Thoughts from a frustrated fitness professional/ A little personal history.

Working in the fitness industry is a rather polarizing endeavor. I’ve written about this a bit before, but lately I’ve found I’m having a hard time just “being ok” with it. I’ve said before I’m not for everyone. I’m cool with it.

Women are one of the most highly advertised to demographics, and while we are making strides in the body-positivity area the same shit still sells and it makes me REALLY ANGRY. Like Hulk-Smash level shit.

But for just a little history, I’d like to level with anyone reading this why I feel the way I do. See, I myself have a L O N G history with my body and my feelings about it. Put your seat-belt on, this will take a second.

I made it through middle school fairly unscathed. Once puberty hit my hips showed up and I have since carried quite a bit of my curve through my butt and legs. It just was what it was. I have also always been an athlete of some kind, so muscle and being able to be fairly consistent with my weight was fine.

In high school I experienced some devastating firsts that began to mold a not-so-great relationship with my body.

  1. I got cut from athletics for the first time in my life. First from basketball, then from volleyball. I was devastated. Completely crushed. For the first time I wasn’t an active particiapant, and I used food and a general lack of motivation to move very little.
  2. It was the first time my parents (who were completely well-intentioned so I thank them for that) suggested that watching what I eat become a priority. My mom helped me the best way she knew how packing my lunch and for a while it did help and some of the weight I’d put on came off.
  3. I started dating someone that would ultimately be emotionally abusive and that would take its toll. I ended up in the hospital for exhaustion, dehydration, consuming less then 1000 calories a day while in-season for a Varsity sport I loved, and then there was this guy that made me feel like I was special and at the same time like I would never be enough.

Eventually it all culminated, and for all 4 years of high school my weight went up and it went down. It changed based on whether I was in-season, post-season or preseason. I’ll also interject here that we did not lift weights during pre-season/ off-season. We didn’t want to be “bulky” so everything was body-weight, tubing and cardio based until we could get into the cages and begin batting practice.

Strength training already had a negative connotation after freshman PE class when my best friend and I both were able to bench our body-weight in class and the boys called us “Beasts”. Male fragile ego at 14-15 years old. (Insert vomit emoji here)

Also, I LOVED entertainment news. I was all about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wanted Britney Spear’s abs, and Blue Crush was my favorite movie for sure.

What no one told me about any of it was that I wasn’t built like that. I was not going to look like any of those girls, ever. But man is that what I wanted. Lots of cardio, minimal lifting, watch what I eat (to a point of starving then binge, then feel guilty then repeat). For years.

When I went away to college on a softball scholarship, I was introduced to the weight room, for a minute. It was expected but I don’t remember us actually doing it with any consistency. We shared the weight room with all the male athletes (IE the football and basketball team) it was gross and many of them were pigs so I don’t think any of us were in a big rush to run up there. Also, even then I had never been properly instructed on how to lift. I had no idea of mechanics or what I actually should be doing. We just loaded up the bar and gave it a shot. (Ugh, facepalm)
Also, in this delightful four years, I was introduced to BEER. I may have been a Div. II Collegiate Athlete but I was also a sorority girl and I could put it down with the best of them. That did NOT help me, especially my freshman year, but you live and learn.

Once I graduated I walked away from anything organized for a while. We had free gym memberships with our apartment so I’d dabble here and there but I was never able to be consistent. Cardio was what I knew and I’d try to do something here and there. I had a consult with a personal trainer and she gave me a very generic workout and told me to consume less then 100g of sugar per day. That was it.

One night my husband and I were watching a movie and the guys on screen were throwing kettlebells around in the “pump-you-up” training montage. I looked at NN and said “I want to do that.” He shook his head as he does and said “Ok babe”. But less then a month later we were both in our first class.

Meeting Dave (and his business partner at the time) changed my life. I was introduced to someone that actually gave a shit about how I moved. He helped me fix my squat (something I didn’t realize needed fixed), he showed me that load was important and that cardio or other measures of “a good workout” weren’t necessarily that great. He gave me so much from the beginning, and while it would take almost 3 more years before I would start coaching myself I was hooked.

DUring this time I also got pregnant with my first child. This is another post for another day, but I will say that pregnancy was a whole new struggle for me with body image. It’s something that should be talked about, but I felt so much shame that I didn’t know what to do. Postpartum, dear Lord that will be several future posts. But back to the actual story…

I was introduced to a community of professionals that took their job seriously. Yes, there are always polarizing opinions, and I had to learn some things the hard way. But at the roots, I’d had a long-standing viewpoint of my body that was driven by shame and by this ideal that I would never achieve. At 24 that began to change and I’ve spent the last 12 years trying to encourage a different dialog.

What I preach is wholly what I practice, and if I’m being honest it isn’t sexy or glamorous.

I don’t have a six-pack, I’m not a size 4, and I still hate long cycle cardio.

I move everyday. Even when all that looks like is walking. Some days that is all I’ve got in me. AND THAT’S OK. Other days I swing kettlebells (because I freaking love it) or I move weights around. I’ve started hitting up a Crossfit class a couple times a week. My relationship with that has been a moving target for years, but at the moment I’m in a good place with it.

I try to eat foods that come from the outside of the grocery store. Bread and pasta are delicious but they don’t agree with me and while I have always loved cereal and ice cream both make me feel like absolute shit. I very much have to weigh the pros and cons of consumption. I also love cheesecake. It is a non-negotiable in my life. The trick is not eating the whole damn thing, but instead a slice here and there.

I share all of this because it is a small example of what works FOR ME. It has taken me years to get a handle on it, and I am constantly tweeking and experimenting.

That mentality and approach is how I approach my clients as well. We establish goals, and then we reverse engineer how to get to them. It is a long road, if you’re being honest with yourself it is a lifetime decision. What you choose in your 30’s and 40’s will have an impact in your 60’s and 70’s. It’s never too late to start, but the sooner you do the better for YOU it will ultimately be.

I will continue to be annoyed and often angered by the bullshit I see people putting out about “30lbs in 30 days”, Detox Teas, Magic Wraps, and all the cardio. And while I sometimes feel like a broken record I will continue to educate, support, encourage, and hopefully inspire other women, especially Moms to find what works for them and allows them to live the life they DESIRE to live.

Thanks for reading Awesome Humans

~S

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