Taking the Mask off Confidence

I remember when I used to go out a lot. I used to love to drink; get drunk and smoke cigarettes (also known as a social smoker). I used to love going out all the time and spending the next day in bed with a major hangover. I used to be in love with what I felt gave me confidence at the time. I never once thought about my health. Nothing really mattered. I was living my life, but I wasn’t really living it.

Image

Left and Right Picture: 2/4/2014  

Middle Picture: 7/2006

And while some of the greatest memories stem from those days, I look back at this picture and see someone who may have seemed confident or not so awkward. I just didn’t have time to dwell on anything; I didn’t want to. Besides, that’s just what confidence was for me; that’s what I understood it to mean.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having a drink with friends or family, going out to dinner etc, but this is just my story; my version.

While I have grown up, (and the bathing suits might have gotten a tad smaller), I am still searching for confidence; I am still searching everyday for the true meaning of what it means to walk with pride, and trying to process what it truly entails. And even when I think I truly understand it, I am left to try to come to terms with it. You know, face it without the alcohol and horrible hangovers? It’s hard to push past boundaries and leave your comfort zone behind, but the only way I know how is to just face it.

Maybe you can relate. Or maybe you have a different version of what confidence means to you, and how it has changed throughout different parts of your life. If so, I’d like to hear it.

One Rep At a Time

 

Everyone has pain.

You just have to choose which pain you want to feel.

I don’t think I’ll ever win this fight.

But I don’t think I’ll lose either.

Instead, I’m going to live each day remembering I have choices;

I can go to the gym, or I can surrender to this mental bullshit labeled as anxiety and panic disorder that’s trying to attack my mind; my spirit.

I might not ever win this fight, but I’ll stay focused;

I will strive to overcome each moment; each day;

One rep at a time.

That’s my choice.

That’s my pain.

 

It’s About Time You Be You

You probably hate being called “fat”. Or even a little overweight. Well, you know what I hate? I hate being called “skinny”. I hated it back in school and I hated it when I first started working out and was losing too much weight. Yea. There is such a thing. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. No one body type is superior to the other.

Then there is the body sculpted with muscle, and women get criticized, “it looks too manly”, “gross” and “unnatural”.  I remember I encountered a man who told me not to “lift too much more weight, you don’t want to look like a man” or the man who told me to “not lift heavy, I’m a girl…” Ok. Well, I was hurt. What did they know? That’s when I realized no one is ever going to be happy with how I look, so why should I care? I need to do it for me. Do what makes me feel great.  

There are so many diets, exercise techniques, training methods and theories out there; you just have to find what works for your body type, and not what someone else thinks your body type should be.

Find someone you could trust to help you.

I’ve spent my time at both ends of the scale; I never really focused on a “body type” until I got to the gym, and then I kind of let others decide that for me; with their unwanted criticism of course. 

When I first started working out, and hearing people tell me I was “too skinny,” I’d get anxious,  and I’d go on a binge; eating anything and everything. Then I would feel guilty, which made me restrict my calories even more for the next week or so, and workout even more. It took me awhile to discover what I truly wanted to look like and what I needed to do to achieve it. It took me awhile to come into my own skin, and I’m not going to lie and say that I have it all figured out yet. There are some days where I look in the mirror and like what is happening with my body, and then there are times where I want to gain more muscle, or get leaner.

It’s a swinging pendulum and it never stops.

And that’s why I feel it inside and out of me to help other people overcome their “body issues”; their insecurities that make them afraid to walk into a weight room or even a gym because they are afraid people are judging them…

Or that the mirrors that line the walls of every gym make them feel mocked and ridiculed…

Or that “someone” who’s already made you self-conscious of yourself; defined who you ought to be, and now you can no longer see through all that smoke to see just how capable you really are.  

We’ve all been there.

I want everyone to know that you’re in their somewhere; the real you, and everyone else is waiting for you to reveal yourself, and they’re just as scared as you are. It’s your best kept secret and by holding it in, you’re holding yourself back, and allowing everyone else to keep marching on. Without you of course.

There are so many people around you that see your true potential and they may just be threatened. So they make you feel sad. They define you, condemn you, and make you lie awake at night searching for the answers so that you can finally win the battle that is going on inside your head. It’s you versus them. But it’s affecting YOU not THEM. No one else. And it’s time that you made it about you.

It’s time for, YOU versus YOU.  Don’t allow yourself to be someone else; don’t allow yourself to be their reflection in the mirror. It’s all you baby. Let’s do this together.

Perfection Is Quite Ugly

I am sorry, but as a personal trainer, I cannot and will not guarantee that you’ll have an hourglass figure. I can’t promise you that you will have a “coke bottle body” or you won’t lose your breasts once you lose weight. And I’m also not going to lie and tell you that losing weight by “any means necessary” is not going to potentially cause you to have sagging, loose skin, and/or various health problems. I’m not going to advocate for fast weight loss or a quick diet to get you to your “goal weight”.  I don’t believe in a goal weight. We are all different, and your goal weight is when you feel the most energy; when you feel alive inside and out, when your skin is glowing and you’re happy and content.

 The only goals that I believe in are the small steps that provide you with the tools to improve your health and your life. If the side effect of that happens to be fitting into clothes that you never were able to before, then that is a bonus.  

 I am, however, going to keep my promise that you can gain strength, balance, flexibility; and overall the ability to depend on yourself, so when your children are all grown up and move to another state to start their own lives, you won’t feel so alone; you will not ever feel defeated or like giving up. You will have independence, confidence, and a boost in your self esteem as well as pride and love within yourself.

 I will also tell you that it’s the way a person twists their torso at the right angle, in the right lighting, and sometimes with just the right app, that they look “perfect”;  you look at them and see an illusion of  “a perfect body”, “perfect boobs”, “perfect butt,” “perfect abs, hips, legs” etc.

 I’m not going to allow you to believe that cellulite is going to completely vanish overnight. I cannot make those guarantees or promises. I will not lie. What I can and will promise you is through hard work and dedication, and of course sheer determination, you will and can achieve what someone else may call “their perfect body” But you will never be happy. You will probably still ridicule that reflection looking back at you.  

 Did you also know that it’s the way a person flexes in the mirror right before they snap a picture under the right lighting that makes their abs or muscle tone more defined and sculpted?  Sure, it also depends on proper nutrition and exercising, but it’s also genetics, lighting, and quite possibly the latest and coolest app. That may make them look oh so perfect. Or close to it.

 I know, because I am guilty of all of that. I am not yet vulnerable enough to put myself out there in a raw unedited image of myself. I am not comfortable with the cellulite that covers the back of my legs and makes me wince whenever I see a woman posing in a scantily clad bikini with absolutely no cellulite whatsoever. But I do my best, and I am proud of what I have accomplished through changing my eating habits and exercising. No one can ever take that away from me.  

 Perfection is unrealistic, yet so many of us spend so much time damaging and distorting our bodies and ourselves to try and alter our physical appearance, when all it’s really doing is causing us to suffer in silence as we allow it to destroy ourselves emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.

 All in all, perfection is quite ugly.

Who We Are In The Mirror

Who are you?

Do you say that when you look into the mirror? Does your reflection scare you, intimidate you, and make you look away? Maybe it’s the way you think others see you, or maybe it’s just how you envision others will see you.

You know you can change, you know the path, but life keeps steering you off that path and leading you in different directions, making you look in different mirrors, laughing at you through different angles. Eventually the lights become so bright, and you begin to think that if they just go easy on the lights; maybe dim them just a little bit; it wouldn’t even matter who you are, what you look like…you could even be anonymous.

Who we are in the mirror, is just a glimpse of what our insecurities tell us who we are.

A six pack, a flat stomach, doesn’t define you; sculpted shoulders or legs doesn’t create you or make you more valuable. It’s your health, your wisdom and your quirks. Whether you’re neurotic or just like to be free and have a good time, the mirror isn’t going to tell you that. The mirror isn’t going to tell you whether or not you’re healthy or unhealthy. It’s not going to reflect an image that is going to be life altering; life changing.

In that mirror, your reflection doesn’t tell the story that hides behind your eyes; your skin. No. You have to just learn to turn your back to the mirror, turn your back to the scale; remind yourself that a mirror or scale isn’t going to reveal the inside beauty that you have within. No one can tell you what to look like on the inside, only you can control that. You have the power. You are in control. It doesn’t matter if you have loose skin or cellulite; you’re doing the best that you can. Just do me a favor and let the inner beauty that you hold inside of you; the inner beauty that shines right through and captures every single light and makes someone laugh and smile; the beauty that could make a person’s day; just promise me that you’ll take care of that.

Promise me that you will try your best to never allow a poor diet or lack of exercise steal that shine away from you or from others way too soon.

Remember that your inner beauty is more important than your outer beauty, so nurture it and never, ever think that you’re not good enough just because you don’t have flat abs, wear a certain pant size, or look a certain way.

Release any doubts that may be holding you back.

Don’t starve yourself, don’t overindulge all the time, don’t drink excessively, don’t give up on yourself, I’m here for you. I need you. Someone needs you. Anything too extreme or anything deemed unhealthy just dims the light you hold within, and robs you of the life you should be living and it can and will kill you. Eventually. And maybe way too soon.

22 Facts Personal Trainers Want You To Know

Personal Trainer’s Creed

If you are overweight, your body is already under stress from your own bodyweight. Extreme diets can lead to added stress to the body, which makes you more prone/susceptible to injury etc; you will not be able to function at your best.

Don’t do so much cardio that you wreak more havoc on your body. Doing a ton of long cardio is not going to change you permanently; it’s only going to put more physical and psychological stress on your body in the long run (no pun intended).

Same thing with weights, don’t just train with weights. You do need some cardio to keep your metabolism functioning effectively.

Losing weight slowly is the best way to prevent muscle loss

You’re feelings are warranted. Everyone feels like a failure when they first begin, however, you can’t fail at something you don’t allow ample time to develop. That’s called giving up, not failing.

Everyone has feelings of insecurity.  Comparison is a hard thing to avoid. At least everyone wants to be “that guy” or “that girl”, but you can’t change who you are, you can only change what you think you are You are different. You are you. And most likely someone else is looking at you and wishes they were you too.

Improvement of any kind, that takes time, dedication and lots of hard work, but you can do it.

I believe you when you tell me that it’s impossible to look like “that” because I don’t even know what “that” looks like.  And quite frankly, neither do you.

I will listen to you, laugh with you, and share with you. But when it’s time to workout, it’s time to move your body, not your vocal chords.

I believe you when you tell me that you can’t do it. Obviously, you wouldn’t be standing here looking for a solution. However, if you’re not looking for help and you are saying that, I believe you only because you refuse to allow it to happen. You are the only one stopping yourself from yourself.

Everyone knows how to workout and exercise, but when you look at yourself and are unhappy with what you see, you must make a change. Unfortunately, you tend to call in the entire squat team rather than just the police. Interpretation: you tend to do drastic, unhealthy things to your body.

I know that the only reason why you scoff at my beliefs and passion for fitness and health is simply because you’re not ready for change. But you haven’t admitted that to yourself yet.

I also know that I am never going to convince you, you’re going to have to want it more than I do.

It is not unrealistic to look and feel healthy after you’ve had children, after you turn 30, after you’ve gotten married, or once you establish a career.

I understand that you believe that I am obsessed with working out and eating properly; that I must be nuts, that it’s unrealistic to maintain, or that you think that it gives people a way to have “control” you are wrong. It is a way to fight back and stop the things that have control over you. It’s a way to prevent the things that you fear the most from controlling you; it’s about going out and creating a change.

Exercising and eating healthy is empowering, once you see even the slightest transformation, you feel confident and powerful.

You can lift more than just five lbs. you aren’t going to break. You don’t give yourself enough credit for the empowering, challenging things you have already achieved in your life no matter how big or small.

Always be prepared to fight; don’t wait until you have a battle to win. It’s okay if you don’t win as long you still have the ability to still fight.

Do everything with purpose. Do everything like you mean it. Run with purpose, walk with purpose. Remind yourself that you have purpose.

It’s okay to NOT deprive yourself all of the time.

Group Fitness classes are fun, allow you to practice coordination, balance, and gain strength, but it doesn’t cater to individuality; it’s a one size fits all approach.

It’s not about the money. It’s about you and your transformation.

Losing Your MoJo

I’d much rather hibernate and never leave the house during these cold winter days. And even though it gets dark earlier, it feels like the day is a lot longer. Probably because it’s just so cold, I can’t wait for it to warm up again. This makes finding motivation to go to the gym somewhat difficult. I admire the runners I pass by on the street while in my nice warm car; they seem to find the motivation to run outside no matter what the temperature is; and I wish I could just grab some of it as I pass by them. Maybe just get a small sample of their motivation; find out what exactly their secret truly is. Until then, I will wage a war inside of my head, debating whether or not I should go to the gym and trying to come up with reasons why it would be okay to NOT go to the gym. Fortunately, by the time I get done with my long list of rationalizations, I am ready to walk out the door sports bra, workout pants and my furry winter boots, but the entire time I am driving to the gym, I have my hands on the steering wheel ready to turn around and go back home

Some of the rationalizations I come up with are as follows:

I worked out yesterday, I need a break

I can just go to the gym tomorrow

It’s not going to hurt if I miss one day (which sometimes gets repeated the following day and so on)

I could use the rest, and besides the gym isn’t going anywhere

It’s way too cold outside and by the time I get to the gym, change my shoes etc, I won’t have enough time to workout anyway (even though the gym closes 2 hours after I usually get there)

Blame-shifting: My husband won’t want to workout tonight, he’s had a long day…

I have a lot of other things that need to be done (but then I sit home and watch tv or spend time on facebook) 

I’m tired (I stays home, but don’t t fall asleep until 5 am due to insomnia)

I can do a workout at home (never do workout)

I haven’t seen my kids all day long (stay home and my kids stay in their rooms reading)

I ate like crap today, so what’s the point (except there is always a point!!!)

 

I go through these motions in my head every single day, but I know that they are just excuses/rationalizations, and I know that I will feel better if I just go to the gym, do a workout and then go home.  

So you see, you’re not alone. Everyone has off days; days where they don’t feel like working out or getting dressed to go outside in the freezing cold; it’s not going to hurt if you miss one workout or even a week, the important thing to remember is to make sure you make a promise to get back into a regular exercise routine and keep it. Don’t just keep putting it off; there is always going to be things that set you back such as, lack of energy, motivation, or you just simply need a break. And that’s okay. Listen to your body, just don’t forget about it forever.

I Am an Addict

I’m an addict. I sweat. I suffer from withdrawals. I feel pain. And I feel weak without it.

I’m an addict.

It feeds me adrenaline. It wakes me up inside. It makes me feel strong… And powerful.

I can do anything, I am unstoppable. I am an addict.

I become miserable without it. I have mood swings. I need it; it’s my only drug.

Weight lifting.

Feeling the weight of another rep; overcoming it… defeating it. Pushing hard. Through the sweat. The pain.  I do it over and over. Again and again.  I love it; the noise; the sound of the weight against the machine, the grunts of power and pride of lifting another rep; doing another set. Control. Failure is not an option. Progressing is; seeing change. I need it. Feel it. Breathe it. I am an addict.

We are all addicts. Addicts of something.

Or maybe you’re not.

 But, we all want something to make us happy; something to make us forget our pain, hurt, and anger. Just for a little while. Rather than succumb to feelings of helplessness, we may want to become numb, and just keep moving instead of dwelling on it.

But sometimes, the fear is so deep within us, that we ultimately lose consciousness of our surroundings. We may take steps and use words, when, in reality, we’re not really concentrating on what we’re actually saying or doing. But no one can tell. No one can tell, because we hide it so well. We’re used to it. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

We all need an outlet to be ourselves; to let loose all of things that are casting shadows around us. Without judgment. Without fear.

I go to the gym. That’s my place. My time to feel peaceful and hopeful.  Feel powerful rather than helpless. I feel that if I can just overcome one more rep, force it up, defeat what is trying so hard to bring me down; to fall or stumble; to know that if I let it go, drop it, it could leave me severely injured, but if I could lift it against the force of gravity, then I could fight back and overcome a lot more. Sometimes it’s difficult when it hits so close to home. It becomes more than just a metaphorical dumbbell or barbell that you’re trying to overcome and resist against. And sometimes, you don’t have a single clue as to what to do to fix things and make it better, and all you have are these videos flashing through your mind on fast forward; giving you tiny glimpses of what you’re so damned afraid of. No stopping, no pausing, just heart beating, skin crawling, loud clamoring adrenaline pumping, hard-core-drop-and-give-me-100 frightening situations that’s either going to control you or be controlled.

Because you just have to keep going and try to keep up. There is no other choice; it’s not going to stop just because you do.

You’re just going to have to overcome defeat, get back up and get ready to tackle the world from every angle.

How to Get the Body You Love

How does a nice dish of plain chicken breast and a side of green veggies sound?

 Fried, greasy foods, sugary sweets and salty foods is the good shit.  Surround yourself with a few good friends or family and it tastes that much better. Being happy is what counts; after all, life is short.

 I love going out to eat. And who doesn’t? In fact, there was a time when all I did was go out to dinner. I supported restaurant and fast food joints like it was nobody’s business. After working all day long, the last thing I wanted to do was stand in the kitchen pressing buttons on a microwave or cooking a meal. But when you see the changes in your body after cutting down on the amount of time spent going out to eat or microwaving a processed meal from your grocer’s freezer section, you’ll definitely see what all the excitement of eating right and exercising is all about. It’s only when you don’t see results that you begin to dismiss any small changes that you’ve made and settle for just remaining the same.

 How do you prevent that from happening? I used to believe in finding a balance, but when I realized that I wasn’t even practicing it, I started to question if there is even such a thing. Honestly, for me, to find balance in life is just something that you can find at a playground; two people on a teeter totter, one person on the other end jumps off without notice, and the other gets catapulted into the air. Basically, you’re screwed. And to me, that’s what life is. One big gigantic teeter totter and you’re always the last one on it unless you happen to make sure you’re the first one off. That, or the other person just isn’t an asshole.

 I’ve come to recognize that a majority of things in life we tackle with an all or nothing approach; it’s either, “you’re in or you’re out”. We all to often thrive off of perfection and try to make our best even better because our best never seems to be good enough.  

When we set our sights on a goal and prepare to embark on a new endeavor that has the potential to change us from the inside out, we find out everything there is to know and go balls to the wall. We fight through any resistance there may be and if there is an obstacle in the way, we work harder. However, when it comes to a new diet, a new exercise program, we tend to just give up and walk away if we don’t see results fast enough or if the results have stagnated. It’s like something in us breaks and leaves us feeling helpless and feeling guilty to the point where we find ourselves trying to rationalize why we gave up, “I work too hard” “I don’t have time” “I’m too tired,”. It is only in this aspect in our life can we manage to utter the words, “I don’t care, I’m not perfect,” in other areas of our life, we’ll exhaust ourselves to the point where we start to use our body as a sacrifice to reap the reward from things that provide us instant gratification. Yep, when it comes time to take care of ourselves, we just simply walk away.

 We walk away because sometimes it feels like our best is never good enough; the image of what we should look like is something that many of us struggle with, and it’s far from a clean cut, straight and narrow path. Diet and exercise lacks the instant gratification that we yearn for; lacks the appreciation, gratitude, love, admiration, and respect from others and doesn’t come with a price tag.  It’s complicated and it’s a challenge. It requires all of those (minus the instant gratification and price tag) from within; it requires being strong when you just want to be weak, forgiving yourself rather than quitting if you’re not at your best for the day or even the week. Loving yourself even when you don’t like what you see looking back at you in the mirror.  

 Other people are extremely forgiving when you stop or stray from a diet or an exercise program.  Be those other people.

People also become more uncomfortable when you change the way you eat or look.  Be uncomfortable.

 And don’t eat for what you don’t have the “time” to burn off.

 ***As long as you fuel your body with the right amount of food and nutrients that suits the type of body type that you are trying to achieve, then it’s okay to have a snack or stray a little off the beaten path. It’s okay to not be so strict and count calories, weigh your food, or become extremely anal about it. Besides, let’s face it, no one wants to live a miserable life…

 So…

Get off that fad diet you’re on (the results are only temporary AND it’ll make you miserable)

Keep a journal or a blog of your fitness journey through Instagram or other social media site of your choice.

Keep track of changes with pictures (selfies). Note: Make sure to use the same lighting and camera each time.

Measure yourself rather than weigh yourself; it’s a lot more accurate and less deceiving. Do this every two – four weeks.  Don’t compare yourself to others. I’ve struggled with this a lot (still do). Remember that you’re trying to create a better version of yourself not of someone that you can never be. Not to mention, with all of the apps to distort or change a picture, you don’t know what is really happening on the other side of the picture before it was posted.

 ***And if you’re not losing weight or you struggle with problem areas, chances are you:

 **May have a food allergy (dairy, wheat etc) and not know it

**Suffer from too much stress, which increases cortisol, and as a result increases the risk   of fat storage in your trouble areas. (For women, it’s usually their butt and thighs. For men, it’s usually their stomach)

**Eating too much “crap”

**Not eating enough food (which can also lead to your body storing body fat in unwanted places)

**Water retention (Seriously, I’ve gotten down to 9-10% body fat and still looked like I had fat under my butt)

**Antidepressants can also make it harder for you to achieve your ideal body

 **It’s harder to lose fat and tighten up your butt, upper thighs, inner/outer, back of your thighs, due to low blood flow in those areas. (low blood flow=poor mobilization of fat)

 Ultimately, you want to drink more water, eat less crap, find time to relax and make sure that it’s calorie free! (most of the time).  But most importantly, above all, learn to love and accept your body; flaws and all, take care of yourself, make life full of memories, make goals that aren’t fast and hard, but slow and steady, and that makes you happy.

After all, the reflection in the mirror isn’t truly who you are; it’s merely an image of what your eyes see.

How to Keep the Weight Off This Fall Season

Ah! The Fall season is among us. It’s in the air, outside your window pane, on your window pane, and of course! How can you not notice the beautifully colored leaves that float to the ground with every breath a tree takes????

 By now, Halloween has already filled your house with an abundance of sugary treats; temptation lurks everywhere, and I can only imagine that your scurrying around the house trying to hide the devilish little treats before your brain realizes what you are doing. And maybe you’ve even tried to give it away to someone; anyone. I mean, seriously, let someone else buy new pants. Not you…(insert evil laugh here)

 So….Halloween may be over, but that was, of course, just the kick off to the winter blues and the nostalgia that forces us to surrender ourselves every season as we revisit old memories as well as create new ones over and over again with similar aromas, traditions and even the popular flavor of pumpkin (my favorite!) that can still be linked to the Fall season time and time again.

 For some, (or most), however,  it may be a more depressing time; colder weather, less energy, lack of Vitamin D, darkness shields the daylight earlier; faster. And to most, it’s a time many stress and worry about finances; about making it through the holidays debt free and to some it’s about trying to making it through the holidays with a smile on their face, joy in their heart, and light in their soul. It’s also a time to start covering up in multiple layers to outsmart the chill in the air, and psychologically prepare our bodies {and digestive systems} for the overconsumption of treats, food, and bellies that represent an overstuffed turkey on Thanksgiving.  And who doesn’t enjoy pumpkin spiced coffee, pumpkin pie, the sweet aroma of pumpkin, and other yummy sweets and treats? Of course, with Christmas fast approaching, who has time to think about exercising or spending extra money on healthier food choices?  Not to mention, it can be challenging to avoid pumpkin pie, turkey and all the fixings when everyone else has bellies full of joy, comfort, and well, probably lots of gas.

 (Ironically, all of these big meals, comfort foods, goodies, come at a time when people are the most stressed because their wallets are being stretched farther than their paychecks)

 Well, guess what? It’s actually okay to indulge in some goodies and revel in the traditions that surround Thanksgiving and Christmas. And it’s okay to have a piece of candy every now and then too.

Hey. I’m going to enjoy some pumpkin pie.

And no. I’m not going to count the damn calories.

I’m going to sweat, and make my muscles so friggen sore that I won’t be able to move the next 24-72 hours without having to make some minor adjustments, (like have my daughter go upstairs and get me stuff because my legs are too sore to walk up the stairs).  I’m going to laugh about it too. Yep. I’m going to have my cake (pie) and eat it too. I’m going to work for that damn pie. And I’m going to do whatever it takes to get to that slice of pie.

This all probably sounds painful and silly, right?

 But….It’s Fall y’all!

And the holidays are quickly approaching. It’s not an excuse to eat like shit and unravel the tight ball of thread I’ve been carrying around up until this point; this day-this season. But with the aroma and flavor of pumpkin pretty much throwing itself down my throat and into my stomach, how can I resist?

 So how can you enjoy the seasons and the many aromas/flavors that linger and are literally RIGHT IN YOUR FACE???

 Besides Willpower?

 Eat smart. Don’t say, “It’s the holidays, let’s go shove everything down the pie shoot and pray to God that we don’t gain one pound…okay ten pounds”! Or pray to God that we’ll have the strength to burn it all off with some hard work or maybe that you’ll just be able to have the strength to pull one pant leg over one slightly overgrown thigh and hope that your ass cheek will cooperate to let you button it up. But if all else fails, and you really can’t resist binging, eat the pie, keep your ass on the couch, and I don’t care if you don’t even button your pants. Buttons can be a tad overrated anyway. Invest in some leggings. I do. At least leggings stretch and don’t serve as a constant reminder that your waist has expanded a couple inches or so. Besides your ass will look AMAZING in leggings anyway because leggings don’t have obvious seams outlining your every line and curve on your body. Oh! And leggings don’t come in number sizes. That’s pretty friggen’ amazing too.

 Don’t over-indulge. Remember, everything in moderation. And for cripes sakes throw some heart pumping exercise in there somewhere…you know, for balance.

 Also, make sure it’s worth it. If you’re going to indulge, make sure that it’s at least satisfying. And for real, if you work for it, you will feel so good when you’re enjoying all of the flavors of Fall. And without getting all technical on you, if you’re going to enjoy a sugary treat, I say work for it, and I mean it. Following intense exercise, devour your sugary treat without guilt. As long as you worked hard and aren’t overindulging or double dipping all day, every day, that sugary treat will be less likely to get stored as fat and instead will be used for repair and recovery for your body.

 Timing I’ve said it again, and I’ll say it again! While exercise can produce aesthetically pleasing results, the right kind of training for your body as well as proper fuel, will allow you to burn more calories at rest in the long run.  

 See! It doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Especially when it’s fall. Especially when the holidays are approaching. Especially when money is tight.  

 As always there are, however, ways to participate in the Fall Season and be on your BEST behavior (hehe)

 Here are just a few tips I use (Note: If you can’t already tell, I really love pumpkin a lot):

 Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice Coffee (sadly it doesn’t taste like pumpkin spice, it does have a great aroma and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside) I drink my coffee black.

 As for the canned pumpkin that I rejected earlier today, I do use it to make certain meal options (and that’s not saying a whole lot). Calm down. Don’t get all giddy. I’m not referring to recipes here; I’m just talking about opening up a can of pumpkin puree and adding it to other edible things. After all, pumpkin does have a pretty good nutritional profile; it is a great antioxidant as well as a great source of fiber, and because it doesn’t have much flavor, it can actually be added to pretty much anything without altering the taste. (But as I mentioned earlier, when it comes to something like pumpkin pie, I’m going for the real deal. But first I’m going to work my ass off for it and eat it only AFTER)

 So…go to your local grocery store or health food store and buy organic/regular (whichever fits your budget) 100% canned pumpkin puree and enjoy the health benefits I mentioned earlier by just adding it to sauces, pancakes, oatmeal and anything else you can think of. One way I like to add pumpkin is by adding pumpkin puree to diced tomatoes, low sodium tomato sauce, various spices and then serving it over brown rice, brown rice pasta, or spaghetti squash. (It’s not hardcore or anything, but it’s tasty and does the job).

 Buy a pumpkin candle (you could also purchase other scents reminiscent of the fall season) and place throughout the house.

 Fill your house and/or your work space with fall décor, winter décor.  

 I work hard in the gym and I refuse to be a slave to the kitchen. Some may enjoy baking and coming up with alternatives to food otherwise known as “junk food” but I can’t be that fancy and complicated. Nope. The only thing I can do is make suggestions, don’t expect fancy- schmancy recipes here. To me, chicken is chicken, and a potato is a potato. Mix it together and BAM! There’s my “recipe”! If I have a craving for some damn pumpkin pie, I’m just going to go to the store buy it and eat it. Hey, in my defense, it did have “no sugar added”, ignore the fact that it still had about ten different ingredients or chemicals in it that I had no idea what it even was. Not cool. Not fair. But on that note, I would like to also share with you that I did notice that the canned pumpkin I have at home had a recipe for a healthier version of pumpkin pie; no added sugar, very basic ingredients, but I placed it back and shut the cabinet door. You see, I’m tired. I have other things to do other than bake a pumpkin anything with fewer ingredients. Besides, a lot of alternatives can be just as unhealthy as just eating the actual product itself (For example, a lot of artificial sweeteners cause stomach/digestive issues for me.)  It’s not just a tight budget, it’s also time consuming. I just want to eat. I don’t want to bake for cripes sakes.

 There are times I stumble upon recipes that are on various websites/blogs, and admittedly they look so damn delicious, but for some reason I can’t ever find the “place an order” or shipping/billing information. Sigh. BIG SIGH.  I guess I’ll just stick to leaving my ass on the gym room floor and indulging every now and again. God help me.

 For ways to save money on healthier eating, look for that in an upcoming blog post!

 Have a good day everyone!