Health/Nutrition

Why Am I Not As Happy As I Think I Should Be?

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Believe-when-you-are-most-unhappy-that-there-is-something-for-you-to-do-in-the-world..-Helen-KellerBelieve, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world… Helen Keller

I’ve been doing some more soul searching the past week –

The past few days have been pretty stressful. Scott’s mom is in the hospital. My dad and step mother got into a car accident this past weekend. Their car is totaled, they are banged up but going to be OK. The thing is, experiencing your parents’ getting older is tough especially when they didn’t take particularly great care of their health in general. It’s another reminder that lifestyle definitely catches up with you as you age.  And when you are experiencing it from a distance – it’s hard to really see how bad a situation is. You have to rely on your parents to tell you what’s going on. Reality is different depending on the filters we put on.

In other stressful news, Scott and I are both not feeling well with different maladies. Nothing too serious but enough that we both went to the doctors last week and are on meds. And to top it all off – Scott’s car broke down on Friday evening and a bunch of money $$$ later, the car should be fixed by tomorrow.

All of this has me thinking about what I really want out of life and why am I not feeling as happy as I think I should be?

Career wise: Do I want to continue heading into an office and working for someone else? The culture and company I am looking for based on my experience with my last position is a lot more clear than it has ever been. The issue is, I’m not sure my current situation is meeting the requirements as I had hoped it would.  In the past 90 days of me starting, there have been a ton of changes and restructuring. Things I didn’t know about when I accepted the position. The changes aren’t really in line with my background, interests or what I was looking for. It’s disappointing to say the least. I was hoping to be able to grow, learn, be challenged and thrive in this environment. At this point, it’s not really looking like many of those opportunities exist. Never say never, of course, but having learned my lesson at my previous job, I realize that if it doesn’t feel right, I need to explore options.

I am stressed out and feeling a bit lost. Life sure doesn’t stop for you to catch your breath…

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May is Mental Health Month

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MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Did you know that about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffer from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia?

I’m sharing the stories in the links below because they got me thinking about how easy it is to look at someone’s life and assume everything is perfect. With social media, people’s lives look idyllic . All smiles and photo filters. If you took it all at face value, you would think that everyone has it good and living the life. But you know what? The reality is that we all have struggles and our stories. You never do know what is going on behind the filtered pictures on Instagram or the stories shared on Facebook.

Life today is busy. People are more stressed out and pushed and pulled in a bunch of different directions. Our bodies aren’t designed to handle this type of constant stress. Add in that some people have the type of personality that can’t handle things being undone. They can’t live with things being less than perfect. Many people who suffer from depression or anxiety are these type A personalities.

Trust your instinct

The point of this post is to remind people out there that not everything is what it seems. No one’s life is perfect.  If you feel like something is not right with a family member, friend or acquaintance – ASK. And if they say Nothing – ASK Again and again and again.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Last Dress Ever: Tina Fey Nails It

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Who doesn’t love Tina Fey  – not only being super funny, but also subtlety showing the lengths women go to conform…

Tina Fey strips down to her Spanx as a farewell to David Letterman

21 Inspirational Quotes From Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Getting Over A Workout Slump

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John WoodenAs a fitness enthusiast, I crave challenges and variety to stay inspired. But as committed as I am to living fit and healthy, there are times when I feel my momentum and enthusiasm start to wane. It happens to the best of us from time to time. These “exercise humps” are usually a sign that it’s time examine what’s going on in your life, reconnect with what motivates you to live this way, and make changes to your current fitness routine to push you through.

Here are a few ways I get re-inspired to get over an exercising hump:

Remind myself why it’s important.

It’s not easy to live fit and healthy. It’s a choice you have to make each and every day. When I find myself looking for excuses to skip a workout, I go over my personal reasons for living this way.  My reasons are varied but include looking and feeling great and preventing immobility as I age.

Add spice to my current workout routine.

Most of my workouts are created by my trainers or instructors, but there are ways I can add in my own touch. It’s what I call making them ‘spicy’.  For example, during a boxing session, I may add in an extra move to one of the runs, or focus on speed vs intensity during a round.

Try something new.

Some exercise humps happen because you are bored.  However, if you’re open to trying new things and aren’t afraid to be a beginner at something new, there are an infinite number of fitness methods to cure boredom. Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Hiking, CrossFit, Boxing, Cycling, Trampoline…the list goes on and on.  Pick one or more to try on the regular to keep you engaged and energized.

Ask for help.

Getting frustrated with the lack of results? There are a lot of experienced and friendly experts out there, online and in person, that can help. Some offer free articles and advice online, while others may make themselves available in person.  For me, the best advice and inspiration usually comes from my own network.  However, no one else knows when slumps start to develop, so you have to be proactive and make seeking out advice, advice and inspiration a habit.

Everyone hits a wall during their fitness journey. Even the most dedicated athlete has to shake things up once in a while. So, the next time you find yourself hitting a fitness slump in your own routine, recognize it as a sign that something needs to change and change it.

Which Hard Would You Rather Have: Health or Illness?

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Stephanie HoaglundThere does not seem to be enough hours in the day lately to get it all done. My new job has me so busy and now that spring has sprung – there is so much to get done. I’m not alone in that feeling I am sure – we are all running at a thousand miles a minute now a days it’s hard to quiet your mind and slow down sometimes. I think that’s one of the reasons I workout – to have some time to really focus on how I feel physically. A few friends of mine recently made some comments about how I am always working out — well, first that’s not true. I work out regularly for about an hour five times a week. That leaves a whole lot of other hours during the week when I am not working out. However, after the years of doing this – it’s almost like an addiction. I crave a good workout for mental and physical reasons. I feel better when I move my body. Who doesn’t? Well according to a new study and the Wall Street Journal, a ton of people out there don’t exercise regularly 1 in 4 Americans to be exact…

“We are deep in a national crisis. We’re not sweating enough. We’re running away from sports. We’re fleeing from fitness.
The other day, the Journal’s Sara Germano reported on a mind-numbing survey from the Physical Activity Council which found…well, it basically found that 1 in 4 Americans didn’t exercise at all in the past year.

One in four. For a year. Yikes.”

It is a crisis – just look around suburban America. How many people around you are living less than healthy lives? We are all busy. We are all tired. We are all pushed and pulled in so many directions – but your health should be non-negotiable and top of the list of importance. Not only for you, but for the example you are setting for your children. They learn from what you say and do. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, just MOVE YOUR BODY! Go for a walk, stretch, do sprints – whatever. Do it and continue – it’s a long term journey with peaks and valleys.

It’s not easy I know- but have you seen people living with chronic illness or immobility? That’s not easy either. Which hard would you rather have in your life?

Be Inspired

What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.

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Skulpt Aim: Changing How To Track Fitness

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Skulpt AIMAs I mentioned recently, I was sent a new device to try out called Skulpt Aim to test.

The Skulpt Aim uses a technology called electrical impedance myography or EIM. ‘Myography’ literally means “The description of muscles.” EIM measures two separate features of the tissue: its resistive properties and its capacitive properties

Skulpt Aim measures body fat percentage and Muscle Quality (MQ). One of the first questions I have been asked is what is Muscle Quality (MQ)?

According to their website:

MQ, or Muscle Quality, is a rating of your muscles’ fitness that was designed to be intuitive. Aim uses EIM technology to send a small current directly through your muscles. It uses 12 sensors and multiple frequencies to get very accurate readings. Since current flows differently in muscles based on their composition and muscle fiber size, Aim is able to evaluate the quality of each muscle.

Similar to the IQ scale, the average person has an MQ of 100. Higher MQ scores correlate with stronger, leaner, more defined and firm muscles.”

So in layman’s terms, the higher over 100 your score is, the stronger, leaner and more efficient your muscles are.  Higher numbers mean better fitness.

 

Skulpt Aim

Skulpt AIM When it arrived, I took it out of the box and found it pretty easy to set up. I put the device on the charger for a while before testing as recommended. To see how easy it was to use, I decided to have my boxing instructor Connor try it out. Without telling him much about it overall, I showed him the Skulpt website and let him figure it out.  It took him only a few minutes — and he began using it.

To get started, he watched some of the videos to learn how to properly measure using the device.  It’s different for males vs females.

How to get your Total Body MQ & Fat percentage

To measure your body’s MQ score and fat %, you’ll need to measure four areas: biceps, triceps, abs, and quads. There are videos available to help you learn where to properly place the device to get accurate readings.

Muscle Quality on Skulpt AIM

It took only a few minutes to measure and what’s cool is there is a Skulpt app available to help you track your stats so you can see progress as you continue to work towards reaching  your strength and fitness goals.

My instructor/tester, Connor, thought it was useful and cool. It gave him an idea of where he was at fitness wise – which for the most part, was right where he should be. There were a few areas that were not quite where he felt they needed to be and in his words “I have some work to do.”   

Connor will retest in a few weeks to track his progress as he puts in the necessary work…

Here are some recent articles about this revolutionary device:

My initial thoughts: For people who thrive when they have actual data at their fingertips while working towards their fitness goals, this device helps you see if your workouts really are making your body stronger, even if the scale isn’t budging!  And it’s easy to use and you can track it  — this is the kind of info that we never really had at our fingertips. Now you just need this device and a few minutes –and you get accurate readings to help you adjust your fitness programming or goals as necessary.

This is really the future of fitness – being able to track and evaluate how your fitness program is working at the touch of an app whenever you want to evaluate your progress. I love it.

 

Thanks to Skulpt Aim for sending me their device.  Even though I received it for Free, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own. 

 

 

GWU Weight Management and Human Performance Lab

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GWU Exercise Lab I mentioned that last week I visited the GWU Weight Management and Human Performance Lab to check out the lab and get some tests done so I can really figure out what the key is that will help get me where I want to be.

Todd Miller who runs the lab and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise Science and was kind enough to offer me some testing so I can share my experiences with anyone interested in experiencing the lab.

Todd ran me through a series of tests and then we sat down, reviewed the results and discussed ways to get me where I want to be.

GWU Exercise Lab - DEXAFirst, he measured my height and weighed me and then had me stand on a the Body Composition – BIA machine that measured my weight, body fat etc using electromagnetic pressure contact, not unlike the scales and other machines readily available. Then we used the Dexa machine…

Body Composition – Dexa (or DXA) -The gold standard for body composition assessment. The DXA scan uses a low-dose x-ray (approximately 1/10th the radiation of a traditional chest x-ray) and provides information about bone mineral density, fat, and fat-free mass in to specific regions of the body with an accuracy of ±2%.

GWU Exercise Lab - RMRAfter that test was complete, which took maybe five or so minutes, it was time to test my Resting Metabolic Rate – The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy (calories) a body burns while at rest, which accounts for approximately 70% of the body’s daily energy expenditure. This is the amount of energy needed to perform vital body functions such as respiration and circulation.

results - GWU Weight Management LabAfter the testing was done, Todd and I talked through the results.  I gained some weight in the last year and half. It was as much as I had thought – so while that’s not great news per se, it wasn’t shocking and it confirmed my own sense of where I am. The good news… all the fitness I do – does make a difference whether I am at an optimal weight or body fat %.  I am fit — and the weight i gained, once I lose it – I should be in the ‘good’ categories all around.

  • Bone density is good.
  • My RMR is high. That means I burn a lot of calories just being.
  • I have a good amount of lean muscle mass.

I’m not going to discuss my actual numbers here – they are irrelevant to anyone but me. What I will share is that we talked about how much protein I need based on my lean muscle mass and what would be my optimal amount of calories to get me back to where I will feel most comfortable. The thing is my goal isn’t about being super lean. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin without being crazy about every little thing I eat or drink. I did that years ago – and it consumed my life. My goal is to be healthy and fit – not an Olympian or champion competitor. I am living this way so I am able to move, have fun, try new things and age without the fear of being immobile. That is what I discussed with Todd – he made some suggestions on what would be a reasonable caloric and protein intake per day to get me there.  As for exercise, I clearly don’t need help in that area. I am fit!

The one thing that caught me off guard is how much protein Todd suggested I eat per day: 146g  He based it on how much lean body mass I have. I am not sure how one goes about eating that much protein in a day but i have been trying without upping my overall suggested caloric intake. It’s been quite a challenge – the closest I have gotten is 96g.

I have also begun to track my fitness and food intake using fatsecret.com. Todd sent me an invite and he can monitor what I am eating from time to time to give me advice. Check it out –so far I am liking it.

One of things that has always confused me is why is it so hard? Todd explained that most of it is simple math – which is not hard but it is hard to put into place. Knowing that there is science and data behind what we discussed helped me leave the lab with a sense of an actual plan to get me back to where I will feel comfortable. Before that, i have just guessed at where I am and how much I need to eat. With Dr Miller’s suggestions, I feel confident about being able to do it.

Protein Intake – How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?

I will keep you posted on my overall progress – the good and bad of it as we head into Spring and Summer.

 

When is it good enough?

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There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything I want done lately. I had almost a year ‘off’ from the corporate life, which meant that I could take care of things on the regular. Now that I am back working full time, in an office, it has been challenging to adjust what needs to get done. And I have been finding it hard to spark up the energy to do some of the ‘other’ things – like write. But I am not a quitter, and I know that the spark with reignite if I keep at it.

As I am trying to juggle all of the things in my life, I keep asking myself When is it good enough?   

When Scotty got sick, I gave up the idea of an organized, super clean house. It just wasn’t possible and that has stuck years later. There is always a basket of laundry needing to get done and one needing to be folded in my house. There will always be stuff on my kitchen counters. I realized that my house has four different people living in it – and I can’t keep up. It just isn’t that important in the grand scheme of my life.  And my house is clean enough…

The other day I was looking at some old pics, before I started working out. I noticed how different how much stronger and better I look now comparatively. But yet, I find myself thinking I’m not good enough. My fitness level is not where it should be, my body doesn’t look like I think it should. In all fairness, I own that I have slacked off being 80% Paleo. I am more 60% now –and I can see the differences and it’s been gnawing at me. I am aware that I am my own harshest critic. I am also not the kind of person to sit back and wallow. I need to be challenged and seek out opportunities to learn, so I will never be able to just settle. But – will there ever come a time when I will be able to acknowledge how far I have come?

Which makes seeing untouched pics of ‘famous’ people re-affirming…

Boxing Buddies

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Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.Dalai Lama

Workout

  • Tues: Boxing: 1 Hour
  • Weds: CrossFit: 1 Hour

 

Valentine’s Day: Love Seeks Real Moments

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This weekend is Valentine’s Day if you didn’t already know.  My friend shared this really meaningful post this morning: The One True Thing About the Perfect Valentine’s Date that I want everyone to read.  “Love doesn’t seek a perfect moment; it seeks a real moment.”

Valentines DayThere is no such thing as a fairy tale marriage. No relationship is perfect even if it looks that way on the outside and especially via social media. Relationships between two people – whether lovers, friends, family, co-workers- is work. We all come from different places in our lives, have had different experiences, have different filters to process what is going on. All of those factors create different perspectives. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But, for me – once I realized fairy tale relationships don’t exist, my world became calmer.  I stopped having these insurmountable expectations of how things are supposed to be… and let them just be.

Which explains why I am perfectly OK with my husband heading off on a guy’s trip over this Valentine’s Day weekend. I believe that every day is an opportunity to show love for someone. It’s the little things that count when it comes right down to it.  I don’t need one day a year as proof that someone loves me.  Yes, acknowledgment of the day is cool but as a grown up, if I need flowers or a present – i go and buy them. Don’t get me wrong – it’s nice when the hubby surprises me with something but it’s more the fact that he was thinking of me or something reminded him of me and that he made the effort. Those are the moments that mean something to me – more than a designated marketing day to show love.  For example, when I get up super early to workout and I head downstairs to find that he pre-made coffee and it’s waiting for me – that matters.

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EMOM
20 Double Unders
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Complicated Women Are Everywhere

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design yourself - live fit and soreOne more thought to share from the Golden Globes – Maggie Gyllenhaal talked about complicated women and how we are all complicated when it comes down to it. I love that way of putting it – complicated does not have to be negative. I am proud to be complicated – to me it means being interesting, smart, engaging, emotional, passionate, funny, compassionate, and strong. And I would rather be that any day of the week than easy. And Hats off to men who love complicated women!

“When I look around the room at the women who are in here and I think about the performances that I’ve watched this year, what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not,” she said in her acceptance speech. “Sometimes sexy, sometimes not. Sometimes honorable, sometimes not. And what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film.”

Today was my last day at XO. While my stay there was short, six months, I learned a lot and met some smart, sharp people. With that said -the role I had wasn’t a good fit for me. It was fine — but not challenging or engaging for me and I just don’t want to accept mediocre anymore. It’s time for me to jump into something new, challenging and fun. I have a few days off before I start on Monday. Here’s to new adventures – fear ain’t got nothing on me.

Yearly Mantra

My sisters shared with me that each year they decide upon a mantra to carry them throughout the year. To motivate, guide and inspire them. A mantra differs from a resolution in that it’s word or short phrase that is repeated mentally, often used to aid in meditation. It can help set your intentions and re-focus so that you develop the habits and become the You you envision. Maybe you want to uncuff yourself from fear or be kinder. Whatever it is – choose it and refer to it often to help reset your thoughts.

mantra live fit and sore

Choosing a Mantra for Your Most Memorable Year

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