Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Love Affair With The Barbell, It Can Happen to You Too!

Flashback to when I first trained with a barbell. 6 years ago I think when I was just a casual runner, before I lifted weights. My coach was first teaching me how to do some Olympic lifting - specifically a move called a Snatch (hold your laughter folks!) I asked my coach what the snatch was working. Like - was it toning my butt, could it get me into bikini modeling? His wise answer was, "it works everything." And he was right. It does. But I still rolled my eyes on the inside when we were suppose to do snatches in a workout. BTW. I know the term snatch leaves things WIDE open for all kinds of jokes. One of my favorite things to say when I am coaching, is "alright everyone, now it's time to warm up our snatches." Grinning.

It took me about 2 years of Crossfit before I stopped sighing while viewing a workout of the Day with some form of overhead lifting. I used to think, "why can't they just do regular stuff? Deadlifts are WAAAY less intimidating. Which is my point exactly.

It wasn't until I was really comfortable with the techniques, that I ever grew to love weightlifting. Before that  I had so much resistance to barbell moves because of my inexperience and fear. From the start, I had a gigantic fear of dropping the barbell on top of my head. As a coach, I have never trained any woman who doesn't have these fears as well. Guys tend to be a little more ignorant of the dangerous possibilities. But I guarantee we all have some form of fear of the barbell.

Badass Chick, Jackie Perez
And slowly things changed for me. I developed a love affair with the barbell. It was nothing that slapped me in the face suddenly but I began to notice that when I was having a day where I felt unworthy, or lame, or was being judgey with myself - it seemed that after I worked with the barbell on overhead movements - that my mentality shifted dramatically. Still to this day, give me 20 minutes with a barbell and I am reincarnated from a lame-o weak duckling into a BADASS CHICK.

Through watching others that I coach, I noticed the transformation isn't unique to just me. I watch people walk into the gym with zero confidence and walk out smiling, eager to approach life with gusto enthusiasm. Fast transformations of energy are happening everyday inside Crossfit boxes and gyms everywhere. Now that's newsworthy.

Not the kind of exercise bike your Mom rode. Photo Credit Kraig Scarbinsky/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Your brain chemistry changes dramatically when you exercise or move your body. Your brain chemistry responds immediately to your newly oxygenated blood and air. Movement causes your thoughts to shift because your neurotransmitters are firing messages to your brain of positive-ity. This is endorphins, and they along with others, are what keep people addicted to exercise. In fact, I notice I feel really crummy and become very mean after 3 days without some decent movement. So, movement moves changes thoughts into positive ones and those positive thoughts energize you and leave you coming back for more. That's why when I feel down in the dumps, the best thing to do is walk, workout or do focused deep breathing.

The first barbell move that I learned to love was the clean and jerk. Using power and strength, you grab the barbell from the ground and "clean" or lift it to your shoulders. Next you transfer strength from your legs and toss the barbell to the arms locked out overhead position. wa-la. I like this move because you end up in a power pose position which we know increases testosterone and decreases cortisol. Boom. And everyone, yes, even girls, want some testosterone - because it makes you VERY brave.

If you weren't interested in barbells before this, you will be afterward.

As I told someone I coach. If you are afraid of something in life (we all have something) then do some weightlifting. It is my strong belief that we live our life as a metaphor - every way you live your life is a reflection of your thoughts and beliefs. If you're afraid of one thing, then that fear transfers to every area of your life as well. The simplest way to overcome a fear of one thing is to face fear in a different area, that's a SWEET life hack of monumental proportions. When you have things that you are fearful of, you can manipulate the fear by practicing bravery in other areas. I'm not kidding you on that.  Pride and self love are two of the bi-products of practicing bravery. And when you have pride and self love, life is WAY less frightening.

So how you do learn to love weightlifting? First you have to want to do it, even just a little bit. My reason came from vanity. I wanted to look like a Crossfitter. I walked into my first Crossfit box, 6 years ago, and said - so this is where the beautiful bodies are born! You have to want to have strength. And if you have just the smallest desire, then practice. Then, you go easy on yourself, you start really light and then learn to do it properly. Clean and jerk is very commonly the first skill to master with the barbell. Snatches and overhead squats have a lot of working parts - so they would come later. Then lastly, you get heavy. No powerlifter ever picked up a 300# barbell and threw it over their head, no. Instead they started light and went up in weight slowly.

dream body alert!

Practice lifting a barbell to love the way it makes you feel. Practice because it's a little scary, but so is life - and the more you lift it - the less scary the other things in life become. Life hack.

Lift because when you feel good on the inside, you radiate it on the outside. Barbells are your friend who you don't want to let down by playing weak. Barbells put you in touch with your strong side; the fearless one. But even if you don't love the barbell right away, give it time. The barbell love is accumulative- it gets bigger each time you lift it.

Lift heavy my friends.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Heartburn Got You Burning Up?! Got Your Cure, No Rx Required

Did you know I am interested in healing the world with food and demolishing the pharmaceutical company stocks with my healing, genius mind? Oh, you didn't know. I haven't told many because I've been studying instead of blogging. So for my nutrition therapy class, we are studying natural alternatives to nasty acid blockers like Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet and Prilosec, Pepcid AC. Here is some of the info I feel compelled to share for all you heartburn sufferers.

Personally, I've only ever had heartburn a few awful times - It hurt SOOOOOO bad - like a flame was oozing out of my heart.  In fact, the first time I had it, I sat up in bed thinking I was going to croak. Times after that,  when I was prego, I took peppermints, I chewed down 4 of them and it calmed the fire down though I've read that it isn't suppose to help, it definitely did. So, there. Maybe that's all we need is some artificial mint- flavored sugar to cure what ails us. (that's a sweet metaphor for life)

Energetically, heartburn is caused by fear, fear and more fear. According to Louise Hay, some thought or emotion you are thinking is causing clutching fear within your body. Remember to breathe fully and that things are always working out for you. Then figure out how to soothe yourself into relief.

In case you are in pain, rolling your eyes and holding your chest, wondering when I'll get past the candy and move to the grits - here you go:

  • Heartburn is not your heart burning! I hope that becomes common knowledge. Your heart is fine, it's your digestive tract that's working overtime.

    • The causes of heartburn/acid reflux is because the muscular flap that separates your esophagus from your stomach - the flap is not staying shut. It's name is the lower esophageal sphincter. The sphincter is an exit only door - and the food is going back through the exit and there's a bouncer at the door who lights the whole place on fire as punishment. But the burning is actually just stomach acid which is usually just in the stomach and needed to polarize your food. Don't block the acid, you need the acid for all the processes in your body
    • Low stomach acid is very common a problem for most of us Americans. It's not that we have too much stomach acid and its eating our insides. Indeed it's the opposite. We don't make enough acid and the exit only door is not triggered to stay shut thus the acid goes splashing into the exit only door and the fire the bouncer started
    • All those heartburn medications and OTC meds are harming us more than helping us. They are only to be taken for a short time and yet we use them regularly and they cause a whole host of other problems
    • The best chapter in the book I read is called "Is the Cure worse than the Disease?" The answer is yes, it is worse. Acid blockers are worse than heartburn. But if you have heartburn for a long time you can get ulcers, so the solution is to figure out WHY you are getting heartburn and address that. Is it a certain food? Is it a certain person or thought? Is it a job? Is it from standing up eating? Is it from over-feeding yourself at every meal? 
    • Side effects of acid blocking drugs include bone loss and asthma, and bloating, malnutrition, constipation, chest pain, coughing, anemia, aggression, arthritis, back pain, dry mouth, farts, rashes, cancer of the GI tract, flu, hair loss, goiter, fever, depression, kidney disease, liver disease, impotence, vision problems, weight gain or loss. Holy Sh*t!
    Indeed the answer is actually to increase your stomach acid so the exit only door can tell the bouncer to go home because the club is closed and the door is locked. Once there is sufficient stomach acid, your sphincter gets the message to shut and stay shut, thus the "club" is closed. 

    You can increase your stomach acid naturally: 
    First, hold the boat! Stop taking antacids which neutralize the stomach acid, you want the acid acidic so you can digest and assimilate nutrients from your food

    1) Drink a small amount (1/3 teaspoon) of Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with water 20 minutes before meals . Not only does this help you digest food, but when you properly digest food, you have less waste for your body to sort through so you will usually lose weight. I know a guy who did nothing different to his diet and lost 10 pounds just adding in apple cider vinegar to his diet for 2.5 months. 
    2) Take herbal bitters to help the bouncer (esophageal sphincter) get stronger (the sphincter is a muscle - get it? you can picture it now, right!) and to increase stomach acid. It's a one-two PUNCH!
    3) Avoid tap water, get a water filter. Get rid of fluoride and chlorine which lower the amount of enzymes (that help produce stomach acid) also they are nasty and they perform torture on your thyroid. 

    4) Supplement with HCl (hydrochloric acid) don't do this if you have an ulcer and take digestive enzymes- or probiotics-  better assimilation of nutrients, win-win!

    5) Lifestyle habits: slow eating, small bites, just eating without your phone (eeeekkk! is that possible?) When you feel fear,or stress - are you eating it away? Don't eat when you're scared or stressed. Wait it out. You won't wither away skipping a meal or two. But you will be able to get down to the real issues without bottlenecking

    6) Foods to add in for healing of the gut/intestines: aloe vera, cabbage juice, payaya, chamomile tea. Add them in! 

    7) Get checked for H. Pylori bacteria if you have regular bad breath, bloating, migraines, rosacea, anemia, asthma, or vomiting after a meal  

    8) Examine if you have yeast overgrowth or candida since it causes acid reflux - if you regularly crave sugar, consider a candida cleanse to nip this in the bud! Yeast overgrowth causes the bugs to poop out gas and the gas travel up through the exit only door (AKA the sphincter)

    My emergency remedy (besides peppermint candy):
      Arm AND Hammer

    FOR MASSIVE HEARTBURN ATTACKS: 1 TINY TEASPOON OF BAKING SODA will neutralize the acid. Add to a small glass of water and put it down the hatch

    Reference: Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec & Other Acid Blockers by Martie Whittekin, CCN

    Thursday, June 16, 2016

    Joy. Joy. Joy. Bring It.

    Your Cells Understand Happy

    When you are happy, dopamine receptors sit on the edges of cells and prevent viruses and illness from entering the cell. WHAT?! Yes, A book called The Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert wrote about it. This means the happier you are, the less sick you get. And science proved it. She went further to say the body is the subconscious mind. hmmmm. We won't go there yet, but that will be a killer post. 

    Today's post is all about being and feeling happy. 

    Ever notice the people in your life that are the most positive almost never get sick? Think of the most positive person you have in your life.They are usually good looking and you feel more joy just being near them. These people are shining from the inside out. They are projecting joy and getting joy back. They aren’t happy because they have everything, instead they are happy, so they get everything. They are magnets for goodness.

    The body with its trillions of highly intelligent cells will function perfectly when joy is your dominant emotion. But add in a bucket of stress, fear, or depression and the body doesn't know how to respond. So sickness and disease begin to manifest within the physical body. There is tons of research on the mind/body connection because of all the people who healed themselves, its real. They hurt, they cured themselves and then they shared their story so we could heal too. Is your story waiting for you to heal?

    Louise Hay has a book all about the mind/body connection, and lots of medical personnel are also beginning to relate lifestyle habits and thoughts to physical conditions. People who are afraid or worry have problems with their kidneys. People who are angry are having problems with toxins (even toxic thoughts) related to the liver. People with low thyroid function have a hard time speaking up for their needs. These correlations can be very specific or very vague, but people are proving the truth of it all within the scientific community. Consider Christine Northrup and Mona Lisa Schultz as well as Bruce Lipton. 

    The Journey...
    Start with taking the pressure off yourself to try to be something different than what you are. You're perfect as you are. Just relax into being yourself so you can really resonate with your spark. You don't have to earn comfort in your own skin. It's already yours. If you aren't experiencing it, then start to focus on things you love, or things you are good at, or just dream about the things you desire. Imagine what you want and pull in. Your joy is waiting for you. And follow my examples to get you your happiness, instructions to follow.

    This made me laugh, just had to share. Nothing related to post except lifting a mood

    Move Toward Joy With HaPPy HaCks! 

     General/Specific mindset. Go general in your thoughts, if you're thinking of something you don't like. Shrug it off with statements like "well, that wasn't my most shining moment". And move on.  Unless you're thinking of something you really like, then you get specific and relish in it. Such as, you nailed a job interview - then specifically dig in and note why you liked it, what mood you were in when you walked in the door, how proud you were, how today is best day of your life, how you are a master at squashing the competition. That's how you experience more joy. Milk the GOOD and ignore the NEGATIVE. It creates more of the excellent experiences that feel good inside our body.

    For Joy Through the Day: A Five-Minute Energy Routine

    I love the 5 minute energy routine, it's how I guarantee myself a great day. When I feel blah or I need some extra confidence for my day, I move through all these moves and it's never disappointing. It accumulative, the more you do it - the more it helps. This stuff is real. Just like the cell phones work though you can't see the wire. And the wifi works, it's all through energy. Our body is more than physical flesh. It's also energetically wired and just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

    standing at attention to brush, don't you do this?
    "Fake It Until You Become It" You can change your mind by with body. Strike a power pose, for two minutes - hold your arms out to make a giant letter "T". Or my friend said she knows a verteran who cured himself of PTSD by brushing his teeth for 2-minutes twice daily, standing at attention - see pic. What I'm mentioning is epic: Amy Cuddy's TedTalks. Power posing increases testosterone (for confidence) and lowers cortisol (for relaxing). They proved with CEO's of large companies tend toward a proper hormonal mix of low cortisol and high testosteroneThey did hormonal tests on people to prove standing in wonder woman stance really works! Get your CEO on with a 2-minute power pose - KILLER prior to a job interview! 

    When you feel Anger or Negativity:

    Get upside down for new perspective. 

    1. Stop and breathe. Give yourself 5 minutes of nothing but breathing. Let me just say this in bold: your thoughts control your breath and vice versa. Even if it means you'll be 5 minutes late or even if it means you have to be excused from an important meeting. You have to take care of yourself first. Be selfish with the needs of your body. 

    Remember, if you imagine you are getting chased by a guy with a chainsaw, or if you imagine you just won a million-dollar dream house- your mind believes you. The biggest indicator of which of those is really happening is through your breathing.  So don't work yourself up in a tizzy.

    Solutions to problems will magically come when our brains are full of oxygenated blood. When we are stressed, about something that hasn't ever happened or happened ten years ago,  the idea alone will put us in fight/flight mode. This means no blood is going to our brain or to the gut. So your food gets stored as fat and you are thinking on the level of a lab rat. Breathe instead. Just breathe.

    2) Move to Music! This is embarrassing to admit but I love listening to my kids Frozen CD, it cheers me up every time. We throw dance parties and I just let my body move. Moving releases negative energy. There is the iconic song,  “Let It Go” in which I use my arms and push out anything negative I've been holding onto. Movement of any kind does this. Rolling in the grass, walking, dancing, stretching, tai chi, break dancing, finger tapping-  it doesn’t have to be exercise. Give the gift of movement to your body.

    3) Write a Wish List.  Get very specific in the things you like. You could do a vision board or just go out into the world and look for occurrences that sit well with you. Even look for things you see in the world that you would like more of in your life.  Take a mental snapshot of two people kissing, a well-meaning kiss. Tell the universe you want more of that. I once was at the airport and saw a grandmother greet her grandchild with so much love and give him the most gentle squeeze, that I felt it within my own body. I was just the observer, but I felt it.. These acts of love are all around but we sometimes have blinders on - anger, rage, jealousy, self-pity, victimization, blame, guilt - these emotions are all disconnecting emotions that take away from the joy we were born to feel. 

    4) Start a list of what's great about things. There's a positive to everything, seek it out. Control your focus. We easily go into negative mode but it can't serves us. Reverse it. What's great about having an imperfect body. 1. I don't have to be perfect. 2. I can be slightly invisible if I want, I can blend in a crowd  3. People don't judge me on a level of perfection

    5) Stop what you are doing, do something different. Turn on the radio- full blast, walk on the grass barefoot, jump up and down, stand on your head, go chug 3 giant glasses of water. Change what you're doing to get a different result.

    EnJOY the JOY.

    Monday, June 6, 2016

    Joy Is The New Skinny

    All these years, staring at ourselves in the mirror, looking in dismay and assuming happiness is just on the other side of ten pounds, or the 100 pounds. It becomes this asshole belief, that the scale grants you permission to be happy. And we've taught our self,  this disillusion message of " I Can Be Happy When"... I look a certain way, when I lose the weight, when I have a mate, when I drive this car, when I have enough ones and zeros in my checking account. 

    Beauty Could Be in the Eye of the Marketing Campaigns

    What?! Your lashes don't look like this?

    We're quietly taught by American culture that if we lose weight and get sexy, that then, finally, we get the key to enjoy happiness. But that's just what Nike, Revlon and Macy's want you to think. Big corporations bank millions on the concept of conditional self love. All the big names that market to people use the Army tactic - tear us down then give hope BUT only if we use their product. Stretch marks? Oh dear, better use this cream to make them less visible, as though a scar is so terrible. **TANGENT WARNING**As though our skin should not tell a story. Flawless skin BORES the sh*t out of me. Grow some stories and wear them on your body like your beautifully messy autobiography. **TANGENT OVER**

    Conditional happiness is the name of the game.  What condition do you place on your happiness? Now, my lovelies, I want to introduce a new game. 

    Most of us want things (cars, people, houses, lifestyles) which we assume will make us TWO things in life: Happy and Healthy. However, I remember in my adult life some of my most dark and depressing times, they were when I had the perfect body, a spouse, kids and almost a white picket fence - a seemingly perfect looking life. But inside, I was a wreck. I was often depressed and talked smack to my body daily. My internal dialog was so negative that I repeatedly needed to workout, to disengage from a painful reality that I was living. Sometimes I worked out three times a day to keep my mood up, if I didn't get to do that, I had to face myself.

    That misery led me to understand that we are all suckers to the lies of our first world culture. Happiness is not some forever-medal you are rewarded once you have all your ducks in a row. All that hype we listen to from big-money-driven-companies telling us if we lose weight we'll be thin enough to deserve to be happy, if we drive this car, we'll look like a celebrity, if we take this magic pill we'll be skinny which will make us happy. Guess what- I'm on to you, American capitalism. Happiness comes from a place inside that does not falter to gimmicks and click-here promotions. We're better than that. Of course we are.

    There's no amount of money to be paid to procure unconditional self love. That's the best part. Self love is free and feels so darn good. And we all want to feel good. Feeling good is innate - it's the way we were born! You don't see a 2 year old running to hide their naked body in shame, you instead see how loving they are to it, how they carelessly shed their clothes and run naked. Self love and shameless living are built within us, but as we grow up, we screw it up for ourselves - letting marketing companies have their way with our emotions. What if you could have the best of both worlds. What if you could be happy and then you could get the body you wanted. 

    If your weight is "keeping" you from being happy:

    Your challenge is to set aside worry and stress over food and exercise. That will come organically later, after you feel joy. By practicing kindness to yourself, avoiding mirrors and scales and judgement, then you can move toward what you desire; JOY. Enjoy the food you enjoy. So your goal is to set aside the rules, the harsh judgment and the self hatrid. Your goal is to be happy. In your perfect-for-now body. And how cool is that. How good does that feel? I give you permission to just enjoy being you. 

    We've tried the other way. We've tried to listen to nutritionists lamely explain that a size of a meat portion should be a deck of cards. (l-a-m-e) We've tried to force ourselves into a type of exercise that doesn't feel good but we think we need. (Zumba & pilates for me) We've tried to read every new diet book and we've followed it like a bible, but then it all collapses again. We have to be either on or off a diet. That's because we've been going about it backwards. Thinking we have to earn the right to feel joyous in our bodies. Thinking we have to create a rich, skinny, socially acceptable person that is lovable before we can love ourselves. Thinking we have to suffer in order to get what we want. Then we can be happy. Thinking happiness has a cost. Well, it doesn't. It's yours for the taking and you deserve to experience it. Work it backwards.

    Maybe work on a 3-month experiment to find our happy and then allow our body to realign with our right appetites, like when we were kids. I am always amazed to watch my 5 year old and 3 year old who turn their noses up at the extra ice cream or the dessert or even dinner - even if they love it. To them, there's no emotional aspect to food. They eat when they're hungry and they don't have a problem leaving half their plate of food or avoiding a meal altogether. Sometimes they are having so much play time I wonder if that is all the nourishment they need, that food is just a bonus. If we could nourish ourselves with so much love, could we then stop abusing food to supplement us with pretend love.

    There's an article I wrote on not eating a tub of ice cream in a fancy dress. My point there is, when you are so thrilled about something - a new hobby or a new relationship or a new business venture- your natural appetite goes down. Your happiness level goes up and no longer do you need to self soothe. It's a beautiful, natural system. With joy, your body restores itself. 

    A study that proves my point perfectly. In fact, there are lots of these studies, but this one stands out in my mind. There were two groups of people. Both groups were separated from each other. One group was watching a boring 2 hour lecture, the other was watching a 2 hour comedy show. Both groups were given chocolate cake. What do you think happened when they tested their blood sugar levels? They both had the same cake. But their physiological response was massively different. The group that was laughing during the comedy show had normal blood sugar levels while the group listening to the lecture had a large rise in their blood glucose level.

    My next post will have more specific details on finding joy, how to seek it out no matter what your dominant mood is. Trust me, this stuff works. The universe knows you want to be skinny, and it wants to bring you happiness - all you have to do is live happy and more happiness will come your way. If you want specific tasks in the mean time - I suggest my above post link for eating ice cream in a fancy dress.