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.

Not Just Another Resolution

Approaching New Year’s, many are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions. Each year it is often the same, or maybe it’s just a slight twist on a previous New Year’s resolution.

Whatever may be the case, instead of anxiously awaiting to adhere to a specific resolution right after the ball drops; the clock strikes midnight, or your hangover kicks in the next day, make one commitment with yourself; something that isn’t as abstract as just saying, “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to stop smoking.” Instead, set up small challenges for yourself to create the right set of footprints to allow you to track where you’ve been and how far you’ve come.

Ask yourself, “What can you do to get to where you want to be” For example, make a commitment to take a walk for 30 minutes for at least 3 times per week, and then add on to that.

You could even make a commitment to cut out soda everyday, or limit yourself to one soda per day or per week.

Taking small steps will keep you on the right track and not overwhelm you to the point where you just forget or renege on your resolution.

Quick Holiday Workout

It’s hard to stay on course with good eating habits and exercise when you’re inundated with the stress and excitement from the holidays. It doesn’t help that temptation from cookies and other sweets smother you with their sweet aroma, some beautifully decorated with bows and gift wrap, presented as a thoughtful gift or at a simple get together.

It’s hard not to get wrapped up in holiday traditions; to revel in the small moments that capture us for a lifetime and lure us in for everlasting memories. It’s easy to eat cookies and enjoy great food with great people, knowing that you can always start tomorrow or the next day with those resolutions that will probably make or break you.
And let’s not forget the frustration that you feel if you’re wallet is a lot lighter, but you may not be. And let’s be real, stress certainly doesn’t make getting those few extra pounds you may have gained over the holidays any easier.

So let’s start simple.

Instead of plunging right in, ready to start counting calories, restricting what you eat, and killing yourself on the treadmill or outside in an attempt to beat the bulge, start simple. Begin with drinking more water as a way to “jumpstart” your system; to get it to start functioning at its highest level again.

By drinking more water, it will help restore balance of body fluids, restore your skin’s appearance as well as your hair, better nutrient and mineral absorption, which means that your organs don’t have to work as hard if they’re getting an adequate water supply, and helps get your metabolism working properly again. It’s like giving your insides a bath.

It can be difficult to jump into a fat loss program with the holidays still buzzing in the air, and I don’t think the stress or excitement is going to die down anytime soon, but this quick workout should be just enough to keep your internal fire burning those extra calories. And all that is required is your body weight (and maybe your purse) No gym required. So grab your water bottle and Let’s Do It!!

Complete 3-4 rounds of 20 reps.

Jumping Jack Squats
To do: 1 full jumping jack, at the bottom of second jumping jack (when feet are spread wide apart) jump into a squat. Return to starting position (feet together) pause then repeat. 20 reps

Switch lunges into a pushup
To do: Alternating jump lunges (you could also lunge forward, return to starting position, lunge forward with alternating leg) After lunge on each side, back to start position (feet together) and then jump down complete one pushup. Return to start. 10 reps each side

Squats with lateral walk and overhead press
To do: Grab your purse Ladies!!! Place feet shoulder width apart, toes out slightly, hold purse in front of you. Squat down and as you come up reach purse overhead. Step to the side and repeat. 10 reps to the right and 10 reps to the left.

Ab crunch
To do: Lie down on your back, bend knees, feet flat on the floor, cross hands behind head or in front of chest. Lift head and shoulders off the floor, hold for one or two seconds. Back to start and repeat for 20 reps. Challenge: Lie down on back, legs in air, lift head and shoulders off of floor, and with arms extended, reach up towards feet.

If you do it, feel free to post the time it took or let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!!

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.

Quick Fit Tip: Drink Water; Pee All Day Long

Fit tip

Seriously, is there a spot open in the Guiness Book of World Records for someone who pees the most in one day? 

Okay, okay, so I’m exaggerating…

Okay, No. I’m Not.

Not saying that there is anything wrong with some one on one bonding time with the Porcelain Goddess herself….

Drinking a lot of water can become tedious and mundane for most. I can’t help but automatically envision myself running to the bathroom more times than there are commercials in between shows! I have a DVR so I get to pause it if I have to escape to the bathroom…and that’s a lot of pausing.  I’m kind of like the dog in Pavlov’s experiment, I drink so much water that now when I even see, think, hear, water or even a glass, I have to rush to the bathroom. And I pee so much that I often don’t even bother turning the light on in the bathroom when I’m home. I’ve become a pro. But drinking water needs to be done.  However, I’m going to spare you the details on the benefits of drinking water everyday.  

To prevent getting a stomachache, try not to chug water, instead drink it gradually throughout the day. I find the easiest time to drink water is first thing when I wake up before I eat anything. Sometimes, I wake up feeling hungry, but as soon as I drink water (sip not chug), the hunger pains go away. Also, drinking water before a meal or a snack can prevent you from overeating. And of course, we can’t all be perfect and we may indulge in some higher than normal sodium foods, find it hard to eat all the “right” things, drink too much caffeine; coffee, tea, soda, etc. or even if you’re following a high protein diet, you’re putting additional and unnecessary stress on your body if you skip the water.

 Helpful tips for “getting it in” (Yes, I just went there. I went all the way back to Jersey Shore) For those of you who don’t get the reference; consider yourself lucky.

 Include about an eight ounce glass of water before you even begin to eat a meal, perspire, and for every cup of coffee /tea you put down the good ol’ watering hole. As coffee and tea work more as a diuretic than an adequate source of hydration, it’d probably be a good idea to plan on drinking extra water to keep your body in hydration mode. (Or maybe more to give a nice fine swish to keep the mouth a bit clean too. It’s just an idea. )

 The next time you go out to eat, ask for a glass of water in addition to whatever else you order to drink. (I feel bad for the server when I tell them all I want is water,

Me:  “Water..oh and a lemon too please” [eyes darting away in the other direction]

Server doesn’t even really seem to mind though but then there’s me again: [of course this time saying inside my head] “You can charge for the lemon?”

  Anyhoo….

 Eat fruits and veggies; they contain water too!

 Try to be mindful of how much water you’re drinking. To do this, you can purchase a water bottle; you can find most that hold 24 oz or more and make it a point to refill. (It’s the little things…)

 The normal recommendation is at least 8 ounces per day, but I prefer to use the method of dividing half my body weight and drinking that amount of water and then some. I tend to be a water hog. (Or a water buffalo?) Hehe.

Try to taper your water intake the closer it gets to bedtime to prevent you from turning the bathroom into a place to sleep.

  And of course, feel free to add some flavor to your water! You can use just about any sugar free/low sugar drink flavors.

 Overall:

 Workouts are less effective (and even if you don’t exercise, your overall day will be less effective)

Coffee may make your day more productive, but it also dehydrates you at the same time. (I know this is debated, however, I find it to be true because I have to run to the bathroom even more than if I just stick to water)

Water hydrates your entire body; muscles, skin, organs etc. Without it, you’ll start to look more like last week’s coffee grounds.

Your body has to work harder, which overall means your day is that much more exhausting.

You shower in water to clean the outside, why not drink water to clean the inside?  Come on! Give your insides a bath!

 Think about it.

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!

Being the Match That Lights the Fire.

As I sit here, five days away from a figure competition (I have honestly given up at least a thousand times, however, today I’ve only managed to quit two or three times) I feel that the best way to channel the anxiety that I feel is to redirect it to something more relaxing and doesn’t require sweating. A rapid heart beat still? Yes, but no sweating. First, though, let’s get one thing straight, every one of those times, I am not quitting, my mind keeps trying to, but so far I’m winning. So far.

It isn’t me, it’s the anxiety and I recognize that…

 Ever stop and wonder what is the one thing that you avoid to prevent going into panic mode? Oh come on, just about anything that makes you even place a big toe outside of the circle you’ve entrapped yourself with will send you into fight or flight mode. You want to run, but you also want to stay and fight. Survival mode. Fight or flight. Avoidance.

Do you know what that one thing that would make you just go after what you fear instead of always running from it? Think about it. What would be that one thing that would allow you to forget about the circle that you keep making smaller and smaller every single day and move freely? I can’t think of anything, can you?

You see, nothing can make me do it. No one or nothing can make me want to put myself into an uncomfortable situation that would have me screaming and begging for mercy. No one, nothing, but ME.  It’s because I only have myself to look back in the mirror at; to scowl or smirk at, to sense the violation that I’ve done to myself by not letting others in, or by choosing to punish myself; give up on myself.  It is me who has to look in the mirror and choose to see the pain deep within my eyes. It is only me who could choose to take that pain away and force myself to acknowledge that I’m the only one that’s going to make me move. If I don’t do it, who will? Who’s going to care enough to cross that circle to get me to move?  Only you can choose the amount of light that you want to reveal.

Ask yourself, “what makes me happy”? 

Take that answer and never second guess it. Don’t doubt it. Make it part of your day. Every single day because do you ever notice when you neglect a part of you, even if it’s only one small part of you and you continue to ignore it, reject it, hide it, that you find yourself over time not even able to recognize your own shadow even when the smallest flicker of light appears?

Don’t let the flame burn out before you do.

No.

Be the one to light the freaking match.

No. Scratch that.

BE THE MATCH THAT LIGHTS THE FIRE.

 

 

Think Outside the Mirror

I have to be honest here. I have to look back and tell you all the truth. I haven’t been feeling like fitness anything lately. I’ve been feeling depressed, sad, and discouraged. The main reason is because I struggle to become independent and free from anxiety medication and I feel like the glimpse of hope I’ve had left me floundering. You see, I thought I had it all figured out, I was going to try to get into a program designed to help me deal with the number one fear that has taken over my life little by little. I was so excited to think that I could be free from taking Xanax. Free from the withdrawals, free from the struggle of having to fight every night against taking them. Unfortunately though, the program wasn’t accepting anyone else. It was at that moment I felt hopeless; a flood of fear and helplessness flooded over me…

Was I going to be on this medication forever? Was I really trying to be free from it completely? Yes and No. I want to regain control. I  don’t want to feel like I  have to rely on it.

Yes, since I got into exercise and nutrition, I have found an outlet; a way to cope with it, a passion; if you will, to help me heal; help me feel better. Physically and emotionally. However, I still have panic attacks. Why? Because I’m not perfect. There are some days I don’t want to eat healthy; days where I want to live in the moment with the rest of the population, days where I want to give in to the loud obnoxious flashbacks that I have of me when I was still in my twenties having fun, living life carelessly and without all this dedication and medication.  In lieu of that, I find myself pushing the limits to see how far all of that hard work at the gym as well as  the time that I take to focus on nutrition could resist the copious amounts of not so healthy food.

Some days I don’t want to work out either. I want to curl into a ball and cry my heart and soul out until I become numb.  I am mad.  I am mad because my doctor wrote me a prescription two years ago and assured me that it would be temporary. I am mad because I feel like I gave in too quickly. And now? Now I’m still taking it and I can’t seem to find a way to escape it without withdrawals. And I worry, I worry that I’m going to be lying awake one night and I’m going to need more that just the normal maximum dosage because after awhile your brain gets lazy.  Over time, the Xanax is doing all the work and soon you need more to get that relaxed feeling or to suppress what I will refer to as withdrawals. 

I love fitness. I love nutrition. But I don’t love Xanax. I don’t love medication. I want to be free. I want to live without pain and tension and stress. The truth is, the reason I’ve been away for so long, is because I was beginning to doubt the power of nutrition and exercise. I mean, here I am eating all of the right things, exercising, but when that’s all over, I still feel afraid. I still feel dependent. I feel like I’m being stifled from living my life and sharing my passion due to the medication that I feel has imprisoned me in my own mind; my own skin.

Exercise and diet is only a counterpart towards healing any ailment or disease; once you give into medicine, you have to learn to deal with the side effects. You have to learn to cope with them and they can make you more miserable, depressed and bring a sense of helplessness.

Sitting across from a doctor who is providing  you with a checklist over and over again of things that you could do to manage anxiety or any other ailment you may suffer from, makes you want to yell at the doctor and tell them that they have no idea what they are talking about. You doubt them because you have tried all of those things, and nothing seems to work. But then they’ll probably just write you another prescription….

You find yourself hovering over the computer all hours of the day; all hours of the night. Why? Because you have a huge vacancy; a huge question mark.

problems

 Like I said, I even started to question nutrition and exercise.  I asked myself if it was really all just a bunch of bullshit? But sitting here, with time to think, fully carb loaded, muscles still sore from my daily workouts and the tension that inflames my body,  I was given a brief moment to open my eyes and reveal a little bit of clarity. Even I still felt a tad shaken. But I could truly understand that yes, yes, diet and exercise are beneficial.  It is just the side effects of the medication that I am at war with. I am at war with medicine and doctors who don’t believe in anything but treating you with medicine.

I recently discovered the oath a doctor has to swear to, and it is to do everything you can to help the person without putting them at further risk for disease….I suffer from panic attacks, I had my first one in 2009 and didn’t get into fitness and nutrition until I was well under way to being treated with Xanax. Sure, no one put a gun to my head, and I did seek out additional services to learn how to cope,  but Xanax is a powerful drug.  I’d have a panic attack and I would try to do all the breathing techniques, the relaxation techniques,  but it wasn’t that I wasn’t doing it right; I just couldn’t find a way to relax completely.  

I was once told that I need to think of it as taking medication for diabetes. Without it, I’d be “unhealthy.” But all I heard was the doctor telling me that I needed to succumb to this mental war that was going on inside my head and shut it up with medication.  

Eventually, I told my doctor that  I didn’t want to take it anymore, so she had me wean off of it as slowly as possible. However, regardless of the fact that  I was on such a small dosage to begin with (1.5 mg max per day), the withdrawals were still way too intense, and by the end of the night, I felt like I could have unzipped my own skin and took off.  I seriously felt like a real life character in a movie who was a heroin addict. More defeat. More hope was lost. I started to think what was the point of me being so hardcore into fitness and nutrition, if I am a prisoner in my own mind and body?  

So that’s the truth, now here’s reality:  

Balance isn’t just about how to find a way to make fitness and nutrition fit into your life, it’s about finding inner peace within yourself; psychologically you can’t be at odds with yourself or your physical self will still suffer. I’ve had to take a step back, just a small step, and realize that I need to get right with my psychological self so that I can be continue to reach for the unknown.  

I’ve had to realize that regardless of how much you sweat physically, or how many healthy choices you make, you cant disregard the inner self. You can be physically fit, but if you’re not mentally/psychologically fit, then you haven’t become any closer to the happiness that you deserve.  And that’s just it. I feel like I allowed myself to surrender to medical science and let it slowly stifle my inner self; my soul, my mind. I was only focused on the outside; thinking that’s what made me strong and in control, but I  continued to ignore the other counterpart that was a crucial element to this process of healing. I ignored the pain in my eyes because I only felt the ache in my heart, the ache in my lungs, and the soreness of a worked muscle.  I forgot that your outside appearance doesn’t always reveal the true self; your authentic self. And the night I wrote this, and the tear scratched out the ink on the paper that I had originally wrote this on, I sensed a glimpse of clarity.

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I believed that I had to become more aware and respect that my mind needs to be trained just like I trained my body. They were one unit, working as a whole, and  I had to learn to sweat emotionally not just physically.  After all, I know that I can’t beat myself up for giving into medicine, I was in a desperate moment and thought that medication was the best, but for now, I have been doing a lot of research about the correlation between anxiety/moods/energy levels and nutrition. As a result, I have been focusing on eliminating grains from my diet (which I will discuss in a later blog post).  

And just in case you’re wondering…

I am trying really, really hard to stave off the withdrawals from the xanax, and I look forward to one day being able to say that I am free from the side effects, free to really just reap the benefits of what I have come to believe in over the past few years; and that of course are my two sidekicks, nutrition and exercise. And I also vow to never, ever doubt the power of nutrition and exercise. Ever again.

And I will continue to look for ways to achieve balance within myself. Mind, body, and soul. 

I will always remember that there is always room for change; if you think you’re doing everything you can to fight, you’re not. Change something. 

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Goodnight xoxo

  

It Could Just Be A Salad’s Wet Dream

I’m not a big fan of vegetables.

It’s not because I don’t like the taste of them, it’s just that they’re annoying to prepare. I try to have veggies in the refrigerator already cooked for the week, and I buy the spinach leaves that are in a plastic container (the ones in the bag wilt fasterSalad is probably the easiest thing to whip up; however, when I think of salad, my rabbit teeth normally don’t come out as quickly as I’d like them to because I was raised to believe that everything had to have some kind of condiment, and salad dressing was no exception. Go to any restaurant and they’ll usually be able to rattle off a long list of salad dressings to choose from; maybe you even have your own collection of salad dressing loitering on the door of your fridge, either way, I usually skip the salad because my option would have to be the oil and vinegar, or just vinegar if I’m watching my fat intake, and that just does not sound very salad worthy. However, irony beckons when I catch myself grabbing spinach leaves by the handful (yes, I just wrote handful) and shoving them in my mouth like they were cookies.

One salad dressing that can get me in the right mood for a nice salad is Balsamic Vinaigrette.
You could make your own with some brown sugar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and a few other ingredients; there are a few variations to use. However, if you’re watching calories, sugar or fat, or sodium intake, this could actually be a major buzz kill to not your salad, but to your body.

I always say that if I’m going to consume sugar, fat, carbs, or sodium, it better be in the form of an actual meal not just something to decorate it with, and for those who prefer to go au natural and aren’t too worried about calories, by all means, go for it.

So what balsamic vinaigrette do I use when on the rare occasion I want to actually sit down and eat a salad?

Well, I have made my own, or my husband will make a salad dressing without sugar or mustard using spices like, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, and a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but if I’m in the mood for something that mimics the thickness of a balsamic vinaigrette, I use, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Sugar Free Balsamic

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[I do, however, limit the use of this product because of the sucralose <> fake sugar in it.] Can’t have it all, can we?

Walden Farms also has a Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing in their line of products as well.

Balsamic

Let me start out by stating, that I love Walden Farms. No calories, No sugar, No fat, it’s like a salad’s wet dream…you know, all very exciting and stimulating until you wake up. So it has sucralose in it too. That’s not quite the problem. It’s about being smart here; the right to choose which companies you want to allow to manipulate you. And I choose Maple Grove Farms in this case damn it!!!

Quick breakdown for you:

Compared to Maple Grove it has 170 mg more sodium for the same serving size!!! (total 290 mg of sodium). And, sadly, for Walden Farms to get the product that “glammed” up for the shelves, surely that must have took a lot more planning and manufacturing than Maple Grove Farms took to get their product ready for the party. Not to mention, while Maple Farms has 10 calories in their product, that seems less complicated than something that claims to have 0 in it. You see, 10 calories will most likely be burned before I even get done chewing the lettuce that it’s wrapped itself around, but that 290 mg of sodium plus the sucralose, I might as well unbutton my pants.