Sometimes I take a few moments to remind myself why I took the steps to live a healthier life all those years ago. And I figured, we all can use the reminder – so lucky you! You get to read it too!
As most of you know 8 years ago last month – Scott and I heard the scary words: You have cancer. He was 37 years old, no family history and cancer invaded his colon and our lives. You never know what can happen in your life at any given time, so you need to do whatever it is you need to do to live your best life. Do you want to be that senior citizen that we all know that has a hunched back, needs help taking a crap, is immobile? I certainly don’t. Taking steps now to strength train so that your heart and muscles are strong is important. There are so many stories of older people, who strength train and workout, that look younger and don’t suffer from many of the ailments that others their age do. One hour of your day – to do what you can to ensure a healthier aging process.
Do you have kids? What message are you sending them when you don’t take time to practice self care? In my mind, you are telling them that you aren’t as important. When you put your fitness and health at the top of your priorities, you are teaching them that you do matter. You are showing them that being healthy and finding time for exercise can happen even if you work full time and run your house. Is it hard to find the time? Yes. Sometimes it requires outside of the box thinking – asking a friend to watch your kids, carpooling to soccer practice, asking your spouse/kid to take on extra so that you can go workout. I have heard from so many women – oh you are lucky that your husband helps you. Luck has nothing to do with it. We talk about it and I share with him what I need to make it work. He and I talk about how important that time is to me -I’m happier and feel and look better. It’s rare to find a spouse or partner that wouldn’t support both of those things and step up to the plate when asked. The key is you HAVE TO COMMUNICATE what you need. Oftentimes, men don’t get it looking at it face value. You have to actually spell things out — which can get frustrating but my mantra when I start to get mad or resentful:
Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right? You choose.
And lastly, remember when you were single and started dating your partner? You had hobbies, you had interests, you looked a certain way. Are you still all of those things (hopefully improved)? What happens many times is that we get so wrapped up in being something to someone else, that we forget who we are. We become so wrapped up in being a soccer mom or <fill in the blank>, that we no longer pay attention to that person our partner fell for. I’m not saying that being a soccer mom or whatever shouldn’t be a part of your identity, but I have seen it become a person’s ENTIRE identity. What will happen when your kids become the adults they are destined to be and you are left there, with your partner? You need to nurture and tend to your own self and the relationships you are in. Too often, we let ourselves go for the sake of our kids. Make sure you are practicing self-care. The person you were when your spouse fell for you is important and valuable and needs to be remembered always.
Hopefully my reasons resonate with you as well. Life is so short — none of us know what the future holds but we can do our part to ensure that we have the best foundation to handle whatever comes. Now get out there and move your body!
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Summers are hard on working parents. Now that my kids are older, it’s hard to find camps to occupy their days and it’s even harder to figure out how to get them to the camps that are available. So many of them are only half day – and I am left wondering how am I supposed to work and get my kids to and from camp during the day? I am lucky at least right now in that I have quite a bit of flexibility with my current work situation and can handle what needs to be done but there are days when I feel less than adequate. Like today:
HB is trying out for volleyball and I forget to get her forms handled completely. I made an assumption that she could use a different form and it would be ok –and last night in a mad scramble we realized it was not going to work, so I had to rush to the Medi-Clinic at Target to get her a sports physical. Thank goodness it worked out but it was another reminder that this parenting deal is hard. Then Nate had a dr appointment that we had to rush to — and then I had to get HB to the actual try outs. I’m not sure how this would all workout if I was not an independent consultant and able to work odd hours of the day. It wears me out physically and mentally and I actually have it pretty darn good overall. I can’t imagine being a single parent trying to keep up with all of the parenting demands. It’s been a very trying week or so…
Fitness/Health Progress Update
I’m down another pound – so total loss is 13#s and even more body fat, although I’m not sure how much. I’ve been told by quite a few people that there is a noticeable difference in my arms and shoulders. They look leaner and strong! It’s been hard to keep focusing on eating right all the time, but I have been doing pretty good. Before I would say I was 90% true to eating clean. Now, I would say 75-80% true to it. It all comes down to planning and focus. I’ve been feeling stressed out and crunched for time – two saboteurs of progress. But -I will get there.
Beauty and Wellness
I don’t spend a ton of time on the blog talking about beauty products, but I do think looking your best is a huge part of living well. For the ladies, as we age – we should make sure we keep up with the latest skin care products, treatments and techniques. I’m lucky that HB, who is 14, is heavily interested in fashion and makeup because she helps me stay current. There are a ton of really great beauty products out there that do amazing things that weren’t available when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s. I’m not talking about contouring and thick costume-y make up either. I’m sure on some people those styles work, but for most of us – Just NO! Can you imagine walking into work with blue lips and a fully contoured face? I can’t and unless you work in a business that is all about that –you shouldn’t either. So, I was recently sent some Kat Von D Lock It products via a program called Influenster Vox. I had never used her products before — and they aren’t cheap but I have to tell you, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the concealer. It is lightweight, covers what it’s supposed to, and lasts. That along with the Lock it setting powder — I am sold. If you are looking for a high quality concealer – head over to your local Sephora and try it.
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It’s been way too long since I updated the blog –I know, I know. So much ‘life’ going on –that any downtime I have is not spent on the computer. I haven’t even taken a look at Pokemon Go if you can believe it. My kids have of course!
The latest on the refocus on my health and wellness – I’m down about 12.5 pounds and want to lose about 10 more but I am struggling. It’s a constant battle in my head to eat more carbs vs protein. I want, love, am obsessed with carbs. But I definitely notice that I am hungry much sooner than if I had eaten protein. It all comes down to planning and being prepared -which I have not been great at the last few weeks. Lots going on work wise and the kids are out on summer break and have camps to carpool to. Nothing major but it all adds up to being stressed out. I have also been working to de-clutter my house. My 14 year old daughter has been helping me go through the piles and piles of clothes, shoes and random junk. Her help has been awesome but I am finding it’s an exhausting process. It definitely has been weighing me down and I don’t have issues with actually getting rid of stuff. My issue is with setting aside the time and focus to do it. I wouldn’t say that the stuff has any real deep meaning to me –there just is so much of it, collected throughout the years that it’s an overwhelming feeling to make any progress. Does that make any sense?
But as I am feeling better overall — I am doing it. I even scheduled a pickup for the crap this week, so it will be completely out of my life! Freedom….
Training is going well – My work with Wayne, my trainer has been great. I can see my body changing. I am seeing real definition in my arms and back – something I have NEVER had before. 30 minutes/2x a week with his expertise and my focus and ability to work and focus, the changes are happening. I’ve been trying to get to Solidcore 2x a week and Boxing 2/3x a week. I also have been wanting to try Muay Thai Boxing as a nice progression from just heavy bag boxing work. I sent a note to a friend who trains at a place in Herndon and am going to check it out next week I think. The key to staying active and fit is to continually challenge yourself and keep learning new things. Which is why I am attached to so many fitness programs. I get bored way too easily and need the constant challenges. I will share an update about that experience afterwards, of course!
My daughter has been in a Volleyball camp the past two weeks and when I go to pick her up, I see this “Healthy” Vending machine. They share some of the profits to combat childhood obesity. Sounds Great, Right? Well, it would be if they actually sold healthy foods. I would say that most of what they are selling CONTRIBUTES to childhood obesity. I’m not saying that my kids don’t eat stuff like that, but I am not making claims that the money goes to fight obesity when the foods I am offering contribute to it. This is the problem… Goldfish, Potato Chips, Gatorade – Sugar, Processed Foods, Chemicals. This is not HEALTHY VENDING! When I mentioned it to HB, she said well the food choices are healthier than others … REALLY? This is what my daughter thinks or is that what she tells herself? Scoty said well they wont get any money to contribute if they only stocked healthy food. SMH! WTF?
I understand the challenges with keeping fresh food in machines like this — but then don’t disguise it as healthy and that by buying stuff you help combat obesity? You aren’t — you are contributing to the problem in your own community.
Last week was a good week – I’m down another 2 pounds, making it 8 pounds total so far. Five weeks/8 pounds. I’m eating a lot more protein and have not had any major cravings for sugar. And it doesn’t hurt that people are noticing my loss — even one of my boxing coaches asked me earlier last week if I was losing weight. I feel so much better too — more energy and as I mentioned before, a renewed sense of inspiration.
I’ve been back to Solidcore quite a few times the past week or so — and each time I am noticing improvements. It’s still not easy, mind you — still very, very challenging but not as brutal as the first time. I think what I like so much about it is how challenging it is — it’s all very slow movements and it’s all about the core. It’s also a very mental routine — pushing yourself when your muscles are twitching.
Personal training is going really well as well. Last week we worked on the TRX for one session and did a bunch of back and shoulder work for the other. There have been a few times I walked into training and really did not want to do it – I was dreading the workout Wayne was going to put me through – but it’s supposed to be a mental challenge as well. So walking lunges up and down the weight room holding kettle bells is supposed to make me strong –mentally and physically and it does –trust me, it does!
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I didn’t see any weight loss this past week, but I also didn’t see any weight gain – so it’s still a win. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t bother me though. I have been on point, eating well, no crap snacking and exercising as usual. You would think my body would step to it and show results. Although in fairness, I am about to hit that monthly time, so it could be the cause of the lack of results this past week. I’m going to go with that and see what next week’s weigh in produces. My clothes are looser and I have had more than one person mention that I am looking leaner -so I am going to try my best to focus on those positives. It’s not easy though. I want proof!!!
I’ve been doing a lot of exercises to open up my shoulders and chest during strength training. Not only is my posture less than stellar in general, I also tend to pull in during boxing as well. I’m becoming more excited each workout to see the changes happening to my arms. shoulders and back.
I’ve also been mixing things up too. Solidcore has opened in Ashburn, so I bought their opening rate special and will be adding that to my weekly schedule one day a week. With boxing and Body by Wayne training — it’s a pretty well rounded fitness routine that includes Core, Strength and Cardio Work. With two rest days each week –which I know I get asked about constantly. Working out is my stress releaser – it’s hard to take rest days but I schedule them just like other stuff.
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I’m down another 2 pounds this week. Which means I’m down 6 pounds in 3 weeks. Seems adding more protein, cutting out the majority of processed crap/extra snacking, and being focused – in addition to appreciating how much better I am feeling..mentally and physically has made all the difference. Funny how the old fashioned/no gimmick way works if you commit (which is the hardest part).
Slow and steady — is the name of the game; 1-2 pounds a week.
The other thing I have noticed, besides feeling better and my pants aren’t cutting off my breathing is my face looks less puffy. It’s one of those subtle things that most people don’t even notice but I do. I had been eating gluten and dairy at least once a week regularly for months, and it was causing inflammation and puffiness. I am starting to see that go away now that I am 3+ weeks into re-energizing.
So-am I doing anything mind blowing or off the charts to see progress? Nope.
First, my mind is right. I am all aboard on this — committed and focused and present.
Second, seeing progress and hearing about my progress from my support system around me. I try to surround myself with uplifting, awesome and like-minded people who give me props and understand the importance of lifting one another up- so we can all win.
Finally, I am making sure that when I go to eat – my first thought is what am I going to eat with protein. I am so used to eating more carbs – no matter the form – that I have to really make an effort to include a protein source each time I eat. I have not been eating enough protein overall. And even though it’s only six pounds, I have had a lot of comments about how much leaner and cut I am looking. I haven’t changed up my fitness routine all that much, but I am considered very active – so I definitely need more protein.
I have been using an organic veggie protein powder that I mix in my Ninja blender with almond milk and ice to get more protein. I also have been adding in a really great tasting and healthy super food/protein blend powder to give it an extra boost. The blends are made by a small company: Philosophie. I read about the founder Sophie and her products via an article a while back. Here’s the description from the website…
Each of the Philosophie Superfood + Protein Blends is vegan, raw, gluten-free, and has absolutely no filler ingredients. The detoxifying Green Dream blend, beautifying Berry Bliss blend, and energizing Cacao Magic blend contain nothing but the purest, most healing ingredients that have been deemed “superfoods” due to their exceptional nutrient density. Because these blends can be added to absolutely any food, it is easy to enrich every meal with the amazing health benefits of the world’s most potent superfoods. When the body receives optimal nourishment from these wholesome, plant-based sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, it more readily releases unneeded material and toxins, leaving you feeling renewed and vibrantly healthy.
I have tried all three blends and like them all – although the Cacao Magic is my favorite because CHOCOLATE. I also read a pretty good review/comparison of another super food blend that shares my same views about Philosophie: Smoothie Food Fight: D’Vida vs. Philosophie.
So, there you have it – I’m sure you can sense my energy and excitement as I get closer to my goal — and I gotta be honest, it feels so good to be excited about it again.
Have you heard of the Mediterranean diet? Here’s the basics…
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Enjoying meals with family and friends
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
- Getting plenty of exercise
Recent research has shown that eating this way can cause weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death: Science Daily: ‘Mediterranean’ diet linked to lower risk of heart attacks, strokes in heart patients.
“A ‘Mediterranean’ diet, high in fruit, vegetables, fish and unrefined foods, is linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease, according to a study of over 15,000 people in 39 countries around the world. The research also showed that eating greater amounts of healthy food was more important for these people than avoiding unhealthy foods — a ‘Western’ diet.”
In addition to lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke, the Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
If you look at the basics of this approach, you can call it whatever you want. It’s eating healthy: not eating a lot of processed foods and exercise! (I’m sure many of us love the drinking red wine part!) No shockers, no surprises. Most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.
When I am on point, this is very much how I eat – although I do use Kerrygold butter and don’t eat legumes often. I am also gluten and dairy free (minus the butter!) for sensitivity issues Through trial and error, I have found that Dairy causes eczema and congestion for me and gluten seems to cause me gut and fatigue issues. So, when I do partake in eating them – it’s after careful deliberation on the pros and cons of what’s being eaten.
Want to learn more? Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan That Can Save Your Life
Weigh in again this week — I’m down 1.5 more pounds and about .5% lower in body fat (2.5% lower total). So, it wasn’t a whirlwind amount, which bummed me out a bit, but it is lower. And before anyone lays into me, I realize that in the grand scheme of how much weight I have to lose, it’s actually a good amount to be down. I know this! But you know how you focus and stay on point and then get that sort of let down feeling when you see the number? Yeah – i felt that. It’s so damn easy to put weight on, but to take it off – seems double the effort.
And earlier this week, I craved some carbs big time. With the focus on more protein and no crap food — I haven’t been super hungry and for the most part, not even a little tempted to go hog wild. But the other evening, I wanted nothing more than carbs – so I had them. I opted for some crunchy rice rolls. So while not the worst thing I could have chosen (no gluten, soy, GMOs) – it was empty calories and I of course ate the entire package because stuff like that are like potato chips to other people. I can not eat just one — But the next day was a new day and I moved on…
I know that if I want to reach goals I set for myself, it’s all about focus, patience and acknowledging any and all steps that get me there and that set me back.
12 day stats:
- 4.5lbs lost
- 2.5% loss in body fat
- More energy
- Better Sleep
- Skin looks better
Working out with a personal trainer has been challenging and fun. I am learning to appreciate as well as just get used to having individual attention throughout 30 minutes of training. There is no where to hide or skirt around the reps or exercises which has me pushing myself farther than usual. For some of the work I am doing, Wayne has me lifting lighter weight for higher reps to increase muscle tone. Previously, I was used to going heavy for strength training. I am now learning to incorporate both concepts into my training to improve my overall fitness.
Here’s a good article about low vs high rep strength training and which approach is better (or are they?): High Reps vs. Low Reps: Which is Better?
And here’s info on some recent research about low weight, high rep training: LOW-WEIGHT, HIGH-REP EXERCISE INCREASES BONE DENSITY
Currently, I am scheduled for 2 weekly training sessions with Wayne and then I hit up boxing 3x a week, including one 12 round (1hr 15min) class. As I mentioned before, working out has not been an issue for me for years now. I can’t imagine not being active. My challenge has always been eating — and the reality is, it will be always be a challenge whether I like it or not.
This is a guest post by By Matt Riemann, ph360 founder and entrepreneur, who is introducing what I think will be a cool, virtual health assistant, called Shae™. The product will be available soon. Find out more here. Although I don’t accept many of the guest post requests I receive, the ones I do post are those that I personally find interesting and are relevant to my health and wellness philosophy. Please note: I have not personally tried the ph360 product, but I do have a real interest in personalized health care and wellness and am excited to learn about the up and coming technology that we will use to live better, healthier lives. The product ph360 is currently working on is part of an exciting trend of developing cool technology to help us live better and be smarter about health and wellness in our own lives…
You Can Stop Wasting Time On Trial and Error For Your Health, Your Diet and Your Fitness. The Answer To The Question – How Do I Get It All? – Is Here.
Imagine Gina and Marie have just signed up for ph360 – the personalized health program based on Epigenetics. These two have known each other since their college years and have always done everything together. Now they plan to go on a diet together to lose the 10 pounds they each feel they want to lose to get their bodies beach ready. They’ve taken twenty minutes to do the online questionnaire that will determine the food, fitness and lifestyle recommendations that will help them achieve their goals. They look at their diet plan and they are surprised to see so many differences! How can that be?
Well here’s how it works.
Although the two women may look the same to many untrained eyes, being roughly the same height and weight, without signs of obesity or large waist-to-height ratio, ph360 offers customized food, fitness and lifestyle recommendations to each based on their specific biotrend. This is part of what was determined by the online questionnaire they completed. Gina is a Crusader, according to ph360’s general biotrend, whereas Maria is a Diplomat. Though we can’t reveal exactly how we assess specific biotrends, they’re based on phenotypes which is just a small piece of the puzzle and that there are many more layers to their complex algorithm.
For Gina, being a Crusader means she has mostly ectomorphic and mesomorphic tendencies. She has a body that can remain relatively lean without much effort, and can build good muscle tone with resistance exercises. Her bone structure is also related to her heightened sensitivity due to a more active nervous system. Her physical structure may also be an indicator of impaired calcium signaling, as well as a genetic predisposition to be naturally lean and remain so because she has a more favourable metabolic profile.
Maria’s higher level of endomorphy may increase her risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and breast cancer, but both are rather tall women, so their risk of cardiovascular disease isn’t too high for either of them. It would therefore be more prudent to focus on metabolic issues for Maria. Her physical structure indicates an active GRB14 gene on chromosome 2q24.3, which is a growth factor receptor that binds directly to the insulin receptor and increases her risk of type 2 diabetes.
So what does that mean for their diet?
Well for Gina, we’d recommend increased carbohydrates to ensure proper glycogen storage by the liver and muscle and give her plenty of legumes that will enhance mineral absorption, especially calcium for her bones. However, a low carb, high protein and fat diet we’d recommend for Maria would be ideal for her to prevent the onset of diabetes or insulin levels. The USDA Food Guide may actually be over prescribing pasta, breads and cereals for Maria, who should follow a Mediterranean style diet, with a low-carb twist. The low carb diet we’d recommend for Maria wouldn’t suit Gina, who could end up having lower blood sugar, concentration and fatigue after exertion than her more suitable higher carbohydrate diet would offer. Gina would also benefit from healthy fatty acids to protect her active yet sensitive nervous system.
The take home message here is to not overgeneralize what’s right and what’s wrong for healthy dieting.
Each person’s physical constitution, bodily needs and health conditions needs to be taken into consideration for an appropriate diet to keep the body healthy. Both Maria and Gina will reach their weight loss goals for their body, but they will need to do so differently.
In addition to general recommendations for the amount of proteins, vegetables, fats, etc. to consume in a given day, specific foods with their particular nutritional makeup may be recommended (ie: exactly what kinds of vegetables to eat and how often).
To learn more about exactly what kinds of foods are good for your body, which to avoid, and the amounts of each that would best help you reach your health, fitness and weight loss goals, please visit us at www.ph360.me. Right now, ph360 is introducing its next generation technology. Shae™, our virtual health assistant, is in development and you can be a part of it through our Kickstarter campaign.
Please note: As I mentioned above, I have not personally tried the ph360 product nor am I a part of their kickstarter campaign. The links above to their campaign do contain an affiliate link and I have been offered free membership once Shae is available. I have not been asked to personally give my approval for this product nor have I been asked to provide any statements in exchange for their offer. My opinions, as always, are my own.
This pic is me after my 30 min session with Wayne. I was crushed. Fair to say it was a very long day. I did a 6A intense boxing workout, then worked my day job, and then went in for my PT session (add in parenting duties too!) Wayne didn’t do anything I wasn’t comfortable or unfamiliar with — the focus was strength training – dumb bell arm work, back squats, push ups and a few other things, including a long session of db walking lunges. When I say long — I mean it felt like it was miles. After the session, my muscles twitched for quite some time, i drank a ton of water and I felt the soreness start within minutes. Now that’s a good session.. Wayne said that he could tell I was a ‘worker‘. Truth.
As for my clean eating — I am now on Day Three. The first two days weren’t that big of a deal, but today I woke up with a headache and just feel sluggish and cranky. I am warning everyone that interacts with me that cranky Steph has arrived. Fair warning to them all. I’m not starving, but I am craving sugar and carbs. To combat them, I am drinking water and/or herbal tea whenever I feel the cravings creep up. I am peeing a lot more thanks to that strategy…
Wednesday evening I got out the good ole crockpot and made some Cilantro Lime Chicken, which I figured would last me a few days but my family liked it too –so it only covered me for dinner that evening and lunch the next (because I packaged some up right after it was ready to eat!). I am going to make some more – it was that good!
As I sit here, I can feel the soreness every time I move. It’s not immobilizing or anything but it’s a sign that I worked hard. And although I am bit achey and cranky from this clean eating detox period, I can feel the excitement start to flood back with this challenge – which is a good thing.
My next session is Sunday, so stay tuned…
After sharing my last post, I read this article: I’m a Fit Chubby Girl and I’m Sick of People Telling Me I’m Unhealthy which I thought was relevant and timely. While I see the point she is making, I am not necessarily of the same mindset when it comes to my own health. For me, I don’t want to be the chubby fit girl because I know mine is caused by the nutritional choices I have been making. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a fanatical nut about it all either. It boils down to I am not happy where I currently am and I don’t feel my best. If the author feels she is at her best –more power to her. Healthy living is what matters in the end – not the number on a scale. Keep exercising and moving your body on the regular.