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'Tis the Season

seasonal depression

It’s always a season.

Every moment of our lives is part of one season or another. Some seasons are longer than others and some seem indefinite, but we can always count on the fact that whatever season we are in will eventually change. And every aspect of our lives has seasons: we have seasons with our kids depending on their ages and stages, we have seasons with our friends where people come and go, we have seasons where we are flourishing and most things fall into place, and we have seasons that bring us to our knees because everything seems hard.

It’s difficult to remember that all seasons are and always will be temporary; nothing lasts forever. We get stuck on the idea of the good seasons, wanting them to never end because we feel entitled to the good season- that’s where life should stay. We think when things are good, we’re good, we’re OK. Which in turn means, if things are bad then we’re bad; then why would we want to let go of the good seasons? As I am certain we all know the truth on some level:

All seasons come with good AND bad, and we perform well AND horribly in all those seasons.

We live in dichotomy but there is something about the human brain that wants to choose one or the other. The brain is unsettled dealing with both sides of life simultaneously.

The dichotomy we live means we’re always performing well and poorly in different aspects of our lives in a single season. Sometimes there’s more good than bad, and sometimes it’s the opposite. Regardless, both good moments and bad moments are present in every season of life regardless of how one sided it seems.

The question then is how to we learn to live in this dichotomy?

For what it’s worth, here’s my advice from my time contemplating this truth.

Acceptance: Accept that there is always good and bad in all seasons and situations. We live in dichotomy and that is OK!

Awareness: Be aware of the soundtrack of our own minds when things seem one sided. Pay attention to our tendency to overplay the stronger feeling so frequently that we seem to be holding on tight to the season. This does happen in both good and bad. During the good we don’t want to let go of good, during the bad, we don’t trust things to get better. The longer we’ve been in a season, the truer this rings.

Gratitude: Be grateful for the good things happening even if they seem few and far between. Also, spend time being thankful for the hard times because you will grow more from those bad moments and hard times than the good moments. Ironically it’s harder to be grateful for the bad things during good times than during the bad times. However, it will do more for a balanced perspective in the good times so we don’t get too married to those good times.

Be present: Be present and allow yourself to experience the good moments and the bad moments fully! And during some seasons that all happens within seconds. Laugh until you cry or scream until you smile, but experience every feeling, every emotion. The more of life that is experienced in the present moment, the more quickly you learn and move through the season.

Set limits: When things get hard or bad, it can feel like the season is indefinite and may, in fact, never end. If you feel this way, it’s time to set a limit. Make a pact with yourself by saying “I am going to give myself a month to fumble through this season. After a month it’s over or I am reassessing.” In a month, if it is not over, reassess where you are compared to where you started and set another limit. Our brains handle finite periods of distress better than indefinite periods. And the limit can be an hour or a day if a month is too long. Just choose what you need to get through that time.

Remember: Like our four seasons (or a kidney stone), this too shall pass….

Relish is the good moments so you don’t lose sight of all you have to be grateful for, and accept the bad moments as life’s classroom.

Enjoy this crazy ride we call life, people. We just never know which season will be our last! 

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The #1 Reason You’re Unsuccessful & How to Change It

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The #1 Reason You’re Unsuccessful & How to Change It

Success comes in all forms. Only an individual can define success for him or herself, but somewhere along the way, our American culture decided to streamline what success is for all of us. What were we all told when we were young? “Get good grades so you can go to college, so you can get a good job, find a good spouse, buy a nice house and car, have 2.5 kids, own a dog, and be happy.”

Although we may have been the few blessed with good parents who saw the world a little more well rounded, the truth is that the rest of the world’s message held more weight. I never knew I had an option to do anything but go to college after high school until I was recruited by the Marine Corps for my music skills. Wait! What? I can be a US Marine AND play music! WHAT?! I’m sure my mom told me that I had other options of what I could do after high school, but they never felt like options because the information never even stuck in my brain…PEOPLE! The only reason I became a US Marine was my mother convincing me that I could do all the things she knew I wanted to do and didn’t have to go to school right away.

I had turmoil in my decision making process, but not for long. I am a “balls to wall” decision making person at my core, so I don’t sit on decisions too long. (Obviously, I was destined for the Corps.)

My point remains the same. How do we define success? Well “we” collectively cannot determine success for any one person. We have a unique journey to fulfill and there are no duplicates in the world.

So why have we bought into this one picture of how life is supposed to work? Of how success should be measured?

The reason you’re unsuccessful in life pursuits is most likely because you’re trying to pursue some fake life of success.

Who said you have to go to college to be successful? I don’t think anyone is doubting the success of people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Sophia Amoruso, David Neeleman, Paul Allen, and Larry Ellison.

Who said you had to get married to be successful? There are many unsuccessful married and unmarried folk.

Who said the big house with the white picket fence is what makes you happy? I have an uncle who can buy a dream home in any city in the country and he chooses to rent a small 3-bedroom house because he wants to move when he’s ready to move, and he has no need for extra space to fill with extra stuff. He’s a guy who loves experiences, not things.

Who said….OK. I think you get my point, and if not….The #1 reason you are unsuccessful is because you are allowing society to define success. Only you can define your own success.

You will never be successful trying to live someone else’s version of success.

And to that point: How many people consciously want that life for you? If you ask most of your friends and family, they will probably say, I just want you to be happy. Well good news! It’s easy to please them! Just choose to be happy, and if you find that difficult, it’s probably because you’re attempting to live someone else’s life.

So today, instead of trying to choose happiness in a life that isn’t meant for you, choose you. Choose what you want out of life. Maybe that means you choose to go back to school so you can eventually leave a job only your parents wanted for you. Or maybe you choose to leave school to experience the world the way you always wanted to experience it.

If you don’t know who you are at your core, you’re not going to be able to choose wisely. And all of the personality assessments in the world won’t be able to decide for you. They couldn’t possibly supply enough questions to determine the infinite possibilities of who you could be.

The good news? You can work to know yourself better and define your own version of success. Success that only you can define. In order to get to know yourself, you have to be purposeful and intentional about understanding your ins and outs. And here are a couple of activities that can help you with that.

Question it. Even if you think you know how you define success, there may be more you haven’t figured out. So spend a little time asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you know what makes you happy?
  • And what makes you sad?
  • Do you have a fire that feels like an inferno every time you hear of or see a particular situation?
  •  When do you feel energized, like you’re on top of the world?
  • When do you feel completely drained?
  • Do you know any things at which you seem especially gifted? You’re a natural _________
  • Can you describe yourself in 4 words?

Another great way to know how you would define success is to write your own eulogy. I did this exercise once with my business coach, and L-O-V-E-D it! You know why? Because my life isn’t over yet! I can make all of those things real – until the day I die, I have that chance.

What is it you want people to say about you when you’re gone? If you can write that down, you’re on your way to redefining your own success and setting your path on the right trajectory. Don’t be hard on yourself, nothing is written in stone…yet. Until the day we're buried 6 feet under, we still have a chance to make our dreams a reality.

And let’s be honest. I’m sitting here writing this as a 36-year-old woman, a mother of a 13-year-old, running a business, and on the verge of some big changes in my life – I expect my eulogy and my definition of success to change and grow as I change and grow. Don’t be so married to this picture of success that you aren’t allowed to change your mind. You always have that right, so be kind and forgiving to yourself.

If this is something you're interested in discovering more about, but you're not sure how to proceed, you may consider signing up for a complimentary 30 minute health and wellness coaching consultation. Our coach will help you pin point some of the areas that you may be holding yourself back from being your authentic self. We'd love to walk with you on your journey, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Visit our homepage, fill out the form, and our health coach will contact you to set an appointment time. 

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Celebrate! Good Times! Come on! It's a celebration!

What was the last accomplishment you celebrated? I ask because I know, that in my own life, I have a hard time celebrating small accomplishments.

As I continue to bring awareness to my own thoughts and habits, I have taken notice of how unwilling I am to be content. I am regularly unkind and unforgiving to myself because I feel if I give an inch to contentment, I will become lazy and unmotivated forever. Why is that? Why do I believe feeling content or proud of a small accomplishment is somehow succumbing to the idea that I am settling for less than my best?

 

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The Other 23

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The Other 23

When people come to me for their initial assessments, we always discuss their fitness habits and goals. That of course, leads into a discussion about their nutrition habits- undoubtably the most uncomfortable aspect of personal health for people to share. After we work through the initial thought stream of why they came, we talk about the other 23 hours of their days. I ask questions like, but not limited to:

·         How do you sleep?

·         How long is your commute?

·         How many hours are you seated behind a desk?

·         Where do you eat your lunch?

These questions are thought provoking and educational because most don't fully think through the concept that the one hour they workout is just that- 1 hour. We have an additional 23 hours that make up the majority of our day, and we tend to forget about adding in healthy habits to those hours as well. We assume that if we workout and eat relatively well, we should have the healthy bodies we desire. Have you ever come to a point of making positive health changes in your life, remaining consistent in your diet and your exercise regime, yet you don't lose weight or you plateau quickly? If you're eating well, and exercising 6 days a week, why can't you lose weight? There are a multitude of reasons, but most assume they have a medical condition or they are under-training. Truthfully, those reasons make up maybe 10% of the situations. The rest of the people I see, need to add healthy habits in to the other 23 hours of their days. People resist this idea because it seems so simple, but it is the simple truth.

I am sharing this from a place of remembering what it's like to work hard and still struggle…This concept of the Other 23 is how I initially lost my weight, and it's how I keep it off. Back in September, I suffered a pretty bad concussion and whiplash playing goalie for a soccer game in my women's 30+ rec league. It was a fluke, and I paid dearly. From September 2014-April 2015, I slowed my workout routine from 6-7 days a week working out with 2 days steady state cardio, 2 days soccer, and 3-4 days HIIT (Yes- I had a little over train going on), to maybe 4 days a week of walking, weight lifting or yoga (each week varied on how often I did each activity). Recently, as a family, we decided to get UP Bands by Jawbone. I am so competitive that I have to exceed steps of anyone on my team daily. Keeping track of my steps, I realized something profound-- I am not practicing what I am preaching! I work from my home so I have 10 steps to get to the bathroom, 15 to get to my kitchen and 20 to my studio. I don't go anywhere that requires many steps, so if I want to practice what I preach, I need to be intentional about moving my body! Since getting the band, I get up and walk my dog a few times a day, make more excuses to park further way, and I even find time to walk to stores to pick up a handful of items instead of driving. Adding back in these healthy habits also stops me from snacking frequently and are helping my stress level. I use my walking time to listen to podcasts and sermons to widen my mind and maximize the return on time invested. On occasion, I even just take in the beauty of nature around me, which is just another form of meditation and appreciation. Being intentional in my Other 23 in a short 2 week period has decreased my bloating & my weight, improved my sleeping, improved my nutrition, and even gotten me excited about my workouts.

If you are one of those people out there not seeing results or seeing plateauing results, I encourage you to start implementing one new healthy habit into your Other 23 each week.  Here are a few to add in your day, and increase results, and increase your joy:

·         Drink (at a minimum) 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily

·         Get up and walk around/pace for 2-5 minutes every 30 minutes

·         Turn off all electronics 30min-1 hour before bed

·         Create a bed time routine to trigger the rest response in your body

·         Have a dance party with your kids to take a break from school work every afternoon

·         Stretch during commercial breaks

·         Read instead of watch TV

·         Take a walk after dinner (it may even stop you from having dessert)

Keep movin'!

LJ Eastmead

ACE Personal Trainer
AFAA Group Fitness Instructor

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Who Comes First… Family or Me?

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Who Comes First… Family or Me?

When I think of family, I think of my loved ones. My parents who would drive me from one sports practice to the other, the memories of my brother, sister and I running around outside breathing in the fresh air then walking into my house smelling this immaculate home cooked meal that my mother prepared. Family is crucial for celebrating the successes in life, to learn to be self-less and maybe a little selfish, and to be taught things intentionally and even unintentionally. One thing that many parents teach children is how to view what is important in life. If a parent view is focused on working out, eating healthy and spending quality family time as a priority, your child will generally think the same.  Teaching your children to be active and to be able to eat healthy at a young age is crucial and simpler to accomplish at a younger ages, so start as early as you can. In doing so, this sets the stage for the children to want to be healthier across their whole life. This creates a domino effect for everyone you surround yourself with as well. Your best friend sees that you are full of energy and have a glow to your skin asks, “What you have been doing different?” After you tell her your glorious not-so-secret changes, she will start changing her lifestyle, and before you know it she has more energy and a skip to her step too.

In order to help your family and friends, you must be selfish enough to take care of yourself first. I see a lot of parents feeding their children apples while they eat sodium packed high fat frozen microwaveable meal. Even though the child is getting the better nutritional option, they still see what their parents are doing to find what is and is not acceptable to eat. Here are some ways to make sure that you become healthier, which helps your family to follow in the right direction.

First, drink your water! This not only helps with digestion, skin and hair but it helps with not having the need to crave sugar or processed foods.

Second, take out a calendar and schedule days and times when you exercise. When you look on your calendar, you are able to see where you have free time to be able to exercise instead of skipping out.  

Third, sleep at least eight hours a night. Sleeping is crucial for hormones, when there is a lack of sleep you are more likely to over eat and choose unhealthy foods. 

Fourth, make more home cooked meals. When meals are home cooked you are able to know how much of salt and fat you are putting into your meals. Plus, it will be fresh and not processed.

Lastly, make time for you. Meditate, go out with the girlfriends for a girls night or just stay at home wrapped up with a new book.

If you are motivated and believe these steps are going to help you get the life and body you always wanted, but you don't know where to start- please contact us (fitness at infinitely-fit dot com) about our Waist Wars Program. It's the accountability you need to get this right!

As discussed, family is what makes life worth living. Might as well enjoy life feeling great and being the best you that you can be. 

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Written by Kelli Starr

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Spring Break = Spring Training

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Spring Break = Spring Training

Are you home with the kids this week? Does that stop you from getting to the gym? Then I hope you're ready for Spring Training? Athletes do it, why not you?! Can you complete this one week workout plan? I bet you can! It's challenging and it won't be easy, but it IS doable. Remember, you need to make this work for you- that means modify, increase what you can, decrease what you must, but DON'T - GIVE -UP! **Virtual high-five** 

Each day, spend 5-8 minutes warming up your muscles so you don't injury yourself. Then, it's GO TIME!

DAY 1: 

Sally Squats:
Play this song
Go up and down in the squat when instructed by the song
(Use weights and go deep if you can)
Rest 30s then repeat 3
INSERT STAPLES BUTTON HERE: "THAT WAS EASY" What's Day 2?

DAY 2:

50 Air squats
10 Burpees
40 Sit ups
10 Burpess
30 Walking lunges
10 Burpees 
20 Push ups
10 Burpees
10 Pull ups or Chair Dips
10 Burpees
20 Push ups
10 Burpees
30 Walking lunges
10 Burpees
40 Sit ups
10 Burpees
50 squats

I CAN DO THIS!

DAY 3:

Active Rest day. Today, spend about 30 minutes getting your heart rate up in a fun way.
Walk or Jog around neighborhood, Hike, Swim, Play a sport, Do something active!

I'M READY FOR DAY 4!

DAY 4:

Fight Gone Body
1 minute each, 3 rounds

Push ups
Squats
Burpees
Pull ups
Sit ups
Rest

Repeat 3Xs or more!

THAT'S ALL YA GOT, DAY 4?! 

DAY 5: 

Active Rest day. Today, spend about 30 minutes getting your heart rate up in a fun way.
Walk or Jog around neighborhood, Hike, Swim, Play a sport, Do something active!

DAY 6: 

Deck of Cards

Shuffle the deck, then flip over the top card to reveal your exercise based on the card number (Face cards are worth 10 reps, Aces are 11 reps)  and the suit using the key below:
Spades = Squats
Hearts = Burpees
Diamonds = Pushups
Clubs = Situps

8 of clubs would be 8x sit-ups, 6 of hearts 6x burpees, etc.

BRING IT ON DAY 7!

DAY 7:

In succession, no rest till the end.

25 Burpees
25 Plank Jacks
25 Mountain climbers
25 Crunches
25 Heel Touchers
25 V sit ups

Rest 30s
Repeat. How many rounds can you knock out in 25 minutes?

If you made it through this workout week, you're definitely ready for Health Defense Challenge! Make sure you check us out!

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Workouts provided by Andrew Beof


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I'm proud of her...because she's me...

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I'm proud of her...because she's me...

I have been working on many marketing pieces these last few weeks and spending more time than any one person should for their own mental well-being. As I got into marketing more on Instagram, I found that there are many more photos of very cut, muscular, almost-naked people on there than almost anywhere else on the internet. Considering that is the social media the younger generation uses, it's a bit disheartening- especially as the mom of a tween. Although that was bothersome, it is not why I decided to blog.

I am constantly posting about how I live a healthy lifestyle, and be certain that I am showing you the best of me most times. I want to show people how I do healthy things so they can join me on this side of physical health. It was life-changing for me in multiple ways and I want you to experience a piece of that, but my story isn't your story. Maybe choosing to live a healthier life is part of that, and maybe it isn't. That's only for you to decide. But if you are only recently following me, you may not know fully who I am. This woman right here is who I am to my core:

She had the guts to make a commitment to run a half marathon and then another when she was overweight. She was confident enough to squeeze into her spandex, lace up her shoes, and let all of the ripples in her body shake in front of the world. The photo above is me finishing my second, very slow half marathon at Disneyland with a smile on my face because I was so relieved I didn't have to run on my plantar fascitis foot any longer! But that 188lb, 5'8" woman is me. She got me to my 150lb self and even down to 145lb (until she realized it was too low). I'm grateful she had courage that I, ironically, don't always have in this body.

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This woman above...she is still insecure, she still overeats regularly and beats herself up over poor choices. She lives in a place of fear that one day she is going to wake up and be the size of the other woman. She obsessively weighs herself because she believes if she stays thin, she still has value. And somehow if she gained weight, she would be of no use to her clients. Or worse yet, everyone who find out she really is a phony who over-eats and practices unhealthy habits.

It's true the struggle is real everyday. Even living a fit, active, healthy lifestyle, I struggle with body image that is ingrained from 31 years of feeling inadequate because I was overweight and "big-boned". Just because I'm in a smaller body doesn't mean that goes away. I don't know if it ever will, but I am getting more OK with that. I'm proud of 188lb LJ for all she accomplished- 2 half marathons, running businesses, graduating from college after being a Marine, a wife and a mom. She did the best she knew how, and right now as I sit here and write this, I am so grateful she had the courage to tackle all of those things regardless of the lies her mind was telling her.

I think we all need to take a few cues from my strong, enduring, "I don't care what you think" and, yes, heavier past self. Tell those lies in your own head to "SHUT UP!" and starting doing it anyway! The lies we tell ourselves are just that, lies! Don't believe everything you hear in that head. Take a moment to evaluate what you are hearing. Is it true?

I don't know who you are reading this or why you chose to stick it out, but I can tell you this one thing. God placed you on this earth for a special purpose He has JUST FOR YOU! No one else can accomplish your purpose, and no one else will! You have beauty, talent, and a passion for a reason, don't let anyone take that away from you- ESPECIALLY YOU!

I'm proud of LJ then and now...because she's me!

Thanks for listening!
LJ Eastmead
lj@infinitely-fit.com
 

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Tough Week #30DayNoWeigh

So I'm having a bit of a tough week...Really the week just started, but it has been about the last 4-5 days. Life is funny though, because the 4-5 days before that I was on top of the world. I knew I wasn't going to stay so elated for a lifetime, but I thought things would go smooth for at least a few more days. I'm in a hard spot right now because the top people I would talk things out with face to face aren't around. I guess I am using my blog as my sounding board. 

The 4-5 days that were great, I knew whole-heartedly that I was blessed and life was going right despite my own actions. I knew I finally arrived at a place that I allowed God to take over and I was safe and could breath. Then something changed and I started to feel overwhelmed. As I reflect over the time, I am certain that my circumstances hadn't changed, just my perspective. It's crazy and wonderful how that can change so much. It's crazy because I am not sure how to get back there, and it is wonderful because I know changing my perspective can and will change my state of being. We have these emotions that we allow to affect everything. One small change can cause you to revert back to your old ways of "dealing" with things, and for me, that's weighing myself. Usually, when I want to weigh myself at a time like this, I would get together with one of a few friends and talk things out; the only problem is, none of them are available right now. This happened to me a couple of months ago too, but I at least still had my scale. HA! As soon as I wrote that sentence it made me laugh because my scale makes me feel worse most times, not better. Again perception is a powerful thing. 

This would normally be the time I would write something insightful and help you deal with your own issues of perception, but honestly, I don't have any advice. If you have a relationship with God, you could say you'll turn it over to him, and I am trying that. If you don't, you may say something like "this too shall pass" or look at the positives in your life and focus on what you're grateful for, and I am doing those too. On the other hand, sometimes you just deal. So right now, I'm just dealing. I want so badly to step on a scale and "take control" much like a drug addict wants another hit to lose control, to change our perspective. 

To close out in earnest: Thank you to those who have signed up for my 30 Day No Weigh. I would have given into the pressures if I wasn't "leading" you. Like I said when I released the video for my pledge, I need your support just as much as you could use mine! Please let me know how you are doing. I want to know! -LJ

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Journey Trilogy Part 3: Lifestyle change and weight loss

Back in our old stomping grounds, things were looking good in San Diego. Although we loved Okinawa, we were really excited to be back! San Diego is where we met and fell in love and we reunited with our best friends. I got a job almost immediately doing what I had been doing in Okinawa- I was a Family Readiness Officer (FRO) for a Marine Corps unit. It's a high demand job, but I loved it and worked with some of the best people in the Marine Corps.  

Jan 2011- I'm wearing the same shirt as I am in the photo below. (Don't ask me what I was talking about, but my very-Italian-hand-talking-genes were obviously in over drive.)

Jan 2011- I'm wearing the same shirt as I am in the photo below. (Don't ask me what I was talking about, but my very-Italian-hand-talking-genes were obviously in over drive.)

While working there, my bestie was working with our supporting organization, MCCS, and they were about to start this competition regarding health. As she was filling out the paperwork, she asked me to be her accountability partner. I said yes, but hearing there was a competition, I had to be a part of it! I contacted the man running the program for them and asked if we could join in. He told me I would have to be in charge of my own group because it was too many people for him to handle. Creating my own group is exactly what I did. About 8 women signed up and we became a team of fierce competitors. We were committed to the changes, and even more so I was committed to winning! Similar to my Waist Wars program, we began tracking healthy habits. We had to drink enough water, eat some fruits and veggies, and move 30 minutes a day in order to gain points. The more we followed the habits, the more points we received, which meant the more likely it was to win. This was easy enough, I could get on board with those habits because they all made sense to me. Plus, I was always a believer that the American diet is, in part, so unhealthy because of what we weren't getting as much as what we were getting. It was a perfect fit for me to get moving in to a healthier direction. I was focusing on accomplishing healthy habits so I could win. Weight loss was a side effect of what I was doing in the competition. There was no part of my mind that thought this program or my new habits could help me lose weight. Maybe a few pounds, but I knew I was destined to be over 180 pounds the rest of my life.

After a month of following 3 simple habits and focusing on the habits, I had lost 3 pounds in a month (and won the competition). The real difference, though, was in the way I looked and felt. I dropped a pants size and I felt great. I had more energy, I slept better, my mind was clear and I just felt "lighter" and not in the weight sense. Since I was seeing results that I hadn't expected to ever happen again, I continued to follow and track the habits after the competition ended. The same outcome resulted: I kept losing 1/2lb a week, I felt amazing, and my clothes just kept getting too big.  (Side story: I even had a friend grab my pants by the crotch once, pull at them and tell me "You need to buy new jeans!" It was a little shocking because I didn't think they looked as big as they felt, and it was shocking because she grabbed my pants by the crotch.)

A few weeks after the competition ended, my step dad came to visit. I played soccer on Wednesdays, so he flew out on a Wednesday and left the following Thursday, in order to see me play twice. The first game, I felt like a million bucks. After playing a 50 minute game without a sub, I felt like I could run for another hour! My energy level was soaring! We went through the week long visit and I still followed my habits. The only difference is that my step dad loves to eat out, so we ate out a few times in the week. I ate foods I hadn't eaten in almost 2 months and I felt every bit of it! The following Wednesday, I played soccer again and I felt like crap! I thought I was going to feel like a soccer star running to and fro, and instead, I felt like a lethargic turtle (in case turtles aren't slow enough, I was a lethargic one.) After the game I was trying to figure out why I felt so tired and then the "ah-ha" moment came! I didn't fuel my body properly. From that point on, I kept as close to my habits as possible and kept from eating out. I had no problems maintaining that until several months later (which I'll get into another blog the reasons why). 

Sept 2011 with my two favorite people in the world!

Sept 2011 with my two favorite people in the world!

Within 6 months time, I had lost 23 pounds and completely changed my shaped. Even though I weighed less than I ever thought was possible again, I kept at the habits. I was 165 pounds in a size 8- that's a lot of muscle, folks! I didn't stop the habits because there was no finish line. When I get to 170 pounds I didn't think to myself, "I've made it!" I thought, "I feel amazing and the weight is just falling off. I don't want to stop!" It was the right kind of addiction until it truly became an addiction, but that's for another day. So there I sat after 6 months of being consistent, 23 pounds less than I started, feeling amazing, and in a body I didn't know I could even attain. My thoughts were about how to stay active and how to get more fruits and veggies into my body. I didn't think about calories or not eating anything I wanted, I just thought about being healthy. That's why I became a trainer. It's possible to do and I want you to feel amazing too. Don't worry about the weight, it will take care of itself. 

Shameless plug: If you can relate to any of the last 3 blogs, please check out my Waist Wars program. It could just be the steps you need to be successful in your own health journey. Also, don't hesitate to comment or reach out for advice! Thanks for listening! I'll be back soon! -LJ

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Journey Trilogy Part 1: Massive weight gain

Although I said I was going to continue to blog about the deployment that followed my chronological blogging, I am going to skip ahead. From time to time, I will go back to some of the pivotal moments in my life journey, but I think it's time to give you the nuts and bolts of how I got to the point of weight loss and creating a healthy lifestyle (not in that order). 

In late 2004 we relocated to Jacksonville, NC, bought our first house and settled in for a long 3 years without deployments. We thought it would be just what the doctor ordered for our whirlwind lives together thus far. There was some truth to it, but more than not, all that time together proved difficult for our marriage. I started to gain some weight and was sitting at about 10 pounds heavier than my usual weight.

NC, 2005- 168lbs

I decided to get back to the Body for Life routine, but came across Body for Life for Women version, which proved much more successful. I dropped down to a size 8, worked out almost everyday and felt pretty good. I was working on getting funding to open an indoor playground for kids when another opportunity was dropped in my lap--I became a sweat-equity business partner in a double drive-thru coffee kiosk that was just about to open. It was a dream come true: I could work in an industry I loved and be a business owner without taking the risk of the financial backing! The position required many hours and much sweat! Sadly the sweat wasn't enough to offset the increased calorie consumption working 16 hour days for the first couple of months we were open. Once we had good, solid help, we got into our routine, and my days slowed down to about 12 hours a day. I spent so much time in my car and in the kiosk (which we didn't sell food), that I ate fast food constantly.

About 6 months into the opening of the coffee shop, my husband was received overseas orders for the family. We made the decision that the business opportunity was too good to walk away from which meant hubby was going overseas alone. 3 months later, my son and I stayed put in NC and my hubby moved off to Okinawa, Japan. At this point, I had already gained about 35 pounds and didn't even realize how big I had gotten. Within 3 months of him leaving, I was stressed to the max and had gained another 10 pounds! 35 pound weight gain in 1 year: That is not an exaggeration. I was almost 200 pounds with not a day of exercise in site. The stress was so intense and my business partner's expectations were beyond what I could give anymore, that I decided to quit.

I'm going to move to Okinawa to be with my husband, right? Nope!

Within a couple of days of quitting, one of my regular customers offered me a job on the spot. We were extremely tight financially, so I thought the guarantee of a job was more important than being with my husband. So off to the non-profit community for me! If you haven't been in the non-profit community before, it requires a lot of "meet and eat" scenarios. In the first month of working there, I gained another 5 pounds. Maintaining that 200 pound figure even proved difficult with the habits I had acquired. It was tiring and wearing on my body, but I couldn't see that my lifestyle was killing me.

For Christmas, my son and I flew to Okinawa to spend the holiday with my husband. I remember my best friend's husband seeing me for the first time in 3 years and his expression said it all, "How much weight did she gain?" He and I never talked about this, but I could see it written all over his face. The pounds were a shocking image. At that moment, I realized just how far out of control my weight really was, but I wasn't ready to address it. Seeing my husband for the first time in months fortunately distracted my attention from my weight gain and failures. Our marriage still wasn't great, but it was familiar and I had missed him, which was enough to bring me to something more positive. Touring the island, I immediately fell in love with the beauty, the people, the culture and just about everything about it. It didn't take long for my husband and I to decide it was time for us to join him in Okinawa. When I got back to reality, nothing slowed down. I had less than 3 months to get our house ready to rent out, our son and I cleared to move overseas and get 3 dogs to Japan. It was not an easy feat, but some how, I managed....That's it for today, but come back tomorrow for the next chapter of the "settled" weight story! The day after that will be how I lost it all and kept it off!

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6 days...

Lately, I've had a lot of life stuff going on. I don't want to get into details, but there seems to be change upon change sprinkled with uncertainty. I actually don't mind change as much as I mind the sprinkling of the unknown. When I have so much uncertainty in my life, I try and take control of something. And my default "something" is...dun-dun-dun...my weight! Shocking, I know. Somehow I feel as if I take control of my weight, I will create certainty out of the unknown.

In order to control the obsession, I have been practicing my no-scale, no-weigh philosophy for the last couple of weeks. That is, if I just don't weigh myself, I won't obsess over the number, so I stopped weighing myself a couple weeks ago. Every morning, I would ignore the scale and get into the shower.. As soon as I got out of the shower, I would turn away from the scale and shun it from my life as if the scale had let me down and disappointed me and could never again be trusted. I was doing great! Day after day I ignored it. If I felt it calling my name, I would go eat breakfast first because I do not weigh myself once I eat and drink something. Things were looking up. I thought my arbitrary goal of going 30 days without weighing myself would be a breeze...Then it happened. 6 days in, the scale lured me in. Just like an addict I thought- "Knowing my weight is not what makes me unhappy, it's my reaction. I can handle the number and not over-react. One time won't hurt" Well, I was right and wrong. I could "handle" the number because the number was on the low end of my normal weight fluctuation; however, the side effects of weighing myself were much sneakier and less forgiving.

I went on about my very early morning planning my classes and PT session; determining where and what I would do for my clients and for my own workout. My husband had his day off, and we had a lunch date plan to a wine bar I had been waiting for months to visit. I had to make sure I got my workout in before the wine and delicious food- and so began the obsessive thoughts. I went from session to session trying to get a run or workout in without success. The best I got was a workout while I was teaching a couple of classes. When I workout while I am teaching, I don't get to workout with the intensity that I would on my own, so I still felt as thought I didn't workout. My body thought otherwise: It was tired, worn and telling me to rest, but I decided I had to still do something more. When I got home, I planned on delaying my lunch date a little longer so I could got on a quick, hard 20 minute run. I kissed the hubby good-bye and headed out the door. I got about 100 ft down the road before I realized what was happening: Though the number on the scale was low, the obsession came back. I needed to do more, burn more, work harder, so I could "keep" that number or even stay below it! The 5 seconds it took to weigh myself were already causing me to calorie count, think through my every step, bite and sip. 

After that day, I decided I would stick to the no-scale, no-weigh because I felt better and the obsessive thoughts seemed to dissipate a little each day I didn't weigh. How is going did you ask? Well...

First thing I did- "hide" the scale from myself. I knew where it was, but out of site=out of mind.  Then I prayed over it to harness as much help as I could with my obsession. I went back to the no-scale/no-weigh and was determined to make it further than I did last time, and I did..I am celebrating the small victory, but it was as small as it gets, I made it 7 days. My weight was up 6 pounds! I didn't handle it as well as I did the week before, but I didn't do as badly as I could have. Obviously, I did not gain a genuine 6 pounds in a week. I over indulged all of my stress cravings during the week, so I was holding onto water weight. Although I could use logic to get me through that thought process, I still felt like a failure and fueled my additive thoughts- "See! If I don't weigh myself, then I could never maintain a healthy weight. How can I not weigh myself and stay healthy?!" OK, so I know from a logical stand point how to talk myself off the ledge. Here is logic: "You can maintain a healthy weight without weighing yourself, but you cannot maintain a healthy weight over indulging in everything everyday. Forgive yourself because life is a fiery mess right now and you are still worthy and valuable even though you gave into your stress cravings. Get back to your healthy habits and you will feel great- the lower number is just a side-effect!" Instead, I stressed, tried to control my eating and workout out and wound up feeling like a failure for the next two days. I even weighed myself again just to make sure my hypothesis was correct about the water weight (and it was). Again, I vowed to go back to not weighing myself. This time, my scale is going to my best friend's house. I have to kick this habit and I am not going to do it with the temptation calling from under my bathroom sink. 

If I can just remember the truth. If we make more good decisions than bad decisions in our health, it all evens out. If we think of our health day by day, it is a recipe for stress and disaster. But if we think of it on a continuous stream of decisions over weeks, months, years, we will see there are good times and bad times-- Are you taking care of yourself or not?

If you, too, struggle with this issue, please stay tuned! I have more to come and even some support on it's way. 


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Scale check

Most people use a scale to check-in and see how they are doing with their weight. The idea is sound. Weigh yourself regularly so that you maintain a healthy weight, and you won't let weight gain sneak up on you. Right? Well, maybe that's wrong...

Although I haven't gotten that far blogging my weight loss journey (truthfully because writing is so hard for me), you may know enough about me to know that I didn't find success in getting healthy and fit by focusing on "losing weight" or even caring about what the number on the scale was. I focused on my health and the weight loss was a side effect. More on that soon; I promise!! So the fact that I am 3 1/2 years into my journey and more obsessed with the number on the scale than I ever have been before, is frustrating to say the least. The obsession has gotten so bad that my best friend started talking to me about it- in a loving way, of course! In fact a few weeks ago while she was vacationing in Hawaii (or as I like to call it abandoning me for the only things on earth that can top me. JUST KIDDING!), she found this picture on Facebook and shared it with me. And that's how I know she loves me more than she loves Hawaii. ;)

When I saw this picture, I started to tear up and realized I have an addiction. It may not be an addiction as destructive as drugs and alcohol, but it is still destructive. It is something that needs to be contended with- a dark and negative force that is distracting me from all of the amazing things about myself and even the amazing people in my life. I actually weigh my physical body every single day. I will only weigh myself first thing in the morning after I pee and completely naked- I won't even wear my watch. I step on the scale, take a deep breath, close my eyes, open them an look down. When I see that number, it completely determines my day. It determines what I am and am not willing to eat, how much I workout, if I can enjoy my food or need to feel guilt for eating. In addition to controlling my actions, it controls my feelings. The demonic 3-digit number decides if I am in control of my life or not. It bullies me into diminishing my self worth, as a woman, a wife, a mother, a trainer.  

OK...If you are a client of mine reading this or you are someone who knows me well enough to know my personal and professional philosophy, you know that the number on the scale isn't important to me for a health journey. But somehow, somewhere along my own journey, I pushed my personal (and professional) beliefs aside and decided my beauty, worth, skills and abilities are strictly determined by a number. I promise that my personal and professional beliefs are the healthy and correct ones, so if you are someone who struggles with this same addiction, I would love for you to stay tuned to my blogs. Over the next month, I am going to be blogging regularly about my journey and this issue. I am also going to be providing real life support to anyone free of charge. In the meantime, please listen to me when I say, this is like any other addiction. First realize you are too wrapped up in a number and then start healing with me by reading this blog. -LJ

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