Monday, August 25, 2014

Hiking a 14er With Food Poisoning...Check That Off My Bucket List

So... I decided Pikes Peak will always remember Steph Kinzer, as the girl who left her mark (via bodily fluids) all over the mountain side. Our hike started at 5am, with headlamps and that glorious-Christmas morning anticipation. We finished at 6:30pm (a whopping 13.5 hrs) And it was marvelous, exhausting, and a complete thrill ride. The most favorable way to describe what happened to me on Pikes Peak would be to say I enjoyed a refreshing mountain enema. Talk about putting it lightly. WEW. I adopted a "The Show Must Still Go On" mentality and despite my gastrointestinal upset, we were still able to summit, snap a picture at the top and scramble back to the car. 

I was honored to be hiking with a true mountaineering woman from my gym, Robin, who is known to hike for weeks at a time. A 26-mile hike was like climbing out of bed for her. Seriously, Robin is badass; a natural-born beast. In fact, she had run a marathon just 6 days prior to our hike, this is true. During our entire hike my thoughts were given the customized-Robin-treatment; a constant dose of dang-good conversation, and a casual "hiking 26 miles is no big deal" (with a shoulder shrug) demeanor. Robin kept my mind positively distracted enough that my negative mind knew whining and begging would not be coming to this hiking party. Anyone else might not of pulled this hike out of me.

My food poisoning started around mile 9, when the terrain began to get harder. The miles became amplified because we were above treeline where big boulders and more elevation came out to play It was more work at that point, no doubt. Part of the difficulty was the trail changing and the rest was my body preparing for the forceful withdraw of all my food, bodily water, and minerals, blah. This is what I like to call a double Eff. Where at first we thought I had a mild case of altitude sickness but it definitely it went on too long (like the rest of the 17miles) and didn't show any other symptoms of such. I was nauseated, had stomach cramps and made a lot of bathroom stops. Good times. Party on. 

It took us 7 hours to reach the top of Pikes Peak, climbing 7,500 feet in elevation. When we reached the top, a train had just let passengers out, and there was a long line for the restrooms. Robin and I waited in the restroom line with my intense-food-poisoning-urgency. Then a plain-clothed woman  holding her purse (picture this!) says, "Oh this line is long, I hope I won't miss the train ride back." All I wanted to do was punch her in the face and tell her, "I'm standing here hoping not to ShIT my pants lady!" But that was just me letting the fire out. 

The way back I was excited for downhill hiking and giving my uphill muscles a rest. The first few miles were awesome, great energy from all the other hikers and a positive mood from mother nature, maybe also a hikers-high after reaching the summit?  We even got a bit of snow hiking down from the top which I found refreshing and slightly menacing from mother nature.

My trail etiquette looked like this, going from HAPPY HIKER GONE FEISTY:
  • Where I was yielding the right of way to every uphill climbers at first, it turned into "If you're lucky I'll scoot over and share the trail with you. If that doesn't work, I might just vomit all over you, deal with it."
  • Picking up random pieces of trash we found on the trail, which turned into "Yep, that was a piece of trash - those littering bastards"
  • Eager "Hello, how are you" conversations with fellow hikers, turned into almost whispered hellos while offering fleeting eye contact

The most disheartening experience was when I expected to be about 30 minutes away from the car (oh expectations, how you toy with my emotions). Until we got a dose of real when we saw a sign which told a different story, 5.5 miles. (dum, of death playing). That meant we still had almost two hours of hiking left. Eff. This came at a time when my legs ached, water/food were shooting out of me, and I had zero energy. All I wanted was a blanket, some 7-up and my Mom; and I would have paid good money to make that happen. But you can't bargain with the forest. There are things in life that can't be bought, ha, take that dose of reality Capitalist America. 

What's amazing is once you distract your mind, you will see that one foot WILL keep stepping in front of the other. No matter how much your legs are screaming to stop, when the only option you have is to keep going; you learn that the desire to quit won't do you any good. You learn that your movement is the only thing that can free you. And that helps open your eyes to see that quitting comes far too easily in other life situations. If you could dedicate that level of necessity to all areas of your life you might just become Jesus. That's powerful. (and hallalula.)

So...I learned that my body is a warrior. Uber proud of myself (mental toughness Robin called it) for being able to keep going through that level of physical stress; 4 hours of sleep before hours of hiking/climbing, dehydration, probable mineral imbalance AND finishing a 14er - yes- the human body is astonishing when we don't put limits on it! Definitely, when you don't give your body a chance to get out of a situation, you can see what it's made of. After that hike, I would insist the human body might just be made of steel and iron. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Making Your Meat Suit Habitable. Starting the Weight Loss Wheels in Motion, Part 1

When my youngest daughter, Gabby began trying to walk, it was a learning experience for us all. We watched with pride as our little girl tried all different ways to start walking. We watched as she fell, meandered like a drunkard, and looked at us with uncertainty for answers and reassurance. We got to watch as she beamed ear to ear realizing she was learning something momentous. If you pay attention you can hear a deeper message to the whole process.

During the months that our little lady worked on her walking, everyone - family, friends, and strangers alike, cheered her on. We all knew she could walk, we knew her body was capable but the only thing holding her back from walking, was herself. What a lesson to learn from. Never once did we think she couldn't do it, never did  we pick her up and tell her she should try another way. Instead, we were the encouraging observers, watching in awe as a little tiny crawler blossomed into a full fledged arms-out for balance walker.

Can we learn to give this level of confidence to others and to our self? Can we offer that level of kindness to the world and to our own selves? Genuine love, trust in the method and the acceptance of the trial and error process. Can we move on with absolute faith and fearless resolve? Wouldn't it be nice to offer yourself the level of support that you would offer to a child.

Lucky for me I had an "ah-ha" moment when I realized I was hiding something up my sleeve without knowing it. Thoughts of my body have always been in the fore thought of my mind, so in my "ah-ha" moment, I realized I could use that obsession to my advantage. Since I was thinking about my body all the time, why not use it productively with a positive spin.

First, Start by Getting to a Positive Place
I encourage you to get excited about making these changes in your life. Be THRILLED to make changes that will create your future. Hoping won't get you what you want, you've tried that already. Hoping has no action to it. Now it's time to take action. It's time for change. For me, I had to accept that I needed to eat more like a rabbit if I wanted to lean out. So I started eating a salad as one of my daily meals (take notes: Eat a salad a day). This is a shout out to salads because I used to snub them,  but now I LOVE SALADS. True story.

The way you view food is a choice. I had to change the way I thought of a salad, and trust my body to reward me for my good eating behavior (IT DID!) Besides, changes involving food might be hard initially, but when you see results the changes become enjoyable. I encourage you to make food changes with elation, and not dread. If you hate the changes, they won't last.

You can choose to view healthy eating  as a courtesy to your hard working body. Eat food that LOVES you! Do donuts, ice cream, candy bars and sodas love you back? Not for the long haul, those foods just trigger a chain reaction of erratic emotions. No donuts can't love you, they are that crush you had as a teenager, the one who you kept going back to even when they used & abused you (what jerks!) Spinach and apples do love you for the mutually loving, committed relationship. Get it? Good.

Another good tip! A GREAT movie you can watch on food. It's called Hungry For Change. It will get you excited about making good food choices. I have watched this three times trying to make sure I get all the goods out of it that I can. Watch the trailer here.  I watched it on Netflix, if you have a streaming account you can watch it on there for free.

My ideal body. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet.
My Reality Body. Oct. 2011, after first pregnancy

Yo! You Tube is Free!
Use YouTube like a life coach! I found what spoke to me the most, I listened to a subliminal video designed to help you overcome weight loss obstacles. Headphones are required for this. So when I felt weak at will or I just needed to calm my racing mind, I put my ear buds in.  During this quiet time, I would visualize what I wanted my body to look and act like. Everything was positive and focused during my "me" time. Calm energy came my way because that's what I put out there. It also helped me to feel in control of my body again. You know those days you find yourself speed eating, shoving crap in your mouth, eating when you aren't even hungry? Those are all red flags towards a slippery slope, it means it's time to put on your headphones and slow your roll!

Rule Out Comfort Foods
Let's cut to the chase here. If you want to change what your body looks like, you need to make something change. We both know what foods shouldn't be going in your mouth. Let's put up a big X on your comfort foods - you know the ones. Usually it is food which offers zero nutrition which temps you.What if those comfort foods are what's holding you back from the things you really want in life? Don't give food control of you, take your control back, put your foot down. Repeat this with me, "I am in control of what my body looks like."

      COMFORT FOODS = Foods you eat when you feel lonely (and you usually eat them alone)

Start by closing the fridge (the answer is not in there!) and slam the pantry closed too. Don't be mad about what you ate or did in the past, instead, go now do something you LOVE and say no to the food that haunts you. Go outside, pet a dog, email a friend, do whatever you need but get some distance from the kitchen.

My comfort food was almond flour mixed with maple syrup and coconut flakes. Kinda weird, I know, don't judge me (it's one of those time I could say at least it's paleo, but I won't because that's totally out of line).

To help my transition away from eating for comfort, I practiced a lot of self control until it became easy. I am also an avid rule maker, so I made up three rules for myself:
1.) Avoid comfort eating for 30 days
2.) If I broke rule #1, I wasn't allowed to feel guilty about it. Guilt is a dirty, dirty thing that holds you down.
3.) When I did eat it, I wouldn't feel bad, instead I would get even. I had to do 30 burpees immediately after breaking rules #1 or #1. True story. **See, burpees are good for something, don't let anyone tell you otherwise**
                           500 burpees without stopping. He must have eaten a lot of almond flour+maple syrup

If you struggle with overeating (yes, sure do!)...I suggest you turn to Marianne Williamson, her book is hands down the MOST influential piece of research regarding self love and weight loss that I have ever come across. It is easy for me to say her book changed me permanently. She made me feel empowered and in control of my body again instead of victimizing myself. Her book is here. I bought her book on audio only, so I listened to it on my cell phone on morning walks. It is very powerful, and all of her words spoke to me in a million ways. It was as though she got inside my head and did some deep hearted troubleshooting. I encourage you to take the time to read or listen to it, but if you want something free, you can read an article she was featured in. WARNING: She is religious and mentions God a lot in her writings; but as I am not religious, I chose to ignore that piece and listen to the actual message.

Now, as my youngest daughter is almost a year and a half, I have rightfully earned the body shape I wanted. I make it a point to workout hard at the gym and I stay focused making good choices outside the gym. In my opinion, eating is 70 percent of your body composition and 30% is determined by how you are working out. Focus on the eating piece first if you are just starting off. There will always be slip ups (that's how life goes) but by making focused choices most the time, you learn to get control back and be happy (relaxing sigh...) with your body. I sincerely hope this helps set your motivational wheels into action. If you need help establishing your goals, you can read this post.

Want Weight Loss Results? Action-Oriented Goal Setting for the Motivated!

There's no reason to be unhappy with situations that are controllable. I want to help you change what you can and make life go your way. Here are 3 fail-proof steps to get what you want out of life and get it with gusto speed.  I know, this stuff works because it's the format I used for my own recent weight loss.   

First, start with putting your mind in a positive place and really ponder your own life direction and goals. Lead with your heart so you can really grasp your life purpose. Remember to focus on the things that are controllable (your outlook, your body shape, your skills, your experiences, your relationships). 

As an example, let's say that your goal is to lose weight. (you've come to the right place by the way!)

1. Turn your goals into questions and write them out. For example, Why do I weigh 155 pounds?   Next write what will change when you achieve your goals. Get in depth writing the description; the more detail the better you can prepare. Make sure your goal is specific - for instance, why do I have six pack abs? Why do I feel so good at the gym? Why do I have such a strong back? Why do I feel so positive all the time? Make sure your goal is realistic and controllable, in other words don't set yourself up to fail. Really consider your answers, and then act on them. Make them your new reality.

2. Design your mantra. My mantra used to be "I'm evolving" because I came to a big crossroads in my life but I didn't want to be afraid of it. Now my mantra is, "I love all parts of me" to remind myself that I am 100% lovable, flaws and all. Your mantra needs to be in the present tense and customized to your life. If you need help, go here for 21 different weight loss mantras. Repeat the mantra as often as you can or if you feel yourself slipping into self-defeating habits.

3. Visualize it! Get detailed about what you want to look like and really see it. Be excited about this! Take some peaceful relaxation time to yourself, lay down for five minutes and visualize everything about the body you want. See yourself standing on the scale and the scale showing your goal weight. Visualize the person you want to become. How will it feel to weigh 155? (or whatever your goal weight is). What will your clothes fit like? How will it feel to sit and eat a meal? Visualization is a major player involved in change because it creates your perception. And perception is everything in this world, so use your mind to your advantage; show your mind where you want to go. Don't let the perception train pass by; you want to leap on it!

It's important to mention that the road to obtain your goals won't always be paved, flat or sunny & you won't always feel motivated. But always remember that you are in complete control to make the changes necessary. The choices you make will get easier the more you do them. Most importantly, don't feel victimized by your body if your goal is a weight loss one, instead feel empowered by your decisions.    

What are your goals? Would love some comments and progress pics!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Build (or create) Your 6Pack Abs with Knees to Elbow - Ditch the Crunches!

Needing a new move for the gym this week? Let's change up your routine with a fun abdominal strengthener! You will only need something to hang from to give kneews to elbows a go. Knees to elbow are intense but they will work like magic to get your tummy toned. Link here:

 1. Start from a hanging position
 2. Bend your knees and bring them up as high as you can. Your goal here is to touch your   knees to your
     arms, in the elbow area. But if you can't get them that high, just bring them as high as you can. the move is
     effective at all levels.
 3. Repeat for 5-10 reps. Then rest and repeat
     if you're ready for dreamy ab muscles.