Finding Inspiration

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s.  And back then, we didn’t have cable at home.  And certainly, we didn’t have overwhelming channels that today’s folks have to choose from.  But, we had a few staple television shows that were watched – The Cosby Show, Who’s the Boss? (my favorite), Growing Pains, etc.  And I was obsessed with teeny-bopper magazines that showcased all my crushes (Kirk Cameron and Michael J. Fox), and potential best-friends (Alyssa Milano).  The famous were beautiful.

When Full House made its way to my television. I instantly was in awe of Candace Cameron.  Aside from the fact that she was Kirk Cameron’s little sister AND had had a small guest appearance on Who’s the Boss?, she was the first girl I’d seen on TV that looked like me: cute curls, a little chubby, and with the “Charlie Brown cheeks” that she referred to in a later episode*.  It was wonderful that I could finally identify with someone on TV and in magazines.  I was elated.

young-cc

How cute was she?

Although Candace said she never had an issue with her weight while filming early in the seasons, season 4 of Full House aired an episode called *”Shape Up”, in which DJ goes on a crash diet to slim down for a pool party.  This was an emotional episode for me for me to watch.  Although my eating disorders didn’t begin until a year or two later, I could completely relate to how DJ was feeling and could already see my own disordered eating and outlook.  (Note: While preparing this post, I re-watched the episode for the first time in likely 20 years and had the same emotional response I had the first time it aired.  To this day, it breaks my heart because I know the struggle and I know that most little girls have and will continue to have this struggle at some point in life.)

Later on, Ms. Cameron Bure declared she developed eating disorders a few years after the show had finished filming.  (Although, she states that it had less to do with her weight and more to do with where she was in her life, emotionally and physically.)

Since her days of self-destruction, Candace Cameron Bure has completely changed her body and her health.  She has an incredible workout regime, and one of the best (celebrity) trainers, Kira Stokes, as her own.  And I have found inspiration in them both.

These two have some of the best workouts I have seen.  As a trainer – and a trainee – I am often looking for ways to keep workouts fresh, innovative, and fun.  And these two ladies sometimes help me get there.

candace-and-kira

Candace Cameron Bure and trainer Kira Stokes (photo via Cameron Bure’s Instagram)

 Aside from gaining inspiration for my workouts, I have found inspiration in Candace  herself, from how she approaches fitness and clean eating and even spiritual health.  Three topics I already have in common with her.  Her approach to how she keeps her body lean and how she looks at her muscle and her strength is refreshing and it’s nice to actually see and hear a celebrity talk about it all and show how much dedication it takes her to keep her body in tip-top shape.  Especially when so many celebrities make the claim “I eat whatever I want and don’t work out.”  Pffftt!!

candace-cameron-3-times

Via US

Although Candace Cameron Bure is a celebrity and she has personal trainers and has appeared on Dancing with the Stars where she spent endless hours each day for endless months dancing non-stop, she is also a woman who has worked incredibly hard to get to get and keep a strong, toned, lean body.  Believe me – that takes work!  And, again, I find it inspiring that she has been so inclined to share her journeys with us, the public.  Through her books and her social media accounts and her television appearances, she has been delightful in showing us that if you set a  goal – and work for it – it can be reached.

And what’s even more delightful, and something I have found truly inspiring since I was a pre-teen, is that when she was a young actress and already a very public figure, she never had issue with her body – even, as it has been stated, when other people had. She was a great role model in childhood and continues to be a role model in adulthood.

I will continue to find inspiration from her.  Where do you find yours?

~FB

Getting Strong

Getting Strong

I saw this meme the other day and instantly thought “YES!”

I can attest to its truth.

You see, for years, I wanted to get fit, healthy, strong.  But I wasn’t ready.  Yes, I wanted it, but, I was embarrassed and ashamed of who I was – on the outside.  I had struggled with my weight my entire life and my insecurities prevented me from really going for the gold with my weight loss.

Instead, I succumbed to eating disorders of many variations, to extreme diets, to weight loss supplements of all forms.  When I exercised it was in secret and privacy and for vanity, not for my health.

For several years now I have carried the mantra “If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight“, and I cling to that.

When I finally joined a gym more than 10 years ago I would get up at the butt-crack of dawn, before the sun was up, and would sneak off for my workout while the rest of the world was still sleeping.  Even then, I was exercising for the wrong reasons.  It was still about vanity.  And I didn’t lose any weight.

It wasn’t until at least a year later when I decided to change my life.  That’s when the changes came.  That’s when I decided to put the work in.  Wrapping my head around that in this moment is so easy, but way back then, I just didn’t get it.

When I started to exercise and changed my eating habits, it was for my health.  And I was putting the work in.  And you know what?  The changes came so quickly.  My health improved and my insecurities subsided (to a point) and I finally felt good.  I fell in love with my life.  And with exercise.  I got over my fears of what people would think of me if they saw me on the treadmill or lifting weights or on the rowing machine.  I got over myself, essentially.  I didn’t look to anyone else for inspiration; I looked at myself.  I inspired me.  My life was worth more than how I had treated it before hand.

Sometimes it can be scary venturing into new or unknown territory.  But your health is more important than being afraid to ask someone for guidance.  Or fearing what others might think of you.  In all honesty, when I’m at the gym I’m not worried about what others are doing there (unless they’re hogging equipment).  I’m there to improve myself.  I’m not there to judge anyone.  And more than likely, the people at your gym aren’t concerned with what you’re doing.

I know, from personal experience, that when I feel like I look better, I actually feel better about myself (back to that vanity thing).  If that means swiping on some lipstick or revving up in cute (although durable) new workout gear, like Adore me, then so be it.  Do what you’ve gotta do to motivate yourself; to encourage yourself; to love yourself.

Don’t be afraid to go for that jog or kick the soccer ball around or try a Zumba class.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Get out of your head.  Give yourself a break.  And just do it already.  Your life is worth it.

Fit Bitch

 

It Takes Time

Progress

So often I hear of people who’ve quit fitness because the results weren’t instantaneous.

But you know what?  Results likely won’t be instantaneous.

I’ve said this many times in the past and I stick by it – (think about it) – the weight didn’t come on overnight, so it shouldn’t come off overnight.  This is why I’m wary and against those “diets” and programs that offer nearly instant success, yet, encourage you to not exercise (I’m looking at you, Ideal Protein!*).  I mean, you’ve got to work for it, people!

(*You can read more about the dangers of high protein, low carb diets from my post here: https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-dangers-of-high-protein-low-carb-diets/)

We all want to see our hard work pay off, and it will.  But you have to actually put in the work.  And you have to give it time.

Don’t be discouraged because three weeks have gone by and you haven’t lost the ten pounds you were hoping to.  Our bodies don’t work that way.  You might not lose those ten pounds for a few months.  But I guarantee that if you’re eating healthier and fitting in time to exercise regularly that the wonderful changes you’re making in your life are affecting your health in a positive way a lot more than losing those ten pounds are.

Remember:  Progress is progress!

Hang in there.  Stick with it.  Don’t give up.

~Fit Bitch

 

Healthy NOT Skinny (Day 14)

Healthy not Skinny

Scroll to the top of this page….see my tag line??

“Because Being Healthy Doesn’t Mean Being Thin.”

That is true.  There are plenty of thin people who aren’t healthy and plenty of healthy people who aren’t thin.

What’s more true is that if you make your choices bases upon the idea goal that you want to be healthier, happier, and more productive, then I believe you will surpass that goal  easily.

Getting “skinny” is, often, a result of your healthy living but it shouldn’t be your main goal.  There are so many other wonderful, beautiful outcomes of making healthy choices – better health (obviously), stronger muscles, more endurance, better heart health, increased circulation, lower cholesterol, etc. etc. etc.  The list goes on.

Don’t let the idea of thinness be your main priority – it’s a perfect way to set yourself up for failure.  Love yourself.  Embracing the body you have does not mean you have to stop continuing to better it – but be proud of who you are.  Loving yourself will give you the confidence to keep going (or get started!).

Love YOUR Body - not someone else's

I would love this caption more if we could get rid of “leaner” – so let’s just scratch that out, k?

~Fit Bitch

The Dangers of High Protein, Low Carb Diets

High Protein

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the high protein diets that are “on the market” and I seem to be having discussions about them almost regularly so I thought I’d take the time to let you know my thoughts on, what seems to me, a dangerous fad.

Now, I’m jumping into this topic after having done tons of research and consulting several medical professionals – including my own family doctor and a doctor specializing in internal medicine.  I’d also like to make it abundantly clear that I have also had in-depth conversations with three Ideal Protein representatives (totaling several hours of conversation, questions and research).

So, there are several of these diets in question – Ideal Protein, the Dukan Diet, Atkins (to name a few) and they all basically follow the same protocol: restrict your carb intake and live almost solely on protein-rich foods.  The diets claim “to switch the body’s metabolism from metabolizing glucose as energy over to converting stored body fat to energy”.  Ideal Protein also claims the diet will “reset” your pancreas.

These high protein, low (non) carb plans claim that you’ll lose a ton of weight, fast.  And for the most part they hold up.  But at what risks to your health?  We’ll get to that soon enough.

First, let’s set some things straight.

#1 Carbohydrate is an important energy source for working muscles and for the brain and nervous tissue. It also assists digestion by providing dietary fibre.  Carbohydrate provides the body with its most efficient and accessible source of energy.  In FACT, all exercise – even low-intensity – is reliant on carbohydrate.  In 2002 the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends 45%-65% of total caloric intake come from carbohydrate.

#2 The major role of protein is to build and repair body tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  Protein is NOT a primary source of energy.

#3 Obviously, I have issues with any diet that promotes not exercising.  I think it is irresponsible for a diet to suggest one not exercise.  I know that these diets promote walking (for up to 30 minutes a day), but guess what?  We walk. We’re human and we have two legs and in order to get from Point A to Point B we must walk.  (I’ve also been told by Ideal Protein and Dukan Diet reps that the walking must not be high-impact because it is “dangerous”.)  <<— Clearly I’ll come back to this point soon.

#4 Exercise and physical activity is an important part of a balanced lifestyle.  Exercise promotes healthy weight, builds muscle and increases strength, helps fight and prevent diseases, improves heart efficiency, reduces depression, anxiety, and stress, strengthens bones, reduces body fat – to name but a few benefits.  (Of course, a balanced lifestyle includes eating a balanced diet!)

#5 ANYTIME you eliminate a food group from your regular diet you’re almost guaranteed to lose weight.  This I can speak to from experience.  About 7 years ago I was very ill and, for a year, spent more than my fair share of time at medical and specialist appointments, having tests, tests, and more tests done, and going through my very own elimination diet per one of the specialists I was seeing.  I had to cut out nearly everything from my diet and it sucked.  Sure, I lost tons of weight (and I loved it!) but I was also depressed, lethargic, moody.  I had no energy, I was fatigued all the time; in fact I was so miserable all the time that I started going to bed at 8:00pm – partly because I didn’t want to deal with the world and my sad little life, and partly because I was so tired from my limited diet that I just couldn’t bear to stay awake any longer.  Eventually, my family doctor got me back on a regular eating plan and we worked on alternate ways to diagnose my illness.

Okay, so now that that’s out of the way let’s get back to the dangers/risks/problems of these high protein diets.

– Many of the high-protein foods are also high in cholesterol and fat
– Lack of nutrients and vitamins
– High cholesterol
– Liver problems/damage
– Kidney problems/damage (exerts too much pressure on the kidneys because they are unable to process the high amounts of protein)
– Dehydration
– Headaches and naseau
– Bad breath
– Fatigue
– Depression
– Constipation
– Bone loss
– Ketosis (Unhealthy metabolic state. During ketosis, the body forms substances known as ketones, which can dull appetite and cause nausea and bad breath. Ketosis can be prevented by eating at least 100 grams of carbohydrates a day.)
– Abnormal heartbeat and arythmia
– Deprivation
– Hair loss
– Fainting
– More saturated fat ingested
– PH levels in body change causing digestive issues and skin problems
– Harmful to diabetics because the diet makes it harder to produce insulin and digest sugars)
– No exercise

– Ideal Protein provides “packaged food” – possibly loaded with chemicals or some other mysterious matter – and the plan and food are expensive.

These are just some of the issues these diets can cause.  There are tons more.  And let me just state that on the multi-page health history questionnaire you are required to fill out for Ideal Protein (it seems I’m picking on this one) you are asked about diabetes, hypoglycemia, cardiovascular functions (blood clots, congestive heart failure, etc.), kidney and liver functions, colon and digestive functions, inflammatory conditions, cancer, allergies, medications, ovarian/breast function, endocrine function, neurological/emotional function (including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Schizophrenia, depression, Epilepsy, etc.) and other health problems.  HELLO RED FLAGS!!

And as for the dangers of working out while on these diets, as I stated in #s 1, 2, and 3 – you NEED carbohydrate for physical activity. If you deprive yourself of carbs for any amount of time and try to exercise, believe me, you’re not going to do too well.  Your body doesn’t have the fuel required to perform and you become exhausted.  Imagine depriving yourself of carbohydrate for weeks or months at a time; the end result can’t/won’t be good.  In fact, an Ideal Protein rep told me she had one client who was bringing a few logs of wood from her porch to her fireplace and fainted because it was too much exertion. She also told me that one of her clients was so desperate to go to a Zumba class but had heart palpitations within the first few minutes of dancing that she ended up in the hospital.  If you eliminate a source of energy  that is absolute fuel for your mind and body you are doing a disservice to your mind, body and spirit.

I’m not going to lie to you, when I first heard about these “miraculous” diets I was, of course, intrigued.  But I wanted to to educate myself in all areas first.  And I’m glad I did.  There are too many potential dangers (and I would have answered “yes” to several of the questions on health history – which would have put my body and my life in potential jeopardy had I followed one of these crazy diets.  (And I also have to question anything that comes in a silver foil package.)

These diets are quick fix diets.  That’s the truth!  They claim to (guarantee) you lose tons of weight almost immediately (and I’m sure you do – but not in a beneficial-to-your-life kind of way) and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: If you’re not ready to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight!!  There!  I said it again and I stand by it.

Actually, last week I had a friend email me about joining my boot camp and I gave her all the information.  The next day she told me she decided to go on the Ideal Protein diet because she needed fast and “amazing” results.  To me, working for my results and feeling a sense of pride in my commitments and accomplishments is “amazing”.

I may get a little flack from some people, and that’s fine.  Again, these are my thoughts based on the research I’ve done, including speaking with doctors and representatives of some of these diets.  As a health and fitness professional I think it’s important for everyone to be informed on the cons of these diets (and, of course the pros of carbohydrates, a balanced diet, and exercise).  If you are looking for a quick fix and you feel a high protein, low-carb diet is right for you, then by all means, consult your physician and do what’s best for you. But at least go into your consultation(s) informed and educated.

~Fit Bitch