exercise you MAY or MAY NOT do during your pregnancy (and to be fair, that’s not what they are trained in.  Why should they be?).  Not everyone knows what swinging a kettlebell is, or doing hip thrusts to grow dat ass.  So don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing a quick demo of your exercises in your doc’s office :).  You and your doc SHOULD both be cool with what you are doing, you know?

All in all, every pregnancy is different.  Never be afraid to stand up for yourself and say you know what?  I feel like hell today, and I need a nap more than I need squats.  Or on the flip side, if you feel like kicking ass that day, kick ass that day in a safe way.  YOU know what YOU need.  And I would argue that if you are a regular at lifting, you are REALLY in touch with your body already, and you REALLY know what is best that day.

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

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