Spotlight On Avocados

Todays healthy food spotlight is on the not so beautiful to look at avocado. But hey, don’t judge a book by it’s cover ( uh, you shouldn’t be judging anyway ūüėČ ) because lurking underneath it’s dark blackish rough exterior is a whole lotta creamy, delicious goodness going on inside.

A long time ago, I used to think they were one of those forbidden type foods I should only eat in a sparse and occasional way.¬† Then I started getting healthy and got into running and what not… the rest is history… but anyway… somewhere in there…. I got invited to be in a fitness challenge ( and got grief from some people cause I guess I was considered a bit to…uh…fit.. to be in the challenge) it was a 90 day¬†thing that involved Crossfit and the last 30 days we had to commit to doing the whole Paleo gig. I figured I could do anything for 30 days and informed them, I would be going back to my Greek yogurt when it was over. (cause they totally eliminate the dairy food group)

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Guacamole anyone?

 

I’m such a rebel.

It should be noted as well¬†I was training for my second half marathon at the time. It should also be noted there were times I thought I’d die of hunger or fear I didn’t have enough energy to drag my carcass back after a run.¬† THIS is when I learned about the lovely benefits of the avocado. They encouraged you to eat them as heartily as they encouraged bacon. It should be mentioned, I tried to limit the bacon stuff.

So I pretty much learned to eat avocado like, all the time in that 30 day challenge.¬† And I learned it’s really, really good for you.

If you wanna read about my (brief) time doing Paleo, find my post here  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/06/08/my-experience-with-the-paleo-movement/

First things first

Do you know an avocado is actually a fruit?¬† Yes, really. I wouldn’t mess with you and lead you astray. The avocado is a nutrient dense fruit, not a vegetable.¬† And did you know the avocado is actually a berry! Botanically they are a large berry containing a single large seed.¬†¬† Learn to think of them as a fruit.

For those of us in the south who enjoy them all smooshed up with spices in the form of a dip called guacamole and a side of crispy corn chips, we might have to stretch our minds more to consider them as food source for sweet things used in smoothies or desserts.

Avocado also goes by an alias…..¬† alligator pear……. so there’s that.

Nutrition 101

Of course you’re gonna want to know all the healthy benefits of the avocado.¬† Avocados are nutrient dense! They are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium . They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

One fifth of an avocado contains 64 calories, almost 6 grams of fat, 3.4 carbs, less than a gram of sugar, and almost 3 grams of fiber. Although most calories come from fat, don’t shy away from that! The fats in avocados are the good healthy kind that keep you full and satiated. When you consume fat, your brain receives a signal to turn off your appetite. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps to keep sugar levels in the blood stable.

avocado

Fat is essential for every single cell in the body. Eating healthy fats supports skin health, enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and may even help boost the immune system.

Avocado also promotes a healthy heart by helping to lower cholesterol, it’s good for vision, and it can also support bone health as it’s high in Vitamin K with a half an avocado offering 25% of the daily recommendation. This nutrient is often overlooked but is essential to bone health.

It has also been shown to protect against some types of cancers and protect against miscarriages as folate is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy.

With it’s high fiber content it can also aid in digestion and prevent constipation.

They offer an energy boost.

Adding an avocado to your lunchtime meal may help you avoid the 3pm slump! Of all three macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats), fat is the most concentrated source of energy for our bodies.

Healthy fats provide a slow, steady stream of energy so you can power right through the workday. In addition, when they’re eaten along with a carbohydrate, they slow the digestion of the carbs, meaning you won’t suffer the energy-zapping sugar crash that typically follows simple carbs like white bread.

Of course all those wonderful nutrients are great for making your skin and hair look healthy and the anti oxidants as you know, are the best anti aging tool you can utilize.

Ok got it? The avocado, like all the other fruits and veggies we’ve talked about is awesome for your health.

Can we eat now?

There isn’t much to prepping an avocado. Just slice its firm skin, cut in half and like magic, it’s wonderful green creamy goodness awaits.

A avocado is ripe when you can gently press into the skin. If it’s hard it will need to sit for a few days to ripen. Soft ones are great for dips while firmer ones are good for sandwiches or salads.

I love avocado on toast for a healthy quick breakfast. I’ve also used it as a substitute for mayo in my chicken or tuna salad.

Avocado is almost always present on my breakfast plate. It is rich and satisfying alongside my eggs and other veggies.

How about a couple tasty recipes to experiment on?

 

 

Oh… and something amusing I found in my search… a comment that said “how do I eat avocados if I don’t like them”

Uh… just don’t eat them. Haha ūüėõ

If you want to learn more about foods that are good for you, be sure to check out all my other “spotlight” posts.

Now tell me, do you like this tasty fruit?  If so, how do you eat it?

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Spotlight On Carrots

In todays veggie spotlight boys and girls, we’re gonna talk about carrots. Stop making faces and wondering when I’m gonna talk about donuts or something like that. I can’t even tell you when I last ate one so I’m not the expert on it now days….

Anyway, carrots. The color alone should clue you in that it’s a food to be eating. Remember bright rainbow colors of food deliver the biggest nutrition and vitamin punch.

Carrots have been around for centuries. Historians believe that carrots were cultivated by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as they were mentioned by Pliny the Elder and prized by Emperor Tiberius.

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Do these make my eyes look bright and shiny?

 

The basic facts first

Carrots like most veggies are low in calories and high in all the stuff that is good for a healthy body. The carrot is a root vegetable and is most often orange though purple, black, red, white and yellow exists.

Geez. It sounds like I just described a bad bruise.

Where are those? I’ve never seen¬†carrots in those¬†colors, have you?

They are also low in calories AND have a whopping amount of Vitamin A as well as impressive amounts of Vitamin C and B-12.

You’ve heard the saying that carrots are good for your eyes? Well there is some truth to that. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the¬†retina¬†to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.

Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat large amounts of beta-carotene had a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little.

Eat your carrots.

But wait.. there’s a lot of other reasons to eat them….

They could help prevent cancer. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating rats.

How is that for an interesting factoid??

Chowing down on carrots can also help slow aging. The high level of beta-cartone in carrots acts as an anti-oxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.

Carrots can also promote healthier skin and hair

Do you see a trend here if you’ve been reading my veggie and fruit posts? find one here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/14/sweet-potato-spotlight/

They can¬†help prevent cancers, promote healthy skin, hair and slow aging. Hmmmm.. could¬†vegetables and fruit¬†be preventive medicine after all ? ūüėČ

Carrots are also associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.  Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.

Have you ever thought about any of those crazy “cleanses” or “detox” things? ( don’t, please don’t) carrots naturally do this within your body. Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fiber present in carrots helps clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.

Oh. Your dentist might tell you to eat them too.

All that crunching and stuff….¬†¬†Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which, being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.¬† And yeah, that might just make your cleanings go faster, if you’re also good and flossing like you should ūüėČ

Some fun and weird facts…

I don’t wanna bore you to pieces with all the good, healthy and smart reasons about eating this veggie so here’s a few things you may or may not know.

Carrots are the second most popular veggie after potatoes.

The biggest carrot ever recorded is over 19 feet long and over 19 lbs!

There are over 100 specimens of them.

Rabbits love to eat them but shouldn’t eat to many. One for us is like them eating 20 carrots. They would be better off¬† eating the green tops.

English women in the 1600’s often wore the greenery in their hats in place of flowers… so there’s that…

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Trying to picture this greenery hanging off a ladies hat..

The name carrot actually comes from the word karoton. The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself.

Wild carrots are often seen in fields and along roadsides, only they’re usually known by a more common name: Queen Anne’s Lace. Pull up the root of a wild carrot, and you’ll find a long, fibrous tuber. Break it and you’ll discover it has the unmistakable aroma of a carrot.

Hey! When do we get to eat?

Carrots are a simple vegetable to cook. In my house they are happily devoured with onions that have been cooked with a roast ūüėČ

I also like steaming them with a little honey and cinnamon that makes the carrots natural flavor pop.

I’ll toss in a couple recipes you can experiment on too

Like this one for you bacon lovers… but seriously… yummy….

 

 

Another vegetable with lots of positive, healthy, life giving benefits. Now run yourself to the store, pick some up, and experiment with a new recipe or two.

Do you like carrots? If so what ways do you enjoy eating them?

 

 

The Art Of Self Care

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In todays adventures boys and girls, we’re going to branch out into something a little broader, something that encompasses more of us than “just” our bodies.

One of the buzz words out there right now is “self care”.¬† It’s a term¬† who’s meaning is most likely fairly obvious.

Let’s define self care as any activity we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health.

In a world that is increasingly more hectic and busy with lives that sometimes have us running in different directions with all kinds of responsibilities it’s easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our to-do list of important things.

Where I’m at now in life, at the age I am, I’ve learned not only is self care perfectly ok, it’s also necessary. Self care for me involves everything from my daily exercise to reading something I enjoy or escaping to a warm bubble bath if the day has left me stretched thin as well as many other things that can soothe my body and mind and keep me a happy, healthy functioning woman.

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Somehow, being upside down, is one of the ways I enjoy self care ūüėČ #yoga

 

I make no excuses for it or apologize for it. Nor should you. We don’t get any extra awards in life for not taking care of ourselves.

Even with all that said, many do not, or think they aren’t important enough, to practice self care viewing it as perhaps selfish to do so.

Eh.¬† Perhaps some may believe it’s selfish.

I don’t really think it is.

Honestly, if you don’t take care of you, who will? And no one will take care of you better than you. ( gosh that’s a lot of “you’s” haha)

Self care keeps us not only healthy in all aspects of our life for (us) it benefits those we are involved with too ( family, friends, co-workers etc) I’m pretty sure they enjoy us when we’re at our optimal best.

So where do you start if you aren’t already practicing it? Or maybe you are to a degree but are looking for other ideas.

Let’s consider the three points mentioned: Mental, physical and emotional.

The most important thing to understand on this topic…. it isn’t a one time deal.¬† Much like eating properly, exercising, and anything else we do, it’s an ongoing process. Practicing small self¬†care things each day should be something¬†you¬†train yourself to do. Now with that in mind let’s move on. Below you’ll find a few tips or suggestions to help you get going. I’m offering up five various ideas but¬†you will probably be able to come up with others for yourself.

Mental self-care

Social media. Pretty much everyone is on it in some way. There can be a lot of negativity and things that aren’t positive when we log on. Some days I don’t spend much time¬†there because honestly,¬†¬†I just don’t need to view what’s on¬†it. Weed out people who don’t offer positive¬†vibes to you or at least mute them if their posts are troubling or pull you down. Unplug and walk away for awhile.

Do a mini-declutter. Nothing makes me feel more frustrated or overwhelmed than things seem disorganized or out of hand. Spend a few minutes on a drawer, closet or any other area that might be bothering you.

Take another route to work or change the way you go if you ride a bike or run. It’s mentally refreshing to have a different point of view.

Get out of your comfort zone. There’s nothing I’ve found more mentally engaging than getting out of that place I’m most comfortable. It will grow you.

Be selfish. Yeah there it is. The selfish word again. Do something each day for you that you enjoy that brings you pleasure or happiness. It’s really ok.

Body self-care

Exercise. Of course this doesn’t come as a surprise that this would be my first suggestion. Moving your body will not only help you physically, it helps mentally too.¬† Find mini times to move through out your day as well. A quick 10 minute walk or some basic stretches to loosen you up.

Learn to breathe deeply. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in yoga it’s practicing those deep breaths through all the moves. You can simply learn to take three deep, slow breaths anytime in your day. Breath in deeply, let your diaphragm expand and feel your lungs really fill with air. Slowly exhale.

Laugh. Read something funny you enjoy or watch a show that evokes laughter. Laughing is good for the soul too.

Make small changes in your diet. Maybe drink an extra glass of water, try a new vegetable or swap a sugary treat for something healthier.

Take a quick nap. A power nap can refresh and energize you for the rest of your day. Remember to keep it between 10-20 minutes

Emotional self-care

Let’s refer to emotional or care for our souls. After all we aren’t just a body wandering around and our souls need some care too.

Write out your thoughts. For me personally, writing can be the most¬† cathartic thing I do for myself. There are times I let my humor out and there are times I write and feel like I’m bleeding all over what I’m sharing. Write out what makes you happy, sad, angry etc

Help someone. That’s explanatory enough. There is satisfaction in helping others.

Make a small connection. Connect with the checker at the store, the barista who serves your coffee or the person in line with you. Hubby often wishes I wasn’t so skilled in this area of making connections ¬†haha

Splurge a little. Buy yourself a treat that you might not always indulge in.

Pray or meditate. Whatever you choose to do find sometime to just be alone and reflect. To let life breathe over you. Use that time to center your thoughts and reflect on the things in your life.

There you go.  A few ideas, some suggestions, to help you with this idea of self care.  Hopefully you will come up with a few others that are specific to meeting your needs.

The most¬† important thing to remember is that you are valuable and self care is not a special treat or a one time thing. It’s to be practiced in a variety of ways every day to keep you healthy and well for you and those you love.

Tell me. Do you have any special self care tips or suggestions?

The Modern Day Snake Oil

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This weirdly sounds like the sales pitch for products today.

 

Oh boy. I’m getting on my soap box again so buckle up boys and girls.¬† I try and stay off¬†of it, but¬†with this particular¬†topic it’s such a rich sea of constant writing opportunities it’s just hard to not capitalize on them.

What you may be wondering is it that keeps my creative writing pot over flowing?

The world of “health” and wellness companies.¬† I’ve had a thing or two to say about them before. I’m sure it won’t be the last time either.

The products are sold by your next door neighbor,  the friend you do yoga with or the sweet grandmother down the street.

Once they sign up they become health and wellness experts overnight.

Actually, they just regurgitate what the company spoon feeds them in propaganda.

Listen, I’m not knocking someone who’s trying to make a few extra bucks. Their intentions are well meaning.¬† I know lots of people who do. I’m just suggesting you might not turn your health care over to someone who doesn’t know squat about most of the things the company tells them to promote or say.

Maybe your blood sugar is just fine and if it isn’t your neighbor isn’t the one to consult.

If you need energy maybe, perhaps, your nutrition needs adjusting and you don’t need supplements of some kind to give you “energy” ( which can translate to nothing more than “natural” speed in some products) maybe you need to lose weight to feel more energetic.

One company vendor posted a screen shot a customer had sent. The customer was proclaiming “how much energy he/she had and they hadn’t even taken their Adderol!” ( Adderol if you don’t know is a legal, controlled substance taken by many people but it’s a legal “speed”) Whatever natural thing was in the product made them feel like they had taken their meds.

That made me raise my eyebrows…a lot….well… there’s LOTS that make my eyebrows shoot off my face sometimes.

Ok well I’m getting to my main point for today. One company is huge on talking up “gut health” and telling you that you need all these products cause you’re more sickly than you realize without them. This company’s literature is loaded with all kinds of “issues” or “problems” you can have in regards to¬† gut health. But I must say, what’s set me off on todays tangent is something¬†I read earlier and it was a meme that said…

“Anxiety is not all in your head. It’s actually in your gut.”

WHAT?! WHAT?!

I desperately wanted to ask if¬†it was a “for real” post ’cause it just was so… shocking to me… disturbing.. that someone would believe that or say it. Like.. do you know anyone who has anxiety issues?¬† I couldn’t imagine telling the person I know who¬†deals with ¬†it that it was only “in their gut”.

And I guess I was disturbed that someone would be so casual about a mental condition to use it in a meme that was designed to get you to respond so they could say… “well hey! I have all these products to fix your awful gut and it will fix up your anxiety too!”

Are. You. Kidding.

It honestly bothered me all day on lots of levels.

I have done a bit of my own research on this topic… and let’s just say in a huge way the jury is still out on the topic of “gut health”.¬† There are lots of opinions and thoughts¬†and there is still a lot of discussion on it.¬† You can find various writings and articles but like anything out there, you’ve gotta consider the sources.

Ok but first, simplified, what on God’s green earth does that REALLY mean?? Here’s my definition for you so we have something to work with here.

“Gut health is anything pertaining to your digestive working system.”

Everything we eat passes through the GI tract. The tract is lined with a thin, sticky mucous and it’s lined with millions of bacteria that live, grow and metabolize ( digesting and absorbing) in what’s considered a complex ecosystem comprised of both beneficial and harmful bacteria.

So ideally, we eat foods good for us, it processes through our amazing organized system and in the GI tract the food is broken down and nutrients are delivered via the small intestine into the blood stream.

When we feed our body good foods it operates in optimal form.

However, let’s face it. Many don’t.¬† Sometimes life is going on and we don’t eat as well as we should. So yes, you can have issues or problems with your “gut” ( and I really hate that word, just throwing that out there)

If eating poorly is a lifestyle then there can be many common problems that you may deal with:

Gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, inflammation, cramping, indigestion etc.

Wow, that all sounds fun, right? Some people might just come to assume it’s what they have to live with, that it’s normal for them.

You really don’t have to feel that way. ¬†And you really can keep your money and not buy the snake oil to “heal” you.

Our bodies were made to function on foods and not man made supplements. Healing your gut, for the most part, can be helped with improved nutrition and better eating habits.

Here’s a fun fact for you….within 20 minutes of eating whole healthy foods you can begin “healing your gut”¬† as the bacteria in your bowels divide every 20 minutes on average. Meaning what you eat either feeds your body health promoting bacteria or non healthy bacteria.

The type of food you eat is a powerful weapon for health.

And a few other tips/suggestions to get and stay healthy:

Probiotics. The natural way to get them would be through foods. Yogurt is a wonderful source, make sure to choose ones that say active or live cultures.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut also have a high level of probiotics.

Avoid use of antibiotics unless necessary. These destroy your “good” bacteria.

Eat less refined sugars.

Lower stress levels.

Exercise.

Eat a healthy daily diet.

So¬†here’s the thing that these companies leave out. There is a small nod to diet or exercise with them. ¬†but it’s more about “buy and use our stuff to be healthy and feel awesome.”

The list of problems their products promise to help and fix is staggering. I’m waiting to hear it cures cancer next.

Let’s keep in mind, at the end of the day, they are a marketing company and everyone is out to make money.

They aren’t telling you that good nutrition should be your goal.¬† They aren’t telling you exercise will help you have energy, change your lab results, or help with your moods.

They are saying… hey, eat what you want and use our products to help you….why should you have to change?

If you don’t change your behaviors and your eating habits there is no product that is going to fix those problems and the only thing you’ll lose is your money to the snake oil salesman.

Rant now over.

The Sacrifice Of Self Caring

I was chattering away at hubby over breakfast on Sunday talking fast and excitedly as I’m prone to do when I’m really passionate about something.

He made careful work of his breakfast while I was shooting things off at him wondering when on EARTH the waitress might wander back and bring me more coffee….for real.

What passionate thing was I engaging him in ?

Something that has gotten closer to my heart more and more in the past couple years.

Health. Fitness. Wellness. Being empowered and strong… and more importantly… wanting it for others… to help them achieve that.

Here you thought I was gonna say running… didn’t you¬†? Well, you know I’m passionate about that, but we’ll save that for another blog ūüėČ

I am passionate about people “getting” it. When they figure out there’s no magic pill or secret formula, shake, drink or potion. When they get off the crazy carousel diet wagon. When they understand they can do things in a sane and sensible way and lose weight and still have a life….

When they find the balance that works for them that’s sustainable and allows them success.

I freaking love that.

But what I was particularly going on about with hubby was this…

I was reflecting on how people give up, give in, and walk away from the very thing they want to accomplish.

They quit. As if quitting is going to get them closer to their goals they have set for themselves. Why do so many quit? Give up? Throw in the proverbial towel ?

I’ll tell you. (uh… did I mention this might be a rather hard hitting post? )

Losing weight and getting fit requires A LOT of sacrifice. It requires a level of discipline that can make people uncomfortable. It means getting out of your comfy comfort zone. And honestly, it’s more than some want to give, and they quit.

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I saw a meme on Facebook recently that said “There are only two options: Make progress, or make excuses.”

If we are to be successful in our pursuit of being healthy, fit and strong, we need to focus on slow, steady, and constant progress.

The other option is where people¬†make excuses and quit. ¬†There’s always a reason “why” they aren’t being successful or a reason why they can’t eat better or exercise or ate half a tray of brownies.

I’ve worked with some people who I (think) expected that somehow I’d lose the weight for them, or be along to slap food out of their hands.

It doesn’t work like that. It does come down to this….

You’ve got to determine you want it bad enough…for you. Not for¬†your bf/gf, husband, wife, or anyone else… it’s got to be for you. And no one can do it …for you.

And then… then comes the hard part… because to do this…to get on the wagon and get moving… requires that sacrifice I was talking about.

Self care requires sacrifice.

Sacrificing old ways, old beliefs.

Sacrificing ways of eating, things that you do eat, how you eat, and how much of it you eat.

Sacrificing time to get out and get your body moving in purposeful exercise on a daily basis. Sacrificing your comfort for discomfort that comes with exerting your body in new ways.

Sacrificing your sense of “entitlement” that you should be able to have or eat certain foods in the amounts you want.

Sacrificing old habits for new ones.

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It’s not easy boys and girls. I’d be lying if I said changing ingrained eating habits you’ve had for years and training your body to like exercise ( and look forward to it!) is easy.

On my journey I’ve had good days and bad days. Days I didn’t WANT to exercise and couldn’t imagine a day that it would be so ingrained in me that I couldn’t imagine NOT doing it. I’ve had days where I knew I ate more than I needed or ate when I knew I wasn’t truly hungry. I just shook it off and kept moving forward. In time, the bad days became less, as my new habits settled into place.

Remember what I said about so many quitting the process….you must take some not so good days on your journey along with the ones that make you feel on top of the world… and keep moving forward.

But… it’s so worth the effort invested… the sacrifice you will make. ¬†So worth your time to take care of your body…. which contributes to all of your overall health ( mental and spiritual too) and no, it’s not selfish. ( we’ll talk more on that in another post)

Which brings me back to my passion… to help others get it.. to encourage them that those daily sacrifices they make will in time add up and it really will get easier and become much more of a habit to do than something they have to “make” themselves do.

Maybe you’ve sidelined yourself more times than you can count. Perhaps you’ve given up after a few weeks declaring it was just “to hard” or “nothing is happening”. You’ve allowed self-defeating talk to rule you and your choices.

Come closer and I will tell you something…. are you ready ?

You don’t have to stay in that place. You have everything in you to be successful and achieve your goals.

Yes, sacrifice and struggle will be involved. Yes, there are times it will not be easy.

Don’t quit… you’ll never arrive if you do.

In the end though, you’ll see, it was all worth it.

 

 

Fit, Fluffy, And Frail

The alarm brought me to life and I did what I do every morning. I began to slowly stretch out my muscles from the nights sleep… it’s a nice way to wake up… stretching things out while I’m still laying down ūüėõ

I’m kinda used to waking up with some kind of tight muscle somewhere on my body.

No, I don’t mean that comment I hear from people about having¬†random and various aches and pains, the “it’s what happens when you get old” aches and pains complaint ( I have my thoughts on that too).

I wiggled my shoulders feeling the tightness in my chest and across my back.

Ahhhh, yes. Yesterday I had finally gotten back to do some boxing. I had taken weeks away from it while my new tattoo healed ( more on that later;) I launched into it with gusto and spent some time as well lifting heavy things.

Hello deadlift, weighted shoulder squats and chest presses.

legs on fire

My body was reminding me that’s what we did yesterday.

Some mornings… it’s the legs… or the glutes.. or…. yeah… you get it….

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Fun you’re thinking.

No, seriously, I don’t mind.

You see when you exercise your body adapts to the demands put on it. In the beginning you do feel that tightness or ache or whatever (that, unfortunately, is when many people give up and quit) but as you keep at it your body wonderfully adapts to those demands.

After awhile you might not really “feel” that activity anymore. It seemingly becomes easier but the reality is, you, are getting stronger =)

Therefore, I like pushing myself a bit more to where I “feel” it. I don’t want to become complacent in doing the same old thing over and over.

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I want to challenge myself, to do a little more, to continue to build my strength and endurance.

I shared with hubby recently that I had been thinking of some things ( he gets a troubled look on his face when I say that haha;)

But I was thinking how there are things in life we cannot control. Things we have no control over…. no matter how we try….

And then…. there are some things we have a level of control over…. for instance….

I can control whether or not I’m fluffy or frail…. neither of which I have any desire to be… and I do have control over that.

I want to move ahead in my life being strong, fit, and healthy.

I can control what I eat, how I eat, and maintain a lean, strong fighting weight.

I can engage in activities that make me stronger for daily living and the tasks I take on. That time spent working out is the “pre-game” for real life that goes down way beyond my scheduled workout time.

I was chatting with a doctor the other day and we were discussing the benefits of being active and staying fit.¬† As we age we don’t have to become weak, many do because they don’t actively use their bodies. I love reading stories about people who are definitely in their “senior” years…. 70,80’s….. and they are strong and fit.

Why? They have stayed active. They run, power walk, cycle, do yoga, weight lift etc. they do things that they enjoy and have stuck with it. They know the benefits of eating well combined with purposeful exercise.

The results? they are strong… not frail or weak. They are at a healthy body weight.

Lifting heavy things keeps our muscles strong… that old saying … use it or lose it.. is pretty true.

Cardio work keeps our insides strong and healthy.

We become weak when we don’t work our bodies. But… that is something we have control over.

I don’t care how young you are… or how old… you have the power to make changes in yourself that are positive and that can impact your life in great ways.

We are always capable of making changes in ourselves.

How do you do that ?

Make a commitment to yourself that you really are worth it. This isn’t the time to be a martyr and say other things need you more, you don’t have the time to do it, you can’t take the time away etc.

Start small.

Add or increase your activities slowly to avoid injury.

Know some discomfort comes with the process!

Be realistic with your goals. Expect progress, not perfection.

Finally, don’t quit or give up! Even with a bad day, pressing on will get you¬†steadily¬†to your goals.

Learning To Embrace Yourself

Last week while I was being busy droning around the house doing those varied and multiple tasks that need to be tended to, I heard a story come on one of those entertainment shows that happened to be on, ( let it be noted my tv “viewing” is more often listening while I’m doing something else haha)

Anyway, it was a story about Kate Gosselin, and how she had this incredible bikini body. You may or may not remember her claim to fame was being pregnant with eight babies at once, which then turned into a reality show for awhile. Honestly, I have no idea what she’s up to now…other than rocking it on a beach somewhere in her bikini.

So I did watch with some fascination and agreed, yes, she looked awesome. But then, hey, couldn’t every mom who’s given birth if they had a team of plastic surgeons nipping, tucking, shaping, lifting and “enhancing”?

Please, hear me out.

I’m not being snarky. I’m not bashing. I firmly believe that women need to build each other up and not tear down based on insecurities. I admire women and my goal is always to be encouraging and supportive.

I just don’t know that it’s a real honest assessment… like she’s busted her butt forever and got that ¬†body… to hold that¬†out to the average woman as something she can achieve.

I’m sure she works out… I mean… I don’t know for a fact… but it’s a strong probability.¬† I just don’t know it’s fair to hold¬†that image¬†out to women like “hey, after all those babies she can look like this and you should/can too!”

I mean, that’s Hollywood and unrealistic expectations for the rest of the world, right ?

We don’t have 24 hour personal trainers.

We can’t afford plastic surgery even if we might want to.

We don’t have personal chefs or nutritionists that plan and cook our meals.

We don’t have time to devote half our day to our bodies.

We work, have kids to chase down, homes we have to take care of and all that goes with it,  projects to do, meals to cook, etc. etc.

And somewhere, in the midst of all that, we try and carve out a little time to take care of ourselves ( hopefully you do)

And I hope, you have a positive, loving attitude about that body of yours. It makes me sad when women ( and maybe guys do this too) are critical and harsh with themselves.

Supposed “flaws” are singled out. Comparisons made to other peoples bodies. Self-defeating talk. Magazines with airbrushed seemingly “flawless” bodies that can leave us feeling inadequate.

Why are we so critical with ourselves? And why do we often miss how self-defeating that is.

No. Most of us will never be shaped, enhanced, or lifted to fix our “flaws”.

But hey listen up, there’s nothing wrong with you and it’s ok to embrace yourself as you are.

Working to lose weight? Be kind and patient with yourself as you move through the process of becoming a stronger, healthier, more fit you.

Maybe you’re at the weight you want to be but you’ve been working on that “thing” ( seriously will that loose skin EVER tighten up ??)

Perhaps you look in the mirror and hate your ( fill in the blank).

Stop it.

Learn to embrace you and love yourself. Understand some things will never change.. be ok with that. Know that many things CAN change… you need to determine if you want to work for it to make it happen.

My body has changed dramatically from my mid20’s when I was having babies, to my 30-40’s, to now.

Physically, I’m in better shape now than I’ve ever been. I’m stronger, pack more muscle, and can do more athletically than when I was younger. I love that.

I’ve also carried to term, three beautiful sons.¬† My body miraculously housed and then delivered big, strong, healthy boys. No matter what exercise I do, I will still have marks from carrying them and skin that isn’t perfectly tight.

My turning point was a few years ago when I just decided to own every aspect of myself, and that meant not worrying so much about my perceived “flaws” and focusing overall on having a strong, healthy and fit body.

I did rock a bikini at the beach. I was more confident and proud of those muscles in my tummy that I had built than skin that wasn’t entirely “perfect”…. but even now I’d have to say…by whose standards would that be determined… “perfect”?

I simply learned to embrace myself… no excuses or pardon needed for anything.

There is a tremendous amount of freedom when you do that, learn to embrace yourself, and be truly comfy in your own skin.

Now I’m not saying you should dive into a bikini if you’re not comfortable with that… be you…¬† always be who you are…. but don’t hide behind something because you think you have to.

Don’t make apologies for yourself. Don’t look at yourself as flawed.

Embrace the beauty of who you uniquely¬†are…. and hey…. we might not look as reshaped as Kate… but if you wanna rock that bikini…. go for it ūüėČ