One Day at a Time

When I chose the name Actively Living Awesome for my business, the phrase “One day at a time” went with it. Somehow it has always just fit.

Fitness and wellness are things that I am passionate about, they are an integral part of my personal value system. But this has never been just about me.
ALA was created to share my experiences, my mistakes, what I’ve found works and what I’ve found to be bullshit with others looking to live their most awesome life.

In order to get there we have to approach it One Day at a Time.

With everything going on in the world right now, and getting through this pandemic everyone has found the life that they live turned upside down. Myself included.

I’ll be the first to say that I hate this new normal. I hate that I can’t see my clients in-person. I hate that we are all stuck at home. I hate that other people not using their brains leads to empty grocery stores. I hate that people are losing their jobs and many people are scrambling to figure out how to make ends meet. I hate that there is going to be some massive long-term fallout from this whole experience.

But I hate living in that mindset more then I hate the time we find ourselves in. I have a choice, and for me that choice is One Day at a Time.

Some days will be great days for everyone in my house. Others are going to suck the life right out of me and I’m going to be glad when they are over. But I’ll continue to approach them One Day at a Time.

This won’t be the most Awesome chapter in my life, that I am confident in saying. But it will be a time of immense growth and patience. It will force me to keep showing up, for myself and for those that I am privileged to work with. It will force me to travel inward (a scary place for many of us) and question what I believe and how I want to come out of all of this.

Already these past 2 weeks have shown me how much I can live without and how much time and money I spend on things that are nice but definitely not necessary.

It has reminded me that a shower can absolutely change the outlook on your day, and that too much time with phone in hand or eyes on a screen makes you feel lazy and slothy while craving the connection and instant gratification at the same time.

It has made me appreciate walks around the block by myself and laying on the patio in the sunshine more then I ever thought possible.

It has reiterated that books are usually better then movies/ screen adaptations, and when you have the time you might as well enjoy the longer, more detailed version.

It has forced me to be patient when I want to scream, to laugh when I might otherwise cry, and to give more hugs to my kids then I would have ever guessed I had in me.

This time we’re in, this adventure we are on will lend itself as a lesson and one day we will look back and say “Remember that time….” But until then, I’m going to continue my quest to Awesome, even in this less then optimal setting One Day at a Time.

Are you in?

~S

These are my thoughts, not yours (or maybe some of them are yours too).

This past week has been nothing short of overwhelming, and while I am optimistic that it will in fact be a short-lived experience that doesn’t mean it isn’t a whole hell of a lot to take in.

If you have followed me for any length of time (or if you know me personally) then you know that it takes quite a bit to get a rise out of me. I do rant, but I honestly don’t care about much of anything enough to really allow outside factors have any control.

I love engaging with people and getting to know their stories and I love sharing my own with people that allow me to do so. On the flip side I need quiet and space that is my own to recharge and reflect. Especially after I have interacted with others all day long.

Social media is a tool for me to engage and share my passion for fitness, wellness, and working with moms trying to do those things and more while raising kids. It has also become a place that steals my energy and makes me want to disengage completely. It makes me anxious, and feel like a hamster running tirelessly in a wheel. It makes my skin crawl, and I don’t like it.

Maybe it’s just me (I don’t think it is) but completely shutting off social isn’t the answer either. Not when I am in a growth stage of my business. What it does mean is that I need to be REAL intentional about the content I consume and how much time I spend on each social platform.

And I’m going to go out on a limb and say maybe that isn’t a bad idea for anyone else either.

Many of us are now home with our kids for 2-3 weeks. Instead of burying our noses in our phones (which I am guilty of too) why not limit the screen time? Let’s be real, how many of us REALLY need the connection to our phones we’ve become so dependent on? Even having an online business, I don’t need to spend the amount of time that I do on my phone. It makes me feel like shit, and it’s setting an example of valuing a stupid box more then I value the actual connection with another person.

So, over the next couple weeks here is a list of things I’m going to do while waiting out the social distancing protocol.

  1. Limit my phone screen time to 2 hours a day. Yes this sounds like quite a bit, and honestly I’d like to cut that in half. I need to figure out how much time it will take me to post and record and all the batching required for my social content. Once that is done, I’m out.
  2. Spend at least 30 minutes outside. Pending no epic snowstorms or super crazy wind, I have no excuse not to be able to do this. Sunshine and vitamin D are good for us, so is fresh air. Taking a walk always grounds and resets me, and I’ll have ample opportunity in the coming weeks.
  3. Read for at least an hour a day. I’m currently working on The Beautiful for pleasure reading, and Money, A Love Story for personal development. Both are really enjoyable so this one shouldn’t be too hard to implement.
  4. Lots of at home meals. We live this way more often then we don’t, and as long as some of the chaos in the grocery stores settles down this won’t be hard. Family dinners are something that I look forward to, and since we won’t be running all over for practices, and my in-person training schedule is thinned for the coming weeks I’m looking forward to more meals with my three favorite humans.
  5. Time dedicated to things I never seem to have time to do. This one could be a stretch but I’m going to go with now not having an excuse to get certain avoided tasks done because I can’t leave and go do other things. I’ll see how it goes, but might as well make the most of the time I have.
  6. Breathing Breaks. I’ll be exercising, but I’ll also be taking time to breathe. I do it often, but I don’t do it enough. More intentional breathing, less consumption of garbage that clogs brainwaves. I’m thinking maybe this quarantine isn’t such a bad thing after all.

I think this whole thing is going to blow over by the beginning of April, and hopefully life will begin to have a semblance of normalcy back. If not, we’ll do what we need to do and in the meantime I can be optimistic.

Until next time Awesome Humans!
~S

Women and Weights- Part 1.

Once upon a time women were told that they shouldn’t lift weights because it would make them look like men and thus be undesirable. They wouldn’t want to be bulky, and they could get hurt. More “feminine” exercise was encouraged and anything that looked like “strength” training was il-advised.

Aren’t you glad we don’t live in that world anymore?? Oh wait…

It’s not as bad as it used to be, and with the rise in popularity of things like StrongFirst, CrossFit, The Titan Games, Girls Gone Strong, B!RTHF!T, and social media, strength training for women is getting some great press.

There are still those out there that preach that women shouldn’t lift more then 2lbs (which is laughable if you carry a purse or have children) but somehow that rhetoric still sells.

There are many reasons why women should incorporate strength training into their health and wellness routine, and this is what I want to chat about today. General aesthetics won’t be mentioned, so while that may be a motivating factor to get started I promise that by the end of this you’ll have more information at your disposal.

Before I dive in I want to be clear on a couple things-
The information presented is done so from time spent reading research/ journals and data collected by humans much smarter then I, as well as my own journey in the world of strength training both personally and professionally.
My goal in how this is written is for those that don’t want to read super complex data, but want the information in an easy to understand manner. I am happy to share any and all of my sources if you are interested in reading more. But for the sake of the scroll-averse I’m going to make this as easy to digest as possible.

4 Compelling Reasons You Should Be Strength Training:

More muscle= More efficient body at rest.

The more muscle mass you have, the more efficient your body is at rest. A pound of fat burns 1-2 calories per hour while a pound of muscle burns up to 6 calories per hour. (1) I’m not a mathematician, but I like those odds.
The quality of calories consumed cannot be dismissed, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. But for those that say they do cardio so they can eat… strength training is a better long-term investment.

Women begin to see a decrease in muscle mass at age 40.

For women, we begin to lose lean muscle mass at 40. To put that into perspective, that means you will lose 50% of your lean muscle mass by the time you turn 80. The magic number “40” doesn’t mean you can’t start strength training at any time, it simply means the earlier you start the more muscle mass you will start with when inevitable aging begins.

Weight training improves bone health.

This one requires me to get a little more science-y, but bear with me. Strength training stimulates osteoblast activity which are the cells that promote bone growth (3).
It is estimated that 80% of the 10 million people that live with osteoperosis are women, and that 50% of women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoperosis.
If that isn’t terrifying, a woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. (4)
YIKES!!!
Bottom Line, strength training makes your bones stronger so you don’t break them as easily especially as you age.

Being strong makes life easier.

Aside from being the Boss woman that can carry 25 grocery bags in one trip while also holding a baby carrier, when we are strong we simply FEEL more capable. It pisses me off when I can’t get the damn pickle jar open and I have to ask my husband. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does I get real annoyed. The fact that you can do more for yourself doesn’t mean you don’t need a man (unless that’s your jam, whatever floats your boat) but it will make your life easier and more convenient.
Another example I like to use is being able to play with your kids at the playground. Lifting them up and tossing them around, hanging from the monkey bars and jumping off a moving swing. You become a more active participant when you are focusing on what you can do and instead of what you can’t. Strength training helps you do all the things.

The journey to strength training can be intimidating, which is why many women choose not to pursue it at all. That is why for the month of March on my Instagram and Facebook pages I will be going over the “Big 4” movements that are the foundations of strength training.

I’ll also be following this post up with one that talks about how to get started on your strength training journey. Stay Tuned!

~S

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980962/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4066461/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811354
  4. https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/



Crossing The Whole30 Finish Line!

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Yahoo, I made it!!! I did it, I get to check the box and call this January 2019 Whole30 a SUCCESS. You guys, I don’t know if I can fully explain how happy I am to not only cross this finish line but to be able to say that I COMPLETED something that I started. It feels amazing.

So now that I’ve gone the whole 30 days, whats next? Well, reintroduction and Food Freedom are top of mind, so technically still eating mostly the same way will be the new “normal”. For this post I wanted to highlight a couple of things I thought would be helpful take-aways for anyone thinking about doing a Whole 30 themselves. I also know that what I learned this time may be completely different than what I experience the next time. With that in mind; The 2019 January Whole30.

Why did I decide to do it now?

Because I was sick and tired of feeling bloated and sick and tired.

Why was this round any different then others before?

  1. Because I actually made it to Day 31.
  2. Because I made a commitment to myself
  3. There was no Plan B

Honestly, this is why I was able to be successful. Much like anything else in life, I had to reach a point where I knew that completing what I started was going to be better than the alternative. Please don’t misunderstand, there were days that were hard, there were days I would have gladly thrown in the towel for a piece of chocolate or a glass of red wine. But seeing this through to the end has meant so much more to me then any other fleeting “reward” possibly could. When the pain is great enough, you will do things that may not have been possible before.

Was there anything else that made this round seem “easier”?

Ummm, yes. I am spoiled and I have LOTS of gadgets. My Crockpot, Instant Pot, Egg Cooker, Spiralizer, and Vitamix made my life easier in more ways than I can count. Fear not if you don’t have any of these things in your house, you can still successfully complete your Whole30. I’m just not above admitting that having toys that made prepping easier and faster was appealing in ways I’d never given much previous consideration.

I also purchased the book Whole30 Day By Day and it is worth the investment. Each day is outlined as far as what you should expect and how to break through what tend to be considered the most trying days. There is also an email/ text series that Melissa offers through the Whole30 site, but the book was enough to keep me pushing forward.

What’s next?

Reintroduction starts on Day 31 while still eating mostly Whole30 compliant for another 10 days or so. The first 2 things to be reintroduced are gluten-free alcohol (YAY WINE!) and beans/ legumes etc. (YAY HUMMUS!) I already have a general idea of what foods are not my friend but this will be an efficient way to keep track. I’m also looking ahead thinking that another reset perhaps over the summer may not be a bad idea, but I’m not going to count my chickens (I might eat them, you never know) before they hatch.

Favorite Recipes

I was asked to share what some of my favorite recipes are, and honestly a majority of the time I played a game called throw-it-in-a-pan-with-oil-and-see-what-happens. The other side of that coin is that I stalked and tagged recipes from Whole30Recipes on Instagram. Frequently. I will tag and do a separate post of my 5 favorites with any little side notes or changes that we made to the original since this post is getting long.

On to February, so many things to share that are not food related. This has been a great way for me to get back into my writing groove and I’m looking forward to all that is coming next. Have an inspired and kick-ass weekend Awesome Humans!
S

*I don’t receive any sort of compensation for any links that I post. It’s just me sharing things I love or have found beneficial.*

Whole 30- The Home Stretch

I’m down to single digits (8 days to be exact) Yahoo!!! I’m actually having very mixed emotions about this coming to an end, its slightly perplexing.

Part of me would be thrilled if I never had to meal prep, do dishes, or read every freaking ingredient label that I come across ever again. Dramatic Much? Mainly its the dishes and the prep, the ingredient labels just piss me off because we put SO MUCH UNNECESSARY SHIT into our food. That however, is a rant for another day.

I joked with my husband over the weekend that I’m looking forward to going back to more of an IF lifestyle just so I don’t have to cook what feels like all the time. The problem is now that I feel as good as I do, and I know there are going to be some trigger foods, the things I’m joking about not wanting to continue are the very things that I need to keep top of mind.

I have a Sugar Dragon, and she is a BEAST. The minute I give her an inch, she will take over real estate in my brain that is extremely hard to control once unleashed. Valentine’s day is coming up, Dove dark chocolate hearts and Sweet Tart hearts are calling to me but I don’t want to answer. I think part of why I’ve been able to keep said dragon under control (and in tandem to her my cravings and crashes) is because fruit has played a very minimal role in this Whole 30. Part of that is that its winter and the produce looks like shit/ costs too much BUT I know if I don’t have a crutch then I can’t fall back on a bad habit.

There are somethings that I am still working through that I haven’t been able to pinpoint and that is frustrating. Bloat, gas, still feeling “heavy” through my stomach and intestines. Cauliflower is a culprit so I am aware of that one, but please excuse me while I go on a whiny rant. I know other veggies are causing me some of the discomfort, sweet potatoes very well could be included on this list. But damn it I rotate between a small handful of veggies and if I eliminate them as well I feel so damn restricted. I cook them 50 different ways, but to an extent I stick with what I know. The question becomes what do I care more about? Eating what I enjoy, just in a healthier way, or giving up anything that disagrees with me so that I look and feel better?

We’re getting into vanity territory, I’m just going to throw that out there. I know that this bothers me more then anyone even notices, but it is really freaking frustrating. Something else to note, I eliminated all of the supplements that I usually take during this 30 days. Probiotics are usually one of them. Reintroducing the little buggers back in as well as experimenting with activated charcoal, and drinking ACV or digestive-focused teas may give me more information to connect the dots. (Please note I said Digestive-Focused tea that include things like licorice root, ginger, fennel, etc. NOT DETOX TEA. There is a difference!)

I’m off my little whiny-box now, overall this has been a really good experience. I have noticed so many other non-scale victories that I will whole-heartedly take on another Whole 30 in the future. Someone asked me about some of my favorite recipes, and I think I’m going to make that a post by itself. It will require a great deal of linking because I get them from other people then modify it to our home’s varying taste buds and preferences.

I am also ready to write about other things besides food and the Whole 30. I have plenty in my lineup, this just happens to be what I’ve been consistent on hitting the “Publish” button about.

Time to get my day started, Happy Hump Day Awesome Humans!

S

Whole 30, Week 2 Down!

I’m a couple of days later on this then I wanted to be, but LIFE, can you feel me? I’m reflecting on my week 2 as I’m currently on day 18, and I’m proud of myself for the place in which I am writing this.

I admitted in my first post that i have never fully completed the 30 days as well as the 10 day reintroduction. I’ve always been pretty ok at making it to at least to week 3, but this time I really want to celebrate closing down another week as I move through the next one.

Overall this go around has not been as hard for me as it has been in the past. I attribute that to 3 major things-

  1. Mindset.
  2. Preparation.
  3. A deeply rooted personal integrity to see this through.

I made the decision to do a Whole 30 back in December. I knew that it would start January 2nd. I felt like shit everyday leading up to it, which told me that it was a code-red needed intervention. One of my words for the year is Completion, and I am determined to complete this goal as my first task of the New Year. I keep going back to the initial goal of completing, and next to it the plan of how to get there. As often as I need the reminder. So far it’s working.

Preparation, this step is fucking exhausting, but it is what will make me see it through. I spend what feels like SO MUCH time shopping for food, prepping food, and then doing dishes. I hate it. I love the food I’ve been eating, it’s delicious and flavorful, and I can eat at as leftovers (which I don’t do very well) because I know its good quality and still going to taste amazing. But, there is still a significant amount of planning that goes into it week by week. The prep part has made me decide that while I will continue keeping fresh healthy options available even once I’ve completed the 30 days, I will also be reintroducing my intermittent fasting protocol. I prefer that with my schedule anyway, but after this, fasting holds a special place in my heart.

Last but not least, that personal integrity. I have a hard time finishing ANYTHING. I know it, I’m not proud of it, and I am determined to change that ship’s direction. If you knew how many times I’ve started a blog, then stopped. Or started an exercise or diet plan, then stopped, or a whole host of other things that I have had tons of pump about in the beginning slowly to fall off at most 2 weeks in then this shouldn’t surprise you. That is why next to the word completion for 2019, is the word consistency. Consistently showing up. For myself mainly, and then everyone else beyond that. Completing this Whole 30 will be a monumental victory for me. Only then will I feel like I am crossing off a win for living my most Awesome.

At this stage I’m frustrated with a couple of things, but they are ways my body is communicating with me and it is my job to listen and figure them out.

There have been noteable days that I have been completely zapped of all my energy. Like 3pm rolls around and I want to pass the f out. I know that “snacking” is what you are learning not to do as part of the program so part of me hated that I want to eat at that time. One of the questions that Melissa tells you to ask yourself is “can you eat a plate of fish and broccoli right now?” If yes, then eat! If no, it’s a craving let it pass. In my 3:00 crash I could eat a horse so apparently something is missing. Not sure if its fat, the wrong kind of carbs, sleep that is phenomenal in quality but not necessarily quantity, not enough water, or the fact that my day starts by 5am and I’m not usually winding it down until at least 7-730 on weekdays. By winding it down I mean eating my last meal and finally sitting down. Could be a combination of any of those things, I’m still working that out.

My next two whiny complaints are still my level of bloat through my gut (though I can tell the difference in my face and other parts of my body) and acne. I’m 35 years old for fucks sake, really?!?!?! The bloat is my gut still healing and possibly some of the foods I do eat having an inflammatory response (I’m looking at you cauliflower) but that is something I need to assess and work through. The acne is one part hormones (someday I’ll write more on that one, bleh) and one part food intolerance. I already know cashews are a big one for me, and I think there is also some correlation with tomatoes. Again, it’s on me to assess and figure it out, then decide if vanity is worth not eating something. Usually it is, but sometimes I just don’t care.

Wow, this has been a lengthy little post, whether intended or not. Thanks for sticking it out if you’re still here and if you have experience with elimination diets, the Whole 30, etc. I’d love to hear from you. I don’t learn if I don’t ask so thank you in advance.

See you around next time Awesome Humans!
S

 

Week 1 Whole 30

1 week down, 3 more to go. Until today (started writing this on Day 8, finished Day 10) I have to say that everything has been going rather smooth and I can’t complain.

For anyone reading this that is unfamiliar with the program, the Whole 30 is a 30 day reset for your body (and mind if you do it correctly.) For 30 days you consume only real, whole foods. No dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no alcohol, no soy, no processed anything. Just say NO. This reset has many purposes but the biggest one is resetting how your brain and body thinks about food. It’s challenging, some days suck, and it involves a metric shit-ton (my favorite measurement) of planning and washing a ridiculous amount of dishes. SO. MANY. DISHES. (Click the link above to get a more official and in depth explanation, as this is my short-hand little blurb)

Anyway, I have made it through the first week feeling pretty darn good. My non-scale victories include sleeping like a rock, not feeling hungry and certainly getting full. It has also been fun putting our new Instant Pot to use as it has proved to be incredibly efficient already.

The second and third weeks are when (in the past) I have either fallen off the wagon or simply struggled the most with staying compliant. *MAJOR SPOILER ALERT* I have started four Whole 30 journeys but I have never made it all the way to 30 days. Ugh, that feels so yucky to say out loud. So while I have the advantage this time of knowing how most days are going to feel, I also have a knowledge of what it means to start but never officially finish.

That is the opposite of what 2019 is about for me; one of my 2019 words is “completion”. Making it to 30 days (plus 10 more for proper reintroduction which I have also never done) is something I  MUST do. For me. Up until this point I have allowed other people’s influence and my own lack of personal integrity to make it ok if I decide to eat non-compliant foods or jump of the boat 3, 9, or 14 days before I’m meant to. If no one knows but me, is it that big of a deal?

The answer is YES, yes it is a big freaking deal. I’m writing this, posting it, and then telling people about it so that the people that know me best (or Hell even complete strangers I don’t care) can call me out. I’m not about being outside my integrity, and I absolutely won’t budge when it comes to my clients or other people. But when it’s just me against me, I will buckle easily and honestly not give it much thought.

Not this time though, I refuse. I will get through the challenging days (I know there are more coming my way) and I will own this as if my life depends on it. It doesn’t, obviously, but how good is it going to feel when I do make it to the end. When I can officially sit taller and prouder in my food freedom, and know that I accomplished something that is making me and my relationship with food better.

That’s all for Week 1, more to come as I get through Week 2 and hit my half way mark.

Later Awesome Humans!

S