Lessons We Learn From Spring

My birthday is on the cusp of this season of awakenings and rebirths, so naturally I wanted to share my thoughts on this season. There are many perks to Spring, not limited to:

  • well, my birthday, of course *straightens my Goddess leaf headpiece*
  • the smell of rain showers
  • unpredictable weather making every day an adventure
  • some goodies are in season, like spinach, kale, and asparagus
  • beautiful flowers are in bloom

With all of the obvious, tangible things that Spring brings, there are also deeper lessons we can all learn and appreciate from this beautiful, refreshing season.

The beauty after the storm:

Beautiful things happen after some of the darkest times, and just like the storms feeding the flowers, these dark times feed our need to persevere. There’s a calm clarity that comes after every depression I find myself slumped in (diagnosed BPD, but I think this can be related to those who aren’t mentally ill).

Patience is bitter but its fruits are sweet:

I’ve noticed that even with my own generation, there’s a need to do everything with speed. There’s a sort of desperation as though the very life is dependent on how quickly you can deliver, but taking time to put in the effort and make something beautiful produces a much better result than rushing through it blindly. In the age of instant-gratification, it’s a challenge, but nothing good ever came easy.

It’s never too late to turn a new leaf:

Each year the trees lose their leaves and in the spring they grow and become elegant once again. Why contain ourselves to seasons when we have every single day to start fresh? Every morning, you have the choice to start the day with a positive attitude, to be productive, to look at yourself in the mirror and recite affirmations. There will be bad days, but not every day needs to start with the fear that it’s going to be that way.

Nothing lasts forever:

Just as those bad days don’t last forever, neither do positive affirmations guarantee a perpetually happy mood. Embracing the highs and the lows for what they are, rather than resisting the latter, is much more beneficial. A study was done on embracing bad days, which stated that doing so makes it less likely for subjects to experience persistent negative emotions in following months.

In short, stop and smell the roses. Life moves at much too fast a pace to be on a constant grind. Enjoy yourself and take in the surroundings, play in the sunshine, splash in the puddles. Live life!

 

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Measure-In Monday | Week #2

Well, folks, we’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is I lost 2 and a half inches all over… the bad news is I didn’t reach my daily water intake last week, so this week, I’m sticking with that as my goal until I can manage an entire week without missing a day!

Last week was a trial, given the stuff going on with the house we’re currently in, and moving within the next week. It’s been stressful!

But my husband and I had our anniversary yesterday, so we went to this restaurant in the town we’re moving to. It was so good! I got this veggie filled cajun alfredo with blackened chicken, and my husband got a classic chicken fried steak. Our eldest ended up with this huge mac n cheese burger!

A few bites in and I was filled to the brim! Obviously I took the rest home for leftovers lol

This week is going to be heavy on the packing so I probably won’t upload my workouts, but I assure you, they are getting done! Until next time!

Measure-In Monday | #1

That’s right folks, if you missed my last post on reverse dieting you might be surprised to see the good ol’ measure in mondays are back!! This is the first of many, and I hope I can keep this up! Drop some motivation in the comments to keep me accountable!

I haven’t measured my fat at all in quite awhile, so I was floored to see the inches I had packed on. It was a punch in the gut. Sure, I noticed my clothes were tighter, I had a lot more pain days than good ones, I even noticed jowels on my face. I’m not even 30, so I definitely shouldn’t have skin hanging off of my jaws. Daisy, the double chin, is back as well, someone I haven’t seen in quite some time.

I won’t keep you waiting. Below are my measurements and goal for this week:

I don’t want to start my deficit just yet, mostly because I’m worried my body will react badly so for now I’m sticking to 1,800 kcal per day, and working out 3-4 times each week.

Speaking of workouts, my hope is to do a 20 minute interval workout today followed by a couple of weighted shoulder-centric exercises.

Wednesday we’ll be doing a ton of walking, so I’ll stick to a simple, light lower body workout.

Friday I’m hoping to implement some different moves for an interval workout and a little bit of back strengthening yoga.

As mentioned, I’m not going into a deficit but I still need to have a goal, so this week I’m going to focus on getting my daily fix of that lovely liquid, H2O!

Here’s to hoping for a productive and successful week! What are your goals this week? Let me know down below!

Reverse DIETING?!?!?!

Hello and welcome back everyone, I wanted to give you a little update of the experiment I’ve been implementing into my daily life: reverse dieting!!!

Y’see I did the foolish, total amateur thing by being on a deficit for the better part of 2, I could even say 3 years – during my last pregnancy I was always on my feet, moving, walking every single day, climbing stairs at my apartment complex – third floor tenant – and I definitely did not eat as much as I should have with all of that activity.

What I should have done was PAY ATTENTION. After my pregnancy I wasn’t too hungry, most of the time. When I wanted to start actively losing my extra pounds, I started eating regularly and exercising. I saw some amazing results in just a couple months… but the results started to come slower and slower until they stopped. So I switched my diet – constantly. I finally found intermittent fasting which was so convenient for me! I saw a little bit of loss but that slowed down pretty quickly.

A month ago, I noticed that eating more than 1,200 calories would result in weight gain. Like a good certified personal trainer (who has pretty much used the training a handful of times and definitely not kept up-to-date with new information in the health and fitness community) I decided to do some research.

To sum it up, too much cardio will result in your body losing muscle, therefore slowing your metabolism. Additionally, being in a deficit for an extended period will put your body in a sort of metabolic stasis. Your deficit becomes the maintenance, if that makes sense. So any increase will result in a gain.

To offset this, I turn to the handy dandy tool called: reverse dieting!!! I want to be transparent here and let you know that for 5 years between my teen and twenties, I suffered from a mental illness called anorexia nervosa. My metabolism and organ systems have already taken a massive hit before, so it stands to reason that my body would react as though I were starving myself… again. Because of that I desperately need to repair the broken system that is my metabolism. That’s where this tool comes in!

For most, reverse dieting is a fairly simple process of gradual calorie increase until the body becomes efficient at maintenance without much fat gain. However, due to my long and abusive relationship with food and my own body, this is a process that has definitely resulted in weight gain. This month I’ve gained 5 pounds on top of what I had gained back from this year’s goal of 30 pounds. So I’m at a goal of 35 pounds now… kinda disappointing, since I truly believed I was being smart and working hard – unfortunately obsession overcame the resolution, and well, here we are.

Right now, with my activity level, I’m at 1,800 kcal at maintenance. It doesn’t seem like a lot, right? I used to eat that and lose a pound each week! Age plays a little bit of a factor as well unfortunately. And chronic pain, and my meds side effects, it’s just a big ol thing.

Because of this, I want to be completely transparent and honest with everyone on this journey of reverse dieting, and fat loss/weight loss, whilst dealing with the BS that is an eating disorder. I’m guessing if I were to be diagnosed today, I’d fall under EDNOS. Tomorrow I’ll be doing the 1st measure-in in quite some time. I hope you guys are down for this journey. It’s gonna be a doozy!

I hope everyone has had an amaaazing weekend. Let me know what your goals are in the comments!

Saturday INTERVALS | Weekend Workout

Ok, guys, I’ve been reading a lot on fat and genetics because this is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I’ve seen women who can gain weight and still look fantastic; slim arms, thick thighs, perfect cleavage and booty. How?? I gain weight in the most awkward way! It’s in all the places I’d rather not have it. My arms, my back, my hips and belly. Why have the gods cursed me so?

Well, it’s more a combination of nutrition and genetics. Additionally, one mistake I’ve made is focusing on building muscle in my arms and back – aka spot training. So for the next couple weeks, in addition to reverse dieting (which I’ll explain in another post) I’m going to be doing 3-4 days of interval training!

What is Interval Training?!

To put it in the simplest words, interval training is doing an intense exercise or series of exercises for, we’ll say 30 seconds each, followed by a short rest period. Some studies suggest that this not only helps you burn calories during the workout, but throughout the day as well!

What sort of exercises are best?!

For me, personally, I want to incorporate a full-body workout for these 3-4 days, something that I can also use weights in for some of the exercises. For example, burpees, push-ups, squats, planks – all of these use multiple major muscle groups, so I can add in a little overhead press with squats or lunges.

My workout for today is a bit of a taste test, if you will. I haven’t done interval training in literal years, so this should be interesting. Remember, NEVER SACRIFICE FORM! Without quality, the workout is virtually useless, if not dangerous.

In addition to the five full-body moves, I’ll be working on some shoulder moves since I’ve been LOVING the shape that’s starting to form in my delts. Another frustrating thing about how my body stores fat is that my upper arms are full of fat, but my shoulders are tiny, so the fact that the muscle has been showing up is probably one of the greatest non scale victories I’ve ever achieved!

My moves today are 30 seconds on each with a 30 second rest after each round:

High Knees
Planks
Alternating Lunges
Tricep Dips
Squats

Three rounds of the above, followed by a 1 minute rest before moving into my shoulder exercises:

Shoulder Press (3×8 20lbs)
V-Lift (3×8 8lbs)
Reverse fly (3×8 20lb)
Front raise to overhead (3×8 20lb)
Seated side lateral raise (3×8 20lbs)

And there you have it! WOOO! Who loves that after workout BURN? Don’t forget to stay hydrated, folks. I don’t know about you, but the heat is starting to creep up on us out here in the desert! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Back and Bi Day

Gah!!! Today has been busy already, but I managed to get my workout in so I can make a couple of calls and get some writing done. Keeping it short and sweet, the exercises I did today are down below.

Hammer curls: 3×6 (10lb each)
Back fly: 3×7 (10lb each)
Bend to Opposite Foot: 3×5 (10lb each)
Bicep Curls: 3×8 (10lb each)
Overhead Dumbbell Extension: 3×8(10lb)
Shoulder Press: 3×8 (10lb each)

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Even Trolls Are Allowed to Feel Pretty

Usually Wednesday is our errand day. We take care of any clothes, groceries, miscellaneous shopping, but my husband got this Tuesday off of work and with the crazy scheduling from here all through April, we decided to do it a day early. Adulting 101 is getting it done ASAP instead of procrastinating like the lazy ogre that we all wish we could be.

Grocery shopping was a breeze, all things considered. We got some goodies for the boys to splurge on for Spring Break-

(ok, try and tell me that’s not what you hear every time someone mentions Spring Break, because my mind automatically plays this clip. On repeat.)

We also got some chocolate milk to bribe the youngest of our kids into pooping in the potty. It worked with the others, so fingers crossed! Knowing my luck, he’ll be more interested in snagging some spicy chips (something we didn’t get because we would go ham on a bag of spicy chips; it wouldn’t last more than a couple hours)! I ended up getting wine and a super delicious but unhealthy pot pie as a reward for finishing a 10k word day hopefully this week – fingers crossed on that one.

I won’t bore you with the rest of our grocery list, because that’s not really the point here, but you know how much ya girl loves to overshare…

After we checked all of our items, paid, and made our way towards the exit, a lovely woman caught my eye. She was wearing this bright as sunshine dress with gold strappy sandals. The whole outfit reminded me of my mission to make this year center around my journey towards becoming a goddess. A savage goddess, but a goddess nonetheless.

I watched as she passed me, having the grace and style to match. She carried herself with an air of freedom that I’ve never had about myself. I’ve always wanted to wear pretty things, but I’ve always felt lumpy and awkward, almost like my only style is workout clothes.

I mean, looking in the mirror, I don’t always like what I see, especially today. My hair is a dishwater mix of blonde and brown that is far too thick for my head, my skin is blotchy and currently breaking out in little bumps all over the place, and no matter how much I try to lose belly and arm fat – it’s just so stubborn.

I turned to my husband as she passed us and said in a low voice, “I wish I could pull off clothes like that.” He looked up at me with a blank expression, asking for clarification. I nodded towards the Sun Goddess, and he grinned at me. “Oh, you definitely can.”

And right at that moment, with all of the elegance of a gassy sea lion, I belched.

“Well, maybe a little less of that.” My husband said before bursting into laughter over my unexpected faux pas. It got me thinking… what makes that woman different? Or any of the people on Instagram I’m following? Or one of my best friends, who’s also struggling to lose the extra weight and feel comfortable in her skin. That best friend has a bunch of adorable dresses which she absolutely SLAYS in.

I have dresses and yet I don’t wear them nearly enough – and summer is coming rapidly. I don’t want to wait to lose X amount of pounds to feel cute in my clothes. Why should anyone have to wait for a specific size to feel good and complete in their own skin?

My goal: Stop dressing down, and start gettin’ comfortable with showing my inner goddess off! Does that mean I’ll stop my weight loss journey? Heck no! But I’m not waiting around for that body either.

Now, if you need a reminder: Look at yourself in the mirror. Even on your worst days, where you feel like a bridge troll, remind yourself that you are a Goddess with so much to offer this world, and you deserve to feel just as lovely as that gorgeous girl in the grocery store!

Weekend Workout!

The past two days have been pretty groovy… except that my pain flare-ups have been frequent and intense! Not even ibuprofen has helped (no real surprise there). I’ve taken baths, had some massages from my devoted husband, and yet, there I was on my birthday and the day after my birthday. Hurting.

Luckily, walking tends to ease my pain, at least for an hour or so. So I went for a nice, brisk walk for about 30 minutes each day. Still, the pain returned. It was all right, I still managed to get done all the things I needed to, though I definitely crashed a LOT earlier than I usually would.

Since I missed my strength training workouts for those two days, I decided to do my best on the weekend, which brings me to my first workout that I managed with minimal pain! Today I decided to do legs and booty, check it out:

Alternate leg lifts: 3×8 side, 3×8 back
Plie squats: 3×10
Calf raise: 3×12
Seated calf raise with 20lb weight: 3×10
Squats: 3×10

I still have to do my cardio, which will be walking with the kiddos on our favorite trail after naptime. I hope everyone is having a groovy weekend!

Building That Willpower Muscle

There’s no denying the biological reaction we get from food. Certain foods satisfy us for shorter periods, resulting in consuming more food and gaining weight. This is common knowledge.

What’s not common knowledge, or at least not practiced as much as exercise, is the use of willpower. It’s tough to break the cycle of turning to food that doesn’t satiate you, but using that metaphorical muscle known as willpower – warning, this is not the same for those who have been diagnosed with a food addiction, that’s a whole different psychological ball game.

Today, I practiced my willpower. To start the day, I had water. I had a doctor appointment, and I don’t know about you guys, but if my body is getting checked out, I don’t feel too hungry until I’ve had my peace of mind from the appointment. “Oh, I’m good to go? Groovy, time for an avocado salad, thank you!”

Luckily my appointment was early enough in the morning that I didn’t have to worry too much about hunger. After my appointment it was time to get groceries, but my husband and littlest kiddo were hungry, so where did they go? Oh, just Dunkin’ Donuts. No big.

Did the donut queen have any, though? No, I did not. And it’s not exactly that I didn’t want a donut… but I didn’t feel a particular necessity to get one. In recent months, I would have been on top of it, but after analyzing my erratic food behavior (restrict for awhile, go ham one day, eat at maintenance the next, etc.), I was able to ascertain what my body needed and legitimately craved. What I really needed to do was break the habit of being irregular with my food habits!

For one, I wanted a soy chai latte, because those drinks are delicious and don’t upset my stomach the way coffee and espresso have lately. After grocery shopping, we stopped at Starbucks and headed home. 310 kcals and 60g of carbs! Usually that would be way too much for me in a single sitting, but ya girl needed the energy, let me tell you!

The grocery shopping itself went so smoothly. I mean, we spent about an hour and a half getting everything (or at least almost everything) we needed, so we got some good movement in. Though I still have a leg workout and my kitchen cardio to do!

Yesterday, even, I was surprised at how smart I was being with my food choices – because I kept my goal in mind. My birthday is tomorrow and I have a feeling the pizza I have picked out, won’t even be entirely annihilated, not by me anyway.

Building that willpower, making better choices, staying active – all comes from the amount of effort you put into it. You can’t expect to build deltoids by sitting at a computer all day, nor can you burn fat by doing nothing. It takes dedication, and what’s helping me is keeping that end goal in my line of sight. AT. ALL. TIMES.

 

Strong ARM-ing This Monday

It’s Monday, and you know what that means! Working these guns!

[edit: I totally forgot to post this because after writing this post out, life got busy and then I managed to crash at 10pm, so this is probably going to be a double post kinda day… my bad!]

Ordinarily I like to get my workout done in the morning, but I didn’t have time, so it was 3pm by the time I was free to get my sweat on. Check out my moves down below. All done with 10 lb dumbbells!

Kitchen cardio: 3 – 10 minute increments
Breaking my cardio into 10 minute increments has been a lot more convenient for me, given that it wasn’t nap time. I could do 10 minutes jogging in place, followed by a diaper change, 10 more minutes, oh it’s time to switch the laundry, 10 more minutes, and time to prepare dinner!

Bicep/Back:

3×5 Dumbbell front raise into press
3×8 Hammer curls
3×6 Bent-over reverse fly
3×8 Dumbbell back rows
3×10 Alternate bicep curl

I would have liked to include one or two more exercises, but I was crunched for time so this is where I left it. I’d say it was a pretty decent workout – definitely not overworking myself like I usually do. I’m learning to practice the popular phrase of “pace yourself”.