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!

Top Ten Reasons to Stick to your Exercise/Diet Plan

One of the hardest things to do is stick to a healthy diet especially when temptation is literally everywhere!!! But you have to remind yourself of why you’re doing it. You have to have a reason.

When I don’t have a goal (or sometimes even when I do have a goal) I find thoughts creeping into my mind like, “what am I doing this for?” or I’m never going to look like ____”.  Besides, I don’t have anything to prove to anyone; no one really gives a shit if I’m having dinner out of a Tupperware container or at a fast food joint. When I open the refrigerator and see a roll of cookie dough, I want to just say screw it and eat it. When I feel so tired and don’t feel like going to the gym, I truly just want to have the softest worn in part of my couch latch onto me just so I can just watch my favorite show.  

But I put together a list of my “Top Ten Reasons” to help get me off my ass to the gym or choose a better cookie…oh…oops…uh…I mean….

 Look these are just reasons, I slip and fall every now and then regardless…what can I say, I’m only human.

 A human cookie monster at times even…Anyway, here they are:

 Top ten reasons to stick to your Exercise/Diet plan:

 1. You spend all kinds of money on lotions, nails, makeup, hair etc. Why not treat your insides to a makeover as well? Why treat your insides like shit?

 2. Less medical expenses.

 3. Your body is an investment; it is your house. You fix up your house when something is broken, don’t you? You wouldn’t want someone to draw all over your walls, stain your carpet, spray paint your house etc.

 4. Your mind and body need energy to function. You already have too much stress with work, family, and just life.  Eat sensibly to counteract the stress that you feel.  A proper diet full of nutrients as opposed to a diet void of nutrients acts as your very own ammunition rather than a terrorist.

 5. Every bit of exercise makes you stronger, which will lead to a more independent life for a longer period of time.

 6. Who are you fooling? Put the junk down, you won’t be able to eat “good” for the next 3 days to “make up for what you’re about to eat now.” Life happens. Shit happens. And always unexpectedly.

 7. Yes, I know you worked all day and had a hard day. But skipping that workout is only going to make your next day long and hard also. Exercise releases endorphins and you’ll come out of it feeling like a bad ass.

 8. You will look sexy as all hell.

 9. Because you’re tired of avoiding the mirror.

 10. You’re tired of owning a scale

 Oh and just for good measure:

 11. You’re tired of counting calories.

Seriously, do you ever stop to realize how funny it is that we actually take the time to count calories of everything. Some days, for instance, I’ll start off eating really well, but then that little voice of protest in the back of my mind starts churning, and making all kinds of demands, it usually gets so loud that it starts making my body feel like it’s screaming. It’s equivalent to a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the candy aisle and then peeing in their pants for further protest. So yea,  I usually just stop counting calories and anything else for that matter because when I go in; I might as well go all in.  

 If you can think of anything else to add to this list, add them in the comments section!

Make Goals; Not Excuses

Dedicated to my father, who passed away eight years ago (8-14-2005) as of today…

Lately, I often hear the question, “So when’s your next show” and then I have to go into a long story as to whether or not I am, and if so, when, and if not, the reasons and so on. Small talk? Maybe. But, I can’t help but feel like every time I get asked that question, a piece of me gets shaved off; a piece that gets thicker and thicker each time threatening to unveil the most vulnerable part of me; my core.

 You see, I am not defined by one thing. There are many components of me. I am complex, neurotic, and definitely a nonconformist; I don’t choose to be this way, it’s just who I am. When someone asks that question, to some it may seem like they are expressing interest, but to me, I feel like they are shoving me in a box and stifling my potential for growth. I am not done growing. I don’t have everything all figured out. My entire life, I have tried to run the other direction from being defined as any one particular thing. I believe a lot of the anxiety I feel stems from the fear that I have to be “something” in order to well, just BE.

I strive to be healthy, fit, and perhaps, compete in a show when the time is right—for me. Not just because I need to be defined. Living healthy doesn’t mean, you have to focus on doing a fitness competition; it doesn’t mean that you’re weak if you don’t choose that path. The important thing is to know and remember that you just have to find the purpose in what you’re doing if you want to be successful at it. And if you don’t have a goal, then the outcome will be far more difficult to reach. Not impossible, just more difficult.

When you set a goal, you have to break it down into smaller components. You may have an idea in your mind as to how you’re going to reach that goal, and you may even envision in your mind the sweet reward at the end. Unfortunately, if you don’t break it down into smaller feats and follow the steps that are aligned with your goal, the sweet reward can quickly become sour, or just simply farther to reach.

 How many of you just want to be healthy, active individuals, capable of living a fulfilling life without a lot of limitations? What you don’t realize is the limitations that you place on yourself by not taking the action necessary to complete the goals that can open up new doors. You know, those limitations that are disguised as little excuses that manage to catch you every time you fall???

Excuses tend to keep you right in your comfort zone.

You see, a goal doesn’t have to be as dramatic as a fitness competition; maybe you just want to be able to walk more than a few feet or jog; or maybe you just want to run around and play with your kids a little bit more…

 I get mad at myself when I stray from my usual ‘healthy way of living’.  For example, if I take a break from exercise or the lifestyle/diet, I worry and allow the anxiety to creep in to pollute my mind with the idea that if I take time off from exercise or my ‘diet’, I have somehow lost my passion. Crazy. I know. But sometimes, something that you can be so passionate about can also consume you.

That’s when it’s time for a rest; mentally, physically and emotionally.

There have been times where I have felt like even rest is a sign of weakness, but then, I get upset for being so hard on myself. Sooner or later though, I realize that what’s most important is that you always get back up. After all,  weakness is lying down for good and never reaching for the courage to get back up.

 My father’s health issues gave him a reason to just sit and do nothing. His health issues were a great excuse to let go, but he never did. Never. And he never allowed them to slow him down. When my father was holed up in a hospital room or even a hospital bed in our living room, as soon as he would get better, rather than let it deter him from living his life, he just kept going; just kept living.

 And each time he had a set back, he’d recover and go back at it more determined, powerful, and stronger.

My dad never made me think that a setback means that you’ve surrendered; he never made me feel that it was okay to whip out the party hats and toot the horns once you are able to find a ‘valid’ excuse to throw in the towel. No. He made me realize that each day is a day to propel towards your goal;  that you shouldn’t waste time trying to seek out reasons to justify why you should just give up. It’s important that you always get back up; and if you’re still breathing, then there are no valid excuses.  

He made me realize that no one should have to take their last breath, until they have realized the value of all of their breaths that came before.

His goal was to take each day, treasure it, live it, and love the best to his ability, and he did just that. With every health issue that had arisen, it became a tool rather than a crutch; a tool in his quest to live an extremely fulfilling life. To move forward and yell, well, “Check Mate”

 Decide on a goal. Remember, if you fall during the journey, get up, and plow through, stronger than before. Plow through and yell, “Check Mate” each and every single time.

Anything is possible. Anything.

And to answer the question: I do not know when my next show is, but I do plan on competing in the near future, I just haven’t decided on a show yet.

“A setback is a setup for a comeback” -T.D. Jakes

Don’t let a setback become an excuse, and don’t let an excuse become a setback.

 

One Legally Binding Contract You Should Avoid

I struggle with this too, but I try my hardest to live by this rule: Be realistic with your goals. 

The number one thing I see on social media websites and in magazines is the image to look like a fitness model or a Victoria’s Secret model. I’m not saying that it can’t be done, I’m just saying that in order to look like a fitness model, you have to be prepared to requires a lot of dedication and commitment. If you want to look like a fitness model for a day; fine, but long term? You’re going to have to be willing to completely transform your kitchen and lifestyle, which begins and continues with eliminating any trace of a potential chemical shit storm waiting to happen. I know you can do it, just don’t sign any legally binding contracts unless you want to get sued.

 And none of us are that perfect all of the time. Our bodies are strong, we are strong, but sometimes shit happens. Even if we’ve make the ultimate sacrifice to give up cookies and pizza forever; sometimes our bodies will physically fight us tooth and nail.

 I woke up this morning, feeling more bloated than usual, drank a full glass of ice cold water, sat down at the computer with my oats with fruit and egg whites. As I was about to shove a spoonful of oatmeal into my mouth, my eyes focused in on this article. I couldn’t help but feel guilty for the extra spoonful of oats I put in my bowl or the one extra strawberry I tossed in just because. 

And while I doubt anyone is going to sue me anytime soon, (in fact, I’m sure of it) or no one is going to sever my head if I happen to gain a few pounds, for “not walking the walk, or talking the talk”,  I certainly can empathize with the Biggest Loser contestant who is being sued for gaining weight.  I made a commitment to this lifestyle, and I feel very passionately about it, and I hold myself accountable for making sure that I am constantly, “walking the walk” or talking the talk” but I also remember that [insert dramatic pause here] I am only human. Yep. There you have it. I am human. And so is this woman.

***Gasp***

 I seriously think that they should be more concerned with the fact that she’s human. Oh and the fact that chances are; if you’ve struggled with your weight in the past, no binding contract is going to put an end to that struggle.

 Physically or emotionally

 Especially, if you’re human. Living this lifestyle isn’t exactly what I call as being “socially accepted”. No, what is widely accepted, with an emphasis on socially, is binge drinking and pummeling food, food and more food into our bodies with ingredients that I don’t even think the manufacturers can pronounce.    

 It’s not like it’s a secret. It’s a known fact that people aren’t consciously counting calories or paying attention to how the food that they are eating affects their body. And honestly, from where I sit, and I’ve mentioned this in previous blog posts, counting calories can be a full time fucking job. It can kind of seem characteristic of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And I’m no fucking doctor, but I know what it feels like to be obsessive. Trust me. In fact, I own my OCD proudly, it kicks my ass at the gym and it keeps me on track with my diet-but- it’s- not- really- a- diet-, it’s- a- lifestyle. So while I agree that she had a duty to maintain the image that gave her that opportunity in the first place, I also understand that she is human. And unless you’re a wizard, you may gain a few pounds here or there. What is important, however, is whether or not she has the will to fight to get back on track. In my nonprofessional opinion, I think she illustrates the struggle of weight loss, not a lack of self control. Besides, don’t most people who struggle with their weight face a lack of control in their life already? I don’t believe people intentionally sabotage themselves to die young or be obese. No there’s an emotional struggle that is attached to their weight; it’s not just physical.

It is easy to lose track of what you’re putting in your mouth in times of stress, or just life in general. Believe me, I don’t wake up everyday weighing the same either. Maybe I had more sodium than usual, or drank too much water the day before. The body is full of surprises and no one person can get it down to an exact science. During competition prep, or when I did that photo shoot, I had to manipulate my carbohydrates and water intake. Newsflash: Each time a figure competitor competes, they are always trying something new, a little tweak here or there, and their body may be harder and tighter than the last show. Yes, I know people who have shows back to back (one week apart) and they don’t do the same thing that led them to the first show. Again, this is all based on other’s experience, personal experience and lots and lots of research. (That’s my disclaimer right there.)

 And to ramble on some more about it, all I know is that everyone has a story. It’s not as black or white as everyone paints it out to be. Every ‘body’ is different; when you put stress on your body daily, over time you’re body is going to react to it eventually. I don’t know what kind of diet or workout regimen this woman was on, but maybe the stress finally caught up to her and her body responded by putting on some weight. Maybe no matter what she did to counteract the weight gain, she didn’t know how to fix it. Certainly some people can relate. Have you ever decided you needed to lose weight? And in doing so, you put your body under extreme stress, whether it is through a sudden diet change or you just jumped right into a high intensity bout of exercise 5 days a week? Not to mention, we there are their twisted little things called hormones that make our body go tick and tock. Yea, they have an affect on us daily too. Hormones are responsible for a lot of shit that happens in your body. Some make our muscles grow; lose weight, and some make us cry and crave chocolate and pizza. And…sometimes when they’re fucked with; they can put a screeching halt on any kind of progress that you might have made.

 Really, the only contract that I’m going to commit to is the one that reads, “you are taking on the role as a representative to our brand. In signing this contract, you are agreeing to be real, vulnerable, and be willing to make mistakes.You also are agreeing to never mislead the public in any way because by doing so will only tarnish our brand and in doing so, will lead to the promotion of a negative representation, one that we do not want to be a part of. (Feel free to insert legal terminology as you see fit). Imagine, if the scale were tipped the other way, and she got too skinny????

Wow. To be completely honest, I compare myself to others. I mean, who doesn’t? Don’t say you don’t, I don’t know you personally, but I know you do it. Let’s get real, why else do we have a social networking site that has pictures only? Oh and recently videos too. I’m talking about Instagram, but other social networking sites allow it too. And the obvious, why else would this woman be getting sued for not maintaining an image she had at the time she agreed to represent this company?

I scroll through newsfeeds of fitness accounts that I have clicked the like or follow button and I also flip through fitness magazines with envy. I don’t read the articles, I don’t look at the words, I just look at the images that show defined abs, hard earned muscle, and beautifully rounded shoulders and legs that can put any high heeled shoe to shame. It’s my motivation. But sometimes, truthfully, it can be an unhealthy kind of motivation. Sometimes, my body goes to war with my mind. So I have to force myself to log off whatever social media website I’m looking at, close the pages of the magazine and go to the gym. But I go in swinging, busting ass, and challenging my body every single day, and then I go home eat several small meals throughout the day, nothing special, just unprocessed foods, choose only natural sugars as opposed to foods with added sugars, and even then, I keep that kind of sugar to a minimum, I don’t eat an entire jar of peanut butter, even though I’d like to at times, and I drink a lot of water all day long. But I still don’t have a chiseled six pack, although, I don’t really want one, I get frustrated that no matter what I do, I can’t seem to have my stomach look like a six pack. Oh, I have definition in my abs, but you can barely see them if I’m not standing in certain light, or after eating and drinking water all day.

But I still do it because after three years of being on this fitness journey, I feel like I’ve joined a fitness revolution.  I love that I can relate to the desire to eat copious amounts of nut butters straight out of the jar, the fact that I, too, saturate my Iphone with endless shots of myself in the mirror; also known as “selfies”  and play with filters to see what brings the lines out from my muscles the most. I even get excited when I don’t need a filter at all because I can actually see the lines without a fancy filter, and, I, like many others on Instagram, tag the photo with the hashtag, #nofilter. I am also guilty of carrying chicken around in my purse, owning a ton of Tupperware, which, I might add, honestly frustrates me because I suck at organizing Tupperware. Seriously, I can never find the matching lid. But, I feel like over the past 3 years, while I have lived and breathed the fitness lifestyle, I don’t ever feel that it’s ever enough. I still struggle to find the right balance and I suffer the most when my hormones come to play. I am hard on myself. I’ve always been. Everyday is something different. Not just with my appearance though, with a lot of things. I may take a hundred pictures, but it’s only because I’m searching for the one with the “right lighting” the “perfect lines” and then I tell myself to eat cleaner and train harder. And I do. But then I get mad at myself. I think it’s me. I go back to those images on the social media sites and wonder why I can’t have their abs, or legs or shoulder muscles. I do that and then I usually come to my senses (until the next time) and realize that I have to learn to work with the set of tools God and my entire gene pool gave me. Truth hurts.

 

What isn’t drilled into our minds is that you can’t want to be somebody else; you have to want to be you. All of the time. And to do that, you have to do what feels right for you. It’s hard, I know, but it certainly isn’t impossible. I know that too. Like I said, I’m guilty of being too hard on myself too. You just have to be prepared to fight, accept that you aren’t perfect, and that there may even be some setbacks. You can’t control life, but you sure could make the best of it. And that goes for your body too. You can certainly make the most of what you’ve been given, and try not to forget that you, I mean, we, are still human. Just look at the woman from the Biggest Loser, Season 2, who is facing a lawsuit.  

Sweaty Problems

You know when you cry so much, your face turns beet red? Well, over the past few days, my body has been crying so much (with sweat of course) that it’s turning red. Rash red.

And itchy.

Like claw-my-skin-layer-by-layer-itchy.

WTF…so I use free and clear for my hair because a while back, I developed an allergy to certain dyes/scents; I use All’s “Free and Clear”, laundry soap for same reason, I use differin gel and benzaclin for the treatment of acne that I’ve had to control since I was 16, and I’ve had to change my contact lens brand multiple times (basically went from year-round lenses to monthly to the daily wear because my eyes were suddenly, “not okay” with the contact lenses I’ve always worn…

And today? Well today, I found out that I’m allergic to excessive sweating. Go figure. So now I have this horrific heat rash all over my arms, neck and armpits…

TMI? Sorry but…

Yes, I take a shower IMMEDIATELY after my cardio workout,

Yes, I change my clothes right after…and it still just worsens faster than the day goes by.  Sucks. I guess I’ll have to move to Antartica…I exaggerate. I know this already. 

  So…I remember, last year; last show, the same thing happened, I sweated profusely for that last show and got a rash. I’m allergic to heat. Seriously? How can this be? I know that there are worse things in the world, but really? An allergy to heat? Excessive sweating? The older I get the more allergies develop….

And I don’t get it. I’m frustrated. Why?! Because I eat healthy, exercise, love the entire aspect of living a “fitness lifestyle”, I mean, I’m so passionate about it, it gives me a (insert expletive here) rash. My body temperature rises, therefore, a rash ensues. Really?!

What sucks?! Well, I’ve worked my ass of literally for the past 8 months, focusing on building more muscle, started figure competition prep earlier, felt more dedicated and committed to this upcoming figure competition, (don’t get me wrong, it didn’t go without the usual hemming and hawing), posed harder, dieted harder, trainer harder, and now it’s Tuesday.

It’s Tuesday and I’m sitting here, freezing from the air conditioner (you know my body fat is a tad low and therefore, I’m not so impressed with the box in the wall that blows out huge gusts of wind. And I’m doing it all well, how do I say this? well, to put it “mildly”, naked. 

Yup, I am freezing and I have a rash. And right now, I want to wrap myself in a cocoon made up of a blanket paradise, close my eyes and fall asleep. But I’m itchy. And cranky. And #Hungrysickofeatingvegetablesalldaylong…

Hmm. Hashtags are useful when you feel so frustrated….it’s conducive with saying as many swear words in one thought as fast as possible. Random thought. Sorry.

Meanwhile, tonight, I will hopefully fall asleep amidst the cold-air-conditioned darkness and maybe catch a couple hours of sleep, and in the morning, this rash will have disappeared. If not, well then, well…do I just proceed with the figure competition, all the cardio-infused sweat sessions, add chemicals from the spray tan that is mandatory to get to achieve desired “stage appearance” for better muscle presentation, or do I back off, let this rash heal, and pick a different show so that I can approach the prep differently?

Gotta admit. The latter option leaves me shaken.

Beast Mode. Power:On

My last couple workouts have been officially labeled as “panic attack” workouts. They go a little something like this:

 I workout, moving from exercise to exercise with very little rest in between, my heart starts to pound, and I feel as though I’m about to throw up. I’m working hard, and I’m not going to back off. I continue. My muscles are being trained to failure, I say to myself,

“one more rep” fighting with the bully inside of me trying to get me to back down. My blood is pumping, I feel it through my veins, I’m sucking in oxygen, maximizing all of my energy into pushing out one last rep. I keep pushing, waiting for the climax; the rush of simple euphoria. I feel every bit of oxygen crash and erupt with every rep; my body pushes harder and harder. I let go. I am finished. Sweat thickens and beads; it starts to brush past my eyebrows, misses my eye and continues on down my cheek and rolls off my chin. I continue. Next set. I don’t stop. Heat emerges within my muscles, fire erupts, my body pushes; my mind pushes back. It tells me to stop; it wants me to stop. But I can’t. I have to get to the point where my mind lets go; I have to keep pushing. I have to let my mind know my body can do all the work; I have to let my body take over. With every rep, I feel the muscle contract. It feels good. It feels powerful and controlled. Yet, somehow I begin to panic.

 My heart beat has become louder;  like it’s going to burst. “I’m fine.” I try to reassure myself, but I can’t take my mind off of the cold, clammy feeling that has suddenly numbed my skin.  Again.  “I’m fine,”  I pick up the weight and lift. My mind shifts as I start to turn my focus on the lift of the exercise.  I complete the set and put the weight down. I look at the clock and wait for the next set to begin. Again. It happens. The blood in my veins start to feel like slivers of ice; frozen.

 “Oh my God, Oh my God, something is wrong with me” I dread what comes next.

“Everything is blurry. Why is everything blurry. Is it my contacts? Would if it’s that medication. I remember reading the side effects. Shit. My head hurts, I feel dizzy, my throat feels like it’s locked …I can’t swallow…I can’t breathe…Shit. Would if something is seriously wrong with me?!!

  Panic mode.

 I pull back. No. Beast mode.

 I have one last set to do. One more set. I can handle it. Focus. Breathe. I can do this, I’m not losing it. Not this time.

 I wrap my hands around the cold iron dumbbell and I feel a sudden surge; like an electric shock. Confident; fearless; I let the weight dig into my muscles and just like that. I am standing there, weight in my hands; barely over my head; controlled, calculated. I am ready. I see a person that resembles me in the mirror. I look away. That can’t be me, quickly, my mind relapses. I power the weight above my head. Damn it. That is me.

That is me.

Running for Power and Purpose

 I’m not a runner. The only time I enjoy running is when I don’t really think about it. For example, I like to run with my kids when we’re playing, “who can make it to the car first”, which actually happens quite often. But I’m not really thinking about it. I mean, my heart starts pounding, my breathing becomes deeper, the gust of air felt from my body thrusting itself forward is felt, but it’s more about trying to see who can get to the car first. I usually win. Simply, because I have the car keys and the rule is, that to be declared the winner, you have to be in the car first.  

 FYI, I have a car that does not have automatic locks. I guess that is just one of the perks of owning a car with manual locks.  

To run is to have to make a commitment and to make it happen. It requires distance and miles. It requires moving farther and farther away from the starting point, and I really don’t have a lot of time for that. I know people who actually like to run for miles, endurance, speed, and some people just like it to clear their mind. But I actually have discovered that my mind usually turns off around mile numero uno. It turns into me sounding like the annoying little voice in the backseat on a long car ride wondering, “are we there yet?”

There are people who create running playlists and listen to it while they run. I’ve tried that. I end up getting tangled in the cord somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes into the run. Alright, I’m stretching the truth, maybe more like 5 or 10 foot strikes against the pavement. Or even worse; the ear buds don’t stay in, and then the Ipod gets turned off and just ends up in my pocket anyway.    

 Still, it has to be done. I like to keep it short though. No long distances. Tonight I went to the high school track to run. I swear whenever my mind starts to think about running, my body just melts. I was just lying on the couch, relaxing with the phone in my hand, checking my Instagram account, and my mind was literally screaming at me to get up and just go for a run. My body, on the other hand, literally, feels like it is pleading with me; protesting by going limp with just the thought of running. I was just going to do a cardio workout at home, but my mind, apparently, had other plans for me. Apparently, it felt this relentless desire to go outside and run. Odd.  I do have to admit, however, I was feeling pretty pathetic just lying on the couch thinking about doing cardio. Not just that though, it is those damn evil hormones that are getting to me again. My husband is lucky he is visiting his family in St. Martin so he doesn’t have to deal with the wrath of these devious little sidekicks. Ha.

All day long, in the back of my mind, I kept having glimpses of me running down my street or around the highschool track. But before I engaged into some sweat, fat burning work, I decided I should satisfy my cravings by buying my daughter a slice of chocolate cheesecake and my son a double chocolate cookie.

Look, I teach them about balance. I don’t want them to be afraid of food for cripes sake. Anyway, I couldn’t choose which one I’d rather have, so I bought both, and they ate them. They were really good too. I’m just guessing. It was a treat. They enjoyed it, and so did I.  As least I’m assuming that based on the chocolate covered stains that hid my son’s lips and teeth. Mmmm….Chocolate…

 And then reality caught up and hit me in the head…

Once at the high school track; the wind and cool air spent the first few minutes reminding me of how freezing it was outside. It had the feeling of a cool winter day; as though I was going to look up at the sky and catch a snow flake in my eye. I started cursing at myself for forgetting to bring a hat. But, it really wouldn’t have made any sense to drive all the way back home for my hat, since I had already driven to the track, which made me feel silly in the first place. I mean, I just drove right down the street to run around in a giant circle; kind of like a dog chasing its tail.

 I stepped onto the track; made sure my shoes were tied, gave in to the cool air and started with a light walk. I couldn’t help but watch two teenage boys on the field, kicking a soccer ball back and forth to each other, laughing, and enjoying the cool night breeze. I continued my walk once around the track and turned it into a light jog. As I ran, still aware of the teenagers kicking the ball back and forth to each other, my body and mind started to connect. At that point, I couldn’t stop running. I started to run extremely fast until my legs burned, and then I would jog, then run again. This type of cardio, I could handle. Sprinting.

 I lost track of time. There was no music. No cords or ear buds; and as usual, my mind went numb. I focused on my running technique, my force, and speed; time. The lights flickered on as it got a bit darker, and I had suddenly realized that the teenagers were no longer there, I quickly wondered how long they had been gone. Still, I kept moving; feeling every bit of tension in my body dissipating. I finished up with eighty side squats and fifty high knees followed by fifty knee kicks. I could have kept going, but it was extremely dark at that point, the street lamps provided the only light at that point, and the only thing I saw was my shadow. Besides, there was a trail of kid’s voices running alongside the school building and underneath the bleachers, so I figured that it was best to go home.

Tomorrow is another cardio day, and I know that my body will still plead with me not to go, but my body and mind will thank me once I am done. I just have to focus and stay in tune with each muscle in my body as it contracts. There’s no other feeling like being able to feel the energy from my muscles as they work to thrust my body forward; in competition with no one else but myself. Doing cardio doesn’t always have to be about long distance or length of time. If you don’t have time, you could still give it all you got in 15-20 minutes. Just be willing to push yourself as hard and don’t be afraid to let every muscle contract in your body, and let the tension fade.

Music or none at all; it’s your choice. Always.

How to Find Balance and Still be a Bad Ass. Sweat Included.

Being a bad ass is someone who doesn’t necessarily have their shit together, but can find a balance that works for them. What works for me may not work for you. I like a little sweat in my morning coffee, or I should probably say afternoon coffee. I love to go to the gym and “throw some weights around” just because I can. Also, because I’m a girl and I like it when I can walk over to a squat rack and squat the same weight as a man. Shhhh…I probably shouldn’t admit that it’s a teenager in most cases, but hey nonetheless, I’m getting it done. Cardio? I hate it. But I do it because without it; I lack balance.

Sometimes, I even feel invincible in the gym. I feel, well, simply put, like a bad ass. And I’m dripping in sweat. Oh, and I don’t care what in the hell I look like either.

Image

Image

When you set out to lose weight, it’s either for aesthetic reasons, or you do it because you want to feel better; feel healthier. Most conversations about losing weight have to do with “skinny”. People know they just want to get skinny. I often was told, “I was lucky to be so skinny” there are even websites, hashtags that cater to “skinny” people. In a person’s mind, it’s simple, to be skinny is to be healthy and to carry a bit more weight is to be unhealthy.  That’s not coming from me. That’s coming from what I have read, overheard, and learned over time.

Come on, healthy doesn’t always mean having to be skinny. Being healthy should be more about moderation than appearance. It should mean finding a balance; never overindulging or depriving yourself of what life has to offer.

Once you find a balance, it won’t matter what size you are; you will find comfort that you are giving all of your effort and living life to its fullest.

You are extremely capable of pushing your body to its maximum and even beyond; you just need to gain control of your mind. However, it’s important for you to find what your balance is, and set out to achieve that.

No other person can define your balance.

You will find people out there who are extremely motivated, or you may be sitting here reading this and finding the compulsion to raise your hand slightly and shout eagerly, “That’s me! that’s me!” but it can be unhealthy for anyone to push as far as their mind would allow them to go. That is, if you are not ready.  Be honest with yourself here;  I am. Have you ever seen someone with your height and body frame, and found yourself trying to pinch yourself in an effort to wake up from that horrible “suit” that you feel that you are “wearing”? You tell yourself that you want to look like that? And you will. You can. Just know that it takes time, patience, and besides, I’m a firm believer in the whole “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and yes,  even if it is tanned, looks good with the lights on, and sets your heart racing. You just really don’t know the fight they had to go through, to get to that point, simply because we don’t always get to see the battle wounds.

It’s pretty unrealistic to push yourself too far, too fast,  just to squeeze yourself into someone else’s ideal “picture frame.” You’re unique. After all, you’re you. Hey, I was told that 2 days ago by a very special friend of mine. She said, “Megan, you’re unique, you are one of a kind, and you have to know that there’s a special place for you in this world.” And I believed her. But if you’re not ready, if you don’t allow yourself to warm up, too fast, too soon, turns a burning flame into well, smoke. As the body needs to warm up before you engage in exercise, the mind also has to go through a warm up. It’s not a life or death situation to “be skinny” it is, however, a life or death situation to “be healthy”.

Don’t throw yourself onto a bed of hot coals just because the fire went out.  Start out with the goal to engage in something that encourages healthy behavior and build from that. Don’t go from eating 2500 per day calories to eating 1000 calories per day. That is just going from one extreme to another. That is just your mind challenging you, mocking you, and antagonizing you. Don’t let it. Find a balance to gain control over your own mind.

I strive to find balance every single day. Literally…

Because I suffer from panic and anxiety, in order to control that aspect of my life, I have latched onto the desire to achieve a particular level of being fit and lean. Ripped. Shredded. I strive to be that. I go through periods where I eat a lot to gain muscle and then I burn the fat. It’s a process and it takes time. I also have a lot of control when it comes to my diet simply because it provides me with a balance. As I feel out of control because of the anxiety and panic, I make up for it by sticking to a healthy diet and exercise. It makes me happy. It makes me feel bad ass. But more importantly, above all, it provides me with a sense of balance. Me. No one else. Just me.

I don’t care if my chicken is cold. I don’t have a breakfast, lunch or dinner. I have meals. When someone asks me, what are you eating for dinner. I look at them with a blank stare. Dinner? That seems so long ago. Ancient. Like the term dinner has lost it’s meaning. Yes. Among all of the frozen prepackaged foods in every grocery store across the world.

No I eat. I eat ALL DAY LONG. It’s not ideal for everyone. It works for me. Right now anyway. Does that mean if Suzy doesn’t follow the same schedule, that if she is the one who is asking me about dinner, that she won’t see results? Not at all. Not at all.

I eat cold chicken for breakfast, and I find it amusing when I break out my little sandwich bag of chicken at a wedding, a birthday party, or over dinner with a friend. I find it weird that I crave cottage cheese and oatmeal with a touch of almond butter. I often feel like a drug addict who is trying to hide their addiction, but need a fix and they will make it happen. Yeah. So for me though.  If it’s time to eat; I’m going to make it happen.

Besides, we were born this way anyway. We ate every 2-3 hours when we were babies. Even if you have kids, you know. You know that when a baby is hungry, you better feed that baby. I don’t care if it’s less than 2-3 hours, if the baby is hungry, baby eats; they need that food to grow. So don’t piss the baby off. So yes, I’m like a baby in a way, and I may even cry a little too.
Just being honest.

I do have to check myself every once in awhile and remind myself, that it’s not that serious; I’m not going to break if I eat out with my family. I’m going to be okay if I don’t go to the gym one day. If I skip a workout, my muscles that I’ve worked hard to build aren’t going to disappear over night, or if I log onto Facebook and there’s a set of steel abs across my newsfeed, I didn’t just lose the ultimate opportunity to get a set of those abs because I skipped a workout. I don’t and won’t look like that in one day, regardless if I go to the gym or not. It’s still going to take time. I often get joked with about how many photos I take, oh it’s so funny, but let me tell you, despite what you heard in the past about how the camera makes you look ten pounds heavier, the camera lens is like a trained and skilled eye; it can see a whole hell of a lot more than the naked eye can or is willing to see. So I measure my progress through the photo lens of my Iphone. Nothing special. No top notch photo lens. Lighting makes a difference too. It gives new meaning to “shed some light on the situation” Seriously.

So take it day by day, step by step. Don’t rush into it. Accept the challenge, embrace the journey. It takes time and patience.

Oh and a whole lot of fight with willpower when it comes down to it. You can read about my post as regards to the fight with willpower here: http://wp.me/p3cYS3-1nA  But, before you go, realize  that if you want it; go get it. But only if it’s healthy and done with balance.

And take lots of pictures along the way to document your BAD ASS.

How To Grab Willpower by the Balls

Maybe you have a couple pounds to lose, or even a couple pounds to gain. Maybe you have a goal weight or an ideal body image in your mind. You know what you want, but do you want it bad enough? At first, you will be presented with choices, and from time to time, you will feel a sense of “divide and conquer”; while your body is capable of a lot, your mind will scream at you over and over again trying to defeat you. Your mind will literally try to take control over your body. It will divide and conquer but only if you let it.  

 Willpower is reaching deep within and pulling the last bit of strength you have to make shit happen. Willpower is stronger than you, but not having it will not make you a weak person because it only emphasizes the ability to make a choice. It illustrates how badly you want something, but it doesn’t mean that you are desperate; it only means that you understand the right to choose and understand the cost of what it takes to get what you want and where you need to be. This in no way allows you to step on others to get to where you need to be, it means that you realize that people are willing to step on you and you choose to fight back.

 Willpower creeps up and sometimes brings an entire army to fight against you. You are constantly at odds with willpower whenever you make the choice to become better, do better, live better and be different. The last bit of strength that is hidden deep inside of you does not come easy. You have to be prepared to fight it every single minute. It will try to tear you apart and make you fall down, if you let your guard down. You have to always be mindful that it’s there; lurking and waiting for you to stop to make the choice that you no longer seek the ultimate goal. You begin to think of what you’re doing as a sacrifice.

 The first soldier of willpower in getting to unlock the final bit of strength that you have is Choice.  In order to determine the goal, first you have to fight against the choices that are presented to you. You have to decide what you want and go for it. In order to do so, you will have to defeat another soldier; and that soldier is Sacrifice.

 Once you have made the choice to achieve your goal, you will feel a temporary sense of determination. Your pace is strong, your grip is strong; you are strong. However, you now notice that there are two soldiers standing there, side by side, close enough to be one. Your strength feels threatened. You begin to question your judgment; question your goal; your choice (s).  

 You start to think of it more as an obstacle rather than a goal. You lose focus. And when you lose focus, you lose sight of the goal. So you start to wonder why you are doing this. You will begin to think of how it will affect other people. Your family. Your friends. Your social life. Your personal life.  You start to slow down, quiver even. You panic. You feel uncomfortable. So you stagger. And your mind starts to race with all of the other choices that you can have. How much happier you will be. Because right now you feel miserable. And it’s not worth it. One by one, the soldiers are closing in around you. Right now you think, what is my goal?  Your fears resurface and you react with a fight or flight response. You act quickly, nervously. You’re falling back. It doesn’t matter because now you are in a battle with a reflection of yourself. You start to think that you like yourself just the way you are. You tell yourself, you don’t have to do this. In other words, you start to rationalize choices and soon willpower is winning the battle. After all, it’s you versus willpower, which is a huge army. But you’re not becoming weaker. Because, after all, there are just too many soldiers to fight against, and you are an army of one.

 So you slow down even more. You start to fall back, become more and more distant. Fade away. And no one, no one is there to help you get back up. To fight. You have to do this yourself,  Suddenly you realize that you have to make the first and only move. YOU want it and YOU deserve it because YOU are strong. You are powerful. In fact, you are more powerful than willpower. But you must never look away. You must always be conscientious. You must always know it’s worth it. Worth every single second. Because that’s just how powerful you are. That last bit of strength is worth fighting for; it will make you feel unstoppable. It will give you perseverance. And with that, you can make willpower quiver. But you must always be prepared to make it quiver because it will test you endlessly. You will often stagger with confidence; compare yourself with others, and feel weak. It doesn’t give up. Only you can give up. Only you are presented with choices. And you are the only one who can make the right one.

I want you to make willpower your bitch.

 

 

What Will Happen if you Didn’t Live Life In the Moment?

Can you think of anything? I can…

You can make healthier choices so that you can continue to enjoy all the things that you love, and all of the moments that lie ahead of you..

You can find a balance so that you can wake up and not feel that any time has been wasted; like you’re spending everyday recovering from the night before with a really BAD hangover. You know when you wish that you can forget what happened, or just wish that you already did…You know kinda like that bruise on your leg that you don’t remember how it got there because you had one too many drinks, or the soreness that you feel in your legs from dancing all night long? And then, suddenly, you slowly put the pieces together, and it finally all makes sense. Temporarily. And then just like that, you get zapped back into reality. It hurts. You hurt. You know you had a damn good time, but you are feeling like shit now. You probably should just lie down. Oh wait, here comes your responsibilities. Oh and….LIFE. 

Life is one big hangover. Metaphorically speaking, of course. (Hey, I’ve been there, done that. This one time, I was at a pig roast…oh wait that’s not for this blog..sorry hehe)

Seriously though, that’s how you’re going to feel as you get older.  You’ll be at the bar with a tear in your beer because you’re lonely for your dear (Hank Williams-just changed it up a bit). You’ll have one drink and have to call it a night. And not just because you’ve aged; no it’ll be because you won’t have the mobility, balance, or strength to get down low, or hop up there and shake ‘it’ one more time. Metaphorically. The Point? If you learn how to balance, you could still have a damn good time.

And no. Dancing and drinking isn’t considered cardio. Trust me on this one.

But seriously, you know all of those moments where you sit and reflect on the times that you were able to pull an all-nighter? I’ve had those conversations before. Oh God, I used to be able to stay up all night long, and still go to work the next day. And function too. Remember that? (Or are you there now?)

Whether it was partying, studying, or just talking, whatever it was, you were still able to manage work, school and anything else without batting an eyelid. Today, you feel so tired, so plugged in and overcharged; overused, that the energy just seems to keep going in and out of you, and if you lose even just an hour of sleep, you can’t seem to keep your eyelids open with even the good ole’ clothespin.  Oh… getting older sucks. But staking claim in my pride by striving to continue to learn how to balance family, educate myself, study to become a personal trainer, teach my kids about respect in this crazy technologically advanced, hypersensitive world that we live in, improve or maintain my strength and all means to maintain functionality as I get older, makes me feel ageless. Sure, I’ve pulled the “I feel old” card, but that’s because I’m a parent (and that’s also another story).  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So….I’m often asked, why do I eat like this all of the time. Why do I carry a cooler to a place where there is food readily available?  What the hell am I doing??? People want to know why I’m doing this. Seriously!! People are concerned that may not be living my life to its fullest. (Okay, I admit, I might also be projecting here.)  No. no, I’m pretty sure I’m not! I have had to overcome that along the way, and I still get stares and sneers, but it’s been a journey that has not let me down. At least not yet anyway.

I really, honestly, truly, sincerely think that exercising and selecting healthy choices is underestimated. Sure you got that run on the treadmill where you’re clinging to the rails for dear life, heaving and pouring sweat..you’re bod’s just crying and you hover down lower and lower until you don’t feel anything, and that’s only because the machine has taken over now, but then you go in your fancy little workout wear and go to get some Mickey D’s. Oh yea. I saw you there. I know it. You went there.  Or maybe it’s not Mickey D’s, it’s those leftovers from that tasty little diner down the street from you. Hell, it could even be from that extremely expensive, four-star restaurant. I don’t care. It’s got sodium, calories, all sort of sneak shit up in there. Trying to say, oh it’s only less than 500 calories…oh please..don’t even get me started with that.

I know people who think, “you only live once” I mean come on, they even coined a catchy abbreviation (yolo anyone?) that’s been tossed into song lyrics, tshirts, and out of the mouths of many. (Oh Yea. I did that. I just threw a little modern day slang in there for ya.) Anyhoo, I often hear people say things like, “I could never eat like that”,  “I could never look like that” or “I could never do what you do” Oh stop it. (Blushing) Seriously though, you’d be so damned surprised at what the body is capable of doing once the mind catches up. And that’s the part that’s all up to you. Sure, you don’t have to have a flat stomach, and you can have some jiggle when you wiggle, but making healthier choices isn’t all about aesthetics. Diet and exercise, is the key to give you strength for the moments when you need to get things done, in a shorter period of time, but can’t pull off an all-nighter. It is the answer that will allow you to continue being able to do what you’re doing at this very moment.

It’s no secret that we have no choice but to age. Sure, as it has been proven, we can pay money to achieve a younger, more youthful appearance, but regardless of how much money you throw into looking younger, it’s not going to assist you in getting in and out of car, walking up a flight of stairs, playing with your kids/grandkids, you know, as you get older? It is funny, because as we get older, the rest of the world doesn’t adapt, it becomes newer, more modern and often sleek, and we are pushed into having to adapt to all of it; as quickly as possible too. We allow our food choices to fall by the wayside; to accommodate a much more leisurely and sedentary lifestyle; one that relies on technology, driving our kids to and from sports all while riding in a car, sitting and watching them play. Face it. We are sold on cheap food and it has to be fast.

However, I am a fan of the microwave. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

So….yes. There is so much more to do; to learn, in such a shorter period of time, but it requires very little energy. We don’t need to exercise because we’re not really moving. Face it. We’re not really doing anything that requires good cardiovascular conditioning, you know, things that get our blood pumping, hearts climbing, and we’re more than likely not lifting anything heavy, well beyond a baby. At least not NOW. And yes, I am extremely proud of your attempt and effort to get a little exercise, even if it was just draping over the machine. You still did it. You still had the thought.

Unfortunately, it’s really not the thought that counts. Not this time.

 So as you’re reflecting and realizing that you can’t stay up like you used to, or you feel some aches and pains, or you can’t hold or play with your kids/grandkids like you used to, can’t seem to open that damn jar of pickles without needing someone else to “loosen it up” for you…it’s time to start exercising. Truth is; we overindulge ourselves with food, good times, work, and there is absolutely NO balance. You eat the high calorie, high sodium, high fat diets, and are only compensated with diseases, illness, that eventually make you unhappy and possibly depressed about your appearance. But, still, you go to work, drive your kids to and from their afterschool activities, sometimes even on the weekends, and then,

Have lunch with an old friend,

Have dinner with an old friend

Go out to eat with someone you just met

Eat to support a good cause

Eat to raise money for a good cause

Buy and eat candy for a good cause

And it goes on and on and on….(okay so I just got a little Avett Brothers tune in my head)

The wheels of the car are still moving, but you are at a standstill.

And you may not even realize it.

All that partying and drinking; the cheap; quick and easy food, the social engagements you have to tend to, is not going to help you in the long haul. Your health isn’t going to keep up with you, if you don’t encourage it to. And if you say that you can’t eat like that, look like that, well then just picture what your going to look like in a nursing home when you can’t walk, or even feed yourself. While we all may live once, you also have the option to choose how your going to age; if you don’t start making better choices, you better at least start choosing which nursing home you’re going to.  Make it a good one too. And sure, even if you make better choices as regards to your health, you probably still won’t be able to pull an all-nighter. But you know what? Sleep is part of the equation as well.  That wasn’t always the best plan of action either.

I agree that you work your ass off, and deserve to have a kick ass time; a little “me” time. Hope you have a pension plan in place for when you retire to pay for that  nursing home.  How much are you spending on medications and doctor visits now? A vacation’s worth? Geez. I’m beginning to sound like a health insurance company or something. Or maybe, you’ll have to pay for some staff members to come to your house when you’re unable accomplish even the simplest task? Your kids aren’t going to mow that lawn for you. Doubtful. I mean, I would, but I’m not your kid. Don’t be mad.

I don’t know about you, but I plan to still be able to soak up the sunscreen on a beautiful blue beach with my husband and cooler packed with plenty of healthy food right next to us, and the only thing I’m going to be fighting are the waves rolling in the ocean, but at least I’ll have the leg and calf muscles to walk through all of that sand.

When you lose strength in the body, you also lose strength in the mind. No joke.