Instant Results

I saw this meme the other day on my Facebook feed and I thought how true it is and has been for many of us.

instant-results

We’re just entering our second week of 2017 and, as most people do, many of us have also made New Year’s Resolutions.  (Have you?  Tell me about them.)

I almost never make resolutions for the new year because I know I’m more than likely setting myself up for failure.  (Stop swearing.  Yeah right!)

Instead, this time I have have made the decision and commitment to work harder on my strength training this year.  For Christmas I had received a free-standing boxing bag, something I have wanted for a long time.  I was ecstatic Christmas morning.  And I have been utilizing it this past week like crazy.

In addition to the boxing, I am going to continue to my strength training in the gym (and at home) with lifting weights and, hopefully, continuously increasing the weight.  Of course, this part will depend on how my back fares.  I wretched it again just this morning while shoveling snow.  Sometimes I feel like it’s never going to heal.  But, that being said, I will work on my strength while doing my best not to injure myself any further.

work-for-it

My Whole 30 60 (I am aiming big this time) also starts tomorrow morning and I have been so excited to get going.  Don’t get me wrong, I am going to miss chocolate and those dreamy peppermint mochas, but I know how wonderful I feel when doing a Whole and committing myself to completely clean eating for 60 days has me on edge in all the good ways.

But see – this is the point of this post.  Instant results would be fabulous!  But it’s just not realistic.  Oprah said years ago on her show that if there were a pill out there to make her lose weight she would be on it!  But, unfortunately, there is no magic pill. You have to work for it.  You have to.  The only instant result you get is making the choice to change your life.

That’s right, in one instant you can change your life.  You can commit yourself to a better lifestyle – to eating cleaner, to sleeping more, to getting enough water to drink, and to exercising.

30-minutes

Even 20 minutes a day can change your life!

Many years ago, when I was overweight and at my heaviest, I made that commitment. And, as you know, I haven’t looked back.  I have changed my life.

At first, I had a hard time getting through my workouts.  I was panting and huffing and puffing.  I could barely get through three minutes.  But I kept at it and I worked my way up to 10, 20, 30, 60, 120 minutes.  I have often said that 20 minutes a day can change your life  and I stick by that.  You do not need to spend hours upon hours in the gym.  But you do have to do something.  Start off with a goal of even 5 minutes a day.  Work your way up to 10 or 20 minutes over the weeks.  See how different you feel, how easier it is to breathe, how harder you can go.  Feel the difference in your body and how your clothes fit.  Commit yourself to one month.  Give yourself 30 days of eating better and working out even 3 times a week.  I challenge you* to do that. Thirty days is not a long time.  But those thirty days can change your life.

You have to work for it.

~Fit Bitch

*Anyone accepting my challenge, please feel free to comment or email me and let me know you’ve accepted the challenge, or if you want fitness tips, instructions, workout ideas, or nutritional advice/healthy eating coaching.

DREAM BIG

dream-big

It’s not that hard to make your dreams a reality.

In all honesty, I NEVER thought that one day I’d be a fitness guru.  I never dreamed that I’d be training people and leading boot camps, and spewing out nutritional advice.  But here I am.  Doing it all.

And you can do.  Whatever your goal is – aim for it!  Latch onto it and make the dang thing happen.

Tomorrow, your dream could be your reality.

~Fit Bitch

 

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

 

What Yoga Looks Like (Guest post)

Today I am welcoming my aunt, Donna, as a guest-poster for the blog.

She is only a handful of years older than me, being my mom’s baby sister, and has often been more like a big sister than an aunt.

Many years ago, Donna was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  And just a few years ago she was hospitalized and was honestly near death.  Since her hospital visit she has had spinal surgery and is now awaiting another spinal surgery.  She’s had a long, hard road, but she has committed herself to her yoga practice and it has helped her through her struggles.  A few weeks ago one of her practice photos was so beautiful and inspiring that I asked her if she’d like to share her story.  She agreed.  I’ll let Donna tell you the rest.

What Yoga Looks Like

Donna Yoga 2

Donna is truly a #yogainspirer.  Follow her on Instagram @curvymomma_doingyoga

Greetings and Salutations!  I’d like to thank my niece – and best friend – Fit Bitch, for inviting me to share my Yoga Journey with her – and subsequently, with all of you.  o, Fit Bitch, thank you for always supporting me and believing in me; for being my “as-often-as-possible” yoga buddy; and in the spirit of full disclosure, for forcing me to pick up a (pink, of course!) pen, and (fresh, clean, untouched) paper (word of the day: papyrophilia = a lover of paper).

But, as much as I’d lover to tell you about my stationery obsessions, that’s not what I was asked to do.

My Yoga Obsession:  The Early Years

My whole life I avoided things that were meant for “skinny girls” – gymnastics, figure skating, ballet…yoga.

it seemed everywhere I looked I was being put down and left out.  The one and only yoga class I went to in those decades was a prenatal class.  That didn’t go so well; and I decided “Yoga is for skinny girls!”  Yoga would be added to the “Reward List” for when I finally got skinny.

The Intern

Over the years I’ve tried to get my Fibromyalgia body into shape.  My favorite activities were Aquacize, running, and hiking – the latter being the only one I am still able to do.

I “Got Sick”

A couple of years ago I became very, very sick.  In an attempt to treat my aforementioned Fibromyalgia, my family physician essentially poisoned me with too many dangerous medications, prescribed all at the same time.

My official diagnosis was Medication Induced Encephalopathy due to Polypharmacy.  I also had Serotonin Syndrome and Cymbalta Poisoning – followed swiftly by Cymbalta Withdrawal Syndrome 

I nearly died.

My husband was not able to get me to wake up and stay awake.  I couldn’t pronounce words properly.  My heart even stopped at one point!  I saw a vision of my late father walking down the hall toward me.  i was very, very sick.

After a couple of weeks of being hospitalized I was finally released from the Close Observation Unit of the Neuroscience ward, but with permanent damage to my thyroid, liver, kidneys, and the memory, balance, and speech pathways of my brain.  (I now have brain damage.)

While I was in the hospital, I had many tests done, as they tried to figure out what was wrong with me.  They did a CT scan and made the discovery we were not prepared for – I needed Cervical Spinal Surgery, and as soon as possible.  I was having significant spinal cord compression, which could, very suddenly and unexpectedly, cause paralysis.  I finally had the surgery in December 2014.

The Wait

After I got out of the hospital, I knew the fight for my life was beginning.  I knew I had to work hard if I was ever going to be that strong, independent woman I’ve always been.  It was not going to happen on its own.

My Wellness Plan was made up of 3 parts:  1) Get me a therapy kitten, as I would have to get up and care for her, and to give me something else to focus my energies on; 2) Walking – every day we took our little kitty for a walk, which got me out in the fresh air, and exercise my heart and lungs; and 3) Yoga: for improved balance, stability, and strength.  I was ready to hit the road to wellness running (well, hobbling) until I met with the Neurosurgeon:  NO YOGA until after  the Spinal Fusion surgery, due to the high risk of paralysis.  I was absolutely crushed!  It would be another whole year before I was finally given the green light to go ahead and finally begin my yoga practice.

Coco

Coco Chanel – the therapy cat.  It is my belief that this little girly helped save Donna’s life.  ❤

My Yoga Practice: #whosaysfatchickscantdoyoga

It was the end of May, 2015.  We were packing up the car for our trip to the Annapolis Valley (Nova Scotia) for the annual Apple Blossom Festival.  My husband asked me “what’s with the yoga mat?”

I very excitedly answered “If I do yoga tonight, I’ll be able to say ‘I’ve done yoga every day for a week’!”  I kept up that daily practice (I even participated in Yoga Fest with Fit Bitch) until November, when the FFF (Fall Fibro Flare) too me out of commission. Then my practice got demoted to every other day, focusing solely on Restorative and Yin practices (oh how I love my bolster!)

I love my home yoga practice!  I very rarely get to an actual live class, for various reasons.  The main reason being my actual reason for doing yoga in the first place…

My Intention:  Yoga is Making Me Feel Better

If  you look at a group of yogis in a studio class, heavy on Vinyasa, most of the people there will tell you the reason they are there is for a work out, for exercise, for weight loss.  And that’s great!  For them, and for most people, really.  But not for me.  The reason I show up on my mat is for healing.  My yoga practice is wholly therapeutic.  I am in it to get my body into the pose correctly, and painlessly, and I need to rest in that pose for a little longer than a flow class allows.  That’s why I love Yin classes!  Especially at night.  Letting gravity help clean every last drop of goodness out of each pose.

Donna Yoga

This beautiful photo is what inspired me to ask Donna to share her story.  

As previously mentioned, I have a home yoga practice.  I rarely go to a live class, but I follow some fabulous teachers on YouTube.  I have learned most of what I know about yoga from practicing along with videos.

Being in a body that hurts on levels of 7, 8, 9 out of 10 on the pain scale on a daily basis, being able to choose exactly what kind of class my body needs is extremely important.  There’s nothing worse than finally getting yourself to an actual class only to find out that you are not physically capable of doing that particular class.

The best reason to bring your practice into the solitude of your own home would have to be “pajama yoga”!  Or, maybe the pause button?

How I’ve Benefited from Yoga

One of the first things I noticed, as far as benefits go, was my sleep.  For the first time in my life, I fell right to sleep!  Truly amazing.  Another huge benefit I’ve noticed is that I now know how to use my entire body!  I am reaching with my whole side body, not just with my arm.  I can get down and back up from the floor now.  My balance has improved a great deal.  My ability to relax and calm myself; everything has come from my yoga.

I am learning how to use my body in the way in which it was intended and that has taken a lot of stress off the areas that usually “made up the difference”.  I am much more relaxed, overall, and that translates into lower pain levels.  All because of yoga.

The Wait 2.0

Sometime last Fall, I learned I have some significant lower back problems, causing referred pain down my left leg.  I was told to take it easy with the yoga until I got in to see the surgeon.  After a year of tests, switching doctors, and waiting, I finally got to see the back surgeon’s Triage Physiotherapist.  I was overjoyed when she reassured me my back problems had nothing to do with yoga, as I’d secretly thought to be the case.  Yoga and I, once again, got the green light.  I would be able to get ready for Yoga Fest again.  I was elated!  Until….

I passed the triage and was granted an audience with the good doctor himself.  Hoping to hear good things, like “We will fix you right up!”, only to be told, instead, “Be very careful”, left me, once again, in a pit of despair.

It turns out I have Spinal Cord Compression, which could very easily, and very suddenly, cause paralysis.  Sound familiar?  Here we go again.

So now I have the possibility of not one, but two spinal surgeries in my near future.  one in my lumbar spine, which is not being put on the back-burner, and one on my cervical spine (another one, that is), which takes presidence.  And once again, my yoga practice will have to be re-evaluated and checked for neck safety.  But mostly, we just wait.

At least I know that yoga will always be there for me, when I finally get the go-ahead from the doctors again.

Namaste.

Donna

********

I really want to add that Donna’s journey has been tumultuous.  And it has been hard on all of her family.  We have seen her down and out and suffering.

Last year, Donna and I were out shopping for a bit and I said something about living forever when she replied with “I don’t want to live forever.  I don’t want to live in this body for much longer.”  That was heart-wrenching for me to hear.  And it has made me sad ever since.  But, through all of this, she has maintained she is a yoga warrior.

I hope and pray that, if permitted, she is able to continue with her practice.  And that she will heal a little more each day and that the pain she endures daily will subside so that she will want to stick around with us a little longer.

Fit Bitch

Be A Warrior

Today is Monday.  Today is a new day.  It’s the start of a new week.  It could be a start to a new beginning.

Warrior

Put aside any fears you may have when it comes to yourself and starting a workout program.  Forget about any idealistic crap that may have been perpetuated by others about what you should do/be/look like.  Stop worrying about what others may think of you or if you’ll look silly.  Become your own Fit Warrior.

Become the inspiration to yourself and others.

Warrior2

He/She/We/Us/ALL!

You may struggle. You may full.  You may hurt.  (God knows you will hurt!)  You will earn it.

warrior3

Today is Monday.  Today can be the first day of your new life.

BE A WARRIOR.

~Fit Bitch

Be The Fire

On Fire

Just kidding!  It’s really not that bad.

I think, for many, there is a preconceived notion that exercise and good nutrition is hard.  And it’s not worth the struggle.  The truth:  YES, it can be hard.  There are some days when you will feel like your legs are on fire from the squats and lunges, or your abs will be burning from the planks, crunches, or cuts, or your triceps will be screeching hot from the push-ups and dips.  But think about it.  Aren’t you worth it??  With everything in the entire world to focus on, shouldn’t you make yourself the primary focus?

You don’t have to commit to working out every minute of every day, or eat clean entirely.  But make the commitment that you deserve more.  Remind yourself that your body is your temple and treat it with love and respect.  Nurture it inside and out (aka nutrition and exercise), and, certainly, indulge it here and there.

For many of us, losing the weight isn’t the struggle.  That’s not where the fire is.  No, the struggle is loving yourself and accepting yourself, and acknowledging your worth.  It takes time – and believe me, I know it is often still a constant battle – but we are all worth it.

So, dive in, head first, and start that fire burning.  And eventually, hopefully, that hell will become your haven.

~Fit Bitch

Butt and Gut 30 Day Challenge

I am really bad with posting challenges at the start of the month.  But then again, a healthy lifestyle change doesn’t (have to) wait til the start of the month so, I guess I’m letting myself off the hook.  I think any day is a good day to start a workout practice or healthy eating program (not diet!!).  In fact, I’m gearing up to start another Whole 30 on Monday – no point in waiting til the start of August when I can feel so much better sooner?

So, with that being said, below is a 30 Day Butt and Gut Challenge to get you going.  Even if you’re new to exercising, this little challenge is totally doable.  And it’s a great complement to your regular fitness practice if you already have one.

And me, I’m a little nuts and completely in love with squats and lunges and planks and crunches.  And pretty much all of it…except push-ups….I hate push-ups! (The result of a serious back injury.)

This Challenge is so great because it’s only four moves but pretty much works your entire body that you can do right in your home!  It also mixes cardio and strength and will definitely get your heart rate going.  And, you get rest days.  TAKE YOUR REST DAYS!  🙂

I love this Challenge so much I’m going to do it along with my regular workouts.  Why not?  Like I said, it can be a great complement to an established fitness regime.

Give it a try and see how you feel in a month’s time.

Cheers.

Butt and Gutt

~Fit Bitch

Every Step You Take

Every Step you take

*insert The Police music here*

Seriously tho – truth.

Here’s a little story:  When I first started working out I was utilizing the elliptical I’d purchased the year before.  My then-boyfriend found it for me on a great sale and I had every intention of using it, but, man….it was hard!  So I gave up – and stayed overweight.  I wasn’t ready yet.

When I was ready the next year I hoped on the machine and gave it my all.  And my all was only about 3 minutes at a time before I was out of breath, fatigued, and ready to die.  But I stuck with it.  And soon enough I was ellipticalling (I just made that word up) to Oprah each night – stopping when I needed to – but making progress.  I went from 3 minutes to 5 minutes to 10 minutes and before I knew it I was on my elliptical with a good book and an hour and a half had passed.

I stuck with it and what I thought was going to kill me made me a whole helluvalot stonger!

So whenever you feel like giving up – DON’T!  Hang in there.  You may not see results right away (go read my previous post) but I guarantee the results are there.  Your heart is getting stronger, your cardio is building up, your calf muscles are strengthening, your core is tightening.  STICK WITH IT!  Like you – it’s worth it!

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

A League of Our Own

ARMS

I saw this today and thought it was pretty rad.  Okay, honestly, I saw this gal’s arms first and was totally jelly – but when I read the caption I though, yeah, I’m definitely in a league of my own.  In fact, we all are.  Especially when we hit the gym.  There should be no competition at the gym, unless it’s with ourselves.

Coincidentally, I had a gym date last night with a friend.  We totally did our own things but it’s sometimes still nice to make plans to workout just so that we can see each other.  While I was warming up on the treadmill another girl came in.  I’ve seen her there a few times before over the years.  And she’s one of those girls that goes to the gym with her hair down and curled and a full set of make-up on.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d just come from work AND I had a great hair day yesterday, but as soon as I walk thru those doors the hair goes up in a ponytail and the sweat starts to roll.  I’m not there to impress anyone.

Once I was finished warming up I hit the strength room and loaded my weights onto my buddy Smith.  I was doing my thing.  Curly Locks came in and lifted her free weights.  She did her thing, I did mine, and that was it.  We didn’t pay attention to each other.  When she was done she took her curls and left.

Maybe she didn’t want a hard, sweaty workout.  Maybe she was going  to work, or maybe she was heading to a hot date.  Or, maybe she’s one of those people who drops into the gym on occasion, gets her minimal workout in, and feels good for the next 3 months.  Who knows.  Regardless, it’s her business, and my workout is my business.  There was no competition between us because we are both in our own leagues.  My goal last night was to increase my weight.  I am constantly in competition with myself these days and I’m winning.

(Call Charlie Sheen.  #Winning)

~Fit Bitch

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