I’ve been putting off reading Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement address to the 2016 UC Berkeley grads – knowing it would bring out the feels. I read it this morning to help fire up some inspiration – sure enough, it hit me just like I expected…
The entire speech is poignant, funny and meaningful, but here’s what resonated with me the most…
“when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void—or in the face of any challenge—you can choose joy and meaning.”
‘Finding gratitude and appreciation is key to resilience. People who take the time to list things they are grateful for are happier and healthier. It turns out that counting your blessings can actually increase your blessings. My New Year’s resolution this year is to write down three moments of joy before I go to bed each night. This simple practice has changed my life. Because no matter what happens each day, I go to sleep thinking of something cheerful. Try it. Start tonight…”
‘Build resilient communities. We find our humanity—our will to live and our ability to love—in our connections to one another. Be there for your family and friends. And I mean in person. Not just in a message with a heart emoji.’
Scotty’s cancer battle profoundly changed me. And, while I do at times find myself getting dragged under by the minutiae of life, I try my hardest to focus on being thankful and choosing joy. It’s about perspective – my life could be a lot worse as I found out. I choose to be thankful and look for the meaning and joy in every day. It sounds schmultzy, but it’s true. Life is way too short to hold onto anger, be resentful, let fear control you or hang out with toxic people.
Thank you goes out to Ms. Sandberg for sharing her very personal, intimate experience with the world. By sharing it, she is helping others find meaning in their challenges. I’m glad I finally read it – it was definitely worth it.
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.
I just completed a full week of the Body by Wayne challenge and guess what? I lost 3#s and 2% body fat in 6 days.
What am I doing, you ask? Here are the high level things that have been on point this week for me…
Focused strength training
Wayne has been guiding me each PT session on what strength training to focus on — and then supports, instructs me as I take on whatever challenge he has in store for me. I’m still boxing 3-4x a week as well.
Tracking my food intake
I’m back to square one and need to track my food so I can get real about what I am eating. I started using Fatsecret.com, which like many other programs out there, has a large database of food/nutrition info and counts my calories and calorie breakdown. It has been helping me be more mindful of what I am actually eating – which is key.
Added more protein
Most women don’t eat enough protein – it should be 30% of your total caloric intake for the day. It’s daunting most days, but I am aiming for around 140g of protein each day. To get that much, I am drinking a protein shake as one of my snacks using almond milk. The shake powder has around 20g of protein, and then I’ve been adding Cacao Magic, which is a superfood and protein blend with 10x the antioxidants of green tea, more magnesium than 3 cups of broccoli, and more calcium than a glass of milk. It adds another 10g of protein to my shake and tastes pretty good.
I needed some attention plain and simple. It’s been helpful to have someone else on my team, holding me accountable for the commitment I’ve made and getting excited when I did lose the weight this week. I am usually everyone else’s cheerleader –which is a role I love – but it’s nice to have someone (whether I am paying them or not) to be as invested in my progress as I am.
The good/bad news is there is no one special, outside of the ordinary thing I’ve done this past week to make progress – I’ve been focused, present and excited to take on the challenge of getting back on track. Outside of nutrition, it’s a mental game! And just like with any skill, you have to continually use it to make progress.
This was waiting for me on my Facebook wall when I got into the office this morning by Scotty –
“Remember our 18 year anniversary? We had to cancel our dinner reservations because we forgot you had to take our daughter to that annoying teen show/concert thing. Do you recall how both of our kids were sick, coughing up lungs and leaving tissues all over the house for the dog to get? How about battling with the kids over the dishes even though it would be easier for us to just do them, but we don’t because we are teaching the kids responsibility? How we ran errands separately so we can divide an conquer? Remember how I sang “Girl you don’t need makeup” to you, and you stopped me saying that the song is not actually a nice thing, and then you sang Kanya “18 years 18 years..” and I stopped you reminding you how that one isn’t appropriate either? Happy Anniversary – I can’t imagine taking on the world with anyone else and still have as much fun as we do. I love you and can’t wait to see you after work… after I run errands to get the kid’s meds and whatever else you remind me that I forgot to do.”
True to my personality, I added…
“remember how I said I wouldn’t be mad at you at all today — and then I got mad at you. And how i forced you to take a selfie?”
I don’t have any special magical advice to share about marriage. It’s a lot of work, there are peaks and valleys. We do genuinely like each other as well as love each other. We laugh a lot. We treat each other with respect, even when we are angry (which does happen). We like hanging out together. Above all else though, we are committed to one another. It’s us – in it together.
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.
This is an easy recipe! Feel free add/subtract spices as you prefer…
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- A handful or more of chopped cilantro
- 1 med onions (sliced or diced)
- Juice of 2 limes
- Salt/Pepper to taste
Dump it all into your crockpot and coat the chicken. Set it on low for 5-6 hours. My crockpot then goes into warm mode. It’s very tender when it’s done and easy to shred. I served it as is with a side of broccoli. The following day I mixed up the broccoli with it and put a bit of natural, organic salsa in it. So two easy, delicious clean eating meals which could have lasted me even longer if it weren’t for my family enjoying it!