Saturday, December 5, 2015

Attracting Weight Loss As A Multi-Dimensional Being

Body composition is a multi-dimensional topic. There is an ever changing pull of gravity on your body, the time of day, the water and food content, movement of the digestive system, the moon in it's rotation and heavy mental thoughts that blur objective vision. You can instantly change from a negative Nellie to feeling a turbo-charged motivational fire under your butt. Your body can look one way in certain flattering lighting and then send you doing disgusted double takes under overhead lights. We can feel like a steaming-hottie one second and a pile of rotting turd the next. We are emotional, subjective, easily changing beings made of mental thoughts, energy and physical parts. And it's pretty amazing.

We can have desires to lose weight that are so strong you can easily snuff away foods that don't support you; only to have a large spoon stuffing desserts in your face in the next moment. It is because we are multi dimensional that you can morph moment by moment into something different. This you can see in photos, the picture you look fabulous in, the next you would just crumble if it got posted on Facebook.  Sometimes our heart wants weight loss but your head knows better of it and resists attempts at a low calorie way-of-life.

There are many ways the rivers of weight loss and change converge into body transformation. All my family and friends know how many times I've gone done these paths, being inspired by change.  I've learned a few things for certain in my weight loss that I want to share. These are things that I have personally experienced that resonate strongly for me. My first example has a story to share, so bear with me as I use it to perfectly illustrate my point.

If I was born to an Indian family, my Indian name would be Plant-Killer-She-Is. I have a black thumb. My un-green thumb kills most living plants in some way or another. Unfortunately we have a plant that my hubby has had since college, a pretty tropical thing that shouldn't still be alive with this constant abuse. This plant is alive only because when it gets thirsty the leaves wilt downward. An hour after watering it, the leaves perk back up, Just as we know everyday Donald Trump will say something ridiculous, that plant comes back to life.

In the last few months we noticed the perking up process started to take longer, and more recently it never perked back up. So I read you can add hydrogen peroxide and water to the plant and decided it was a hail Mary worth trying. Either way, the worst outcome was plant death. Meh.

Three-days following the hydrogen peroxide treatment, I looked at this very sickly plant and decided it was not going to live, the leaves were more wilted than before treatment began.Another one bites the dust. I was plant-grieving the loss of another plant but my husband wasn't in my boat. The same day that I was mentally declaring death of this once luscious has-been, he walked by it and said, "look, it's coming back to life!" and got excited. What? Huh?

Turns out, he saw one of the leaves actually perked up just a tiny little bit. A sliver, really. And just like that, the death sentence was lifted from the plant. You see, my husband was looking for ways to see the plant was living, he was looking for signs of life. I was only seeing the wrinkled leaves, I was seeking out signs of death. We were both wanting the same outcome but he was looking through a glass-half-full lens

Sure enough, once that leaf started to perk up, the others followed. The plant will live, (at least for now.) But sometimes that is all you need, just the smallest indication, the smallest step towards hope can propel you over mountains. I tell you, once you start seeing results, the steps to get those results become a cinch. So do whatever you need to do to see objective results. Do that really hard workout, do a 20-hour fast, take a weekend off of eating meat, do a 48-hour juice fast. Walk into a Crossfit and let their programming push you.  Do anything that quickly propels you in the direction you want to go. It's like a jump start to your goals. It's confirming your inner strength and it's getting you fast results. .Side note, I wonder, Is this why my hubby loses weight so quickly? He is looking for a sliver of evidence while I don't see results until I've moved mountains?

Fear and Love Walk into a Bar...
So says Wayne Dyer, that we are either living in love or living in fear, nothing else.And nothing good ever happens in the fear zone. Even when I was at my ideal weight, I was always in the fear zone despite having the body I wanted. My thoughts were always calibrating to how afraid I was of gaining my weight back. It's been a gigantic realization to see that being fit isn't a stagnant place. Being fit, just like being fat; is not a place we stay. It's a place we can stay for a while - but it's not like your eye color-once you have blue eyes you always have them. Within a moment you can become something else. And remember, the difference between how you feel and how you feel toward what you want is what launches you toward change. Without your current discontentment, you would stay stagnant and change would not be motivated.

Hindsight is 20/20
So my recent weight gain has been a major source of contention for me. I've seen it coming and I've been looking for it.  This is EXACTLY the problem. When I was at my ideal weight, right where I wanted to be, I was always feeling like it was slipping. Always looking to see  the weight gain. I know weight gain starts in the lower body, so every spare second I analyzed if my legs looked bigger. I obsessed toward what I didn't want. Where I could have been looking in glee at my massive success. Instead I lived in fear. Fear only invites cortisol into your body which makes you hold onto extra weight, among a cascade of other things. 

So my primary focus of this blog is about getting to our happy weight. So what do we do? How do we get from point A (present) to point B (goal body). The answer: We do whatever we need to do to FEEL good. When we feel good, we are in a place of welcoming what we want by doing what keeps us happy. Besides the temporary high of food, what makes you happy? Believe me, even for a foodie, it's not just eating and it's not watching TV. Figure out what those things that ignite a fire inside you and do them more. Doing things you love will propel you in the direction you want to go. I guarantee it.

The Flip Switch
What can you do to get into that happy place when you are clearly not: I suggest to move. When I feel crummy, I know that emotion is sparking a fire under my butt for change. So stand up and change something. Once I was sitting on the couch feeling like Eeyore from Winne the Pooh, and felt like crap. Instead of wallowing in deeper despair, I got up and took my kids for a walk. Wala! Ten minutes later I was back to Ms. Positive - the cold Colorado air was magical.  Another day,  I had to go outside and flip my tire. I was overwhelmed with emotion and I knew I just needed to lift something heavy to screw my head back on straight. Other days, I go lift a heavy rock, go do yard work, hit up a yoga class, play soccer with my kids or do a headstand. Or if you have kids with you, take some private time in the bathroom, 5 minutes to breathe deeply and imagine the things you are grateful for or things that make you crack up laughing. Movement of the mind and movement of the body are key to change.

David Wilson, Ex-NFL star going for the Olympics. No negative thoughts here.

Anything that makes you feel good is a step in the right direction. Thoughts that make you feel despair or guilt or yuck should be avoided. Imagine how NFL players feel. Do you see them standing in the mirror telling themselves negative things about their bodies, how worthless and fat they are? Oh hell no, those guys are pumping themselves up imaging how they want their bodies to perform on game day.

Best of luck to us all!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Biohack of Nutritional Proportion, Have your Carrots with Cake too!

Beware, this post might change the way you eat at a Mexican restaurant. Or at least I hope it will. I've discovered a hack which can enhance our nutrition despite occasional non-nutritious lapses. I strongly believe in eating nutritious, real, whole food that man hasn't chemically processed. And making sure that when you eat those nutritional delicious goodies (like broccoli and asparagus) that you are absorbing them and getting all the potential health benefits they have to offer. In the case of asparagus, that includes the funny smelling pee.

My biohack means you can still eat the chips. (Amen to that!) I just want to make sure you eat the good stuff loaded with vitamins BEFORE you eat the other stuff. So eat your food in the right order and you are winning in health and satiety! The hack is to go by order of nutrition and digestibility.

The Biohack:

Eat healthy to unhealthy, in that order. Example: eat the salad first, then the burger. Dessert if you must. Or drink the green juice for breakfast before the eggs and bacon. Skip the bread until you at least eat something nutritious first. 

Additional Hacks (if you wanna go to 2nd base)
1.  Start with Raw (veggies, smoothies, salads) Raw is where the ENZYMES are. And believe me, no one argues that enzymes are anything but good for you. That's why there are raw foodies out there that won't eat anything heated. Enzymes are helping every system in your boy and they help break down your food.

Raw foodies, yes it's possible
2. Never eat fruit-based dessert after meals, unless you enjoy farts and GI distress. The fruit is like a race car, it shoots into the stomach with lightening speed and if you already have some protein in there, then fermentation happens. The other food is digesting while the fruit just sits on top and stands in line, stewing in anger - like when you sit in traffic. A special note on watermelon. Watermelon is extremely fast moving through the digestive system and should only be eaten first thing in the morning on an empty tummy. No disrespect to the watermelon gods, I love this stuff but it's so full of water that it catches up to any food in the gut.

The Objective:

1) Ease deprivation - Call me a rebel but when someone tells me I can't have something, I usually want it more. This happened recently when we considered buying a house in the suburbs but we didn't put an offer on it. Three days later the real estate agent notified us someone had put an offer on the house and suddenly I REALLY wanted that house. Tell me I'm on a diet and suddenly the cheese cake is more tempting. This way, you can have your cake and enjoy it too
2) Fiber, enzymes and nutrition to satisfy cravings. Twice now, after I complete a big mud race, I crave a cigarette. I felt like a freak having such a craving but at least now I understand why. A craving for cigarettes means I need tyrosine which is my body's sneaky manner of telling me to eat protein. This biohack method has the potential to hit the nail on the head if you have a nutritional craving related to a physical need. You eat a large bounty of veggies right away to allow absorption rather than eating nutrient-depleting chips.
3) Strengthen your digestionWhere the digestion goes, so goes the mind. When your digestion is on track, so are your thoughts. Notice when you have gut distress, you are irritable. When you are suffering from constipation, you are really lethargic or down right ANGRY. You have a gut brain axis and there are many neurotransmitters which originate in the gut. This is big news and reiterates the importance of a good diet. Read more here. This biohack introduces enzymes which help you to digest food properly, it's all in the raw.

Don't try to take my fruit away
The Why...The order of foods you eat can enhance or destroy your nutritional absorption. I didn't even begin to discuss food combining which is really tricky. Below is where it gets complicated, so if you want simplicity, stop reading now. But if you want more, listen as I deepen my rationale.

Digestion Time. 

It takes 20-45 minutes for fruit to digest - this is the fastest food that rushes through you. This is why when you are famished or hangry, you reach for the grapes before the baked chicken. Fruit also has a high water content, the more water food has, the faster it goes through your digestive system. Beware! Fruit is loaded with fructose which is only digested in the liver. I suggest you limit your fruit intake when your goal is weight loss. That's because it's our beautiful loving liver that works to destroy fat and if it's busy digesting fructose, it's hands are tied and it can't help us break down fat. But by all means, don't neglect fruit - it is FULL of vitamins and minerals.

It takes up to 2 hours for carbohydrates to digest- though this is subjective. When I eat a cup of white rice, I get hungry within an hour

It takes 3 hours for proteins to digest - that burger or those eggs in theory will fuel the metabolic fire longer than a cup of rice

It takes 3-6 hours for fats to digest. This is part of the mechanism for people on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, they stay full longer.

What this means is that eating out at a Mexican restaurant changes. No longer would you sit down and eat the basket of chips (and then shamefully say yes when they ask if you want another). Instead you would request raw veggies or a salad, get your body fueled nutrient dense food, then eat your cheesy fried (delicious) food and if you must, eat the chips with dinner or after.

More detailed explanation here:
cleanse and lose weight

Best of luck in your biohacking, Let me know how it goes!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Strongman Competition, Getting Down and Dirty with Heavy Things

Strongman Class! Me on Kettlebell right before falling off
For the last 18 months I have been going to a weekly class that leaves me filthy, hungry and feeling stronger than the half hour before I started. My Strongman class has a revolving group of people, originally it was a female-only class but due to minimal estrogen interest, pregnancies and injuries - it became coed. Things got harder when the boys joined the group and I really liked it because it made me push myself harder.

  • Heavy tire flips (up to #450 for me) 
  • Farmers carry with dumbells
  • Tire rolls
  • Heavy Kettlebell swings
  • Truck pulls (which will make a man out of any girly girl) 
  • Sledgehammer hits
  • Shotput throws
  • Sandbag clean and presses 
  • Tire stacking 

So, after a year a half of Strongman training and doing it without intention of anything more than getting strong, I started to get excited about the idea of seeing what I'm really made of. A competition came up and I signed up with about 8 weeks of time to train. As the event got closer, I started to doubt why I wanted to do it in the first place. But I was reminded that I was simply entering a world of the unknown, and if I decided I hated Strongman competitions, then I would never do another one again.

The weeks before competition, I went to my trainer's personal garage for some "bro sessions" where heavy lifting and manly sweat prevailed. I lifted atlas stones and kegs and did heavy farmers carries and would leave feeling super awesome in the way of strength. I started to LOVE strongman because I could feel insta-endorphins rushing from half a minute of lifting. Nothing else works that fast to fuel my crackhead level fitness high.

Dan! Mr Positive
The week before the event,I knew I had to take it easy, nice and easy to save my super power strength. Which I did, and considering most of my day hours revolve around working out, it actually felt nice to have extra time. What does one do when they don't work out 2-3 hours a day?

 One of the best things I did was to go to my favorite Crossfit-ish box Axistence Athletics because I knew they had a log to practice with. I was schooled in proper technique and given many tools to use to build my confidence for the comp. Thank god there are trainers out there who can look at the bright side! When I went to lift the 145# atlas stone and couldn't get it even close to putting it over the bar, Dan here said, "It's OK you were able to pick it up, now we know what to work on" And then taught me a new style that would save my grip strength.

This is the one! This beast had me power screaming!

Here is what happened: The morning of the event, we all got to play around with the apparatuses we would be lifting during showtime. Everyone went to lift the steel frame to see how heavy #300 feels. I watched everyone take their turns and when it was my turn I was distraught! I could not lift the dang thing up!! I tried 3 times and walked away in shame. Then my nerves hit. If I could not even lift this thing how could I even carry it 60 feet for the competition?! What was I doing here? Do I even lift?

Finished. Me and the other athletes I competed with.
 My trainer is the one holding me up like I'm a feather.


  1. Log Press #93 for 60 secs, I got 5 reps - this is more of  a clean and jerk but the log is really wide and totally acquward. It is a bruiser too, I still have bruises on my forearms. 
  2. Frame Walk #310 for 60 feet, I made it across after two massive power screams. This is the apparatus that destroyed my confidence before the comp started
  3. Axel Deadlift, #150, for 60 seconds, I got 22 reps. This is a very wide grip bar that is double or triple the girth of a barbell. Straps were allowed and I'm glad I decided the last minute to use them
  4. Yolk carry #310, for 60 feet, You put this thing on your back and it's only inches from the ground as you try to walk quickly to the finish
  5. Atlas Stone over 48" bar, Semi-Complete fail. I picked up my stone but couldn't get the heavy monster over the bar. No one thought this attempt was worthy of filming, thank god there's no evidence.

Good News, Bad News...
I completed all 5 events, the only one I really failed at was getting the atlas stone over. I figure since the bar was about neck level, failure was looking me almost square in the jugular. I realized my weakness wass the speed most the other ladies had. The other huge bummer was that I was not only the very first female to complete each event, but I was also the very first athlete to start the whole competition off. That just wasn't right. I lifted things heavier than I've ever lifted and that feels really good, like bordering on orgasmic good if I must say.

Did not stay for awards but I was told I got 8th place. I think there were 9 girls who competed. Got a finisher ribbon which my girls play with as a necklace. Good thing we got that.

Just as Mom tells you it's OK to fail as long as you learn something...What did I learn?

  1. I am stronger than I think. When I went to lift that frame, I had so much doubt in myself and I didn't think I was going to be able to make the lift. Having your body prove your mind dead wrong is a VERY good feeling. Something that I want more of.
  2. There is a lot of technique to all these Strongman events that takes specialized training. When I told people at Crossfit that I did a Strongman event and placed 8th, they said, "ya, that's because you are not a Strongman, you Steph are a Crossfitter"
  3. Participation ribbons are nothing to brag of but I fared far better than all the people who did not compete. There. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ass Moves Mass. Bulky Vs Fit.

So the title, "ass moves mass" was not made up by me. The term applies to powerlifters. Likely the only females who are encouraged to eat lots because a bigger size will increase their performance. Maybe Strongwomen get that too? Did you know I'm doing my first Strongman competition this weekend? Oh dear lord, what have I gotten myself into. More on this later. Let's talk adaptation of the female figure.

My Story
Dream Body Alert
A couple years ago, when I was dropping weight dramatically, every week I got noticeably thinner, I was very in tune to the words people used to describe me. I heard words like fit and lean as I walked by. I was approached by strangers who would ask if I was training for a competition. You mean like the Tough Mudder? (I had no clue they meant the standing on stage variety). And I felt that way, I felt thin and fit. I felt light on my feet and absolutely stunning. My clothes were getting bigger and I felt VERY comfortable in my own skin.

The Problems
The problem was my primary focus was weight loss, leaning out - getting smaller. I wanted to be small enough that my hubby could lift me up. I wanted to be the tiny, short girl.  I wanted to be the blonde model from Athleta. I knew heavy lifting, running and high intensity could make me drop fat, so I did that, consistently 3 days a week I pounded the gym pavement like it was my job.
Athleta Dream body

And I was willing (finally) to stop eating crap, start eating more veggies (mostly JUST veggies) and earn the body I wanted. I was willing to do anything. So I ate small meals, only 2 or 3 a day, I did lots of fasts, I sometimes just had a big plate of steamed broccoli for dinner. I skipped meals to make sure I was working out in a fasted state. And in the gym I lifted  and did high intensity for 2 straight hours and came home and wanted to collapse onto my bed. And it all worked. I got down to 17.9% body fat and I felt like my true self emerged from hiding. I had the body I wanted. But I had other obstacles to face.

A Love Affair...
I became entranced with the barbell. I realized that the barbell could change me from feeling timid and shy to feeling superhuman. I could walk into the gym and feel isolated or blah, but after I lifted I felt like a lean, mean, strong-ass machine. So I wanted more, I wanted to lift heavier. I was not longer interested in how many deadlifts I could do at 150#, I wanted to know how much I could lift as a one rep max. Of all the lifts I knew, I kept adding on more weight plates. So my barbell got heavier and heavier and so did my appetite.

me, April 2014
me, June 2015

The Kitchen, Open for Business
Besides being an animal in the gym, I morphed into an animal in the kitchen. I became soooo hungry.  When you have a ferocious appetite, it's impossible to eat like a rabbit. I also increased my workouts, I was often doing two workouts a day. Thus, when you are working out for 2-3 hours a day, your body WILL find a way to fuel your workouts. And considering I was unwilling to lower my workout intensity, I was putting myself into a predicament. I said a subconscious adios to my original goal of wanting to lose weight.

Want to eat 20,000 calories a day? Be this guy, be this guy

My body fat test showed I required an average of 2800 calories a day on active days. It didn't take long to begin the monster eating. More eating meant my body began changing and it was saying, "you're welcome" as it adapted to help me be a badass, I was resenting my body for the growth. I noticed first my legs, and watched as my skinny clothes grew less and less comfortable. I worked out harder, and resisted again. But eventually it doesn't work. Not just because my appetite, but also my cortisol levels went wacky because I wasn't eating before or after my workouts. I considered giving up lifting heavy but that seemed like I was quitting. Plus I like it too much! And once I realized I couldn't   be losing weight and gaining strength, at the same time- I declared a truce,  to stop the fight against my body. Very easy to say. Very hard to do.

Anatomy and Physiology 101...
You can be strong and fit and also have fat over your muscles.This is why you might have a six pack just dying to come out and play if you would tweek your diet. There are plenty of strong people out there but they have a high body fat percentage so you can't see their superhero muscles. Also, bulky is a subjective term. What I used to think was "too much muscle" on a female has changed over the years. Not everyone agrees that strong is the new skinny. Also, girls are more prone to fat storage because we are created to reproduce. It's an honor but can be a little bit of a curse to our figure.

My Diet has also been through leaps and bounds since this all began. Where once I was a simple PURIST, restricting my diet by ingredients, these ingredients have slowly slipped back into my life.

The LEAN diet I followed 100% of the time when I was my most fit:
- No dairy
- No alcohol
- No SUGAR!! HUGE factor right here!
- No gluten
- No exceptions

NOW...Instead of passing on the desserts, I have a little.OK, OK, sometimes I have a lot. And I know the sugar is bad news for my body comp. I know sugar decreases my human growth hormone and increases insulin. These are two major hormonal players involved in determining what your body looks like. Do you want to look fit? Nix the sugar. I guarantee nothing FIT will ever come of sugar.  Wanna more sugar hatin? Here. Now what words do I hear to describe me? Bulky, Jacked, big, "all muscle", a beast. It's been a lesson in self acceptance. An introduction to unconditional love for myself. Admiring myself for what I can do and disregarding thoughts of what I feel I "should" look like.

In conclusion...
Your body composition is decided in the kitchen/restaurant/fast food line. It's based on what you do or do not eat.  Eating sweet desserts, downing soda and eating nutrient poor food will cause unfavorable results. But eating your veggies and supplying your body with vitamins might just change your life! As for lifting heavy, yes I think it can cause large muscle growth, and I think its beautiful. But it won't happen overnight, and it won't necessarily be unfavorable. And it will encourage a big appetite which I think is the main factor in getting big.

The Elite Crossfit body. These Girls: Not a Starvation Diet

The adaptation of the Female Crossfitter's Body. This is Camille Leblanc-bazinet. This is how much a body can change and adapt over the years based on what physical activities you demand of your body. This is the body in motion, improving and progressing.  Too often we watch weakness enter the body with a poor diet and watch people grow in fat. It's beautiful to watch the human body grow in strength. 




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pressing Topic: What You Don't Know About Fat Loss

POP QUIZ...Where does fat escape the body when you lose weight? Fat, or adipose tissue has mass, right? You can visually see it or feel it when you put on clothes.If you guessed into the toilet you are wrong!  So when you lose weight, where is that mass going? How does it leave?

A Breathetarian Barbie. Either that or all her food get stored in her chest
The answer surprised me. You breathe fat out. Fat becomes carbon dioxide and you breath it out. Did you just take a deep breath as you read that? 84% of your fat is breathed out through you lungs in the form of carbon dioxide and the rest of it becomes water.

This is fab news for us exercising fitness fanatics. We're burning calories, and breathing out fat while we do it. No wonder I have a hard time leaving the gym!

Want another mind blowing tid bit to add to your RAnDom arsenal for amusing small talk? There are people called breatharians. Ever heard of them? Breatharians are real people who think they can live on breath and the sun alone with no food or water. This is real folks.  You can only hope they become a breatharian when they are in their late 90's. Can't imagine they live too long.

Anywho, more news on breathing. This weekend I did my first yoga-hike with a fabulous yoga instructor. She taught us the proper way to breath for maximal effect. Maybe even for quicker weight loss? Who knows. You decide.

Breathing Like You Mean It

1. Breathe in through you nose (let your nose filter all the yuck stuff out)
2. Count the amount of time it takes to breath in (4-5 seconds is average)
3. Count to double that number on the way out (breath out through your mouth or nose) and use your tummy to push with force

My way of doing it is to breath in for 5 seconds and out for 10 seconds. On the exhale, you should feel it in your gut. I love finding out ways to do things better.

Shallow Breathing, the Chunky Truth

So, here's a shocker! I found shallow breathing can cause: BLOATING. It causes you to inhale too many small sips of air. Who would have guessed? That's reason enough to do your deep breathing. Then there's digestive issues, heartburn, fatigue, chest pain, heart palpitations which result from shallow breathing. This is because the body uses the lungs to expel toxins from the body and without completely removing them, your body holds onto them instead. That's not nice.

Breath deep and exhale deep my friends. Your lungs will thank you.

Question #2 of your Pop Quiz, What does one pound of fat look like? Oh Lord. It looks like this inside the body. Or has the mass the size of a baseball. Neither is pretty. No wonder I feel so good when I lose a few pounds.

Fat Loss Tip #2
Leptin is a hormone responsible for letting you know you ate and you can stop. This is how your body can signal you to put the fork down and to pick it up when you need energy. When this hormone is not regulated properly, you will continue to be hungry after a meal and want to eat late at night. It's an ugly thing to do to someone especially if that person is trying to drop a dress size. It also interferes with insulin and we all know if you have too much insulin you will not be getting off the scale with a smile anytime soon! Here's some more info from Wellness Mama:
Lifestyle Factors to Improve Leptin Response:
  • Avoiding grains, sugar and fruits (OK maybe one fruit a day)
  • Eat (or take) more Omega-3s (fish, grassfed meats, chia seeds) 
  • For breakfast, consuming veggies (a green smoothie?) followed by a small amount of protein and healthy fats within an hour of waking 
  • Hit the sack early, between 9-10pm - Early to bed, early to rise - makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!
  • No snacking - when you are constantly eating, it overworks your liver & can destroy your hormones. Eat regularly, every 3-4 hours, while sitting down
  • When you do exercise, do it for a short time with high intensity, drop the long and slow sessions of cardio 
  • Remove toxins from your life as these are a stress on your body. Get rid of processed foods, nasty cleaning products and personal care products filled with toxins


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Emotional Eating, Learning to Concur Over the Kitchen

If there's anything I've learned about people in the recent few years, it's that we all battle our own demons. Some people fight with them more publicly than others. Some demons are more sneaky than others. Thus, they are easier to judge. Some people who look like they have it all together might be the same ones who go crawl into bed at night and cry themselves to sleep. I saw on the news that Bill Cosby is not who we thought he was, and I am so saddened by the loss of what I thought was so pure. We all have struggles. I just decided if I put mine out there for everybody then maybe I can concur them for good. And in the mean time I can help others too.

My demons live in the kitchen. The demon I fight is with food and emotional eating.  I've waged war with my self worth regarding food more times than I can even count, ever since I was a teen. Sometimes I feel like I'm suffocating from my own "weakness" and I just want to come up for breath again. And when I get stuck in the game of eating for comfort, it's a daily, hourly, even minute by minute misery. There are times in my life where I have felt like I'm winning the game, and food doesn't have this control over me. And then there are the other dark times when I feel out of control. Those are the times when life gets really hard. I feel lost and out of control and it feels like it effects every part of my waking life. It even follows me into my dreams. Even as I write this, my emotions are strong and I feel strongly that I need to address them head on if I want to win this game.

First (baby) Steps...

The first step to avoiding this is to look at the situation with loving, accepting eyes. The kind of eyes your best friend or your Mom has for you. The eyes that see no wrong doing. Hate, anger and fear will not do us any good at this point because they are exactly what has led us here. It's love and kindness that can get you out. When I adore my body, and when I honor myself and my emotions, then I don't have problems with overeating. Here's what I've learned so far.

"I FEEL OUT OF CONTROL WITH MY EATING" I told my hubby one day, crying.
He simplified the problem by asking where in my life I felt out of control. I don't even know if he knew I had this "problem" with food, but he seemed to know the solution without a second thought. 

Your life and your relationship with food are projections of your lifestyle/habits/thoughts. Your thoughts will always manifest physically.

The answer hit me hard, like an obvious bonk to the head. Where did I feel out of control? I felt out of control in my life everywhere. It felt like my kids were growing up too fast and I wasn't giving them a good enough childhood. It felt like my relationship was ending, and I was moving towards divorce. I felt like I was diving deep into fitness but wasn't ready to make the next big jump into the big leagues. And what did I do with all this pent up stress? I overate. It soothed me initially and then it gave me a gigantic slap in the face. And over time it gave me a body I don't feel pride in. And if you have ever been overweight, one of the worst parts is not feeling comfortable in your own skin. This is what hurts the most. The insecurity of not feeling pride in yourself.

What should we be doing instead of eating our stress? Taking action.

Stress is caused by not taking action on a stressor. Thus, I needed to stop worrying that I wasn't giving my kids enough attention and just schedule out 30 minutes a day of straight play time. I needed to talk to my hubby about our relationship and seek a counselor or a lawyer instead of just stewing in the unknown. I needed to start doing the things that bring me joy and schedule them out to make them real. So when something stresses you out: You have to change your mind about it (and accept that you can't change other people's minds) or you have to physically do something to change your situation.

To reiterate: 
STRESS leads to 2 options: 
1) Change the situation
2) Change the way you look at the situation

As for the physical overeating piece, I listened to an awesome Podcast ( I think it was I Simply Am Podcast) where the guy gave a protocol of questions to ask yourself before you begin eating.

1. Recognize any emotion you are feeling. 
What is the one word that describes it?
Example: loneliness, boredom, rejection, shame, fear

2. Where are you feeling it?
 Example: In my whole body, in my belly, in my heart

2. Say hello to the feeling. Give it a name, don't hide from it
call it out! It needs to be heard
Hello lonely. Hello shame, hello fear

3. Decide to eat anyways

This allows you to still eat and after you have acknowledged the emotion, But I advise to eat slowly,  enjoy every bite, don't do it in shame. The next time around you feel that way and want to overeat, you can look at the situation from an experienced eye. You have already eaten "lonely" and now you want to try something else. Because eating our emotions never quite cuts it.
My fridge has this hanging up on it

One of the best quotes that I heard on this podcast was "You have to FEEL to Heal" So this allows you to feel the emotion instead of trying to avoid it.

I would love to help you if you struggle with this. I have many ideas up my sleeve to help you, if you want it. Just email me. One of my personal favorite things to do is a 12-14 hour fast, where you consume water and tea only and you can do this during your nightly sleep. It prevents you from stuffing your emotions with food and allows you to face your personal issues head on, fearlessly.

Cheers to facing your demons, Much Love to all!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Electrolytes? Yes. Gatorade? No Thanks + DIY Electrolytes

Me and my princesses at Mt Princeton, the roaring river as our background
If you were to remove the sugar from Gatorate and try to drink it - it would be record-book gag-worthy. To combat it's vomit-factor, Pepsi dumped in sugar and chemicals to create a disgusting concoction of an electrolyte excuse. Electrolytes, yes. Cancer causing chemicals and diabetes on the way after you consume Gatorade? Check & check.

So just what are electrolytes? 

So first let's look at our bestie, water. Just plain water is not just plain water. Surprise! Water has minerals in it. Some water has more than others. Like in Colorado, we have hard water which is full of minerals (such as salt, calcium, sodium bicarbonate, or iron) all natural and from the earth. Different places have different amounts and different minerals. This is why people travel for hundreds of miles to sit in the hot springs and bath in the minerals of the earth.

Hot Springs in Colorado: Mount Princeton Hot Springs where I was this last weekend, has several pools that people sit in, one even has a long water slide. There's also Glenwood Springs, that has a gigantic pool of springs. Then there's Steamboat Springs where you can do hot and cold mineral water plunges based on which spring you sit in.

Steamboat Springs Strawberry Springs Hot Springs. Ah, yes!
So, that's water. Water with electrolytes has a higher concentration of minerals that your body needs to complete cell processes. Here are the electrolytes we are talking about:


These guys are so vital to every process in your body that you body will leech them from your bones to bring them into the blood. So many processes, such as nerve impulses and oxygenation of red blood cells are impossible without a proper electrolyte balance. If you supply electrolytes internally then you are doing your body a huge favor and making your sweet little cells very happy indeed.

Especially when you are an athlete, electrolytes are important to replenish since you are asking your muscles to fire rapidly.l And when you sweat water, you are also sweating these sweet minerals out with it.  Don't ask your body to work out without the proper fuel, in this case the fuel is electrolytes.

Electrolytes in ways you didn't think of yet, so you can give Gatorade the snuff:

  1. Coconut water - try Coconut in the raw if you can find it. It's in the refridgerated section. If it's not raw, that's OK, the other stuff is pasteurized so it's heated and thus not as good for you but still high on the list and safer in the handling process.
  2. Water infused with banana and lemon juice- just mash banana & add both to your water
  3. Leafy greens
  4. Smart Water
  5. Use this DIY Electrolyte water recipe. Just learned this from my biochemistry teacher!

    1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
    1/2 Cup orange Juice - fresh squeezed is best -or else no sugar added
      2  Cups water
    1/8 Teas. Sea salt or Himalyan salt
      2  TBSP Honey 

Gatorade, oh hell no. Don't punish your body.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 12 fl oz (355 mL)

Servings Per Container About 2.5

Amount Per Serving
Calories 80
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Sodium 160mg7%
Potassium 45mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 21g7%
Sugars 21g
Protein 0g
Not a significant source of calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Emotional Unrest; Fighting against your Negative-Nelly Self, During a Race or During Life-Living

Pre-Race. Notice all men and notice NBC had a big presence there
In the wake of my longest, hardest obstacle race ever - The Spartan Beast - I found that I have become physically and mentally broken.

The race course was filled with massive climbing, in fact 3500 feet of elevation gain in the 13.5 miles. So walking for me was inevitable though I kept wondering how the professionals conquered the course. I kept up a decent pace by adding in 25 paces of jogging every now and then but I also wanted to avoid hitting my aerobic threshold too early in the course.

I noticed during my race that I was initially putting up a tremendous amount of resistance to the work I had to put in during the course. I kept victimizing myself for the first 5-6 miles, thinking, "Why would they (spartan course designers) create such a god-awful course for us?" I was fighting against my ability to reach a high level of fitness, and I was losing.  My negativity was blatantly obvious and it was in my face at the WRONG time. I knew it was there but I felt completely powerless to stop it or I just wasn't ready to stop it. I knew it had to stop but I also knew it must have been serving a purpose.

So how do you get out of the funk? The negative funk that pulls you down to a level of emotional unrest. How do you pull your head out of the dirt and bring it up to the fresh air? And more importantly how do you do it when every minute counts, like race day?

Digging Out of The Funk

1. Engulf yourself in the  "As If" mentality. Act as if it's easy, act as if you are having the best time of your life. Act as if this course is like eating chocolate cake for you, a walk down easy street. The quickest way to do it is to change your body language. When I get tired or feel inferior, I tend to slouch; I even apply this nasty habit when running.

So the more tired I get, the lower I go to the ground. I once watched a woman finish a marathon and her back was completely parallel to the dirt. She was slouching so much that her chest was at hip height. Not ideal for your lungs but whatever gets you across the finish line.

Instead of that, think strong thoughts and lift yourself up, puff our your chest, put on a shit-eating grin and act as if you are winning the damn thing! If that's too much, just smile for a minute - turn that frown upside down my friend. There was one place on the course where I was all alone, on single track in the woods. It was just me and the mountain and I felt the warm sun on my face and suddenly I got really excited. This was a major turning point for me in the race because suddenly I felt my drive to finish turn from nervous and competitive to pure enjoyment. and a smile naturally crept up my face.

2. Gratitude. Short after that I reached civilization, where the volunteer was encouraging everyone to reach the top of an 8-foot wall. she was shouting out things like, "Go get it girl!" and it made me thankful that a volunteer would offer such enthusiasm. I've had quiet volunteers and that's fine but loud encouragement at loud decibels is always preferred. So I realized the great volunteers make me grateful for their input. The more you recognize what you are grateful for, the harder it is to let a negative mind-set stick. I also made a point of saying thank you to each of my body parts. Most of my adult life I insulted my body, and I think I owe a lot of props to my physical self for putting up with my unappreciative nature. Especially when I reach the top of the 8-foot wall right as both of my calf muscles cramped and I was stalled out on top of the wall. So when they stopped cramping, I was so happy and thanked them for getting me back in the game.

3. Imagine the big picture. Some people tend to focus on the small details and others easily see far into the future. I am one who focuses on the small details: what I am doing for the day, for the hour. Where my hubby focuses on the big picture: what are we doing when we retire, when our next trip out of the country is. So when you do need to get out of a negative mindset, think of where you want to be or what lies ahead in the big picture. My little picture was climbing up the rope climb and my big one was finishing the Beast. So I danced with nice, happy images of me finishing the beast and I let that sit in my mind for happy feel-goods. It worked, I finished. And my head was no longer in the dirt but way up in the clouds.

Out of the funk!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Spartan Elite - Me, Racing With the Big Gals (Feeling Like a Poser!)

There are those events in life that seem so far away in the distance that you sometimes plan well for them and others you fail to plan even with ample opportunities. For some reason I knew I was going to be doing this huge life-changing event and yet I felt so unprepared for it on race day. I didn't sleep well the week leading up to the race, I ate fried Jamaican food the night before and I paid the price. Meh. Breaking all the rules like a real rebel. Total rookie mistake.
Note the waterfall coming out of my belly button, free water for the thirsty

What I did get out of it was a better grasp on what it's like to race in the elite category during a mud race. Usually I blend into the herd mentality during the race, and just follow the crowd. This time around, I was racing with ladies and we were collectively leading the pack. What I expected and was concerned about was having super macho man-ladies who elbow me waiting to attack the course with gusto. Instead what I got was a girl telling me how bad her cramps were, one girl complimenting me on how fit I was, and another one telling me she had no idea she was running in the elite without her guy-friends because she didn't know men and women were separated. So I was pleasantly surprised to see all the girls that I raced against were just like me, a little nervous and very much hard core into mud races.

The course was just shy of 5 miles, so it's an all out sprint as the name includes. It means you are to go at full speed over and through obstacles until you jump the fire at the finish. One of the obstacles was new for me, it included asking us to memorize a random code based on our bib number. Mine was Foxtrot 327-2197 and I spent a good 90-seconds looking at the code but we were never asked for it again. Just a total BS move from Spartan, but it still helped me have something else to focus on for a good 3 miles.

 If you have ever done any of the Spartan races, you know that for every obstacle you miss or can not complete, that you are punished with 30 burpees. Just enough to slow you down and tire you out but not exhaust you. During my race, I had to do a total of 60 burpees which I didn't think was unreasonable at all. Two obstacles I missed were the spear toss and the pole/rope climbing. I am a girl with massive upper body strength but the pole obstacle got me jumping down right away. As for the spear toss, I actually had my spear land in the target but then it fell out, so rather than whine about the gray area I just dropped and donated time to the burpee gods.
The water was refreshing! Next time I wanna sprint this part

The course was very different than the 2014 course where it was mostly flat. This year had tons of hills and ample ankle twisting opportunities. I wouldn't of even recognized that it was a Spartan race since it was so different than last year.  Right before the ladies all started, the announcer told us to look at the guys who started 15minutes before, he said that they were on their second hill and were already walking because it was so steep. That's when I saw an imaginary red flag wave in front of my face.

To summarize appropriately, I gave awards to my obstacles:

Most Fun Obstacle: The Rope Swing! You stand on a podium, pull a rope to you and use it to swing across water, tarzan style. I asked the guy working the station if I should grab high, he said ya and I jumped up to the rope so I wouldn't sweep my body over the water below. Jumped over the other side and averted burpees with a grin. I wanted to do it again but I also wanted to finish the race.

A fun short vid to show how NOT to swing, this is NOT me folks...

Most Grueling Obstacle: We had to fill up a Home Depot sized bucket with 1/2 inch sized rocks, then carry it up a very steep inclined hill. A hill that's too steep to run. I had to stop about 6 times to rest my body, it was a full body workout. The bucket has to make it back to the start area full of rocks, meaning don't fill up and dump you bucket to drop weight. The catcher here was also that you could not prop the bucket on your shoulder which was our body's preferred method.
Again, not me, but this is the bucket brigade flat

Most Abusive Obstacle: So the bruises on my legs are intense. I was told by my Crossfit coach that I look like a dalmatian. Yes, I do with small bruises all over my upper thighs in a spotted pattern. This was inevitable during the race. Where one of my fav obstacles in 2014 was the army crawling through the mud under barbed wire. This year that obstacle was elongated, I think to about a quarter mile. And the mude was all dried up into pokey rocks and gravel and dirt that was almost punching you everywhere. We all rolled through it to end the misery and save our arms but the rolling made you so dizzy that you had to take a few breaks to regroup and remind yourself we were not in a combat situation.

The Team Work Obstacle:  The big 8 foot walls. Luckily, ladies were allowed a small step on the side of the wall to cheat like ladies only can. However, this was not always enough, so I offered my shoulder to one lady and she got over but then I was told that might mean she got disqualified so I stopped assisting until us girls (including the one who mentioned we could get DQ) realized we could not make it over with out assistance. This meant we could get help or we could do burpees. Buck Furpees, we assisted and we made it over the wall.

Most Prideful Obstacle: The rope climb. I knew I had only been practicing on a 15 foot rope climb and that Spartan's is higher than that. And I couldn't remember if the rope had knots in it. Luckily it did and I climbed up and hit the bell like I meant it. I was so proud of myself because last year I couldn't climb it. I also think the rope was really muddy last year but running the elite means you get a drier rope.

I finished tired but also feeling so alive! I was so happy to hug my family and give them all the deetz.

Total Distance: 4.8 Miles
Total Time: 1:25 Min
Placed: 16th of 46 Elite Women
Learned Lessons: eat well before the race, get a good night of sleep away from kiddos if possible and train with more trail runs

Next Up: Spartan Beast in Breckenridge Colorado!! 5 weeks and 10 hours left to train... AROO!

A great article that I found helpful is right here:
Great Mud Obstacle Tips Here

Monday, April 13, 2015

Back Pain After Deadlifting, Yep I'm There!

So, I coached 3 Crossfit classes back to back teaching deadlifts. And it was after I had done multiple deadlifts that morning at 70% of my one-rep max. That was 175# for all you curious souls. And now I am walking around like an old man, sitting on the toilet in slow-motion, groaning while driving with the lumbar support on in my car. What the hell kind of damage did I do to my low back?  If I am this sore (in a bad way) then what are my athletes feeling like? Jesus. Let's review. 

Deadlifting weaknesses can manifest in many ways. For me, I think my form is decent, at least it feels that way when the load is relatively light. Once I go heavy, my form errors tend to show themselves like fireflies in Texas. I was told by a deadlifting master (my term) I have gym butt when doing deadlifts. This means that I hike up my butt too soon on the lift and thus I load my low back up with the weight on the barbell. BAM. That's why my low back is screaming at me right now. In the video I posted above, you can (CRYSTAL) CLEARLY see where my butt PPP error happened, my back hurts just watching. 

None the less, I may not have a perfect deadlift, but I am still eager to share the info that I know with you so you can sit on the toilet with ease post deadlift days. Here's the tips I have for all you heavy lifting beasts out there.

                         World Record Deadlift,  1018.5pounds, I wonder if his back hurt the next day

Deadlift Do's: 

  1. Before you reach down to set up for the bar, get yourself positioned as though you are going to take a punch to the gut. You want your core tight first, then reach down for the bar. 
  2. Chalk. I was told my deadlift max would increase by 50 pounds with chaulk. I agree it helps, though 50# might be a bit aggressive. 
  3. Remember the sign of a good deadlifter is bloody shins. That's how close you want the barbell to your legs. 
  4. Stack your shoulders over the barbell, and keep the bar on a straight path because that's where you have the most strength
  5. Push the floor down with your feet, rather than pulling the weight up. Let your glutes and legs control the barbell and your arms be more neutral

A freaking AWESOME website for help with coaching your deadlifts:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Self-Confidence Pep Talk Plus Instant Confidence Builders

First I need to start with reiterating that we are all beautiful (you know you are!) Each human body is a unique work of art - that includes ALL your cellulite, stretch marks, scars, moles, bald spots, your smaller left foot, your love handles, your lopsided ears- all of it makes each of us uniquely perfect. None of us is singularly perfect in every way! I place a lot of blame on the billion-dollar beauty industry for making us strive for an unobtainable level of perfection while they reap in massive monetary funds. I have learned the most beautiful thing on a person is their happiness. And happiness is not fleeting, and it is something that can not be taken away from you.

Please remember to read this when you start to feel down about yourself and let the tears fall if they may! 

One day I remember very well, I was feeling really down and sorry for myself because of my ample scars and stretch marks (my skin has not adapted very well to my life experiences). So I was feeling so gross about myself and just felt down and yuck. On this one day, I saw a guy being pushed in a wheel chair who had no arms and no legs. What a kick to the gut that was! Do you think that guy would take my scar-covered body and trade with me? You think he would say no to my legs because they have stretch marks on them? Hell no. With legs, I can walk, I can lift weights, I can run for miles and feel the endorphin rush, I can do so much - scars or not!

Let's talk BIG PICTURE here. Try not to focus on what our body looks like, but instead on what our bodies can DO. How can your body perform? Does your body give you the ability to give someone a big bear hug? Can you climb up a mountain? Can you snuggle in with a warm cup of coffee and a book on your day off work? Can you feel rain drops fall onto the tip of your nose? Oh man, just Let the mountains be beautiful. Let me just feel the experience, and let that be enough.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to look a certain way and think of where else that energy could go. All this pressure just to feel comfortable in our own skin. Could you refocus all that energy towards your career or towards loving a child? Could you end your insecurities and channel it towards competitive weight training? Could you train to learn a new skill? Parkour? YES! Could your potential in all things become limitless? What if focusing on our imperfections is just a distraction, small time stuff to keep us from looking at the whole picture and reaching our potential. What if you decided to accept (or even to love) your differences instead of giving them any more power over you. Where could you be?

My last point: How does it make you feel? Of all the thoughts and emotions that play out inside your head everyday; when you think negatively about any part of your body - do you feel good? Oh. Hell. No. Can you change it so you can start to feel good? Hell yes! Can you look at yourself in the mirror and instead of saying "I hate my stretch marks" Maybe you could instead say, "My stretch marks are mine, they show when my body got stronger." And how can I look at my body and dislike it after all it's done for me?  And you know what, a tidbit. If you aren't bothered by your imperfections, then why would anyone else need to be? When I put on a pair of shorts or a swim suit, I like to think "imperfections be damned, I'm going to have such a good time that no one (including myself) will need to be bothered by my scar marks."

What's the antidote to needing perfection? It's all about happiness! It's all about the way you handle what you were given. It's the way you walk into a room and chose not to be a wall flower and instead you greet people with warmth and confidence; own that room! And Maya Angelou said it perfectly when she said,

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

When you're all wrapped up in thoughts of yourself, where is there room for other people? When you're focus is internal, it almost separates you from the world, it puts up a barrier that need not exist. It isolates you and encourages addictive, self-sabotaging behavior. You have to pull yourself out of that world of self criticism. Welcome a new you with new, loving thoughts that put you in a happy place.

This topic is sooooo tender and dear to my heart. It is something I struggle with regularly. I don't have the permanent solution, I just know that I have to keep working on it. There are times I get down about the way I look and there are others where I feel like a million bucks. It's important to remember your worth is not based on what you look like, or even what you wished you looked like. You're special and worthy just because you are you, and that's always enough.   ~~ Lots of love and tons of big hugs to all! ~~

My happy place, with my Michelin Man

Increase your Confidence RIGHT NOW:
  1. Pick up a barbell - put it over your head if you can. Overhead squats, clean and Jerks, snatches.
  2. Strengthen your solar plexus chakra
  3. Power Poses
  4. Increase your testosterone 

Did I hit the spot? Are you feeling ~Inspired ~ and needing some more self love? A great post here, a Love Your Body Challenge