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

 

Do it for YOU! (Day 8)

DO IT FOR YOU

Oh my gosh, YESSSS!!

Let me just tell you that when you stop “dieting” and exercising for everyone else (boyfriend, wife, mother) and start making better choices for YOU you will see all the difference in the world.

When you’re ready to make the changes – that’s when you’re doing it for yourself (even if it’s so that you can play with your kids without getting winded, or keeping up with your spouse on a bike ride) – it’s when you decide that you really are worth the work – because you’re ready).

One of my favorite quotes is one that I heard years ago and it resonated with me and stuck with me.  I’ve quoted it often (even here) and truly believe in it:

If you’re not ready to do the work then you’re not ready to lose the weight.

I know it sounds kind of dickish but I do believe it.  I had struggled for many, many years with my weight.  I’d had every eating disorder and disordered eating for most of my life.  I’d always wanted to lose weight for good but was never able to really do so (up and down it would go from fad dieting, binge exercising, etc.).  Then one day I saw a photo and literally and honestly didn’t recognize the girl in it.  I was clueless as to how high my weight was and in that very moment I made the decision that it was time to change.  And this time would be different.

I went home that day, made a commitment to change my life – healthy, habits, and all – and have not looked back.  I decided to really put the work and and have been a work in progress ever since.  And I am so happy.

When you change your life for yourself – your life will change.  ♥

~Fit Bitch

 

No Definition

No DefinitionI love this little bit of fitspiration.

From the time I was in junior high I’ve been obsessed with the number on the scale instead of with where by body is.

I still fight with those demons.  In fact, I fight with those demons to the point that I have no idea what my actual weight is.  I guestimate.  I get weighed at the doctor’s office only and even then I choose not to know the number.

I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am – both physically and mentally – and I am proud of my accomplishments in the fitness and healthy living world.  I’ve overcome my eating disorders – and for the most part, my disordered eating – but there’s still that little piece about the number that resonates in me.  *sigh*  I hope to not be battling these demons forever.

I tell my clients too that they should not focus on the number of their weight.  That, instead, they should focus on their healthy choices and fitness regime.  Ignore the BMI (because it’s really not an accurate way to measure your health anyway) and be mindful of their lifestyles.

Be proud of how far you’ve come.  Even if you’ve only lost a pound of fat or gained a pound of muscle – that’s further than where you were last week or month.  That’s something.

I am proud of where I am today compared with where I was this time last year.  Sometimes I need to remind myself about the strength within.  Sometimes I need to quiet those demons.  I’m getting there.  Are you?

#Ownit  #loveyourself

~Fit Bitch

Another Chapter

I am very excited.  VERY VERY EXCITED!!

I signed up today for my next course – The Nutrition and Weight Loss Specialist certification thru CanFitPro.  This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.  It’s something that’s important to me and I’m really doing it for my own growth, education, and knowledge….but I’m not gonna lie…earning a little extra cash from it will be nice too.

I can’t wait to blast this banner:

via CanFitPro

via CanFitPro

I’m really looking forward to this next chapter.  My fitness instructor got this certification this past year and she tells me there is so much to learn and it’s incredibly interesting.  I really can’t wait.

And fortunately, I don’t have to.  I should be able to access the online portion of the course as early as tomorrow so I will be all over that!  Color this girl happy!

~Fit Bitch

Confessions

I don’t ever remember being comfortable in my body.  Not even as a little girl. I remember being 3 years old and having an uncle call me “fatty”, and my entire life my brother has tormented me about my weight. 

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

When I was in high school I started skipping meals and eventually developed full-fledged eating disorders. I initially thought I had the control but in reality, the disorders were controlling me.  And so the struggle continued.  My weight has almost always fluctuated – up and down, up and down – until I discovered fitness those years ago.  I changed my lifestyle completely – exercising regularly and eating differently, and I saw the payoff quickly – losing close to 60 lbs in just about 3 months.  I’d gained around 30 lbs after college and the extra weight that came off was bonus.  I was quite thin for my frame and certain bones poked out here and there.  I loved it.  But I still wasn’t comfortable in my body.

Starting off my exercise routine was pretty basic – a few times a week.  Then, about 4 years ago I started doing Shaun T’s Insanity routine again.  It’s a 60 days program where you work out 6 days a week.  I did this program twice, back-to-back, rarely taking that scheduled day off, therefore working out nearly 120 days straight.  I did another 30 day program, twice, back-to-back, not taking a single day off.  Somewhere in and around these times is when I developed my exercise addiction.

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

I didn’t realize at the time that I was actually doing a disservice to my body (and mind and soul).  I was proud of my commitment to physical activity.  I was excited that I had fallen so deeply in love with exercise and I craved it.  I planned my days, no, my life around my workouts as they were the most important thing.  I missed out on social events because they conflicted with my exercise time, If I had to travel I ensured the hotel had a fitness center and was certain to pack my gym clothes, and sometimes, many times, I’d double up on workouts the few days before just to ensure I had met my own personal quota.  For a little while, it got to the point where I was working out two and three times a day just for the hell of it.  I still didn’t see any issue with my exercise addiction.  

I worked through injuries – a torn rotator cuff, a sprained ankle, and a stress fracture in my foot – refusing to give up on my exercising.  Two years ago when my eye surgery was confirmed and the surgeon told me no exercise for 6-8 weeks my initial reaction was a full blown panic attack with sobbing and tears and partial hyperventilating because the mere thought of not exercising (especially for that amount of time) stressed me out, gave me guilt and, literally scared the crap out of me.  I considered not having the surgery so that I could continue my workouts. I still did not see a problem with my exercise addiction.  I often said that “it’s a healthy addiction.”

Then my weight started creeping back up. I didn’t understand it because I was exercising every day.  So I increased my workouts and my exercise time.  And my weight continued to climb, not a lot but enough to really piss me off – and confuse me.  How was it possible that I was working out every single day; sometimes spending 3-4 hours at the gym, taking tons of fitness classes, running, strength training, you name it, yet my weight was still climbing.  I was beyond frustrated.  Every time I went to my doctor about anything, the subject of my weight came up and I’d end up in tears.

One day this past winter I was having a conversation with a cousin and the subject of my fitness addiction came up and I got really emotional – choked up, teary eyed, cracking voice.  It was the first time I realized that my love of fitness had gone beyond that and once again, something I thought I controlled was, in fact, controlling me.  Unfortunately, I tried to ignore it.  For me, the guilt of not exercising was so overwhelming that I just couldn’t fathom the idea of taking days off. So I didn’t.  And I continued to struggle with my weight climb over the winter and spring.

Then at the very start of summer I went to see a nutritionist.  Although the offer for dietitians and nutritionists have always been there, it was the first time since my eating disorder days that I decided to speak to someone.  And to be honest, the only reason I sought to speak to someone this time around is because it was my fitness instructor who’d just completed her nutrition course and, although somewhat intimidated, I also felt (semi) comfortable with her.  She knew about my whacked out exercise habits – at least to some extent – and I told her that my weight was ever-increasing and I wanted to bring it down, especially since I was working toward my certification as a trainer.  I wanted to get back to looking the part.

She and I discussed my routines and I disclosed to her that, over the last four years I’d logged every single workout I’d done – I accounted for every exercise, every class, and the amount of time I’d put into the workout.  She said to me “So, you can tell me, for the last four years, how many days you’ve worked out and how many days you’ve taken off??”  Of course I can.  (And I’m certain the number of days I’ve taken off from working out can be counted on maybe 3 or 4 hands.)

After a little more discussion (and soul-baring) she determined that I have adrenal fatigue syndrome and over-training syndrome.  That, because my body has been under constant stress for the last 4 years – with little or no rest – my cortisol levels have been elevated for so long and it’s the reason for my weight gain.  She told me I had to start resting and with rest, eventually my weight should start to decrease.  Coincidentally I had an appointment with my doctor the next day, discussed this all with her and she concurred. 

So I started taking rest days.  And I felt no guilt.  I feel no guilt.  What’s really sad – really sad – is that, deep down I knew what the problem was.  Hell, I’d JUST taken the PTS course and read over and over that one only need exercise 3-5 times a week.  Yet, I did not allow myself off the hook that easy.  I think maybe I needed someone to actually tell me that my over-exercising was the root cause of my weight gain but until that happened I wasn’t ready to let go of my addiction.

When it comes right down to it, addiction is addiction.  If I were hooked on heroin or an alcoholic I wouldn’t be able to just quit in the instant because I knew it was bad for me.  And even though exercise is wonderful and so good for your health, I couldn’t – no, I wouldn’t – allow myself to grasp that my over-training was detrimental to my health.  I was so proud of my lifestyle change over the years and my successes that I was determined to keep going, to keep striving for this stupid idea of perfection, to finally feel comfortable in my body.  I still haven’t reached that point yet.  I have a feeling that this will be a lifelong journey and struggle, and although fitness and healthy living has become such a huge and important part of my life, that one little meeting back at the start of summer helped me realize that it doesn’t have to be my whole life.

~Fit Bitch

Being Fit DOES NOT Mean Being Thin!

The other day I was having a Facebook conversation with a guy who was asking if I have any single friends. I suggested a friend to him and he said he would have to decline as she was not his “type.” So I asked him what his type was and he replied “Well, I do like someone fit.”
Now, from what I know of this dude, “fit” is not his type….THIN is his type. And of course I went off on a mini tangent:

“Now listen…..just because some of us have a little extra meat doesn’t mean we’re not fit. I work out every day, just wrote my exam to be a certified personal trainer, and I’m not skinny Minnie….Does NOT mean I’m not fit. Fit and thin are two different things. So…be cautious of what you ask for!”

He really peeved me off. First of all, the girl I suggested to him is not unfit. She works out and she looks great. Another woman I know who he had dated is super skinny to the point that she’s under weight. She’s lost a lot of weight due to stress and then due to not eating. She admits she had eating disorders for a long time and believes that, to a degree, they have resurfaced since she started losing this recent weight. She’s gangly and her head looks too big for her body. To him, this woman is “fit”, to me, she is unhealthy.

There’s a photo circulating the internet and social media that I love. It’s what 150lbs looks like on different women and I think it’s an important image for us to view:

What 150lbs looks like on different women

What 150lbs looks like on different women

Our bodies are different. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. And we NEED TO STOP BELIEVING THAT THIN = FIT/HEALTHY!
Now, I’m not saying that thin men and women aren’t healthy or fit, I’m stating that they are not one and the same.
I don’t want to be shamed into thinking believing that I’m not healthy or fit because I’m not a size 0 (which, I’ve always wondered, why is that even a size? Shouldn’t sizes start at 1??).

Years ago I was on a date with a guy (a professional wrestler, BTW, with protruding tummy), who stated that Pink was fat. PINK. THIS WOMAN:
pink cut

Pink is not fat. She’s a hard-working woman with one of the most cut bodies I’ve ever seen. Yet, my Jelly Belly date decided to take whatever anger or resentment he had for her and throw a weight comment in. Such a dick. Y’know, sometimes, you just can’t win.
(And for the record, even if Pink was fat, who the eff was this guy with his beer gut and slicked back hair to comment on it?)

I’ve sort of lost my train of thought in my writing because I’m angered at these guys but my point, when I started out with this post, is that we HAVE to realize that just because we’re skinny doesn’t mean we’re healthy. Or just because we carry a little extra weight in our legs or arms doesn’t mean we’re not fit. And we need to stop striving for unhealthy goals in order to accomplish something that may not be suitable, realistic or healthy in the first place.

~Fit Bitch

You Don’t Know Me

From reading some of my previous posts over the last year +, you’ve probably come to realize that I hate the scales. I think scales can be the devil and can deter your efforts and, honestly, make you feel like a big ol’ pile of crap. I hate them.

Spending a good portion of my teenage years suffering from eating disorders, I became obsessed with my weight, scales and weighing myself – sometimes doing so 3 and 4 or more times a day. I lived on the minimalist of food – usually just a spoonful of yogurt in the morning, sometimes an apple midday. And I’d jump on the scales all those times hoping, praying for the number to go down, not realizing that that little contraption was killing me slowly.

Eventually, after therapy, relapses, more therapy, and a change in attitude, I decided to never, myself, get on the scales again. I do so only at the doctor’s office and even then, I am not permitted to know my weight. It is too detrimental to my mental health and to my heart.

I’m not going to lie to you…as much as I am all for fitness and healthy and clean living, I still struggle with these demons every.single.day. I probably always will. It is a part of who I am and, for the most part, whether I like it or not, I’ve accepted it.

But you know what? Regardless of the number of the scale, how many squats I can do, how many miles I can run – none of that defines me! What defines me is my spirituality, my personality, my soul, my love, my beliefs, my values – the things that actually MATTER!

I share these personal words with you so that you can accept who you are and (hopefully) not let the nonsense define you either. We are all wonderful creatures and we should be able to lay our heads down at night and reflect on “Was I a good person today? Did I love to my fullest today? Did I live to my fullest today?” and not “Did I eat too much today? Did I exercise enough today? Did I gain any weight today?”<<- because that crap right there doesn't matter. We are who we are. There is no justice in those scales. Love yourself!

Scales

~Fit Bitch

I Know It’s Just a Number

Scales can be the Devil

Scales can be the Devil

Friday I had an appointment with my doctor to follow up on my heart tests, insomnia, etc.   My last visit with her I, once again, addressed my weight.  I am at a good weight.  I am healthy and fit; in the perfect BMI range for my height and age; and as I’d mentioned a while back, my cholestoral levels are “impeccable” (I really like saying that word).  Everything seems to be fine and dandy except, regardless of my exercise schedule and insane regime, I am having a difficult time getting over a plateau.

The last 2 weeks I have decreased my cardio somewhat while at the gym to focus more on strength and building more muscle – as this will certainly help with weight loss – and I know I should really be believing in all that “muscle weighs more than fat” mumbo jumbo since I preach it all the time.  BUT, when I got on the scale (backward, by the way because my doctor and I deem it neccessary for me not to know the number) and found out I’d gained a pound I nearly had a meltdown.  A pound!  I know.  It’s not a big deal.  And my doc and I discussed the exercise and the training and the  “muscle weighs more than fat” mumbo jumbo and I tried to stay calm.

But deep down inside I am still the 16 year old girl with eating disorders and fat fear and OMG, self-esteem issues to the max.  And although I know it’s just a number and there are/could be many contributing factors to weight gain of one pound, I still feel sad and disappointed and frustrated that, in my own mind, I am still not good enough.

So, here’s to good thoughts and self love and exercising for the right reasons and to good (mental and physical) health.

~Fit Bitch

Dear Diary

Apple

Whenever people ask me to help them get on the right path to lose weight or begin to live a healthier lifestyle their first question is always “What should I do?”  Aside from me lecturing them on all the benefits of exercising and healthy eating, I suggest that they keep a food journal for (at least) one week.

Of course there are the non-believers that don’t think that keeping a diary of all you consume (food and drink) will make a difference, but believe me, it does.  It is a practice that was suggested to me when I was a teenager and overcoming several eating disorders.  I’ve also journaled here and there over the years and, trust me, being accountable for all you eat and drink will really open one’s eyes.

We go thru each day not always realizing what we’re eating or how much we’re eating and it certainly adds up.  I guarantee you, if you record EVERYTHING you eat and drink for one week you will be surprised at how much extra you’re putting in your body.

Many people graze while they work or even while they’re preparing dinner.  Some snack more and more throughout the day.  And, a big sabateur of weight loss is drinking your calories.  Many of us don’t realize how many calories we’re drinking each day – from all those coffees, or lattes and especially alcoholic beverages.  I am a practitioner of not drinking my calories.  There are many-a-night when I’d love to go home and have a nice bottle glass of wine but I almost always pass because I don’t want the extra calories.  I try to save my wine drinking for special occasions.

‘ “You would be surprised at how easy it is to forget how much you have eaten in one day! Just jot down the foods and, if possible, the approximate calorie count.” According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Obesity Education Initiative, keeping a food diary and an activity diary is one of the best ways to help both weight loss and weight management. You can include your diet, your daily exercise, and your weight goals. ‘

Once you have had the opportunity to review your intake for your week you will have a better grasp on your habits and calorie intake (everything adds up, so don’t forget your condiments) and from there you’ll be able to work to making better choices, to being be more aware of when you’re grazing or snacking, of how many of your daily calories are coming from your drinks, and you can move forward to eliminating some of the unneccessary calories and having better portion control.

Happy Journaling.

~Fit Bitch