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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What Causes You to Commit? The Value of an Accountability Partner

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What Causes You to Commit? The Value of an Accountability Partner

Chances are you know the formula for getting from Point A to Point B. Whether your goal is to lose 5 pounds or to get 8 hours of sleep per night or to learn how to do a handstand, you probably already know what it's going to take to get there. You can probably write it down:

Attend Health Defense class 3xs a week and replace afternoon cookies with fresh veggies. Walk for 30 minutes on other 4 days of the week.
 

Get into bed no later than 10 pm. Eliminate mindlessly watching TV after putting kids to bed.

If knowing how to accomplish something is so simple why aren't we checking new goals off our list every day? Well, knowing the formula is the easy part. It's committing to the change required for the formula; that's the tough part.

...Unless you have an Accountability Partner. Someone you know and trust, who understands and shares your goals and somehow who is going to hold you responsible for what you've said you would do. 

Think of it this way: you plan to go to Health Defense at 5:30 AM tomorrow. Your alarm goes off at 5 - it's cold out, your bed is warm, you're tired. You make endless excuses to yourself, turn off your alarm, and roll over. No biggie, right?  But what if you had an Accountability Partner? You texted each other last night and both of you committed to attend this morning's class. You may be hesitant to get up when your alarm goes off but there's no way you're missing class because you promised you would go. You don't want to let your friend down. 

Your Accountability Partner does not have to share every goal you have, but they should understand your goals and have similar ones. For example, your partner may not be looking to replace their afternoon cookies with fresh veggies. But if you are, they should be encouraging and check in with you to make sure you met your goal. Your partner should not be afraid to hold you accountable either. The idea is not for them to punish you if you don't meet every goal, but simply to help you in the most difficult element of getting where you want to be: committed. 

Find that person. Hold each other accountable. Commit. Succeed.

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Cathleen Lavelle
AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor

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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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New Year's Resolutions

WELCOME 2015

Are you a resolution maker? If so, do you usually stick to it? I have never really been a fan of creating New Year's resolutions just to turn around and break them. I think it's a great concept because I am a huge fan of new beginnings! That's part of why I love being a military family- every time we move, we get to start again! I even loved the new school year when I was a kid- new clothes, new school supplies, new teachers and new schedule. The problem with putting so much into the new is that it eventually becomes the old; regardless of how hard you try. So this year when you make your new years resolution, I have some suggestions to help you stick to that new (soon-to-be-old) resolution.

  • ·         Find an accountability partner: Whether it's someone to take you to the gym or someone to review your budget, you are more likely to stick with what you started. One recommendation is to have it be someone who is strong where you are weak.
  • ·         Feel free to set BHAG (Big, hairy audacious goals), but stick some milestone goals in there to create as much success as possible getting to that big goal.
  • ·         Set maintenance goals. What does it look like when you get to that BHAG? And how will you stay there? Set yourself up for continued success.
  • ·         Be flexible. Maybe you get to your first milestone and you realize your BHAG was not what you really needed. Don't be so married to sticking to the goal that you become inflexible.
  • ·         Conversely, DON'T BACK DOWN! If this is something you really want, keep at it. The final picture may change from time to time, but the desire of what you ultimately want is the same. Stick it out! (Preachin' to myself here).
  • ·         Remember to celebrate each success. Don't get so caught up long term that you forget to celebrate now.

This year my BHAG is to celebrate life in the good and bad- completely regardless of circumstances. "This too shall pass", "God never gives us more than we can handle", "Someone else close by has it worse than I do", and "The good is not nearly as good without the bad" are going to be reeling over and over in my head. Feel free to pass words of encouragement my way whenever you want- they will be accepted! Here's to a better year ahead no matter how good 2014 was!  Happy New Year!

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Forward-ish Journey

When we're young, we are creative, fluid thinkers. We aren't confined by the world's view of how things work or are "supposed" to go. We chose to use boxes as spaceships, toasters as toy launchers, and couch cushions to make people sandwiches. We were not afraid to make mistakes or look foolish because to us, we weren't making mistakes or being foolish. Somewhere along the way though, we learned that creativity can make us look stupid, so we began to practice linear thinking. Even when we were teenagers, we wanted to be different and unique, but only if It meant staying in the confines of "normal". Somehow we gradually grew out of fluid thinking and moved into linear thinking. We even began to look to our left and right so we knew we were still moving in the straight line.

I envy the adults who have never really let go of the willingness to look stupid in the name of creativity. I may be willing to be the first bad dancer on a dance floor or volunteer for some silly show, but my fear of looking stupid trying a new venture, or worse, failing completely, stops me dead in my tracks even if I am moving 1000 MPH. I am more of a linear thinker than I would care to admit.

If you think about it though, life is any BUT linear, it's messy! We take 5 steps forward, 3 to the side and 3 back just to be in a new place. We even take steps spinning around in circles believing we're moving forward. Recently, I saw a picture of the hard core linear thinking I implement in my health jouney. Here I am almost 4 years into a whole new lifestyle, still fearing that if I go backwards it's going to look like it did 4 years ago, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In order to go back that far, I would have to spend a ton of time remembering my steps to the left and right, back stepping, forward leaping, and of course, circle spinning. There is no way I could go back. I'd still be going forward in my journey, just creating new habits; however, to create those habits of the past, I would have to unlearn the habits and information I have acquired over the last 4 years. How likely is that?

If you don't know, I suffered a pretty severe concussion almost 4 months ago. It's a long road to full recovery, but at least I don't lose my words as often, and I don't get nauseas when I workout. I still get headaches and have to take it easy and remember to get lots of rest- to include rest days from working out. That has been so hard for me. My go-to for stress management is working out at full intensity, but I don't have that as an option any more- no soccer, no half marathon training (yes, I did run one before I realized how bad things were), and no pushing the strength limits. I probably have to work out like normal people now- at least that's what everyone keeps telling me. What I have found is that my health is not rapidly declining as I had predicted. I am seeing my weight fluctuate through its normal 5 pound range and my clothes still fit, however, I am a higher body fat percentage (to be expected) but in a completely acceptable place. I haven't had to change my diet all that much because I eat pretty well (most times, and if I listen to my body, I'm not as hungry because I am not burning as many calories. There is nothing straight or linear about the path I am on, but I am still on my health journey moving forward-ish. Like one of my clients pointed out to me, "Just because you cannot workout like you could before doesn't mean your health is no longer a priority." She's right! If anything it's probably more of a priority. I find myself listening to my body more because the whiplash effect I had with the concussion is worse than the concussion. I take significantly more rest days when my body hurts, take yoga when I can, and consider walking my dog and training my clients enough for a day's workout.

I'm starting to see that this part of my journey is growing me even if it feels like it's a set back. I am less toned, a little hippier, and feeling soft, but the truth is I am OK. I have to work through the mental journey of being comfortable with greater rest- I don't want to stress or obsess over resting more, and I don't want to be so OK with resting that I create a habit of laziness. Like anyone else, I have to talk myself off a ledge from time to time, but I am going to be just fine and "survive" this down period until I can do more. Who knows?! Maybe this period of rest is going to contribute to overall ability to exercise for my lifetime. That's why the Infinitely Fit motto is "Fitness for a lifetime. Any age. Any stage." We all have different stages of health at different ages, and we need to be willing to zig and zag with the punches as they come. Keep fighting for what you want and one day, you may wake up and find that it's no longer a fight, just like I have with my fight for my healthy weight. Don't be afraid to share your own comments thoughts or journey! I would love to hear! -LJ

 

 

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Client Appreciation & Open House

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Client Appreciation & Open House

Sunday, November 16th, 2PM-4PM, Infinitely Fit is hosting a Client Appreciation and Open House to thank our clients (past, present and future), show off our skills, and celebrate a year of the Health Defense Challenge!
It will be held at our training studio,
Poway ATA 13545 Poway Rd
Poway CA 92064
RSVP here

When I was planning the event to say thank you, I wanted it to have a bit of my personality in it. Some of the things that I am really passionate about include working out, wine, and giving back to the community, so all 3 of these passions are a part of the event! We will start out with a mix and mingle time, move into our play time, "recover" with snacks and wine and share valuable information about two organizations I have a fire for helping. We will end in the best way- with PRIZES AND MORE WINE!!!

Infinitely Fit has partnered with Community Chiropractic, Juli Groth Massage Therapy (Poway and Del Mar), Parisa Adib Esthetician and Mary Kay Rep, Thrivent Financial Group, and a few more to bring you prizes like massages, facials, chiropractic, wine, and more! We are going to have so much fun!

So here's how everything is going to work. You are going to tell all of your friends and RSVP here. For each friend you bring, you receive an additional opportunity to win prizes! When you arrive, come dressed for fun! Workout gear is not required, but suggested. We will be on the mats shoeless, so feel free to wear something easy to slip on and off. Water, wine and snacks will be provided.

Please come out and support the MS Society and Girls on the Run San Diego! $10 suggested (not required) donation at the door.

WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS!!!!

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Lunch Break

Recently, I had to take my step-dad back to LAX so he could get back home after a month of hanging out with us. It was a great visit, but he had to leave some time. We rarely us LAX for 2 reasons.

Reason #1: San Diego usually has comparable rates especially when you consider the gas to get back and forth from LA. 

Reason #2: It downright SUCKS to drive for 6 hours straight! Never mind in LA (Orange and San Diego Counties are no dream either)!!! I feel for those who work behind desks for more than that each day!

On the way back, I made a stop for lunch at a generic sandwich shop just a step above Subway. When I pulled into the parking lot, there were traffic cops directing the cars during an apparent lunch traffic in this extremely busy business park area. There were a ton of places to eat in this fairly small strip mall, so the traffic and the lines were incredible! 

I was pacing the restaurant because I knew I had to back on the road quickly or risk perpetual traffic for the rest of my trek back home. While I continued to wait for my name to be called, I was people watching. I am SUPER nosy, so I LOVE to people watch! :) Anyhow, I saw these two young guys probably around 25 years old talking about work. They were both waiting on their sandwiches discussing the work they had left for the day. One said to the other, "I just want to eat real quick." The other then criticized, "You're not going to take your sandwich back to the office?!" The first one in a very hurried voice said, "I just want to sit here real quick and eat." Sound familiar? Maybe not, but if not, it's probably because you know you will ALWAYS eat at your desk- the question would never be asked. 

If you can relate to these young, striving professionals, you're not alone! A 2012 study by Right Management, a talent and career management division of ManpowerGroup, a human resources consulting firm revealed that 28 percent of the more than 1,000 North American employees polled rarely take a lunch break, 14 percent choose to do so from "time to time" and 39 percent break for lunch but stay at their desks!! WHAT?!?! OK people, maybe you don't want to start going to the gym and working out, try this: TAKE A LUNCH BREAK!! Taking a lunch break will help you decompress and lower your hormonal stress response. You may find just leaving the office for lunch will help your waistline shrink. If you're afraid you will be too tempted to eat out rather than brown bag it, try some of these ideas to do during your lunch break:

  1. Take a walk (one where you don't even get sweaty)
  2. Meditate
  3. Read a book
  4. Sit outside in a park
  5. Take a nap
  6. Workout
  7. Meet with a friend (DO NOT TALK ABOUT WORK!)
  8. Call your mother, sister, brother, friend, or anyone you haven't talked to in forever
  9. Stretch
  10. Day dream about your weekend or vacation

I'm certain you can come up with a ton more! The only guidelines are:

  1. Get out of the office and the building if you can
  2. Stay off any electronic devices (with the exception of using your phone as a phone)
  3. More movement=less stress

You will be more productive and useful the rest of the day if you get away. PLUS, you will stop feeling so stressed out! Let me know how it goes. 

-LJ http://m.myvbc.net/fit

 

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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 2: Settling in to the weight

When I got to Okinawa and we settled in, I could feel how much weight I had really gained. It probably had to do as much with the fact that I was living in the land of the munchkins and am 5'8" and was 188lbs. Every car, chair, stair, parking space, bed, etc felt like it was made for a child. Not to mention I was trying to squeeze into a 14 and probably could have worn as large as an 18 in most things. I didn't fit in my bras or many of my clothes. It wasn't enough to want to make a change; however, I was fortunate that just living in Japan and having less stress, I lost 10 pounds in a few months time.Though I still ate out a ton, I was eating a ton of sushi, fish, and fresh foods and walked almost anywhere because it was easier than driving or getting a cab. Its not that it came off on it's own, it's just that I didn't make an intentional shift in mindset or lifestyle. There at sat at 188 pounds size 14/16 for years. I would ebb and flow with my workouts but I never dieted or even attempted real change. I actually developed my affinity for wine while I was there and had no desire to give it up (truthfully still don't- I practice discipline elsewhere).

Okinawa was such a pivotal time in my life in so many ways. My husband went from tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt to none to saving tens of thousands before we left. We also went from a marriage filled with resentment, anger, and detest to one that is usually saved for newly weds filled with love, acceptance, honesty, and maturity. Okinawa is a place I long for because (aside from just loving the island), it has so much positive significance in my life. Sometimes I just envision the sheer joy I experienced out there.

Okinapa, Okinawa, Japan April 2010

Okinapa, Okinawa, Japan April 2010

Even with all of the positive things happening, I remember the negative feelings I had one day getting ready to go out with my husband and our friends. I don't remember where we were going, but it was a special outing, not just a regular weekend. Standing in my bedroom, I remember putting on my white pants and red blouse. As I looked in the mirror at my curvy self I thought, "I know I need to make a change, but I am not ready to commit to taking care of myself; plus I feel comfortable enough in my skin. Why change?" (I'm still not sure what "comfortable enough" means, but that's a whole other blog.) Out the door I went o eat, drink, and be merry. I was so blissfully happy in my life, to be honest, my health didn't matter to me. Looking back it's a scary thought. Knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss, and in that moment I was blissfully ignorant to the state of my health (notice I didn't say my weight). 

Still at 188 pounds, I decided to train for and run my first half marathon in Okinawa on my 30th birthday. Sadly, running all those miles, I lost 0 pounds. Of course I increased my food intake beyond what I actually needed because "I was fueling my body", and I had no desire to stop drinking wine. In fact, I am certain I justified greater wine consumption because I was running so many miles. I'm certain my overall health started improving when I started exercising regularly, but my waistline and my scale didn't budge and I still had a long journey ahead.

Disneyland Half Marathon Sept 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Sept 2010

Three months after completing my first half marathon, we moved back to our old stomping grounds, San Diego, CA. While we were moving, I was training for my second half marathon in Disneyland, less than 2 months after moving back to the states. And San Diego is where I learned how to be healthy. Come back tomorrow for the last of the trilogy.

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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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Eating healthy on a budget

So I was doing some shopping at Sprouts this morning when I realized something. It's not nearly as hard to eat well on a budget as most people think! I love shopping at our local Sprouts market, but only when I shop their weekly ads. They have amazing prices on great produce and some of the best meats around. Now if you don't stick to their sales or shop their packaged goods, you will run up a huge bill. That means:

#1-don't go hungry

#2-practice discipline

#3-go at a time of day you best practice said discipline

#4-buy seasonally

#5-stick to sales

Here is my bill minus the little bit of tax applied:

Look at the list and the prices. Here are the items I bought that were not on sale.

#1 Macaroni & Cheese

#2 Chobani yogurts

#3 Garlic

#4 Pork chops

Imagine my bill if I stuck to all three of my rules!

I didn't need as many veggies as I did fruit, but with all this food, my family (of 3) will indulge for 4+ days. Also, had I planned to hit another grocery store in the area, I could have saved significantly on the items I didn't buy on sale.

Maybe this is a lot for your family budget. My next recommendation would be to hit the 99 cents only store or $1 store. In San Diego, we have the 99 cents only stores which actually carry quite an array of fresh produce (including organic) that will not expire any sooner than the produce in other stores. As always you have to pay attention to what you are buying, but I buy a ton of organic produce, beans, bread, and occasional treats. Not to mention, I pick up a bunch of household items, cooking utensils, and gift bags for extremely cheap. You may be surprised where you can really save some money there.

I promise you that if you're lots of packaged foods and you try to start eating the produce on sale or at the 99 cents store, you will see a huge improvement in your health, energy, and waistline!

Until next time, keep moving!

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Preaching to Myself

Sometimes when I blog, I feel like I am actually preaching to myself. I do it when I encourage others and try to motivate them too. Honestly, I think I am in this position in life to encourage myself as much as to encourage others. The only difference between me and the people I am encouraging is that I have a few more successes in the field of health than most the people following me. I think that's why I have to stay on my toes and keep improving (kaizen); I'm just not that far ahead. Here's my story as to why I am telling you this.

This morning, I was driving somewhere unimportant. I looked down at my legs and I thought to myself, I love my legs. Wait, what?! I love my legs? Haven't I spent the last 25 years despising those things?! They are the bane of my existence; never getting proportionally smaller, only getting bigger. My body image issues began with my obsession of legs. [SIDE NOTE: I love looking at legs. Men's, women's, it really doesn't matter. I find them beautiful (on other people, that is until this morning). So if you see me checking out your legs, it's just my own weird obsession for legs, not you. Back to my story.] Then I remembered a conversation with some of clients one day. It went something like this.

Me: We're going to do side lying leg adductors.

Client #1: Oooo. These are good. I need to do these everyday.

Me: They are a great exercise, but I can't do them everyday, they just make my thighs bigger.

Client #2: SO?

Me: So what? That they make my thighs bigger?

Client #2: Yeah. Who cares if they are bigger, they are stronger.

Me: I have trouble fitting in pants already, I couldn't imagine if they got much bigger.

Client #2: Well, that's fair, but it doesn't matter if they are getting bigger if they are getting stronger and more cut.

OK, so the conversation may not be verbatim, but that's pretty much how it went down. Client #2 was preaching to me that day. I think since then, I have tried to be more cognizant of my thoughts and words about my own body image. So when the thought that I liked my legs popped into my head, I relived that conversation.

After thinking through the conversation and wondering where that thought even came from, I decided I would preach myself through all the reasons to love my legs.

So here's my top 20 list of reason to LOVE my legs:
  1. My legs are muscular and defined
  2. My legs are long
  3. My legs help me do my job better
  4. My legs carry me everywhere I want to  go (including some adventurous hikes, just ask my bestie)
  5. My legs run, sometimes fast sometimes slow
  6. My legs run, far and sometimes not so far
  7. My legs get me all over a soccer field
  8. My legs move a soccer ball fast and hard
  9. My legs can do an impressive number of squats, lunges, burpees, etc
  10. My legs are really defined in high heels
  11. My legs have bruises and battle scars from years of using them
  12. My legs carried my body through boot camp even when I didn't think they could
  13. My legs carried my excessive pregnancy weight gain
  14. My legs supported me to carry my son
  15. My legs remind me when I should rest and stretch
  16. My legs have been with me through thick and thin (figuratively and literally)
  17. My legs walked me down the aisle to my husband on my wedding day
  18. My legs motivate me (both positively and negatively)
  19. My legs are beautiful
  20. My legs are mine
 (I'm no photographer, but you get the idea. They look good!)

It feels good to write this list and share it.  It feels even more amazing that I had the positive thought about my legs very organically. And by organically, I mean with the preaching and motivation I use for others shot right back at me. So when those of you out there talk about how I help you, just remember how much you are helping me. Your support and encouragement does not go unnoticed.

My last thought before I leave is this impromptu blog: We all have that a problem area or two on our bodies that we would love to change. You may change it and you may not, but find a way to embrace it without waiting for the change to come first. If you don't love it now, you won't love it when it changes. It is your thinking that creates the love for it, not the physical change. (Trust me, I have experience in this area). Make it yours; really own it. Make a list of reasons why to love it! The list of why not is not worth your time and is probably much shorter. Just focus on why to love yourself and the why not will begin to slowly disappear. Thanks for reading! See you soon!

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Nursing and weight loss?


Have you heard the wives' tale that nursing causes you to lose weight? Well, not always and not for everyone!

Being a young mom did have its advantages. After giving birth, I lost 30 pounds almost immediately. I spent the next six months wondering when nursing would start to take off the weight. I had always heard that nursing helps you lose weight, but I swore it was making me gain weight. I could seriously feed all the world's starving babies with the amount of milk I was producing. It was crazy! My son ate like a champ, but there was always more to go around and leak out everywhere.Unfortunately, the breast milk leakage did not equate to weight loss.

Once my son was 6 months old, I decided I had to take control of my weight because nursing wasn't cutting it (DUH!). I used a program my mom had used a few years prior called Body for Life. It was a great program that worked well for me. I was at a weight that was totally acceptable to me, but I actually got into some size 10 clothes! That was a miracle for me. Except while I was pregnant, I had been a size 12 pretty much since sophomore/junior year. Of course looking back, I now know I could have worn a smaller size here and there, but I never thought I was "skinny" enough back then…Back to my story: After losing some weight, I felt pretty good overall. I will say, I had to make some serious sacrifices to get those workouts in with a baby and a Marine for a husband, AND I had to pay attention to what I was eating at all times. The premise of Body for Life is that you eat perfectly and workout for 6 days of the week, and then you have 1 off day where you don't work out and you eat whatever you want. It really works well for some people (more for men than women due to women's ever-changing hormonal cycles). 

Shortly after I began losing weight, we found out my husband was deploying again in February, after just returning in July it was a quick turn around, but we knew what we signed up for. This time I stayed in San Diego and began establishing a network of support around me.

As usual things were stressful, and ever-changing. I could barely keep my head above water, but I swore this deployment I wouldn't just wait around for life. I would take life by the horns and make it great for me and my adorable baby boy. 

Since I'm out of time, I will pick up on the deployment and the next crazy year next time. In the mean time, check out Body for Life and tell me what you think!

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What makes us healthy?

With all of the media telling us different stories about what makes us healthy, how do we really know what to do?

I was driving home this morning from a meeting at my son's school listening to a popular morning show in San Diego. They were reading a list of things that determine your life expectancy. I came into the conversation late, so I am uncertain where they found the list, but this is what they whole-heartedly believed and told their audience:

1. If you floss you will live longer
2. If you can stand up without falling over you will live longer
3. Having a college degree adds 10 years to your life
4. Being a fast walker makes you live longer

There were more, but these stood out to me. So here's my problem with this.

1. One DJ said that the bacteria in your mouth is what kills people who don't floss. Truthfully, if you are 90 and start flossing now, you may or may not live longer, but it probably doesn't have to do with the act of flossing, rather the mindset that has been changed. The reason it SEEMS flossing saves your life is because people with healthy dental habits tend to live healthier and more active lives. They tend to be more educated about health from a younger age because the behaviors were modeled for them at home.

2. Getting up and down is a skill just like anything else. If you lead a sedentary life, you do not have the balance and muscular capacity to get up and down easily. If you simply have good balance it does not mean you will live longer. If you have good balance because you live a healthy and active lifestyle, you will most likely live longer.

3. Brain health is extremely important for our overall health, so having a college degree definitely helps with longevity due to healthier brain matter. But the true reason we live longer when we have a degree is because we have access to healthier foods and activities, AND we were probably modeled the behavior at home.

4. You're more likely a fast walker because you're in better physical health. I know some people like to just meander, but I would say most people I know who walk quickly are overall moderately healthy.

With all of the information we have floating out there to tell us how to be healthy, it mostly boils down to the dos and don'ts of good common sense:

Don'ts:
  • Over eat
  • Eat out too much
  • Sit in front of the TV, video games or computer too long (don't worry it's ok to finish reading my blog)
  • Stay up too late
  • Stress too much
Dos:
  • Get a good night's sleep
  •  Workout regularly
  • Stay active 
  • Eat your fruits and veggies
  • Drink Water
  • Meditate/Pray
  • Take time for yourself
If you're doing all the right things, I mean truly doing them, you should be a pretty healthy person who will live a long, active life. If you're not making the healthy choices, there's no time like the present! If you're one of those people who want to make a change, but cannot seem to stay committed, take a look at my Waist Wars Challenge. It may just be what you have been looking for to help you make the shift!

Until next time, practice healthy habits and smile a bunch!




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Whirlwind to pregnancy and weight gain

WARNING! THIS BLOG CONTAINS INFORMATION ABOUT
PREGNANCY, LABOR AND DELIVERY. 

I tell people all the time, I may be happily married with a great kid, but I do NOT recommend doing things the way I did...

I had a whirlwind of a life with some impulsive and not so impulsive decisions for the last year of my Marine Corps career.
  • November- I called off a wedding
  • December- I started dating my now husband, Mark
  • March- We decided we would get married
  • May- We married
  • June- I got pregnant
  • October- I left the Marine Corps
My husband and I both agree that we are an anomaly making it 12 years after we did things the way we did. After I left the Corps, things didn't get easier either. My husband of less than 8 months deployed while I was pregnant. If I continued down that timeline, your mind could be blown with the sheer volume of change, so I am just going to continue with the story of my pregnancy...

I found out I was pregnant in July and it caused feelings of excitement and sheer fear! Instantly, I felt tired. I was blessed to not get any real morning sickness; however, I was exhausted in a way I don't think I have ever again experienced. I did what I had to in order to get through the days and then went home and slept. I have never been a night person, but I was lucky if I could keep my eyes open past 7PM. While I was still a Marine, I gained weight like crazy, but not nearly as badly as when I became a stay at home wife. There was about a 6 week period between getting out of the Marine Corps and moving back to NJ to be with my parents during deployment and the birth of our child. I spent my days eating and sleeping. I will say, the stress from the impending deployment didn't help me with my eating issues-- I stress ate my way through the whole pregnancy. And in the end, I gained 60 lbs, mostly in my butt and my breasts.

I was huge! I was probably right at 40 weeks and 215 pounds when this picture was taken.
 

Me cleaning off the cars in a major snow storm right before gave birth.



 OK...enough with the Michelin Man photos, time to talk labor and delivery. Being a Marine, I was a bit of a block head and headstrong. I insisted that I delivery my son without the use of drugs. There were a couple of driving forces. (1) I didn't want any drugs that could go into the blood stream and effect my baby immediately or later on down the road. (2) I was TERRIFIED of a needle going into my spine. The idea of that is still insane to me. In fact, it freaks me out so badly that in 2006 when I was in the delivery room with my bestie, I almost passed out when she has her epidural!

So I go into labor around 11:20PM Friday night. The contractions wake me out of my sleep but subsided in about an hour or two so I could get back to sleep. I woke again on Saturday morning at about 6 and decided the contractions or the excitement were enough to keep me awake, so I got up. I went about my day doing all sorts of things with my mom. We ran errands, went on walks, visited my high school best friend (she was in her last few months of life dying of cancer). The contractions would come and go, but I just kept timing them and moving. When I went to visit Jill, my best friend, I was with my mom, her mom and two of her college friends. We are all chatting and having a good time. Jill had told her two friends that I was in labor and they laughed- They believed she had said that because I looked a million months pregnant (see above), not that I was actually in labor. So about half an hour later I say, "Jill, we're going to take off. These contractions are getting strong." The girls' eyes popped out of their heads and said, "Oh! You're actually in labor! You were so calm." I laughed with them, said my good-byes and headed home. Then began the real contractions. I called my doula and had her come to the house, took a hot bath and spent time walking, sitting on the toilet and sitting on a stability ball. I didn't believe the doula or my mom when they said I should go to the hospital. ACtually, had I not been fortunate enough to have a doula, my parents would have been delivering my son on their living room floor because I would have never gone on my mom's recommendation alone. We called the doctor and she told us to head to the hospital. She couldn't decide if she was going to stay home and watch a movie with her kids or come straight to the hospital. Something tugged on her to go to the hospital, but she didn't know why because I "sounded so calm".

We get in the car to drive to the hospital that is less than 10 minutes away with traffic (and there is no traffic). Well that 10 minutes felt like 1,000! If you have ever felt that transition period of labor, you know what I am talking about! Sitting down is the WORST position you could possibly be in aside from laying on your back! We arrive at the hospital around 8:30PM and they ask me to get in a wheel chair. I refuse, so they walk next to me with the chair and head up to the labor and delivery floor. Once there, they have me get changed into a gown and tell me I can walk around again once they monitor the baby and me for about 10 minutes. Well...I get changed, sit on the bed and my water breaks. Now I really know what pain is! I am writhing in the bed as they monitor me. I manage to sit still long enough to have them check how far along I was, and I was 8cm. I thought to myself  Only 8 cm?! It's going to take hours to get to 10! I'm not going to make it!!! As the contractions come, all I can think about is walking around. I yell to my mom, "Whose idea was it to go natural?!" My mom, like any good mother, was trying to hold back tears because she could not help her child in pain. Right after I say this, my doctor walks in. We talked about her decision to come instead of watch the movie and she began to check my progress. PRAISE JESUS! She said I am 10 cm and ready to start pushing!! I started pushing with enthusiasm and felt a whole new kind of pain! I screamed like I had never before and never have again to this day. As I was pushing and the doctor was chatting with my mom waiting on the episiotomy kit to arrive, she looks over and screams, "STOP!" Seriously, lady?! Stop?! I can't stop, I am pushing an enormous head through a tiny hole! Of course I stopped, but I was not happy or quiet. My son was already crowning and she wasn't down there to catch him. (Not that he was going to slip out quickly, but that's always scary). Since it was too late for the episiotomy, she massaged the opening and I thought she was holding a flame to my na-na! It's a pain I can still feel to this day when I think about it. Long story slightly shorter, after about 10 minutes of blinding pain, at 9:27 my son was born. We got a phone call from my deployed husband around midnight and my son and I were the talk of the hospital for about a month. 


Through no planning of my own, March 2003 began my journey as a mother...
And my sweet baby boy turns 11 this week...

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Ideal weight; what does that mean?

It's Friday night. My son is busy with his friends in their fort they made for the sleepover, my husband is working super late, and I am sitting listening to music, drinking wine, and finally getting around to my next blog. If you have been reading my blogs, you know that I am working on my personal weight battle testimony. Well today, I decided to jump ahead to the current battle thanks in part to some of my clients.

Recently, I have shared with clients and friends about my current dilemma regarding my ideal weight. I say current, but it really has been ongoing for about a year. See, late last spring, I dropped down to my freshman year of high school weight. I never thought I would see that number again, so when I did, I thought, "If I can get this low, what is the lowest weight I can be?".  I didn't know it was happening at the time, but I also began to get sick. I felt that "just before a cold" feeling all the time. I also had a lymph node that remained swollen for over a month. And for the first time in my successful healthy lifestyle change, I started focusing on a number. The number became more important than anything else. I started making poor nutritional decisions: If I wanted to have wine, I would just eat veggies and hummus for dinner and drink wine. Or I would track my calories on My Fitness Pal and start working out multiple times a day so I could indulge in whatever I wanted. Quickly, I went from keeping my focus on my health, fitness and nutrients to focusing on numbers. I weighed myself obsessively (and still do) because I thought if I monitored it, I was immune to gaining weight.

All of that poor nutrition and wearing on my body started to reek havoc on my hormones. I even had a month where I missed a period and thought I was pregnant- I had every typical pregnancy symptom and was terrified! (I'm a mom of 1 and the idea of another, especially since he's 10, is a nightmare of mine.) I believe that the poor decision making coincided with some hormonal changes that were occurring and destroyed the healthy balance I had worked so hard to achieve.

I decided that I had to stop tracking calories and get back to a healthier food focus. I tried to stick to my tried and true methods only to feel disappointed when I saw the scale go UP!! I was eating better, getting better rest, and remaining active, but I was gaining! That sent me into a great obsession with the number on the scale, and I continued to make poor decisions when I felt frustrated with the situation. Well, about 5 pounds later, my husband and I started a cleanse. And the cleanse definitely helped with the hormones; however, it did not help with my food focus. During a cleanse you are required to keep foods out of your diet, so I became obsessed with what I couldn't have. I cleansed for a month and felt better physically and lost a couple pounds. For the first time, I felt like I was getting back to my healthier self. I still was struggling with fatigue and that feeling of getting sick, but things were looking up. But then....the holidays hit!  It was the holidays, so I was trying to be realistic and my mantra became, "Just maintain". Maintain was what I did.

Successfully making it to the other side of the holidays, I thought I was in the clear...I was wrong. Again, my eating was better, but my weight started to go up a couple more pounds. Even though I continue to get better about my nutrition, I struggling with my weight. I say I am struggling, but really, I am just 7-9 pounds higher than I had been. Since I cannot seem to control the scale, I started talking to people about my weight. I confided in my closest friends about gaining all that weight in a short time and asked them if they can tell. My bestie (who I can trust to break the worst news to me) gave me the most shocking answer of all. She said: "I don't notice any changes in your clothes or the way you look. And actually this summer, if you had lost any more weight, I was going to talk to you. You were getting too skinny." Now, my mom said that to me this past summer, but my bestie? She is about my height and I outweigh her by 20+ pounds. We are close to the same size in clothing, we just have different body shapes. I never expected that from her! It made me stop and really think- I've become mentally unhealthy. It's time to make a change in my head, not my body...I'll keep you up-to-date as I learn to love my body and not focus on the scale.

 You can't buy friendship like this!!

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