Slaying the Sugar Dragon

SugarDragon

I finished my last Whole30 in May and it was a really great 30 days of strictly clean eating – with the exception of having a small sliver of cake at my grandfather’s 99th birthday party.  I fully acknowledged I would possibly being doing that prior to starting my 30 days in May and I fully made amends with it.  I have done the Whole 30 program so many times over the last two years and I decided that if I wanted to have a piece of cake with my grandfather to celebrate his 99th birthday, I darn well would!  And without the guilt (although I did feel some) and without restarting the program.  Like I said, I’ve committed to 30 days many times in the past and this one indulgence was an exception to the rule.

THEWHOLE30

This book changes everything!

But, since I finished those 30 days and since the start of summer, I feel like I have been overindulging way too much.  I feel sluggish and fat and bloated and kinda disgusting.  So, I decided last week that I would start a new Whole 30 this coming week.

At first I was okay with it.  Then I was feeling a little panicky because I’ve been enjoying my treats this summer.  And that right there is the problem!  Too many treats!  the sugar dragons are slaying me and I need to change that around.  So, now I’m back on board and fully excited about starting fresh on Monday.  I literally cannot wait.

So why wait?  I’m sure you’re asking.  Because I need to get ready.  To be honest, I (personally) don’t find the Whole 30 program that hard.  There have been a few times in the past that I struggled a bit with cravings, but most of the times I’ve done the program, I have been A-OK.  And I’m pretty stubborn, so when I commit myself to doing something like this, I fully commit to it.  That being said, it’s not something I want to jump into.  I need a couple of days to plan it out.  I need to think about food choices and meals and preparation and “it’s still summer and where am I gonna be next week?” types of things.

But I’m ready.  And I am motivated and committed and I can’t wait.  And each time I look in the mirror and I see that weird little belly bloat, it gives me the kick-in-the-butt-motivation I need to ensure I go through with it.

Sugar Dragon

That’s me slaying the beast…I’m the one in pink.

If you haven’t tried this program, I encourage you to do so.  It’s only for 30 days and it cant help you rid your body of bloat and inflammation and possibly even excess weight.  The benefit of ridding yourself of sugar cravings and having food freedom – even for only 30 days – can make it all worthwhile.  And you don’t have to skimp on meals or count calories. You get to eat delicious, fresh and whole foods.  And you can experiment with different foods or food combination.  I have never felt less than satisfied when doing a Whole 30.  And Pinterest is a great place to find recipes, guidance (although I fully recommend that you read the book The Whole 30, it might change your life), meal ideas, etc.  Here’s a link for some great lunch ideas.

If you’re not ready to try 30 days of clean eating, maybe ask yourself why.  What would you be afraid of?  That chocolate cake or ice cream sundae will still be there in a month’s time. Going without processed mayo (Whole 30 has several recipes for mayo) is not going to end you.  Check out the book and the website and consider giving it a try.  And if you have any questions, comment below or shoot me an email

~Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 5 Wellness Favorites

wellness

I was asked recently about favorite personal wellness tips and as I’ve been reflecting on my regular routine, I’ve been able to narrow them down.  Here are my top five favorites:

1.

Exercise and nutrition/clean eating.  Obviously I have a passion for fitness and good basic nutrition.  They have become such a huge part of my life that it is more than apparent that they would be number one on my list.  And, since I believe fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand, I have joined them as top rank.  I am a huge lover of cardio, but for the 8 months, I have been completely obsessed with my strength training and have been focusing most of my gym time on that.  I would encourage everyone to add a strength training routine to their regular fitness regime.  I’m also a cheerleader for clean eating and following the Whole 30 program.  I am not a clean eater 100% (I literally just ate a handful of salted caramel chocolate chips), but I often try to stay away from processed and junk and fast foods as much as possible.  In fact, I am gearing up for a Whole 30 in a few weeks.  I also love starting my day off with some form of exercise.  It used to be a crazy Insanity workout or other form of cardio, then it was yogo, and this summer it has been early morning walks.  I am so in love with my early morning walks for a few reasons but the biggest one is the solitude in the mornings.  It’s usually just me out there and I love the stillness and the quiet and the fresh air in my face.  I also love the little feeling of accomplishment in the mornings and the walks have been giving me that.

2.

Water.  Lotsa water.  I love water.  It’s my favorite drink.  In fact, aside from a morning coffee or the occasional glass of wine, it’s the only thing I drink.  And I drink a lot of it. Water is essential in every day life – you can read here a past post on why water is important.  I love water and I constantly have a glass of it on the go, whether I’m at work or working out, I try to continuously guzzle.

3.

Sleep.  Sleep is right up there with water – it’s essential.  And it’s a big part of how I’m going to function.  I hate not getting enough sleep.  About 5 years ago I had a bad bought of insomnia for months on end and it was terrible.  I was barely functioning.  I was a walking zombie.  I’ve written two posts previously on sleep (you can read them here and here) and I stand by my word.  I love sleep.  I try to get as much as I can but it doesn’t always work for me.  A good night would have been sleeping 7 hours but most nights, according to my FitBit, see me sleeping anywhere from 5 to 6 hours.  Eventually, when I’m exhausted enough, I’ll manage a good 7 or 8 hours, but I will always strive.

4.

Me Time.  It’s really important – no, make that crucial – that every person take some “me time”.  Although my morning walks and other workouts can often be accounted for as me time, I like to find time during the day just for me.  Time far away from chaos and hustle and bustle and social media.  This me time is usually my reading (or writing) time.  I am an avid reader and become completely enthralled in my books.  And I look forward to curling up under the summer sun or before bed to leave where I am and, instead, get lost in the words of my book.  I urge everyone to take 20 minutes (at least) each day to themselves.

Sparkles

5.

Quality Social Time.  I am a social being.  In fact, my nickname has always been social butterfly.  Just as it’s important to take me time, it’s also important to have social time with other people.  I love spending time with my family and my friends and my co-workers and my workout buddies.  Getting out and enjoying the company of others (and allowing them to enjoy your company) is very important to maintaining good mental health.  And mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health.  Having fun or having a good cry (if required) are important to keeping us healthy and balanced.  And this means getting social in person – not hopping onto Facebook to chat.  Your mind, body, and soul need you to interact with other human beings.  So, whether you go to a fitness class or a Bible study or book club or just get together with your friends or family, ensure that you do it.  Often.

mind-body-soul_design

So, that’s it.  Those are my personal top 5 (I’m sure there are more) favorite wellness tips to living a healthy life.  What are yours?

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start

Happy Monday Morning!!

Today is the start of a brand new day…and week.  So why not make the decision that today will be the day you change your life.

Bad Workout

Deciding to start a fitness program or healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to commit to running a marathon or hitting the gym every day or signing up for an intense boot camp class (though, you’re more than welcome to come to mine!).  You can start your brand new life by going for small walk around your block or adding in the Commercial Break Workout to your TV watching routine or even, since it’s summer, going for a swim.

Just do something.

I promise you that if you started adding a little fitness (and healthier eating) into your life your body will thank you.  And soon enough, your body will crave it.  Chances are you will feel more energized and happy and excited…and proud.

So, Happy Monday!  Make today the day you change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Spring Rolls

This afternoon I got a hankering to make my own spring rolls.  Something I had never done before.  But, I said I’d do it…and I did it.  I wanted something that I could take to work for lunch, something yummy and interesting and I believe I succeeded.  It was actually really simple and cheap and they were delicious.

I picked up a package of rice paper at the grocery store – the only required necessity – and a few more vegetables to add to what I already have in my fridge and went on my merry way.

Rice paper

You dunk the rice paper rounds in warm water for about 20 seconds then spread them out on a plate or platter

I had a gorgeous repertoire of veggies – and an apple for a little bit of sweetness and added crunch and chopped everything up perfectly.

Veggies

Red and orange peppers, red and green onion, cabbage slaw (because I’m really cheap and really lazy to buy it all separately), tomato, cucumber, and apple. 

I tossed heaps of all that beautiful and healthy goodness onto my rice paper and rolled like a pro.

Veggie Rolls

Beauties.

I left most of them cold and raw but wanted to try a couple of them warm so I tossed them in the skillet and sauteed them.

Skillet Rolls

This one looks like it’s had a rough night, but I promise it was just as delicious.

There you go!  An easy meal option when you want to eat healthy and try something new.  (If you have kids you can fake like it’s Taco Tuesday and let them make their own rolls – super fun!)

I’m not a big fan of people who say eating healthy is “expensive”, “too hard”, “gross”, etc. and use that as an excuse to eat junk.  The package of rice rolls was around $3 and I think has 12 or 15 rolls in it.  I made 6 rolls in total – 2 or 3 would be enough for a meal on it’s own (1 or 2 if you’re having it as a side to something).  I have plenty left over for lunches.  AND, you can put as much fillers in as you want – as long as you’re gentle and don’t tear the paper.  Cheap and easy and healthy and decadent.

~FB

Burnout

burnout0A while back I wrote a piece on my over-training syndrome and addiction to exercise and how it attributed to weight gain and other health issues (including adrenal fatigue).  Once I realized had confirmation that my glutenous exercising was taking a toll on my health, I pulled back the reigns somewhat and began to let go of my addiction.  Although still maintaining a fairly strict exercise regime, I let go of the idea that I absolutely needed to work out every single day and became more lax.  And I think cardio was killing me.

This past year, as you may have read, I have changed up my fitness goals and have been concentrating on strength training and lifting, spending most of my gym time in the weight room and venturing into territory that, though I have always maintained some strength training, has been on the up-and-up with me.  Power lifting and such has become somewhat of a (new) passion and I’m really excited about it and look forward to the days I can get to the gym.  Which, of late, seems to be more and more frequently.  With classes at least three times per week, I have been making efforts to hit the gym the other 3 to 4 days each week.  The other day someone referred to me as a “gym Nazi”.

On top of classes and gym time, the last few months I’ve gotten more and more into hiking – mostly on weekends or sometimes on the off-days from working out.  And I have been walking every day on my lunch break for the full hour, and several days before work for anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes.

This week, I had some pretty insane workouts – including lifting the highest amount of weight I’d ever lifted (impressing even myself), and Thursday I totally overdid it.  Like, completely.  I did two major walks – 40 minutes before work and an hour at lunch and in the evening I did my regular Thursday night gym routine, spending nearly two and a half hours in the gym, and ending the evening with a Zumba class.  (Thursday is my favorite night of the week!)

Lift Exhaustion

Although during my exercised-fueled endorphin rush I felt awesome and energetic and like I could take on the world, by late Thursday evening I was zonked and actually nodded off on my couch.  I never fall asleep on my couch.

Friday morning I awoke with not a lick of energy.  I was literally physically exhausted and drained.  The entire day I felt like I got hit by a truck.  A big-ass truck!  I was barely functioning at work and felt like no amount of caffeine would be able to help me.  I was relieved when the work day ended.

Out of Order

This is how I felt Friday…keep knocking…there’s no one home.

However, I am a moron determined and decided that I still wanted to ensure I got another workout in, since it was cold and raining on Friday and I barely got a walk in (short one in the morning and shorter one in the afternoon – resulting in very wet pant-legs) and I headed to the gym once again.  It’s really all I could think about Friday and I really was happy to get there.  I spent way too long there Friday night working out (about an hour and 40 minutes), lifting and finishing with a little cardio.  I felt like I could conquer the world and could keep going but, sometimes I have to say “enough’s enough”.

Although I ventured back to the gym yesterday for what turned out to be a great workout with a buddy, I felt like I didn’t or couldn’t put all I had into my workout.  And although I slept wayyyy too long Friday night into Saturday, I was still very tired and needed to push myself.

I made the decision to definitely take today off.  Even though I was invited to participate in a fun-run for Apple Blossom festivities, I was happy when the invitee texted to say that she was declining as well.  Thank goodness.

I have spent most of today and last night recovering from last week and I am determined  to not let myself get to that point again.  The point of physical exhaustion and burnout.  I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced exercise burnout before.  It’s definitely different than the over-training syndrome and adrenal fatigue I experienced a few years ago.  I’ve also decided this week to opt out of any FitBit challenges that I’ve been invited to as I feel like I’ve been too competitive lately and that has been fueling me a little more than it should.  I am not Monica Geller.

And, let’s face it, I know better.  I wasn’t trying to get to this point on purpose.  Exhaustion is NOT a status symbol.  I know the effects of over-training and risks exhaustion can pose. Up until the end of this past week I wasn’t feeling the effects of my workouts.  And perhaps this is a one time occurrence, but I will be more careful as I go into a new week.  I will not attempt more than I can handle.  My body is my temple and as such, I shall treat it like one and show it more respect.

~FB

Eat the Doritos*

Chips

Last year a friend was telling me how she had fallen off the fitness wagon.  She was busy with work and her kids and her life was consumed with normal life things.  Then she told me that the week prior a friend of hers was diagnosed, at age 30, with ALS.  She was so sad about this news and she said to me “I know that I need to stay fit and healthy and on track, but sometimes, I just want to eat the Doritos.”

Last week this same friend buried her mother.

This week one of my closest friend’s father passed away from a sudden massive stroke.

Several weeks ago my brother was injured badly in a motorcycle accident.  He just returned home a few days ago after spending 16 days in the hospital.  He’s very fortunate and blessed to still be with us, but he’s got a long road of recovery ahead of him.

Needless to say, the last few weeks have been overwhelming with so many tragic and stressful events all heaped together.  And believe me, I wanted to eat the Doritos!  All of them.  Well, maybe not Doritos but I certainly wanted to bury my emotions in chocolate.  And maybe I did…a little.

I am a very emotional person and I am a bit of a crybaby and sometimes when I’m trying to hold it all together I feel more and more like I’m going to fall apart.  I felt that way a bit with my brother’s accident.  He is a very strong person, physically.  He always has been.  He lifts weights and he boxes and runs and bikes and he wrestled.  He’s done it all.  And seeing him in such a state of vulnerability and completely busted and broken was, not only terrifying, but also a bit unknown to me because I don’t recall ever seeing him like that. (Not that he didn’t still have his moments of being an ass!)  So I buried most of my fear and sadness inside, had a breakdown once or twice, and then spent the rest of the time eating chocolate – followed by regular workouts.  Because I’m a bit of a freak and it seems that exercise is really the best way for me to get my aggression out.

Life is about balance.  There are times when you need comfort and sometimes food is the only place you can (or want to) find it.  And that is okay.  It’s about moderation.  You can have the Doritos, you can have the cake, you can have the Tim Bits.  You just can’t have it all all the time.

So, go ahead and eat the Doritos.

~FB

PS I’m not affiliated with Doritos

Don’t Give Up

Tried Everything

Let’s be realistic for a minute.  Results take time.  You aren’t going to do one workout or one class or one day of a change in diet and expect to drop down a bunch of sizes.  Life doesn’t work that way.  And like I’ve always said, the weight didn’t come on in a day, it shouldn’t come off in a day.

You have to work for it.

And, something else I’ve said over the years:  If you’re not willing to work for it then you’re not ready to lose the weight.

Life is not easy and losing weight is not easy.  But get in there, dig deeper, work hard, sweat, LOVE YOURSELF, and your hard work will pay off.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new week.

It’s the first day of a new you.

Hang in there.  Don’t give up.  It will seem easier.  You will get stronger.

Don’t give up.

You Got This!

~FB

 

Be Happy


be-happy

It’s Sunday and I’m feeling really…overworked in fitness.  Maybe?

I’ve been going so hardcore lately – “upping” it in my classes, and going all out in my own personal workouts, in addition to picking up a few additional clients.  And this weekend I am paying the price.

I haven’t had a tarsal tunnel flare up in a few months but I totally overdid it this week (my own fault) and screwed myself and now my ankles have been buzzing since Thursday.  I can’t quite explain the pain to you – but it feels like ongoing electrical shocks in my ankles and at the bottom of my legs.  On top of that, my back is still going out every other day, and my hamstrings have been super tight the last few days (again, self inflicted and I should know better).

I could sit here and write about how horrible my life is and whine about “why is this happening to me?”.  But I won’t because I absolutely do not feel that way.  In fact, I feel the opposite.  I am blessed to have the ability to get up and work out each day.  I am thankful that I have a full belly each night – and that I even have the option of creating healthy meals.

Quite recently I saw a rerun of an old Judge Judy episode where one team mother was suing another team mother of their sons’ football jerseys.  The plaintiff really looked like a smug lunatic and she and her husband kept stating how “upset” they were that the uniforms weren’t what they expected.  Judge Judy then asked “Do you have healthy children?”  To which the plaintiffs responded “yes”.  Judge Judy then said if they were “upset over a uniform they were sickos” and that if they had to “deal with parents who were upset that the lettering was coming off the children’s uniforms when the children are able to run around a football field and healthy enough to do that then you’re all sickos.”

See the point?

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to better my fitness goals.  I am thankful that I have the ability to get up and lift weights and run and jump and teach classes.  I am blessed to live my life the way I do and have the option of making the choices I do.

I think positively.  I work hard.  I eat healthy.  I dance more.  I exercise daily.  I love often.  And I AM HAPPY.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vitamin E and Your Diet (Guest Post)

The Importance of Vitamin E and how to Incorporate it into Your Diet

Daily vitamins and minerals are one of the most important parts of a healthy diet. We all know how important Vitamin C and B12 are—we hear about them all the time. The market is inundated with B12 vitamins. Vitamin D supplements sell well in the winter because we worry we’re not getting enough sun. What about the other, less popular vitamins? Vitamin E is an equally important part of the diet. Today, we’ll talk about why and how you can work it into your daily meal plan.

Vitamins help the body grow and develop. Each one does this in a unique way. For example, Vitamin E is organically built to protect the body from neurological and mental diseases, diabetes, and ailments of the eyes. There are two main types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it is more resilient and the effects can last longer in the body. Water-soluble vitamins like B12 are flushed out of our system whenever excess water is. Comparatively, a person would need more B12 than Vitamin E since Vitamin E stays reserved in fat tissue. Taking too many fat-soluble vitamins can be dangerous for the body. Toxicity is often times more dangerous than a deficiency.
A deficiency of Vitamin E can lead to the destruction of red blood cells, which, if severe enough, can cause anemia. The symptoms of anemia include malaise, fatigue, and abnormal heart-rate. Not enough Vitamin E can lead to more serious complications like Retinopathy, which can render patients partially or completely blind. Since Vitamin E is responsible for protecting the body from eye disorders like this, it is important to make sure that you get your daily amount each day. Skeletal Myopathy can also result from a deficiency. This condition is categorized by weakness in the muscles and skeleton.
Vitamin E can be found in oils. Krill oil is virtually tasteless and it is a bounty of vitamins and minerals. While it is most known for containing Omega 3, a daily serving of krill oil can also get you a portion of your other essentials including Vitamin E. Vitamin E is vegetarian and vegan friendly. It can also be found in a variety of plant-sources. Since the vitamin is fat-soluble, you can cook any of these ingredients without worrying about losing some of the nutrients to the heat. Avocados, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, and wheat all contain Vitamin E. You can also pick up a supplement at the pharmacy to give you a boost!
The benefits of Vitamin E are absolutely free so make sure you’re taking the most advantage of them each and every day. All vitamins are important to understand and consider. By building a vitamin-rich diet, you can be a healthier and stronger person.
Writer’s Bio
Meet Jane Grates.

jane-grates

Jane:  new best friend material.  🙂

Jane is an award-winning web lover and the co-manager of RunnerclickMonica’s Health Mag, and Janes Kitchen Miracles (<– Go check out that site!  So cool!).
Jane is a travel scholar, writer, health enthusiast, and food and health practitioner.

Gaga for Lady Gaga’s Tummy

Last night was the Super Bowl – and in case you missed, Lady Gaga was the half time show performer.

Let me first say that I haven’t always been a fan of Ms. Gaga.  She is a supremely talented vocalist and musician, but I really hate antics.  I know it’s a gimmick and about money and fame, but, some the crap she’s pulled has irked me to no end.  I mean, who else can live without her meat dress or the gun bra just weeks after the Sandy Hook shooting (bad, bad, bad taste!!)

But, if you put her in a room with a piano or just her voice, I can listen to her all day.

Anyway, all that aside, last night Lady Gaga gave an outstanding performance during half time.  It really was an incredible spectacle and I would have loved to have been there.  But, it seems that what has been talked about, tweeted, and posted about more than her singing and dancing is her stomach.  Yep.  Her stomach.

gaga

via Google

See that up there?   up-arrow

Internet trolls are calling that woman fat.  ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME????

First of all, let me say this….Lady Gaga is not fat.  Second, even if she were fat, whose effing business is it for anyone to comment on her body. She’s obviously very comfortable with her body (made apparent by her constant crotch shots to the camera – something else I can live without).  Third, she rocked the stage AND those glittery shorts and I suspect she could dance circles around the aforementioned trolls. Let us not forget she is a singer NOT a supermodel!

SOME FANS (<- click that link) have already banded together to address the body-shamers and to praise Gaga for her tummy.

gaga2

FAT?  ARE YOU FRICKIN’ INSANE????

And isn’t it ironic how all this has happened just a few hours after I posted “there will always be someone – that one person – who will do whatever he or she can to keep you down.” in my post yesterday.  It makes one wonder what these folks at home are like…the judgy ones who feel they have the right to comment on everyone else’s body.  I mean, they must be so completely perfect.  *insert sarcasm here*

Let us praise Lady Gaga for her rockin’ concert last night and forget about what her legs, boobs, stomach, ass, nose looks like.  Why don’t we concentrate on her musical talents and goodwill and give her props for that, instead of asserting something that is 100% none of out frickin’ business.

And I’ll say it once more:

Let us not forget she is a singer NOT a supermodel!  And she looked hella good!!

End Rant.

~FB