Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Schedule Your Commitment

Committing to the gym has been monumental for my emotional well being. Exercising releases endorphins and makes me feel good. There are times, however, when getting from the couch to the gym is a struggle. Most of the time, I am excited to go work out. If I miss that window, however, and start cuddling with my dogs or scrolling through social media, it's harder to leave.

The remedy for my situation is that I now schedule in five workouts a week. Five. If I can get to the gym all seven days, more power to me, but if I can't, I know I am still lined up for five solid gym slots. Today, things happened that were outside of my control and I didn't get to the gym... yet. But instead of trying to stop the wave, I chose to ride it. I went where the day took me, knowing that my commitment to myself would not be compromised. And now, at 5:58 pm, I am looking down at my still-laced-up shoes, I am getting ready to go.

Yesterday, was leg day but I added HIIT to my workout. Today, I am doing a big, fat cardio workout... because I deserve it, and I have new kicks to break in. HOT PINK KICKS.
Rolling out, leaving behind my three little pups (who are being so quiet and awesome that I just want to snuggle and read on the couch with them beside me) isn't easy, but I know that when I come home, I will feel good about the choice I made and will still be able to enjoy my pups. If I can find the time and dedicate one hour of my day to my body (that's only 4% of my day), then you can, too.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sun's Out!

Seeing the sun shine bright first thing in the morning makes my day. I'm not a fan of grey skies and rain (my son's favorite), though I do appreciate it's benefits.

While sunny skies in summer beg for a lake or shore day, a long hike or bike ride, it's very important to protect your skin. I know, I know, you've heard it all before. And maybe you think that sunscreen is more toxic than the sun (it's not, if you buy the right stuff), or maybe you want a nice dose of vitamin D (which you can get in a short period of time, and through supplements), or hey, you believe a healthy tan is possible if you use SPF to obtain it (it isn't). I've made every excuse in the book, eaten antioxidant rich foods, and laid out in the blazing sun to get any amount of color my skin could handle. It wasn't until my father was diagnosed with melanoma that I started to take sun damage (that's what I call a tan) seriously.

Melanoma commonly occurs in young people, unlike basal cell carcinoma, that tends to appear over the age of 40. It is possible to see basal cell in young people but it's more commonly not. Melanoma, however, spread to your internal organs, and if not caught quickly, it's deadly.

And if you get none of that in your lifetime, you are blessed, but your skin will probably look like wrinkled leather, and who wants that?

So, how can you keep yourself as safe and protected as possible? It's so easy. My dermatologist over at Sloan Kettering gave me some tips. When you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, wash your face, and apply sunscreen to your exposed areas. Be sure to get your hairline, ears, and neck. If you keep your sun screen near your toothbrush, it will be easy to remember and become part of your daily habit. Many day creams have an SPF, which makes your routine even easier. Concealer is opaque, so that will help protect your face from the sun, too.

Always wear really good sunglasses, even on cloudy days. The sun's ultraviolet rays can harm your eyes, and cause things like macular degeneration, but it can also cause melanoma in the eye itself, which is a very tricky thing to discover and treat. See your eye doctor for an annual exam to increase your chances of finding issues early on. The more expensive the sunglasses, the better (for the most part). Look for glass lenses with a UV Category Filter 3, if possible. I just got the Chanel Pilot Summers and love them. Then lenses are super dark and very sturdy. Click here to read what the filter readings mean and why they are important.

My Ray-Ban Aviators (blue mirrored), I have many pairs of shades, are also a Category Filter 3.
Cheap sunglasses are a big no-no. The problem with them is that they provide shade so things get darker, causing your pupils to dilate. What it's actually doing, now, is allowing more unprotected light to penetrate your eye. Read more about that here.

With all this, you should be feeling pretty good. You'll putting SPF on all exposed areas (put it on before you get dressed so you don't miss the spot where your shorts meet your legs, or your sleeve meets your arm), including your ears and hairline. You'll have great sunglasses to protect your beautiful eyes and vision. Lastly, put a hat on! Your scalp can burn, too! There are great brush on dry sunscreens for your head; I use Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 50. They come in different shades (mine: fair). You can find it cheaper on Amazon and Overstock (where I get mine for $33), amongst other shops, but use the Colorescience link here to read about it, first.

If you aren't sold on all this, click here to see what sun damage has done, in terms of aging, to a trucker whose left side got tons of sun exposure through his window (YES, wear sunscreen while driving!) And if you don't believe that skin cancer is a very dangerous thing, that happens to young people, watch this. (Or put your head in the sand and hope for the best.)

Look, I understand this is tough. I hate applying sunscreen, and I miss having a tan. I miss seeing the signs of summer on my body. It looks pretty (for a while, at least) and feels like something magical. But it's not. It's a big, fat, lying deceptive thing, that tan. Tans increase melanin production to protect your skin, which results in a tan. It's a defense mechanism for your skin. And, by the way, a tan doesn't protect your skin from sunburn.

Please share this blog out with the people that you love. Please do your part in helping them succeed. If you are a parent, buy your kids those really expensive sunglasses that they want, even if it means eating ramen noodles for a week (and kids, if your parents do that, be sure to take great care of them and wear them all the time). Please buy really good sunscreen. Please set a great example for those around you. Don't comment on what a great tan people have, because you are perpetuating the idea that tans are a good thing.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What Makes You Want To Move?

Regardless of what type of exercise you choose, you should have fun doing it. The idea is that if you are doing something you enjoy, you will want to do it more often, and it will be easier. My main source of exercise was walking one or two (or three) of my dogs, but I knew that I needed to get back to the gym to shape things up. I always love the weight room, but it's so much more fun when I go with my husband. We don't work out together, but we are in the same room, and seeing him there committing to his health really inspires me.

Look in the mirror. You'll see my husband (and gym buddy) snapping this photo for the blog.

It's not just the gym, or the walks, that make me happy. I am a huge fan of yoga. I've fallen away from it for a while, but recently went back to a class, and it got me motivated to return again. Fitting all of this into a busy schedule isn't easy, but it's certainly possible. I've gotten out my calendar and scheduled in gym time and workout time. This way, no matter what comes up, I know I've made a commitment to my health. It helps me choose the best time to eat for fuel, the best times to up my protein with shakes, and when to walk my dogs, make phone calls, and get everything I need to get done.

And when I walk my dogs, sometimes I turn it into a little dance.

Let me know what your favorite choice of exercise is, and what makes you love it so much. Life is fun, live long and be fit!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pay Yourself!

In my process to get healthier, I look not only at what I eat or how I workout, but also at other aspects of my life. It's important to have a healthy body, but with that, you really also need a healthy mind, and a healthy bank account sure doesn't hurt, either.

I am a huge fan of Alexa Von Tobel, author of the book Financially Fearless and the founder and CEO of the financial planning site, LearnVest. She has a weekly show on Sirius that helps people plan for their future by getting them in shape financially. I listen, a lot. Spending has always been an impulse reaction for me. The money always comes. But as I get older I realize that I get to choose how I want to handle that money. I invest it in amazing companies and craftsmen by buying their products and using their services, but I also want to start investing it in my life down the road.

The seed had been planted for a long time coming, but for me, actually doing big time saving hadn't happened.

And then, while listening to the morning show, Wake Up with Taylor, I heard an interview with Priya Milani co-founder of the company Stash Wealth. While the company is geared towards twenty- and thirty-something H.E.N.R.Y.s (High Earners Not Rich Yet), much of the advice certainly applies to late bloomers like me.

The take away from all that I've heard from both Stash and Von Tobel is to pay yourself first. Instead of paying the bills, allotting for groceries, gas, and then putting money into savings, you instead first put into savings and then live off the rest of that money. (Also, don't use credit cards unless you can (and do) pay them off at the end of the month.)

I did it! Yay me!

Today, I made the leap to open a savings account that was on the top of the Stash list of banks. It has the highest APY I could find. Ally and CapitolOne360 were the two favorites because they have really good APYs (in large part because they are online banks and don't need to pay brick and mortar fees).  I was nervous and excited as I named my account it's wish list name, and transferred a large sum of money into it. I am still just paying myself, right? It's my money, being invested in my future, into a savings plan that I can access at any time. But it felt big. Scary even. And then I thought about what that savings plan was being created for, and let out a huge sigh of relief. I did it. I invested in me.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Getting It Back (and Loving It)!

Since my last post, I have been committed to working out. I haven't been going daily, but have gotten into a habit of going three times per week. Truth be told, I'm a sucker for leg days, so they are always in the rotation. Leg days are great in that they quickly show progress, and most of the exercises are based on things we do all day long (sit, climb stairs). Plus, working big muscle groups grows those bigger muscles, and muscle burns fat. So getting my quads and butt working help me burn calories all day long... even while I sleep.

You've got 'em, work 'em!

On the flip side, cardio is not my thang. I like cardio, but I don't get excited for it. I don't crave the hill climb or the elliptical, until I'm about 7 minutes into my workout. I actually used to talk myself into (or out of, depending on the day) cardio, but now I just decide to do it. I tell myself what I am doing and then commit to it. As a former trainer, I know that people are willing to pay a lot of money to have someone whip their butt into shape. So if I do it myself, I get the payday {wink}, right?

However, all this is sort of a moot point if I'm rolling up to the McDonald's drive-thru though. The quality of what we put into our bodies has a huge effect on the quality of the return. This is evident by looking at people on the treadmills at the gym. Some people work so hard but their hard work doesn't seem to show. Are you one of those people?

There are answers out there. Answers to why you aren't seeing the results you desire. Answers to why all those hours at the gym aren't amounting to killer abs. Maybe it's not about what you're eating, but if it is, that's a pretty easy fix.

When I made the choice to hop aboard a nutrition program that I watched my friend do, successfully, for two years, I was excited but nervous. I had hopes and expectations, but no idea about how I would feel once I got started. I learned that having a plan in place takes away the guess work and makes life easier. I learned that I was in control of what I ate, and I was in control of my health. It was freeing and empowering.

I am excited when I wake up every morning. I no longer dread getting dressed and looking in the mirror. I am happy. I have hope. And I want you to feel that way too. Everyone deserves to feel amazing and proud of themselves. If you aren't there yet, but you're ready to take control of your life, I can help you. I'd love to talk to you about all the possibilities that lie ahead for you!

Friday, April 7, 2017

It's Friday (Fri Yay!) and I'm Doing...

... nothing!

I have to tell you, my abs are still sore. The last time I did anything was the plank I did in the video (that I added to the last blog) earlier this week. Tonight, I was going to go to the gym. I was. Seriously. But then this happened...

My three wild pups are so quiet right now.
Truthfully, it was super chilly today, I worked and had lots to do. I was running all day, and since I'm completely out of my daily adaptogens (they keep me rollin'), I'm moving a tad bit slower. I recognized that right now my body needs rest, so I made the choice to wait until tomorrow to go to the gym.* I had some yummy black bean pasta (which is an awesome thing to eat when gluten isn't an option) with a sliver of goat's milk butter and black truffle salt.

It's so important to honor our bodies and respect the way that we feel. If we aren't in the mood to workout, pushing ourselves to do so is usually rewarding. But if we feel tired, if our body is asking for rest, I think we need to allow ourselves the space to slow down. And truthfully, the reward of a pack of warm dogs snuggled up into each other and pressed against my lap is worth everything.

*I got a bunch of new LuLaRoe pants today, so I'm really looking forward to doing leg presses in them (will take pics of the awesome designs).

Monday, April 3, 2017

Talk About Checking Your Ego at the Door (My Lord!)

It's been a long time since I last posted.

The years between when I started this blog and today's post have been quite eventful. I spent most of those years living in an incredibly stressful state. In eight years, I dated three men, one worse than the next. I didn't value myself, so I didn't know that I was worthy of love. In fact, I didn't feel worthy of much. Because of that theme vibing in my life, I had high levels of anxiety, ate too much, drank too much, and was always feeling dramatic.

I went from being a certified personal trainer to spending most of my free time throwing back burgers and beer, laughing at the thought of the gym. In my mind, I'd been there, done that. I found people who were like me, who cheered me on by saying that we weren't getting any younger, may as well eat and drink whatever we want. Misery, my friends, does truly love company. What I found was that those years of throwing caution to the wind ended me up fat and unhappy, looking at myself in the mirror and not recognizing the face before me. My jeans kept sizing up, up, up.

I met my husband, the most wonderful man in the world, at a time when I was kinda finding my stride. I was on the upswing, in a way, but still unsure of how I wanted my life to be. I'd worked really hard at seeing myself for who I was and how I contributed to all that had happened in my life. I made choices that got me to the place I was at, and I had the power to fix them. I started running and doing yoga, I became more mindful about how I ate. I paid attention. I read a lot.

My husband was, and still is, my greatest supporter. He is always there for me, helping me stay focused and reminding me to love myself. But I do know that self-love is an inside job, and only I can make that happen.

Self-love + puppy love = happiness

About six months before we got married, my friend Kelly (who was studying to be a nutritionist), helped us with a food plan to help get our bodies wedding ready. It was a practical plan and it worked. We went back to the gym, to boot camp, yoga, and started running once again. It was a strong time in our lives. I lost about thirty pounds. Since then, I have gained back about ten pounds. It's not the worst thing, but it's not the direction I intended to go. I just couldn't figure out what to do. I had developed hallux rigidus which made yoga very difficult to do. Some days, even walking is painful. I remember going into a downward facing dog and out of nowhere came the most awful pain in my big toe. I had no idea what had even caused it. Brutal. Following that, I had some weird symptoms that lead to lots of doctor's visits, testing and bloodwork, and at the end of it all, an elevated RA Factor. They weren't sure if it was from my pre-existing Hashimoto's Disease or if it was something else (rheumatoid arthritis? fibromyalgia?). There is more, but I am already boring myself with the details, so I must get to the point...

Life is what you make it. At 47, I had two options: to decide that I'm just not getting any younger and just throw in the towel, or get my life back. I chose the second option. I changed the way that I ate, reprioritized my life, and started to turn towards healthy things and people. That was in January. As of now, I am down over 10 lbs., my stiff joints are less painful (and not stopping me), and I am focusing on the positive and finding new paths to health.

Today, taking a page from my husband's television world, I made a video of myself planking. (Okay, I made three but the first two stunk so three time's a charm! P.S. the first plank I did was 2 minutes long, I SWEAR). I did this video for accountability and honesty. Maybe if someone sees a real post-menopausal woman, curvy and struggling but giving it her best shot, they will be motivated to do it, too.

Don't laugh, but DO share positive vibes!

Video! Eeeek!