Letting go of the excuses. The time passes anyway

One of the most inspirational things I've seen online so far is this little meme:

My husband sent me this once and it hit home. Hard.  The fact is, I have been on this clean eating mission for 19 months now.  That is a long time.  I realize that the popular thought is instant gratification.  We all want to lose weight right now.  We want the weight gone in one month, a few weeks, days even.  The bottom line though, is that the time is going to pass anyway.  If it takes 19 months to hit a goal so what? Those 19 months were going to happen no matter what.  If you were fat, thin, healthy, unhealthy, no matter what those days would happen.  Why not let go of the time excuse, realize this is going to take some fucking time and just shut up and do it.  I went into this with a one year goal.  ONE YEAR PEOPLE.  Do you understand how hard it was to commit to a year?  To wake up and see a weight gain, and know I still had eight more months to go. To plateau for three straight months and tell myself every single day to go back to the gym and keep trying?  It was hard.  It is hard.  It's the hardest thing I've ever done.  Do you know what is harder? Looking back at the time past and wondering why I wasted it.  I look back at the years before March 25 2013 and beat myself up at all of the time I wasted being as heavy as I was.  Why?  Why did I make all of those excuses?  Why did I sit around at home watching the Biggest Loser and eating junk food lamenting about not having the time, instead of finding the time and losing the weight.  If I had started three years ago where would I be now?  I would be trying to lose 30 pounds instead of 60.  Trust me on this, looking back and regretting the lost time is so much worse then living your days as healthy as possible, especially since those days will occur no matter what. 


You guys.  Unless you are in a full body cast I sooooo don't want to hear that you cannot workout and EAT HEALTHY because you are injured.  First of all, abs are made in the kitchen, not many injuries will prevent you from eating clean and healthy.  If you happen to be in a full body cast take the time to do your BMR, find out your resting daily calorie burn and adjust your food around that. It might be lower then normal but it's doable.  I'm watching this season of the Biggest Loser and it's about second chance athletes.  One guy who had this incredible rocking body said he stopped working out because he had a leg injury.  I had a severe sprain in July.  Cast and crutches and all.  I took one day off from the gym, then I got on my crutches, hobbled in and did the most intense upper body workouts I could.  I figured out how to get my cast on a bike and burn off some calories.  I had my appendix out in January, I missed eight days from the gym and then I was in there figuring out how I could do legs, biceps, triceps, and the bicycle without hurting my stitches.  There is a girl on the Biggest Loser right now with TWO air casts on.  She is still losing weight. She is tracking her food, she is eating clean, she is swimming, she is doing as much upper body stuff as she can.  All you need to do to lose weight is put out more then you take in.  Any form of exercise is going to help you achieve your goals.  Obviously rest the injury but don't use a hurt arm to prevent you from doing leg press, lunges, calf raises, and bike.  Man up and take care of your shit.

I don't have the time.

If you are reading this, you have the time to workout.  You do not have to go to the gym to get in a killer workout.  I can teach you a twenty minute body weight circuit that can be done at home that will knock you flat on your ass and melt off the pounds if you are eating right. If you have time to watch your favorite show, or Netflix binge, you have time to workout.  When this started I would watch TV doing wall squats. I've watched my shows while doing body weight squats.  I've watched TV while holding as many one minute planks as I could. I've watched TV while curling some weights and doing ab workouts.  I know you are sitting there binge watching some Zombie show or Sons Of Anarchy when you could be working out.  Do you get a lunch break at work?  Go for a fucking walk.  Do you have any weights? Put them next to your couch.  If you have time to bake cupcakes you have time to workout while they are in the oven. 

I need me time.

Oh my gosh people.  We need to let go of this notion that us mommies need all of this bullshit me time. Do you know when my time is? When I'm at the gym, or on a run.  Now that I'm more healthy and active I don't have this urge for me time.  I have an urge to get outside, get my kids outside, go on a hike, go to the lake, go for a walk, run with my son, etc.  My me time occurs for ten minutes in the morning when I wake up and enjoy my first cup of coffee.  After that, it's just go time. I don't need special time to read a book.  I don't need special time to watch my TV shows.  I don't need special time to do crafts.  I need time to get my shit together and get healthy.  I need time to workout.  I need time to bake healthy foods for my family and meal prep for our week.  I don't need time to do all that girly lazy fluffy shit.  We need to get over ourselves.  We made the choice to have kids, and that choice meant giving up our time for the next 18+ years.  It's more important for me to be healthy and alive long enough to meet my great grandkids then it is to relax and have a cup of tea.  I want to live.  I want to live with my kids and have a healthy active life.  I want to teach them to do the same. I want them to see me out hiking and running and think that is a good idea.  I want them to go off to college and spend their weekends hiking mountains.  I want them to grow up and have kids and take them running and tell them how their mom used to run with them.  I want them to be healthy. I want to raise kids who don't have to struggle with weight and health like I did.  My job as a parent is to be healthy, to teach them to be healthy, and to set an example.  My job as a parent is not to have special time to read a book.  I still read, but I do it at the end of the day when I'm in bed and there is nothing else I can possibly do for my health and fitness.  I read in the car on road trips.  I read waiting at the DMV.  I don't read when I could be getting healthy.

You guys, stop making excuses.  Do this.  Don't start next Monday, start tomorrow morning.  I don't mean to be harsh but it's time to be harsh.  It's time to take your health serious.  It's time to make yourself a priority so you can be around for many years to come.  It's time to stop living a life of excuses and start living a life of achievements.

Breaking down this healthy life thing one baby step at a time

I know I've posted a lot about my new healthy lifestyle.  I've talked all about how I eat clean and am dropping weight as a result of it.  Let's be real.  When I joined the gym my idea of getting healthy was ordering two things at Taco Bell instead of four or five, portioning my nightly cup of ice cream rather then eating a large container, etc.  So lets talk about how you can start eating clean, and the baby steps you can take to eventually get to where I am.

Cut back on the junk food:

Like I said, when I started my initial response was just to cut down on how much fast food I ordered.  Not to stop eating it.  Then I cut back on how often I went.  THEN I cut it out entirely.  Here is the thing.  If you start really working out, lifting weights, hiking, and being fit at least four to five days a week, your body is going to start asking you for healthier foods and punishing you when you feed it junk food.   I realized really fast when I got serious about my exercise that junk food was not good fuel.  My body made sure I knew it the next day.  What do I consider junk food? Processed, refined, enriched, white sugar, preservative laden food.  If it can last months in your pantry, that's junk food. I still cook muffins, I just cook healthy muffins. I use coconut sugar rather then processed white sugar, I use whole wheat flour in place of that other white bleached flour.  I use coconut oil in place of vegetable oil.  I use chia seeds in place of eggs.   We still have dessert, only now instead of cookies and ice cream I serve vanilla coconut milk yogurt with apples roasted in cinnamon, or fresh peaches.  My kids think it's delicious and it hits the sweet spot.  I also keep a bag of vegan chocolate chips in the freezer.  If I'm really hurting for chocolate I pour out a small handful of those and eat them one at a time until the craving is gone.  Instead of Lays potato chips if I need a treat I have edamame chips.  They are super good and have better ingredients.

Fix your snacking

One of the best things I did was change how I snack and how often.  I eat all day long.  Seriously I eat every one to two hours.  I eat quality food though.  Most people have a tendency to think "healthy snack, I will grab a banana or an apple."  Later they still want to snack.  I don't know about you personally but this is what I learned about me.  I need the motion of snacking.  The movement of popping chip after chip into my mouth.  The action of continuous snacking.  Think of how many Cheetos you can put away in twenty minutes.  So I got creative with my snacks.  At the start of every week I prepackage the following; edamame, almonds, cashews, banana chips, barely roasted zucchini with spices, and sweet potatoes.  All of these things give me the feel of snacking.  A bag with a half a cup of edamame in it can last me twenty minutes of reaching in, popping in one or two edamame, typing a few pages, pop in a few edamame, I get the motion of snacking, without all of the calories, and processed preservative ingredients. Cashews and almonds give me crunch when I need that.  Banana chips give me the sweetness I sometimes crave.  I cut up sweet potatoes small and portion them out, that gives me a sweet flavor also and can be eaten cold also.  Packaging all of you snacks at the start of the week is going to be your biggest fail safe.  No matter how late I am, or how tired I am, I always have time to open the fridge and grab out a few snack bags.  It takes me 2-3 hours on Sunday to prep everything but it saves me every single week from making a bad choice because, "I don't have the time in the morning, I don't have time at work, etc."  I also keep the almonds and cashews at my desk at work.  This way I cannot forget them.  I cannot say, "well I didn't pack a snack today so I'll just have some junk food, or vending machine food."  I make it impossible for me to make an excuse.  I do not keep large quantities of stuff readily available.  This means I don't keep the whole jar of cashew butter at my desk at work.  I portion that out at the start of the week and bring one portion to work with my apple.  This way I don't have the excuse to reach up and have "just one more scoop."  Honestly a lot of this has been theoretically child proofing my food.  Only….I'm idiot proofing it.  If the snacks are there I have to eat those, nothing else.  If I don't have a large quantity of cashews available I cannot over eat them.  If the food is prepped the week before I have no excuse to purchase any other junk food option.  I eat 2-3 snacks a day. This keeps your metabolism going.  It keeps your body working to digest.  Again, I eat often, but it's good clean food.

Move past the 100 calorie mentality.

One of the biggest hurdles is getting over the 100 calorie mentality that food companies have us believing is a great way to live.  So many people trying to "diet" immediately think 100 calorie packs are a great idea.  The only time I advocate a 100 calorie pack is when it's a package of plain almonds.  Go to your pantry now, pick up the box of 100 calorie snacks and read the ingredients.  Read the fat content, the carb content, and the lack of protein in them.  Then, compare that to a clean snack. If you are hell bent on the 100 calorie mentality I've included a chart below that shows you some really good snack ideas that give you 100 calories, but also include good fat, protein, and fewer carbs.

It's more important to put quality food in your mouth then quantity food.  My edamame is 120 calories for a serving. Lets compare this to a 100 calorie pack of Keebler fudge cookies:

                   Edamame      100 calorie pack

Calories     120                  100

Carbs         9g                 16 grams

Fat             5g                  3 grams

Sugar         0g                 7 grams

Protein       10g               1 gram

Sodium       10mg           70 mg

Now lets look at the ingredients:

Edamame: Whole shelled edamame

100 Calorie pack: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Palm, Palm Kernel, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed, Hydrogenated Cottonseed, Palm Kernel, Coconut and/or Palm Oil With Tbhq For Freshness [less than 0.5 G Trans Fat Per Serving]), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Whey, Contains Two Percent or less of Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Monostearate, Sorbitan Tristearate), Salt, Blue No. 2 Lake, Red No. 40 Lake, Yellow No. 6 Lake, Molasses, Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Peppermint Oil.

What?  What is that? That isn't food.  The edamame has a few more calories, and more fat, but it's a good fat, those are good calories, and look at the protein content.  The edamame will keep you fuller longer and it's a whole clean product.  Red 40 is so awful for you.  Cut this out of your life.  Research it some day, it has horrible effects on children, but mostly it's a straight up chemical. 

If you are going to live healthy, start reading labels.  A small serving of French fries at McDonalds might be lower in calories then a baked sweet potato, but read the ingredients.  What is in those calories?  My baked sweet potato contains just that.  Fast food fries look like this

Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*, Citric Acid [Preservative]), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt.
Prepared in Vegetable Oil: Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness. Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.


*Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.

This isn't real food.  You shouldn't need a preservative in your snacks.  If you make them weakly they won't go bad.  The point is, your food shouldn't have 10 ingredients unless it's home made food and those ingredients are spices and herbs.  If you start packing clean food, with few ingredients, and no preservatives you will start to see results.  Get out of the mentality that if you buy a bunch of prepackaged low calorie foods that you will see long term lasting results.  You might see results for a little while but it's not maintainable or healthy.  Eventually your body will rebel.  It won't want to digest all of the chemicals, and enriched bleached processed nonsense.  Cleaning up my eating gave me the ability to exercise longer, lift heavier, recover faster, and run farther.  I wake up feeling so much better every single day.  I have more energy.  Life is just plain better 

The final baby step is:

Stop rewarding progress with food

We have got to stop this idea that if you lose ten pounds you can have some ice cream.  If you eat good all week you should be rewarded with a splurge meal.  NO. If you eat good all week and then eat badly on the weekend realize you are eating bad 104 days of the year. How can you expect results?  If you start rewarding yourself with food you are just re-enforcing the bad habits you already had.  Reward a weight loss with new shoes, a massage, a day at the beach.  Anything but food.  Reward a week of healthy eating with a new book, or a new fitness toy.  I've rewarded myself with a Polar watch, new running shoes, new training shoes, ankle straps for kick backs, new workout clothes, etc.  Rewarding with food is a slippery slope.  One bad reward turns into a day of rewards, which turns into a weekend of rewards, which turns into weight gained.  The next thing you know you will be gaining and losing the same five pounds and rewarding yourself for the same thing and it becomes a vicious cycle.  I rewarded a specific weight goals.  For example, when I hit 150 pounds I bought new workout clothes and a pair of trail shoes.  However, when I gained a couple pounds back and then lost them (normal water weight fluctuation) I did not reward hitting 150 again. Most people would, and if you are rewarding with food that adds up.

Hopefully this helps you get on track with a new healthy life.  I realize it often seems like I just woke up and changed my life but I did not.  It took time. Trial and error.  I had to find what worked for me.  I had to figure out how bad I wanted to achieve my goals.  I had to learn that spending three hours on a Sunday cooking and meal prepping was more important then spending "me" time reading, or being lazy.  Give me some feed back.  What other questions do you have?

The tale of the hot pink tweezers

About ten days ago I was sitting at my desk and noticed one of my least favorite things.  A chin hair.  Throughout the day I noticed that I just kept touching it more and more.  It was barely visible, but I knew it was there.  We used to have tweezers at work for emergency situations like this, but someone took them home with them one weekend and they never came back.  I emailed my best friend to tell her that I had decided after 32 years to maybe invest in a nice pair of tweezers for myself.  I have some at home, I actually have some in my car, but both pairs are just the cheap kind you grab standing in line in a CVS one day as kind of an afterthought.  This time I wanted nice ones.  They needed to be cute.  I emailed about how I was looking at tweezers online while stroking this one chin hair, and how I imagined myself looking like an evil movie villain stroking their beard, plotting to take over the world and saying muahahahaha whilst doing so.  You know, an evil villain with hot pink tweezers. 

While writing this I found the actual email I sent….it must be so fun to be my friend and receive emails like this from me:

I found a chin hair I didn't pluck, it's driving me totally frigging bonkers because I can feel it, and now I can't stop touching it, so I'm just sitting here playing with my chin, which makes me look like one of those TV villains deviously playing with their beard, only my beard is one tiny chin hair.  
This email never happened.
I'm ordering tweezers for work right now.

I ordered the tweezers linked below.

Just look at them.  Aren't they beautiful?  Hot pink, and sharp, and just, so grown up for my first official tweezer purchase.  I was stunned when THAT night I got shipping notification that I would receive my tweezers in the morning.  Which I did.  Less then 24 hours after hitting Buy Now, the pretty pink tweezers were in my possession.

Only thing is, I had already gone home and plucked out the offending chin hair, since I anticipated a few days wait time.  Now I had the tweezers and nothing to tweeze.  I added them to the newly created "girly things" bag inside my purse.  This bag contains, mascara, an eyelash curler and a blush stick.  I've never worn these items in my life, but recently learned how, and decided that I should always have them on hand in case I ever have an emergency situation occur when I would need mascara.  If anyone knows what an emergency requiring mascara is, let me know, I'm still waiting. But I'm prepared for it.  I am now fully prepared to tweeze any wayward chin hairs also.  I did use the mascara once when I was having a kind of shitty day at work, and not feeling super pretty.  I went in curled, and applied a coat and it totally lifted my spirits. Weird.  I've yet to use my emergency blush.

Since I don't pluck my eyebrows because I've never been taught how to and the one time I tried was BAAAAD, I really have no use for these tweezers besides chin hairs.  So if you are following along, yes I spent $18.00 on tweezers to pluck one or two chin hairs a month.  It made sense at the time.

Now for the actual point of this story.  I have one I promise.

Thursday the kids were at work with me since they are on fall break and Codi comes strolling into my office and tells me, "Brandon kicked the cactus over."  There is a whole story behind this cactus but the point is, for some reason that week, we acquired a potted cactus outside of our office where my kids play.  All I'm thinking is, "shit, he just kicked over my bosses potted cactus and I bet he broke the pot or something.  I get up and stroll outside and find my child sitting on the ground holding his flip flop covered foot with cactus pricks* sticking out of his big toe, crying.  I have to admit I really, really, REALLY wanted to laugh when I first saw it but I know that would have been wrong. I bent down and started immediately trying to get the pricks out of his foot. I noticed some that were too small to grab so I shouted at Codi to go grab my purse.  I brought it to me, I grabbed my "girly things" bag and procured my brand new hot pink tweezers. I removed their pretty little plastic end protector and proceeded to grab out all of the remaining cactus pricks.  Some were so small and I was amazed that I was able to grab onto them.  We went inside, washed his foot, used the flashlight to find two more very hidden little pricks and remove them.  Then the boys went about their day.

I went into my office and realized that I had just used my brand new fancy pants hot pink tweezers on my sons dirty big toe.  That was not how I imagined my first time with them ya'll.

I find it funny now how it all worked out.  I had zero reason to actually order tweezers.  I probably wouldn't have used them again for a month.  They shipped out incredibly fast, and I chose to keep them in my purse of all places.  I have to wonder now if the universe somehow knew that cactus would show up at my work, that one of the kids would eventually kick it while wearing flip flops, that I would have been left tweezerless because someone else had taken our work tweezers home, and if in the end what I imagined to be my super cute girl tweezers was really just a great parenting tool that I subconsciously knew I would need with boys this age.

Either way, I felt like a super hero for having them so close at hand, and being able to remedy the situation immediately, rather then running around looking for tweezers, or running to get my keys, to go to my car, to get the tweezers that barely work, and fumbling it all in the end.  My super pink, super cute tweezers made me a hero for a moment.  Maybe next month I'll actually get to use them on myself.

Later that day I texted the same best friend who received the email about me stroking my villain mustache and said, "good thing I bought those tweezers."  Later when she replied asking why, I said, "because my son just kicked a fucking cactus, and I just had to use them to pull fucking cactus pricks out of my his big toe."  She got a great laugh out of it, knowing how happy I had been to order them, and how excited I was to use them solely for my chin hair girly needs.  Admitting that I had to use them the first time for a mommy thing just made her day.  Damn kids.

Before you ask, no I don't have a picture of his toe with cactus pricks in it, it didn't cross my mind to take a picture until after I had helped him.  Yes I laughed my ass off in front of him after he was all cleaned up and done crying.

*Is pricks the correct term for this?  Hmmm


Look how pretty they are.

I linked to them above because I was crazy impressed with the shipping speed, and I got a pretty good price for them on Amazon.  They have so many colors to choose from, but I'm thrilled with my hot pink.  Here is the link again. 

Tweezerman Stainless Steel Slant Tweezer, Pink

Not sure if you all know about my new found love for Amazon Prime, but that love is real and deep. I have yet to come across something I couldn't add to my cart and have within two days.  It's thrilling you guys.  Just thrilling. Also, I did not get paid to write this, or asked to write this, I wrote it because my child kicked a cactus wearing flip flops and I had to use MY brand new shiny pink tweezers to pull stuff out of HIS dirty big toe.


**She saved that email to go back and look at, and laugh at later, because I really do send the weirdest emails.  Poor best friend, she has to hear all of my weird shit. Some day you should find her and ask her about the spaghetti squash incident.

Managing high cholesterol…also known as…winning the cholesterol game

In January 2013 I had my blood work done.  My cholesterol came back high.  I was stunned.  I was in denial about my weight, I felt healthy, it had to be wrong.  I had it ordered again, it was high.  I had it ordered again in October, it was higher.  My total cholesterol was 201, normal is below 199.  My LDL had shot up to 123, normal is below 99.  LDL is bad cholesterol.  This was bad news.  The doctor advised me that I was now at risk for heart disease.  She said that a large portion of my cholesterol issues were genetic but that I needed to change my diet and exercise.  She also said that because my cholesterol was continuing to go up that I would have to be put on a medication for it, and it would be a lifetime medication.  I was upset, because by this time I had been a member of the gym for seven months and had lost some weight so I considered myself fit, and fixed, and just fine.

On an unrelated visit to my OB, the nurse who does my annual and is a homeopathic doctor happened to glance at my lab work.  I told her the doctor was insisting I go on medication.  The nurse said, "NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT."  She said that doctor was getting paid to tell me that, and there were so many natural remedies for high cholesterol.  She told me to go to a vitamin shop and purchase:

Red yeast rice with COQ10

Spirulina powder


I went to Whole Foods and bought them, but you can get them at any pharmacy.  I took them for three months and had my lab work retested.  All of my levels had gotten lower.  My HDL good cholesterol had gotten better.  The doctor asked what I was doing and I told her all of the herbs.  She looked down at her labs, looked back up at me and said, "off the record you made a really good choice, you never would have been able to stop taking the medication I would have prescribed you."

After that she did particle cholesterol.  My cholesterol numbers were getting better but my heart disease danger was still very high.  I made a choice to change my diet and exercise.  I stopped the herbs, increased my workout and became very strict about eating healthy.  I started cooking every thing I ate.  I made whole, clean foods.  I cut out almost all sugar.  I decreased my dairy.  If I eat gluten it's a whole grain, unbleached, natural product.  I did this for three straight months.  I worked out 3-4 times a week at the gym and focused on running both days on the weekends. 

In three months, without a single herb, or doctors pill I managed to make my cholesterol 100% normal.

Total cholesterol 2013 – 201    Total cholesterol 2014 – 177 (as of this weekend)

LDL cholesterol 2013 – 123     LDL cholesterol 2014 – 95

I am no longer a risk for heart disease. 

I wrote about this for one reason.  When they first told me about  my cholesterol and mentioned diet and exercise, I brushed them off.  I told myself I was healthy.  I was going to the gym, who cares if I was grabbing taco bell on the way home, I worked out, I was healthy.  I ignored it all, and it got worse.  Making the choice to change my life to eat clean, and healthy is the hardest choice I've ever made.  I spend all day Sunday cooking now.  I can't just have fast food on nights I'm exhausted and tired.  I don't take weeks off from the gym.  I went on vacation for my wedding anniversary and still tracked my calories, excluding dinner, and then went to the gym while there.  When I go out to eat I try and order as clean as I can.  If I splurge I do it at a local restaurant that uses locally sourced, organic, hand made foods.  I don't consider Olive Garden an option for dining out now.  If I want Mexican food I choose a local place that makes their sauce, their tortillas, etc.  If I want Italian I find a bistro that makes their pasta and sauce.  Then I know at least I'm taking in good calories, rather then over processed, over bleached, chemical filled, foods that are created not to expire on a shelf.  I want to eat food that will expire because it doesn't have preservatives.

Choosing to cook all of my food. Choosing to not eat cookies all the time or junk food is hard.  It cost more money, it takes time, it is not the easy choice.

But you guys, it's the best choice I've ever made.  I feel good. I feel better then I've ever felt. I've lot 63 pounds.  My attitude towards life has changed.  People tell me my personality has changed for the better.  I am visibly happier.  I am more enthusiastic and energetic.  I'm out doing stuff with my kids.  I take them on runs. I take them on hikes. I try and get them moving.  I get up and get stuff when I need it now.  If something is upstairs and I'm downstairs I used to just say, "I don't need it that bad." Now I run upstairs and grab it.  I'm more conscious of my time so I spend it doing better things.  I make sure my kids have a healthy breakfast made daily. I take the time to pack their lunch and snack every single day so that they are also eating clean healthy foods.  I take the time to make sure the dishes are done, the kitchen is clean and the house looks nice before I leave in the morning.  That time used to be spent reading, sitting down in a chair. 

I realize that some will argue that they need me time, and they NEED to relax and read a book, but you know what you NEED more? To live a long, healthy, problem free life. 

I want you to know that it's possible to change your lab results with diet and exercise.  That paying for a quick fix pill for your entire life is not the only choice.  It's a pricey choice with many side effects.  If you watch the Biggest Loser the same thing happens.  They change their diet and exercise and suddenly they are no longer on medications, no longer using C-pap machines, no longer a diabetes risk. 

You guys, what you put into your body matters.  It really does.  Next time you go to the doctor and they tell you something is wrong, your labs are off, you might be diabetic, or have high cholesterol, don't brush it off.  Make yourself a three month deal like me.  For three months commit to fitness, commit to eating clean, commit to making a life change.  Then, redraw your blood and see if there is ANY change at all. 

It took me an entire year.  Nothing worth having comes easy though.  It took time because I had to learn how to eat.  I had to learn the difference between diet food and clean eating.  I had to learn that I needed to eat, often, but high quality food. I needed to build muscle.  I needed to not only focus on cardio and pick up some weights.  I'm still learning.  I have a trainer and I learn new stuff every week.  I research clean eating online and learn something new daily.  My eating is constantly changing for the better which means I will only get better.  It may have cost me more money in food, I may have read less books but you know what? I probably added at least ten years to my life.  I've improved my childrens lives and added years to their life.  I've improved my marriage and my friendships.  Please, don't ignore this.  Don't get upset when the doctor mentions your weight.  If they are mentioning it, it's probably necessary.  Make the change.  Just for three months.  The time will pass no matter what, why not pass it in a healthy way?

New blog coming

Hi guys.  I'm* working on fixing this blog so that I can post mobile.  That would mean I could actually post blog ideas when I had them, from my iPhone or iPad.  My home computer barely works, and I get in trouble for blogging during family time.  I'm not allowed to blog at work where my nice computer is, so it makes writing difficult which is frustrating because I have so much to say. 

I'm still kicking ass on my fitlife journey.  I rewarded myself with some new clothes this week.  I went through a rough week, and when I came to the end of it making good choices, and not self destructive choices I felt I earned a reward.  Look at my cute red pants.  So cute.

I've been trying to run on weekends.  I have shaved a few minutes off my time. I've found that running before 8am makes it a million times easier to just get it out of the way.  I also have weird amounts of energy that early.

I have a running partner too.  My 9 year old is running with me.  This weekend at 7:45 in the morning we went for a 2.5 mile run and he did incredible.  I was so so proud of him.

I'm learning so much about meal planning.  I'm also learning a ton about macros.  I'm learning where I can get protein as a vegetarian, I'm learning how much protein I should have, how many carbs, how much fat, etc.

This is all stuff I would love to share with you guys.  I have so many new tips and things to teach you all, to encourage people, but damn is it hard when I can't post at work, or at home.  I'm getting that fixed though.  Then I can post in bed in the morning when everyone else is asleep, or in the kitchen while I cook dinner, or in line at the store while I'm waiting to check out.  The possibilities will be endless and I cannot wait.  I have recipes, powders, and exercises to teach.  Stick around you guys, I'm coming back to blogging full force as soon as this is fixed.

*When I say I'm working on it, I mean my IT guy Lee, because I don't understand a single thing about how this blog works. Not at all.

Seeing red … A numbers game

I am shocked I haven't gone certifiably insane during this whole healthy life journey.  If you aren't careful a person can get very caught up in the numbers.  Numbers like:

How many carbs did I have today? What percentage of my day was fat and what percentage was protein? Out of the carbs I ate how much of it was good useable carbs? How many glasses of water did I drink? On and on and on.

The number that is kicking my ass this week is the scale.  The scale and I go through different periods.  Sometimes I get on it I see a loss and I'm happy.  Sometimes I get on it and I see no loss but no gain and I'm okay with it because I know I still look good.  Sometimes I see a gain and I'm fine because I probably retained more water that day or worked out too hard. Sometimes I see a gain and I see red. Sometimes I see a loss and I want to smash the fucking scale to pieces.

Here is an example.

About two weeks ago I reached 142 on the scale.  I was over the moon.  I felt like a sexy, fit, healthy, mass of awesome.  I was the lightest I had been in 14 years.  The next day I hit 141.  There was some fist pumping and naked dancing involved.  Then, through a series of unfortunate events I saw 144 on the scale.  I was destroyed.  Not because that is a bad weight but because I knew how I had gotten there.  It involved a sandwich, an injury, and one bad mood.

It took me five whole days to see 142 on the scale again.  One would think I would be happy.  I am not.  I am not because it should be 138 not 142.  I shouldn't have had the gain to start with.  This time around, two weeks later 142 feels fat, it feels like shame, it feels not good enough.  It makes me want to throw my glass scale at a wall.  I feel frumpy, I feel like the same clothes that fit at 152 are suddenly now tight and gross looking.


This was me at 152.  I felt skinny, and cute and full of progress.  Today I won't even look at those jeans because I just know they would look awful on me.

This was a progress shot around 150…I was so proud.

This was a progress shot at 141.  I was feeling it that day.  I had only small critiques, I was rocking my red booty shorts, I didn't hate my stomach above my C-section scar.  I was the bomb.  Today….I won't go near the mirror. I weigh one pound more then I did in that photo, and that one pound is murdering my mind.

I finally fit into my little red lounge shorts two weeks ago.  I felt stunning. I strutted around the house in my little outfit feeling the best I ever had.  Today, I crumpled up the little red shorts and shoved them in the bottom of my drawer because I just know they will not fit.

Last week I was progressing photos left and right.  I was feeling good. I was feeling like I had muscle. I was confident at the gym.  I was loving me.  Today I want to wear a mumu.

I've been wearing my little shorts to the gym, seeing progress in my legs, learning to be comfortable with the fact that my legs will never look like the younger girls at the gym, but they look better then they did.  Wednesday and Thursday I wore pants to the gym, because I couldn't stand my legs at 143.

I know this will go away, that it's a mental phase, and that in a week I will feel normal again but this week, this week has been hard.  Some weeks I can ignore the scale. Some weeks I know that my weight might go up but my body fat goes down.  This week, this week everything logical has left my brain and I'm mad at the world.  I'm eating as clean as possible. I'm watching my macros. I'm working out as hard as ever, where are my fucking results.

I know, I know somewhere in the rational part of my brain that I only weight 142 pounds, I am not going to have huge losses anymore. I'm going to maintain and it's going to take even more time to reach goals then it ever has.  I've tried changing my goals from numerical goals to gym goals. I want to be able to do cleans.  I want to be able to do a stupid overhead squat.  I want to see definition in my back.  I'm trying to not give myself numerical goals.  It's almost impossible, because the back of my mind always has a tiny number bouncing around inside of it laughing at me, teasing me.

I hate, HATE, the weeks I cannot make my head be rational.  It's worse knowing I'm being completely irrational and still continuing to do so.

I wrote about this for one reason. I  wanted everyone to see this journey isn't easy.  That 17 months in I still struggle.  That I'm not some perfect little fitness geek who has amazing results every day and who never judges herself harshly. I wanted you all to also see that I'm not quitting.  That I'm mad as hell right now and nothing is going my way, but you can bet your ass I took myself to the gym four days last week and still ate clean.  I did not binge, I did not stay home and be lazy, because I knew in the end I would rather not look back and regret the time wasted, the workouts lost, and the food eaten.  I want people to see every side of this journey.  The good parts, the progress photos, the weight loss celebrations, but also, the bad parts.  The self loathing, the mind fucks, the weight gains.  All of it, so that when it happens to you and you want to give up, you won't. Because this has happened before and I always manage to pull out of it, and come out ahead, and you can too, as long as you don't give into the negativity and let it win. 

But how did you lose the weight

I just realized I spend a lot of time talking about my progress but not enough time talking about HOW I've lost the weight.  I'm going to tell you what works for ME.  Just because it works for ME does not mean it is right for YOU.

The first thing I did was join a gym.  I joined a gym to see if I could stick with it.  I worked out on my own for five months.  About three months in I began to change my food slowly.  First I just tried counting calories.  Then I met my trainer and I got a little more serious about my calories. 

One day it all clicked.  You cannot lose weight without eating right. This meant a complete overhaul of my food.  Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym.  The first thing I did was join a private Facebook group with other women trying to lose weight.  We made a pact to eat clean and log all of our meals, along with photos to share with each other.  For me tracking my food is necessary.  I use the My Fitness Pal app and it works wonders. I tracks my calories, my protein intake, my cholesterol and sugar.  I had to learn how important protein was.  For my body and workout load I need 105 grams of protein a day.  I had to learn that my trainer was right, focusing on weights was far better at burning fat then cardio. I typically spend five days a week going hard on weights alternating upper body and lower body every other day.  Once a week I do a strictly cardio day. Once a week I try and get in a good hike or a long walk with my dog.  I make sure to use every possible muscle during my workouts.  I learned to squat at least seven different ways, all of them working a different area of your legs.

I made the change to clean eating.  The first big change was eliminating almost all processed foods, anything artificial and anything with fake food dye in it.  However I don't eliminate any other food.  My morning protein shake has a quarter cup of raw oatmeal in it.  At lunch I have a half of a whole wheat flat bread with my avocado and toppings.  I splurge on cashew butter. I keep chocolate chips in the freezer in case I get an insane sugar craving.  I don't eat eggs which means I had no problem giving up cookies or cakes.  The lack of eliminating foods makes this so feasible.  My morning protein shake includes organic chia sees, unsweetened coconut milk, organic plant based protein powder, frozen fruit, or sliced apples, and some Stevia.  I snack ALL DAY LONG.  I honestly probably eat every hour or two.  Raw cashews, apples, fresh cherries, avocados, and hot sauce are staples in my daily life.  I subscribe to the Graze Calorie box for good clean snacks when I really really need a treat.  The biggest hugest change I made was cutting out all coffee creamer.  I now use unsweetened coconut milk and Stevia.  Nothing else.  If I have a late night junk food craving I eat a quarter cup of good vanilla yogurt, sliced strawberries and ten chocolate chips. On the rare occasion I have oatmeal or granola for breakfast it is filled with at least a quarter cup of fresh blueberries, and topped with coconut milk. I cut out ALL soda.  I only drink water, sparkling water and coffee.  Nothing else.

I make sure to have protein AFTER my workouts so I can replenish my muscles. 

I workout often.  When I cannot workout I do things like sets of 100 squats while watching TV.  I focus on my planking in all positions to help my oblique, core, and the rest of my body.

I do not exceed 1200 calories.  I also track my workouts on Run Keeper which imports my calorie burn to my Fitness Pal so I can see what my calorie deficit is for the day. I wear a Polar Watch to track my daily gym burn. 

I've eliminated cereal, cookies, ice cream, ramen, from my regular foods.

If I am out and about and need a quick breakfast Whole Foods helps

At night to cleanse my system I add this to boiling water and drink it, along with a shot of apple cider vinegar.

At work when I'm in the middle of my snacking I usually turn to this as a quick fix for carbs, and healthy fat.

Whole Foods rescues me for lunch sometimes too

I keep these protein bars in my gym bag for a quick clean protein fix after my work out.

My morning oatmeal prep

How I pack for work

Quick dinner ideas, Portobello, avocado and seasoning

I work out hard.  I do not screw around at the gym. I don't chat, flirt, or behave lazy.  I go there to do work.  I have a trainer who taught me all of the muscles in my body and which order to work them so I don't fatigue myself.

This has been over a year long journey and honestly it never ends.  There was no quick fix. I refuse to join some program or buy into a meal replacement shake. I just eat clean as often as possible and work out as much as I can.  I subscribe to the 80/20 rule.  That means 80% of the week I eat on point and 20% of the week stuff like dining out happens.

I've stopped rewarding myself with food. When I hit a goal I do something for myself, a pedicure, new work out clothes, etc.  I never reward with food.  If I have a bad day where I mess up and eat some chips I don't panic, I just continue on my path.  There are no gimmicks, no pills, no quick fixes.  This is the healthy right way to live and it works.  I hope you finally wake up one day and realize you are ready for a change also.  Because this has been the most incredible thing I've ever done for myself.

The weight of it all

Yes. I'm still talking about fitness.  Get used to it. I suppose I could change the name of this blog but I don't want to. Just because I chose to stop putting my kids lives out there for the world to see doesn't make me any less of a misguided mommy.  Now I'm just a fit mommy.  You guys all traveled through the first years of parenting with me when all I talked about was poop, and baby clothes, and granny panties.  Now you can follow along with me on this life changing experience.

I've talked about this before but since it's happening right now at this very minute I thought I would bring it up again.  Weight loss is 80% nutrition, 20% exercise and a billion percent mental.  By far the biggest struggle I've had is convincing myself I do not weigh 198 pounds again.  I think people who maybe just gained baby weight and lost it don't quiet understand the struggle of spending at least 10 years of your life overweight and then losing 55 pounds in just a year.  I took ten years to adjust my head around being fat, I cannot adjust it around be thin in only 15 months.  Everyone has their own coping mechanism and mine happens to be photos.  My iPhone right now is 90% pictures of me in various states of undress or different gym outfits and maybe 10% family.  This has been the most helpful part of my mental journey.  This weekend I gained three pounds.  Normally I'm not bothered by that because usually It's after a good workout and my body fat is dropping so I know it was muscle.  This time however I knew it was poor food choices.  The first poor food choices I have made in almost 90 days.  Those three pounds quickly manifested into ten pounds in my head.  By the time I hit the gym I no longer weighed 146 pounds, I weighed 178.  By the time I made it home I was almost back to 198 pounds in my mind.  My stomach was protruding and fat and looked like I was carrying a four month pregnancy. I felt gross and could not wait to take off the cute gym shorts I had loved hours before and hide my thighs immediately.

Tonight though I did something different. Instead of hiding I got in front of the mirror and started snapping away.  I'm a firm believer that mirrors don't lie.

Wait. That girl in the mirror isn't 198 pounds.  Shes kinda hot. Let's double check.

Those are two totally different girls. How did I not see this? 

This morning I started the day out feeling so thin, my shirt size was smaller, my pants too baggy…where did it all go wrong?

Wasn't I just the girl proudly wearing a cute little romper around feeling like the most beautiful girl in the world?

I know what happened.  I went form 143 to 146 without a body fat loss.  In my head I can gain weight as long as my body fat drops.  If I gain and the body fat stays the same my mind spirals out of control with doomsday scenarios.

It's so strange that I can lose 55 pounds (52 as of today) and yet I'm still at the store buying large shirts,

When will that fat girl mentality go away. When will I walk into a store and confidently pick up a medium, or hell even a small and know that it will fit? When will I stop second guessing myself and the words of everyone around me?

I've been accused of being a gym rat.  Of spending too much time at the gym.  Of wasting too much time taking photos and doing side by sides.  I've been told to let it go, move on…insert the chorus of "Let It Go Here."  This makes me so fucking massively angry.  How dare you judge my journey.  How dare you judge my methods of getting there.  I eat clean.  I work out. I hike. I run. I go to the lake and hike the rocks and then spend the day relaxing.  I rent giant inflatable slip n slides and spend the day with a bunch of nine year olds racing down the slide with them.  I take my dog for walks.  I do squats while I watch TV.  I am living a healthy lifestyle this is my normal.  But telling me that my way is wrong or frowned upon is the worst thing you can do.

I'm bipolar, manic depressive and have one of the worst cases of self abhorrence I've ever seen.  Telling me that my way isn't right isn't going to encourage me to do it your way, it's going to encourage me to stop it all.  If you really love me you need to accept my methods. Spending nights at the gym is what works for me.  It's motivating.  I walk in and people stop me to tell me how incredible I look.  People stop me, ME, now to ask for advice.  People stop me and say "I've seen your photos you are such an inspiration." That doesn't happen on a walk.  That doesn't happen on a bike ride. That happens in the gym.  You develope this incredible group of friends who become a solid support system. Who notice if you stop coming, who notice when you are having a bad day and need a push, who notice your achievements.  I've never been on a hike and had someone stop me to tell me how inspirational I was.

All of the positive feedback at my gym has encouraged me to take classes to be a trainer.  I may never become a trainer but what better way to get in shape then to take the classes and learn all about your body.  I have the most incredible trainer ever.  He's seen me at my lowest, my heaviest, my saddest, my most broken and beaten down moments and he's picked me up and cheered me on and supported me through every single moment I question if I had one more squat in me, one more dead lift, one more minute of fitness left. He's stood by me, never missed an appointment, always had a smile waiting, and encouraging words.  He's never let me give up.  He has always treated me as though I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.  Perhaps to some paying for a trainer is the wrong way to do it.  For me, paying this man to be by my side daily has been the best choice I could have made to change my life.  He is truly one of my closest friends.  Not many people can handle my moods, my self loathing, my temper, the moments when I shut down and get lost in my head and just cannot keep going. He does.  He stops the workout, helps me clear my mind, and then punishes me for even second guessing myself.  I've said it a thousand times before I owe Rockey my life.

You don't get this kind of feed back and support outside on a hike or a bike ride.  I'm sure there are people out there who don't need that reassurance but they didn't spend 10 years at a dangerous high body weight, with heart disease inducing cholesterol.  Maybe those people with just a few pounds to lose have no idea what it's like to have been an XL bordering on an XXL they don't know that when your solution to everything is emotional eating and self hate that gaining back every pound is a real fear.   People need to realize every journey is different.  Mine started and ends at the gym. I feel safe there. I feel welcome there.  I feel supported there.  I am praised there. I'm an inspiration there.  People stop me at the gym now for advice and tips because they have watched my progress this last year and a half.

Remember before you judge anyone method of losing weight to realize that most likely they have chosen the method that they know is the safest to keep them from falling back into old habits.  They pay for that trainer because his job is to hound you, and encourage you and tell you that you can do just one more set, just one more curl, just one more, and then high five you and whoop loudly at the gym celebrating YOU. 

No I won't stop taking before and after pics. I won't let it go, I won't move on from that.  Because those photos are what saves me from feeling super depressed and eating a bag of ramen, a family size bag of lays, an entire container of chocolate chips, and jelly straight from the jar, all in under ten minutes.  Those photos stop me in my tracks, clear up my perspective and save my life daily.

Look at her.  Isn't she beautiful?  Isn't she worth it?  Thank god she took that picture that morning, so later in the day when the self loathing kicked in she could flip to that photo in her phone and realized, she is perfect in an imperfect way.