Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ready... Set.... GO!!!!

Today's feeling?  Apprehensive.

I'm starting my very first 24 Day Challenge.  I've prepped food... I've prepared my workouts for the month... I've taken measurements.  I'm prepared.  I AM!  REALLY!!

So, why do I feel so scared?

Because this is new.  And different.  And I have friends counting on me to lead them through the challenge.

Because I have a tendency to overplan and overthink.  And when I have too much planning and too much thinking?  I don't always succeed.

Because it means I'll have to get through 24 days with no coffee.  And I promised myself once upon a time that I would NEVER give up coffee.

Because I will have to succeed on my own.  Yes, I have a great support team, but success here will depend solely on my actions.

Because taking responsibility for all the poor decisions I've made over the past year is HARD.  And changing habits?  That's hard too.  In fact, it's easier to get up in the morning and jump right back into my normal habits.  But, from experience, I know that it gets easier the more and more I do it.

So, yes... I'm apprehensive.  And nervous.

But, I'm relishing the challenge of something different.  I'm taking it one day at a time.  I know that I can succeed on my own because I've done it.  And taking responsibility?  Absolutely done.  I CAN DO THIS.

(Giving up coffee though?  The jury's still out on that one......)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Booster Shot Needed

I feel like a Britney Spears song.

I've oopsed and done it again.  No matter how many times I start a plan, I go hard on it for a few days and then I'm back to the drawing board.  The reality is that I LOVE making plans.  I just don't particularly like executing them.  I can run the gamut of excuses: I got bored.  I didn't have time.  I just started a new job.  I don't have the right equipment.  I was travelling.  We were out of chicken.  

Truth, though?  Yes, those are all factors.  But, I need to take responsibility for both my own actions and inactions.  I just haven't been taking care of myself like I should.

I had my own personal intervention with myself and decided that I needed a booster shot of something to get me started.  

Ask and ye shall receive, right?  A week later, as part of my new job, I was given an AdvoCare distributorship.  I was a little skeptical at first, but decided that it might just be the jump start I needed to get myself going again.

So, I created myself a workout plan and ordered my very first 24 DAY CHALLENGE!  I'm starting the Sunday after Thanksgiving to give myself a great jump start to the new year.

Over the next 24 days, you'll see a return to the healthy me.  One who is exercising and eating right.  Want to follow my challenge?  I'll be blogging periodically throughout the challenge to let everyone know progress and results.

Interested in joining me on the challenge and changing your own life?  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bagels, Pizza, and New York

My mother and grandmother tell the story at every family gathering of how I met my husband.  I realize that may seem a little odd since it's usually the couple's story to tell.  But, each of them remembers the phone call that I made to my mom just after I met the man I would eventually marry:

Me: Do you know where Lynbrook is?
Mom: Yes..... why?
Me: I'm dating this guy who grew up there.
Mom: It's about twenty minutes from your grandmother.
Me: Wow... what a small world.

Almost 19 years later, I look forward to our annual family trip to New York with relish and trepidation.  I love Long Island and I love the city.  I love the culture and the busy pace and being able to relax with my extended family.  I love the friends I only see once a year.  I love that 9:30 is considered early.  I love the crazy drivers and crazy accents.  I love that the expectations are high and how everyone seems so well educated and cultured.  And I love that I get to experience foods that just don't exist anywhere else in the country: bagels, pizza, cheesecake, diner mozzarella sticks, and my mother-in-law's fabulous Italian cooking.  Think bagels are the same no matter where you are?  Ask your average New Yorker?  They'll tell you exactly why you are wrong and then they will feed you a New York bagel and you will never look at a bagel package the same way again.

But those same fabulous foods are always the reason for my trepidation.  Because I always indulge and I always come home at least a few pounds heavier.  Worse, I always feel guilty and ashamed about not having followed "the plan."

I always start out my vacation with the best of intentions.  I make myself plans and rules and promises for the trip: no bagels, limit the pizza, only eat the protein sources, join a gym, go running every day.   I even remember one year where I brought my egg cooker, protein powder, and verified with my mother in law that I could use her blender.  (Yes...I'm even eye rolling at myself.)  No matter what though, I have ALWAYS fallen back on the yummy habits of  the past. Fresh bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. Two slices of New York pizza.  Italian cookies from Whistle Stop.  Carvel Ice Cream.  My mother-in-law's amazing cooking.  And every single year, I come home heavier, feeling guilty and ashamed of how terribly I've eaten and how spectacularly I failed at my plans and rules and promises.

But not this year.

This year, I'm of a new mindset. Expecting perfection out of myself is ridiculous. Creating unreasonable rules and plans and promises is only a set-up for spectacular failure.  Instead, I'm forgoing erroneous and arbitrary rules in favor of moderation.    I'm going to appreciate the bagels and pizza and diner mozzarella sticks.  I'm going to relish homemade meatballs and ribs and pasta yumminess.  I'm going to savor the vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles from Carvel.  Why?  Because in the bigger picture, they are an incredibly small indulgence.  I'm not going to scarf them down because I can.  I will appreciate, relish, and savor each bite with gratitude.

Healthy for my physique?  Surprisingly, yes.  

By enjoying my indulgences, I stop the downward spiral of shame and guilt that accompanies them.  For me, that spiral usually has me hunting more junk food in a fit of self-recrimination and loathing.  But, instead of feeling hatred and reaching for more of what made me feel that way, I can accept that I'm indulging and do so with moderation.  I know that that moderate indulgence prevents that bigger binge in the future.  I understand that giving myself some grace and trust allows me to be able to enjoy those foods without guilt and without recrimination.  Best of all, I'm able to actually ENJOY the foods that I love. 

And when I go home a few pounds heavier, it will be with a happy belly and a peaceful heart.

Mmmmm... NY Pizza
and bagels....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Fitocracy published an article last week about 30 Fitness Professionals Under 30 who are changing the face of fitness.  These people are up and comers in the field and, for the most part, I agreed with their selections.  Women like Molly Galbraith, Nia Shanks, and Sohee Lee are all pioneers in women's fitness not just for their exercises, but in their work to help women love who they are.  They are about learning exercises and making ourselves stronger mentally and emotionally, not just physically.  Men such as Jon Goodman, Nick Tumminello, Greg Nuckols, and Chase Erwin.  Jon puts out two amazing websites (PTDC and Viralnomics) which help trainers learn about being a trainer.  Nick and Greg are all about the science of exercise.  Chase is a fitness competitor who trains others in mind as well as body.

However, as I read the article, a look of puzzlement crossed my face.  A fitness professional (to me) includes credentials such as a degree in fitness, a personal training certification, or other such education that can be passed on to others.  This person is someone I can look to as an expert in the field.  Whether man or woman, a fitness professional brings something more to the conversation than just a pretty face and rock solid abs.

While I am one hundred percent sure that each of the spotlighted individuals are more than a body in a picture, the article highlighted three women who were only listed as being worthy because they have won contests.  Not one of the men in the article was solely mentioned for winning at a powerlifting or bodybuilding competition, much less a beauty pageant.  I didn't see any men who were ONLY listed because of their prowess on the stage.  These women are clearly dedicated to their chosen profession and look amazing in their photos.  But, what message does it send to the users of Fitocracy?  Especially as these are the people that users are supposed to look to as experts and professionals.

It sends a clear message that the women in fitness are held to a standard of their physique.  Users of Fitocracy are usually new to fitness and looking for expert information from the knowledge section of the site.  As a personal trainer, it saddens me to see the women in the fitness industry portrayed this way.  I have to believe that there are other women in fitness that are experts and under 30.  Women who have done more than win a beauty pageant or a bodybuilding competition.  Women who have a following on their website because they espouse a belief that a woman is more than ab definition; that a woman's self worth is not linked to her physique; that a woman should aspire to her own fabulousness rather than aspiring to be like someone else.  Women who have credentials as fitness experts.

Women in the fitness industry such as Molly Galbraith, Jill Coleman, Jen Sinkler, and Neghar Fonooni publish blogs on an almost daily basis about loving yourself for who you are, not attempting to reach the standard of a fitness model.  And every single one of these women has at least a training certification.

Women today are inundated with pictures of the ideal -- websites, fitspiration, magazines, television, movies, music.  It's ubiquitous.  More spotlighting of the "perfect" is unnecessary and defeating.  Spotlight the innovators.  Show us the women providing a message of self-worth unconnected to physique.  Highlight the professionals who teach us that we deserve to be more than an image on a screen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Welcome Back to the Hamster Wheel

A little over three years ago, I made a fairly random decision to train for a half marathon.  There were reasons and thoughts and rationales.  But, I decided to do it.  And, after making the decision, one of the first things I did was to create a blog to chronicle my journey towards the half marathon.  (This was really a way of keeping myself accountable to anyone who cared to read it.)  

Looking for a binder in my house last night, I came across two binders that gave me pause.  The first was my old running binder.  When I started running, that thing never left my sight!!  Flipping through it, I read through my first running plans, saw my first calendars of run days, and smiled to myself.  The second binder was filled with my old blog entries.  As I read, I was shocked at the positivity that exuded from the print.  I read through entries describing my first injuries, my first run in the rain, my first 5k.  I watched my "team" grow from a few close friends to a "team" that included neighbors and people I had never met.  I saw myself meet the two people who would go on to have the biggest impacts on my fitness life.  And then, I realized something important:  I didn't mention weight loss.  Or fat loss.  Or any numbers on a scale.


And I was happy.  I was learning.  I was meeting new people.  I was inspiring others.  And as revealing as this was, it wasn't nearly as revealing as the next thought.


At what point did I go from being excited about running a half marathon to being obsessed about the number on the scale?  What decision did I make that led to excessive scrutiny of my body? 

The answer is this: I don't know.  Somewhere along my journey, that ever present number on the scale became more and more important.  And as it became more important, my happiness dwindled.  What started out as a fun way to get PTO morphed into an obsession with the perfect diet and exercise plan to help me reach an arbitrary goal.  So, last night as I went to bed, I made a decision.  I'm done with numbers and arbitrary.  I'm done with someone else's vision of perfection.  In fact, I'm done with my own vision of perfection.  I'm not perfect.  I never will be.  I have no desire to be that perfect fitness model.  Perfect abs and definition are not in my future.  I will never be the fastest, lift the most weight, or be on the cover of a magazine.  By setting these unreasonable expectations, I have been setting myself up for failure for over two years.  And I have achieved every minute of that failure.

And now I'm done with it.  Here's to chronicling the next part of my journey, where I learn to have a mindset that is positive and grateful.  Happy with myself and forgiving of my imperfections, because they are what help me to learn and grow.  

Welcome back to the Hamster Wheel.  It's been too long.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Because It's Honesty and Intuition are Incredibly Powerful

Day #13 of the #loveyourbodychallenge from Molly Galbraith of GirlsGoneStrong.

Reason #13 to Love My Body:  Because It's Honesty and Intuition are Incredibly Powerful

I first read this from Molly and laughed.  Honest and intuitive?  My body??  My body that craves chips and pretzels and coffee and chocolate covered espresso beans straight from Seattle???  Uh huh... Yeah, right!!!  But, then I started thinking about it.  And realized that Molly is absolutely right.  My BODY is incredibly honest and intuitive.  My BODY knows what it needs, whether that is exercise, rest, or proper nutrition.  And when I give it what it wants (good stuff in), it responds well (good stuff out) with a good mindset, muscles, and proper digestion.

Where I think the problem lies is that our BODIES know what they want, but our BRAINS get in the way.  Have you ever been running or lifting and thought to yourself, "I can't do that..."  It's not your body that gets in the way usually.  It's your mind that convinces you that you can't.  I can't count the number of times that my mind told me that I couldn't go that far... that I couldn't lift that much... that I couldn't possibly run that fast.  And it wasn't until my first bonk that I truly understood what CAN'T meant.  (Interested?  Read that blog entry....)  I'm pretty sure that my body doesn't crave chips.  It craves the salt, because the salt makes me drink more water.  So really my craving for chips is a craving for water, showing myself that I'm dehydrated.  My body is giving my brain the correct information that I need hydration.  And my brain is sending the message that it has LEARNED will get it water: make her eat salty foods and the water will come.  Is that my body sending the wrong message?  Nope... it's my brain that has learned that messages of THIRSTY NOW will be repeatedly ignored.  So, my brain sends out an incorrect message deliberately to get the body what it wants.  A small example of something that I have intuited over the years.  And this is true with sleep (think caffeine), exercise (grouchiness), and sweet cravings (fruit is way better than candy).  Teaching your brain to interpret the messages of your body is about trusting the body and listening to it, rather than the conditioned messages from your brain.  Once you trust your body and listen to it's messages, those conditioned messages will change.

So how can you listen to your body and make sure that your brain is interpreting the messages correctly?  LOVE your body.  And TRUST it.  And be HONEST back with it.  It may take time, but YOU are absolutely worth it!


Train your mind for running, for lifting, for life.  Just TRAIN IT!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Because Your Relationship is Reciprocal

Day #12 of the #loveyourbodychallenge from Molly Galbraith of GirlsGoneStrong.

Reason #12 to Love My Body:  Because Your Relationship is Reciprocal

I love this one because it's so true and because it's something that I think we've forgotten as a society.  As we create lots and lots and LOTS of artificial gunk to put in our food (from artificial sweeteners and colors to GMOs), we forget the old adage of "garbage in garbage out."

 I watched a fascinating episode of Cosmos last night with my family about evolution and how we have taken billions of years to evolve certain genetic dispositions.  And, as I listened to Neil de Grasse Tyson speak so eloquently, all I could think about was how the so called "modern diseases" have expanded so much over the past few decades and how our obesity epidemic is getting out of control.  And how much of that is caused by that "garbage in garbage out" philosophy.  Our bodies are not yet used to digesting and handling our way of life.  Eventually, I do believe that we will "garbage" ourselves into extinction.  Confused about what I mean?  Go watch Wall-E.  This is a scary representation of what humans could be sending themselves to in the future.  A world where we are morbidly obese riding around on cars all day long.  We are putting garbage such as artificial sweeteners and genetically modified foods into our bodies.  To compound the issue, the "fresh" stuff that we are getting isn't nearly as good for us as it used to be.  (See part one of this Paul Chek video series if you have some's the first in a series of fascinating talks about why dirt is important.)  And the mental garbage that we feed ourselves is JUST as bad!!  I've spent the last few blogs talking about the disservice we do to ourselves in negative self talk and the "yeah buts.." and I'm not going further into it in this one.  But, that's MORE garbage in!!!

Now, I'm not immune to this.  I'm sitting here on my second latte (with splenda) of the day and enjoying myself.  I've had all sorts of things today that I would lump into the "garbage" category.  Worse, I'm not even putting any good exercise in.  (Yes...I consider sitting on my lazy ass at Starbucks part of the garbage in category.)  But, it's something I'm keenly aware of.  When I eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and lean natural proteins, my body feels better.  I have more energy and I enjoy life.  The more processed and bagged and boxed foods I eat, the more lethargic I feel and the worse I feel about myself.   And the worse I feel about myself, the more negative self talk I do.  And that leads to entire cycle of garbage in (physical, mental, emotional) and that's why I feel as yucky as I do some days.

So how do we break that cycle?  Pick one piece of garbage to THROW OUT!!!  And refuse to allow that garbage back in.  You could try to take all the garbage out at once but that might be a bit overwhelming!  So, create yourself a garbage bin (no recycle logos on it), and slowly pick things to get rid of.  It might be artificial sweeteners.  It might be cable TV or video games or even Facebook.  It might be that annoying person whose statuses just irk you the wrong way every time.  Whatever or whoever it is....THROW IT OUT!!!!  :)

NEED HELP?  Here's a pic to post on your fridge: